Okay, as well all know by now a trade went down where the Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons, and Toronto Raptors swapped a total of six guys. Because no website had all the "good" info in one place I had to do this. This makes it easier to look at what each team did, and what each player is doing.
All the world-wide-leader has out is a wall of text in several different articles. That's a spatial-visual failure right there.
Anyway, this is what happened:
(Gold cells = 1st, Silver cells = 2nd, and Bronze cells = 3rd place in the individual categories)
The Grizz are a Western Conference playoff team in a small market that was going to be forced to pay mucho-mucho, beaucoup, super grande luxury tax this year. They had been trying to get rid of Rudy Gay for a while now, despite the point that he is capable of being a really good player. They accomplished that in this trade, so while they were not necessarily trying to bring back someone of equal value, they got rid of a pricey player. This was their "Ronnie Brewer to MEM for nothing" type of trade that existed to shed salary, and not improve the team. Well, it's going to be hard to tell, replacing one rotation guy with three guys who should BE in a rotation creates the same type of logjam that we have and know well here in Utah. They added another big (Ed Davis) to their stable of bigs (Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Marreese Speights, Darrell Arthur), and where they previously had one wing, they added two. It's not all bad though. [EDIT: Reese was already traded this season, so that's just ME being sloppy.]
Tayshaun Prince has an NBA Championship, is a highly effective support player who can and will defend the other teams' best scorer. He can hit the spot up three and defend PGs to PFs in the right situation. Tay is on the books for 2 more years after this season, and he's not getting any younger. If we're going on how many golds, silvers, and bronzes you have -- he's one of the best players in this trade. Ed Davis is a former lottery pick bigman who was playing half a game this year. He's capable, but not spectacular in any field. Austin Daye is what you'd get if you crossed Andrei Kirilenko 's versatility with Kyrylo Fesenko 's consistency -- while playing him out of position at SG. All three players are legit NBA players. Daye's contract expires, and Davis is the youngest player in this trade.
Memphis gets full points for achieving their stated goal of moving Rudy Gay and getting under the cap. They have some good players coming back, and did not give up much more than what they were focused on giving up. The addition of Prince may help out in the playoffs when the Grizzlies will have to try to defend the Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant types. Hah. The Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs? I think that invalidates the previous three paragraphs of analysis. They do now have logjams to deal with, and on paper, less talent density by spreading out the capability of one star into three non-stars.
The Pistons are an Eastern Conference team in a medium media market that is in a funny place. They don't want to remain mediocre in this market, and their attendance is quite poor. The Detroit Tigers went to the world series. The Detroit Red Wings are always a contender in the NHL. The Detroit Lions, not a winner, still have some major star power that draws in the fans. The University of Michigan is right down the road and they have a pretty good basketball team this year. The Pistons need to be better because they don't want to be the worst team out of so many. It's not so much competing against the other teams in the division, but against the other teams in the city. They gave up on a key part of a number of contending Pistons teams (Prince), and an expiring contract (Daye) in order to make more room for their younger players -- and add a very solid, traditional, PG.
The Pistons are a defensive minded club that plays at a slow pace. They have two young bigs that need to be spoon fed the ball in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Each possession on offense is worth that much more, and they need to get the most out of each trip down the court. So they traded for Jose Calderon, to play the part of that offensive facilitator with legit three point range who can babysit and steer the development of the bigs. Detroit already tries to put those guys in situations where they can succeed, they've continued to do so by bringing in Jose. (Think of him as an Earl Watson who is still good, and can hit like 5 threes in a game on purpose)
Before the trade Detroit was running with Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Knight, and Will Bynum at the point. All of them are NOT pass first PGs. Two of them are built like trucks and excel only in driving to the basket. Knight is the most traditional of the three, and has three point range; but needs a real mentor. You don't teach a young PG, potential PG of the future, how to play traditional PG by having him learn from Stuckey and Bynum. (You know, kinda like you don't teach a bigman how to play defense by having him watch Al Jefferson)
Calderon is on a $10.6m deal that expires, and he may go somewhere else -- or stay. Having played his entire career in Toronto he's obviously familiar with the snow so being in Detroit isn't going to be a huge climate difference. It's not supra-tropical Spain, but it'll do. He helps the Pistons immediately by being a guy who can run a team where every possession counts, and allows the combo guards to do their thing at the SG spot, while opening up more playing time for Corey Maggette and Kyle Singler (two Duke products). Detroit is right where we were last year before we went on our playoff push. They are out right now sitting in 10th in the East, but can move up. This is a trade that helps them do just that.
It's going to be strange seeing Prince not in a Pistons jersey. That's the same thing with Jose no longer a Raptor. What the Raptors did, by the way, is very confusing. They traded away one of their former lotto picks (Ed Davis), to make room for a newer one in Jonas Valanciunas. That's fine. They also brought in the worst player in the trade in Hamed Haddadi, but the GTA has a huge Persian population, so that's always a good fit for multicultural Raptors supporters and ticket sales. Furthermore, they brought in another wing player -- when their best player right now is a wing (DeMar Derozan), and two of their other best players are as well (Landry Fields, Terrence Ross). If that's not enough, they also have two other guys who can play a wing spot who aren't chopped liver either (Linas Kleiza and Alan Anderson).
This move stockpiles talent at the 2/3 spot. In terms of roster cohesion the Raptors did the worst out of these three teams. But this move opens up a lot of possibilities for future trades. And the Raptors aren't hesitant to make them.
All the traditional (American) media outlets are killing the Raptors here -- but I got something to counter that. The old metric is that the team that gets the best player in a multi-player deal is the winner. Clearly Rudy Gay is the best player (he has the most golds, silvers, and bronzes in that chart up there). That indisputable. The other thing, the very thing that made Memphis want to move him, is that he's worth the most, has the longest remaining contract that's the most expensive. Rudy is getting paid, and Memphis could not afford to pay him. Toronto can.
And they will. And his longer contract, plus his huge salary mean that he's going to be the legit star that the star-less Raptors needed. (Andrea Bargnani was not one, and DeRozan is rising, but doesn't have a go-to game) In Toronto Gay will be the main man (he wasn't in Memphis), he'll be paid, and he'll have a long contract. Which is a huge thing for the Raptors who have displayed problems in retaining a star once they developed one. (Drafted Damon Stoudamire, he won ROY, then left as a free agent; drafted Vince Carter, he won ROY, became an All-Star, and then weaseled his way out; drafted Tracy McGrady, he became a star, then left as a free agent; drafted Chris Bosh, he became a star, then left as a free agent)
This time they traded FOR a star. While he's not the brightest of stars, it's the opposite of getting left at the altar four times in a row with guys they drafted and developed. By this metric of team need, all three teams got what they wanted. Memphis dropped salary. Detroit got a pass first PG to mentor their youth. Toronto got a star who is locked in for a few years and will be 'the man'. In terms of moving forward this season, Detroit has the best fit; but Memphis reloaded to make sure they get out of the first round this year with a better spot up shooter and defender who can play a complimentary role. In terms of the future -- it's hard to bet against Toronto who got the best player in the trade, who is locked in, and will be happy with his role and salary.
So, while most of the media says Toronto lost, you could argue that they aren't so bad off. You could also argue that every team got something that they wanted too. Only time will tell which team won this trade; but, we're sports fans. So let's have a go at this.