Source: Raptors acquire Gay from Grizzlies
Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon reacts after scoring a basket while playing against the Los Angeles Lakers during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Sunday, January 20, 2013. The Toronto Raptors have traded point guard Jose Calderon and power forward Ed Davis to the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Rudy Gay. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors have traded point guard Jose Calderon and forward Ed Davis to the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Rudy Gay.
A source requesting anonymity tells The Associated Press the deal Wednesday appears to involve a third team that will acquire Calderon from Memphis.
Sources said the Grizzlies were in discussion with the Detroit Pistons to swap Calderon for Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince.
Calderon was the longest-serving member of the Raptors, having played his entire NBA career in Toronto. The six-foot-three Spaniard joined the team in the 2005-06 season and has played in 525 games, averaging 10.0 points and 7.2 assists per game.
Calderon, who was set to become a free agent at the end of the season, was surprised by the move.
"It's been my home for eight years," Calderon said in Atlanta, where the Raptors were taking on the Hawks, shortly before leaving the arena. "I've done everything possible for this team. It's tough. The fans have been with me since Day 1. It's tough."
Davis was Toronto's 13th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. In his two seasons, Davis has averaged 7.0 points and 6.9 rebounds mostly in a reserve role, although he has started several games this year with Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas out with injuries.
Gay, the Grizzlies' leading scorer, has been the subject of trade speculation throughout the season as Memphis looks to unload his hefty max contract. The six-foot-eight small forward is due $16.5 million this season with $37 million more over the next two years.
Davis, who has two more seasons left on his deal, is set to make $3.1 million next season.
The 26-year-old Gay has been with the Grizzlies since joining the NBA in 2006. He has averaged 17.9 points and 5.8 rebounds over seven seasons.
For Memphis, trading away Gay eases a luxury tax hit due next season, while concentrating the team around centre Marc Gasol and all-star forward Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies had their best playoff run in 2011 when they knocked off then-No. 1 seed San Antonio before losing to Oklahoma City in seven games in the Western semifinals — all with Gay on the bench after needing season-ending shoulder surgery.
New Grizzlies owner Robert Pera took over the franchise last November and has quickly started addressing the team's salary situation.
Just over a week ago, the Grizzlies sent valuable reserve Marreese Speights and two other players to Cleveland in a move that cleared $6.4 million in salary and avoided a $4 million luxury tax hit this season.
All told, the Grizzlies will save nearly $40 million over the next three years after the two trades.
Calderon has been a fan favourite and trusted veteran on the team. He is averaging 11.1 points and 7.4 assists this season for the Raptors (16-29), who are desperately trying to scratch their way into the playoff picture. Toronto was in 11th place before the games were played Wednesday, but still only 2 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the eight seed.
Calderon and Davis had both been starting for the Raptors, but they do have Kyle Lowry waiting in the wings at point guard and likely see Gay's scoring punch as the key to vaulting back into the discussion in a mediocre conference.
Coach Dwane Casey will have to deal with a bit of a log jam with Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields and Alan Anderson as wing players with similar skill sets. But getting a player with Gay's natural scoring talent, even at the expense of parting with a valued player like Calderon, proved too enticing to pass up.
"Hopefully this team is back to the playoffs as soon as possible," Calderon said.
- with files from The Associated Press.