Iguodala or Gay; Either Way, Raptors Going All In On Small Forward?

Can Raptors' fans expect to see either of these two in Toronto's line-up next season?


Last night ESPN.com reported that the Toronto Raptors were making a push for an elite swingman. The HQ breaks down the options...

Apparently, Bryan Colangelo means business.

The President and General Manager of the Toronto Raptors is according to sources, shopping his first-round draft pick, eighth overall, in an attempt to add an "established athletic swingman," with his known targets being the Memphis Grizzlies' Rudy Gay, and the Philadelphia 76ers' Andre Iguodala.

As we noted yesterday, this isn't a huge surprise considering the Dinos' needs.

The club desperately needs to add an established swingman and after striking out on getting a top three pick in this year's draft, it was hardly a stretch to think that the Raps would move their pick to obtain one.

Now that that's been confirmed by ESPN, let's take a good look at both players, as well as the likelihood of Toronto obtaining either one.

Rudy Gay:

We'll start with Gay as he was the subject of the bulk of our conversation yesterday.

At face value adding Gay, a career 18 point/6 rebound guy would appear to be a major coup for Toronto. There just aren't many other players in the league with his unique blend of shooting ability, size and athleticism, and at only 25 years of age, he turns 26 in August, we're not talking about a player who's over the hill.

But we are talking about a player who's stats plateaued to some degree last year, and who's owed essentially $54 Million over the next three years. The Raptors do have a nice bit of cap flexibility, but without moving one of their bigger contracts to acquire Gay (read - Andrea Bargnani), that's a lot of doe to spend on two players, especially with the new, more restrictive CBA tightening by the year.

In addition, there's some question as to how much Rudy Gay actually adds to a team, as his advanced stats are hardly stellar. We get on Andrea a lot about these metrics, but Gay isn't exactly the second coming of LeBron James. A career PER of 16.2 is barely above the league average of 15, and his last two year marks of 17.8 are still nothing to write home about.

Add on his offensive win share of 2.8 and defensive win share of 3.3 last season, and it's hard to say the Raps would be obtaining a missing piece in their drive to a championship. To put things in perspective, in Chris Bosh's 2008-09 season with the Raps he posted offensive and defensive win share marks of 6.6 and 3.3. That team won 33 games with pretty much the same level of talent as what would currently surround Gay if he was acquired.

In addition, Gay isn't exactly a hero at Wages of Wins, where he's typically been viewed as an underachiever, and there's no doubting his Memphis club fared quite well in his absence last season during their playoff run.

But I'm not sure for Gay, we know the whole story.

For one, I've always felt he's been a bit miscast in Memphis, and would excel in another system, surrounded by players who complement his abilities.

As well, it's easy to cringe at the contract Gay's currently carrying but you have to look at what other options that are out there. In terms of free agents we're talking Nic Batum, Gerald Wallace and Jeff Green, and after that it gets ugly. None of those three are without major question marks so again, if not Gay, then who?

Maybe this next guy.

Andre Iguodala:

There's no question to me that Iguodala should be the player the Raps are after, and it was indeed encouraging to read the ESPN.com report last night.

He's not LeBron, and he's not enough on his own to get Toronto to the promised land, but his acquisition would be a major step in the right direction for this franchise, and would ironically represent a do-over on the 2004 NBA Draft, when the Raps had a chance to grab Iggy, but took Mr. Araujo instead.

I'm not going to drone on and on about his advanced stats as we know for NBA stat-geeks, Iguodala has few substitutes.

And he'd also come with a much cheaper price tag than Gay, about $10M less over those next three seasons.

The problem with Iguodala is I'm just not sure why Philly would deal him at this point. He's still the best player on a team that nearly advanced to the Eastern Conference finals (albeit with some tragic luck), and one of the league's elite defensive players. And while Philly needs to re-sign guys like Louis Williams this off-season, they aren't in the same financial situation as Memphis long-term, as Elton Brand's onerous deal ends after next season.

I'm just not sure why Philly would agree to take a step back and move Iggy unless they felt that in fact, they were taking a step forward by acquiring a player who could get them to the next level Could Andrea Bargnani be that player?

To me that's really the only hope here as while the eighth pick and Ed Davis are intriguing, Philly needs to keep winning now and neither asset likely helps accomplish that goal. The Sixers aren't in a great position fan-wise so it's imperative that the team keep putting asses in seats and there's almost no better way to do that then by winning games. Any package sent to the 76ers needs to include a piece that helps them win now so this might turn into a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" situation.

If the 76ers think someone like Bargs or DeRozan helps them more than Iguodala, so be it. I'm just not holding my breath. No, for now I think Gay is the much more realistic target considering Memphis' rumoured desire to cut salary, and add pieces that Toronto possesses.

The bigger question to me is if the Raps can get Gay, how steep of a price should they pay? For instance if the club can move DeRozan in the deal, a player who's due for a pay raise (justifiably or not) in the near future, that's a lot more palatable than moving the eighth overall pick. Colangelo's gotten in trouble before by hemorrhaging his future to try and upgrade the present so I'd rather not see him go down that road again.

I believe the old adage goes, "just because you can make a trade, doesn't mean you should."

Word to Jermaine O'Neal.

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