Is Rudy Gay a Team Killer?

Its hard to look past the fact that the teams are playing better without Gay on their roster

The guy is a monster talent.  He can score almost at will some nights.  We've seen him, on occasion, take a game over but is he actually a cancer to every team he's on?  Before I get you Rudy Gay fans riled up, let's take a look at something.  

Before the NBA trade deadline last season, the Memphis Grizzlies traded Gay to the Toronto Raptors in a six player trade.  The move was strictly monetary as the Grizzlies wanted to get rid of Gay's $17 million salary which would have hit them with a luxury tax during the 2013 off season.  At the moment of the trade, Memphis thought it was a move that had to happen, not one they wanted to make.  However, things clearly panned out for the Grizzlies as they went all they way to the Western Conference Finals where they were swept by San Antonio.  Many believe this is due to a hobbled Oklahoma City squad but nevertheless they didn't need Gay to make it that far.

Let's fast-forward to this season.  With the Toronto Raptors, Gay was averaging 19 ppg before being traded to the Kings 18 games into the season.  The Raptors were 6-12 through those first 18 games and it looked like another long, dreadful Raptors' season.  Then they traded Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings in a seven player trade.  The Raptors have since gone 27-14 and are sitting in the three spot in the Eastern Conference standings at 33-26.  Statistically, they are the NBA's best team in the fourth quarter of ball games as well.  Was this a product of Rudy Gay being traded or would the team be playing this well regardless?  Who knows, what we do know is Rudy Gay isn't on the team and they are a playoff team for the first time since Vince Carter was rocking the purple and white pinstripes.

These two instances could just be coincidence, maybe Rudy Gay will lead a team to a deep playoff run someday (doubt it).  Its hard to look past the fact that the teams are playing better without Gay on their roster.  Maybe the Kings are one trade away from getting back to the dominance of the Chris Webber and Vlade Divac days.  I guess only time will tell.  At any rate, if the Kings do deal him somewhere else and all of the sudden climb out of the basement, it will be undeniable that Rudy Gay is a team killer.