It isn’t often both teams really do benefit from a major trade right away, but when the Toronto Raptors sent Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to the Sacramento Kings for the 4 players that became the Raptors very successful bench, the Kings got better too. Then the Kings acquired another former Raptors player Reggie Evans and Head Coach Michael Malone appreciates all of them.
It seems Reggie Evans has been around forever and disliked by every player that has been on the other side, but this is one guy who epitomizes hard work and effort. He’s a great guy when he’s on your team.
“(Reggie Evans) has been a joy,” Malone said. “Obviously on the court, he has been tremendous for us. A guy you knew could rebound at a very high level, you knew he was physical and could defend, he is giving us a lot of scoring that I don’t think anybody anticipated and his leadership, his veteran leadership in the locker room and on the floor has been a huge addition and a positive for the team. (We are) very excited to have him and I think it has been a positive experience for him so far.”
Evans no nonsense approach to the game, life and just about everything else gives him instant respect and that respect doesn’t diminish after you get to know him.
“I think some guys are scared of him,” Malone said. “Reggie is known as a hard-nosed tough kid who has a lot of experience and been around a lot of very good teams. I think from day one when he came in, he had the respect and there is a different type of respect. Rudy (Gay) was a guy who has averaged 19 points a game for his career and been around some good basketball teams. Reggie was never that type of scorer obviously, but he has respect of the guys in the NBA because of the fact that everybody knows that he is very physical, he is not afraid and he is going to do whatever he can to help his teammates on the floor and I think all of his teammates appreciate that.”
Rudy Gay was brought to Sacramento because the front office and the coaching staff could see the fit with the Kings and they have been proven right. Gay is playing at the highest level of his career, at least at the offensive end of the court and the Kings are very excited to have landed a star to play with DeMarcus Cousins.
“Give our front office a lot of credit and even the coaching staff, we looked at Rudy (Gay) as his complete body of work not just his very short time here in Toronto,” Malone said. “If you went back and looked at his time and his efficiency in Memphis when he played with a very talented front court, we felt he had the same type of production (possible here) and the fact that he is averaging over 20 points and shooting over 50 percent from the field that obviously has come true, so we are excited to have him. We didn’t just judge him on his short time (in Toronto), I think that would be a mistake for any team/ front office to do. You have to take a guy’s complete body of work (into account) when you are looking at him and then see how he can fit with the personal that you have. We felt that (Gay) and DeMarcus (Cousins), the inside/outside combination would be very tough to guard and it has proven to be that (way) so far.”
The Kings got exactly what they wanted from Gay, but they got more than they expected from Quincy Acy. Acy has been a solid addition to the Kings rotation and the player Malone calls Evan’s little brother has an upside that could make him this team’s energy stretch-four of the future.
“If you remember when we first got (Acy), he shot a couple (of threes) and I had to kind of talk (to him about it), listen, calm down, but when you watch him shoot the ball in practice or after practice, he is not a bad shooter with range,” Malone said. “But is that a shot I want him shooting in the flow of a game, by no means, we are not there yet. We will see what happens after the summer and a lot more time in the gym, but Quincy is a guy that works extremely hard and has a lot more skills offensively than most people realize.”
The hard work and energy has made Acy just as popular in Sacramento as he was in Toronto and in his first game back at the Air Canada Centre there was a very loud “Quincy we love you” screamed from the back of the lower bowl.
“(Quincy Acy) is popular in Sacramento and (has) great energy,” Malone said. “Now we have Quincy and his big brother Reggie, two guys that come in and play the same way and I’ll be honest, the one thing that surprised me about Quincy was, I didn’t realize that he was as capable of an offensive player as he is. Does that mean that we run plays for him, no by no means, but he makes some plays on the floor that I wasn’t aware of that he could make. Whenever we call his number, he comes in and gives us everything that he has. He defends, he rebounds, he runs the floor, he sets screens and he is very positive. (Acy) and Aaron (Gray) were great additions on top of adding Rudy Gay because both of those guys have helped us in a lot of ways whether it’s in the locker room, on the bench and in the games as well.”
Gray was a mentor in Toronto. A player that put team first and was always willing to help the younger players get better even at the risk of losing his own minutes on the court. He has been filling that same role in Sacramento and the coaching staff is glad to have him.
“That is what I like about Aaron (Gray),” Malone said. “I coached him in New Orleans, we were a playoff team and I have been around (him) before. He has a high I.Q. and even if he is not playing, he is a great positive influence in your locker room on the young guys and even to some of the vets – to a guy like DeMarcus (Cousins). On the bench he is always positive. It is never about Aaron Gray, he is about what is best for the team and that’s why a guy like Aaron is always valuable to have around because he can help you when you need him to play and he is also going to help even he is not playing by being a mentor to your young guys and a positive influence.”
These four former Raptors players all contributed when they were in Toronto and the Kings have found a great fit for them all in Sacramento. It isn’t always true, but so far both the teams and the players involved have come out winners from the Kings moves to improve their roster.
Kings At Raptors: Some Good Guys Return Gay, Acy, Gray
It was a franchise changing trade when the Toronto Raptors sent Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to the Sacramento Kings for Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. The Raptors went from lottery level to the third floor before anyone could fully grasp what was going on, but the players who left were all good guys during their stay in Toronto and they deserve the fans respect for their efforts on their return.