Earlier this week, Alex Kennedy of Hoops World wrote about how Rudy Gay might be on the trade market this off-season and that the Raptors would be one of the teams interested in the forward’s services.

Since Lottery night, we’ve heard rumblings about how the Raptors’ No. 8 pick could be in play in order to acquire an an already established player.

On Wednesday night, ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford wrote a more Raptors-specific story that intertwines the two, and then some.

The ESPN report states that “the Raptors have already made it known to rival teams that their lottery pick on June 28 — No. 8 overall — is available to a trade partner that can provide the elite small forward they seek, according to sources close to the situation. ”

The report also states that according to sources who told ESPN.com, Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala are known trade targets for the Raptors.

Take a second to digest all of that.

Now, as I wrote on Monday in my Rudy Gay post, you can probably expect a lot more of these types of rumours and reports to include the Raptors over the next little while, as Bryan Colangelo and his team will likely leave no stone unturned in this intriguing and important off-season for Toronto. As always, even reports from extremely plugged in sources like Stein and Ford may turn out to be just that, reports, and nothing more.

Nonetheless, reputable names publishing these reports make them quite believable and are worthy of debates among fans.

For example, is either of Gay or Iguodala even worth giving up the No. 8 pick plus assets for (the report names Jose Calderon and Ed Davis as potential pieces to package with the pick)? Is either of Gay or Iguodala worth anywhere near what they’re going to be paid over the next few years? Lastly, who would you trade for if you had to pick between the two wing players?

For the record, Gay is owed a whopping $53 million plus over the next three seasons. He’ll turn 26-years-old in August.

Iguodala is owed roughly $14.7 million next season and has a $15.9 million player option for 2013-2014. He’ll turn 29 in January.

While I think Gay has the higher upside given that he’s two-and-a-half years younger and could still get a little better, if I had to pick, I’d take Iggy based on the fact that they are virtually identical players right now and Iguodala won’t be nearly as financially crippling if the deal ends up being a flop.

Last season, Gay’s Player Efficiency Rating was just 0.2 higher than Iguodala’s. Gay shot 0.1 per cent better from the field. Iguodala shot much better from three-point range. Neither player got to the free throw line as much as they should have.  Their rebounding numbers per 36 minutes were identical (6.2) and Iguodala is probably the better passer and defender right now.

In terms of durability, both have been pretty dependent, with Iguodala having the edge. Iggy has played 82 games five times in his eight-year NBA career. He’s missed a total of just 25 games over those eight seasons. Gay has never played a full 82 games and has missed 39 regular season games over a six-year career.

Their production on the court might not differ much, and Gay probably still has a higher ceiling, but if the Raptors want to take a big swing this summer without totally hampering their recently created financial flexibility, a deal for Iguodala seems like the better decision, and I feel as though it wouldn’t take as much to get him either.

Having said that, there could be a plethora of trade targets available at the small forward position that we’re not yet aware of, and this debate would then get a whole lot more complicated.

As I’ve said about 383 times over the last month or so, this off-season is going to be interesting, to say the least.

By the way, the same ESPN report also reiterates Toronto’s plan to chase Steve Nash this summer and lists Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb and Damian Lillard as their potential draft targets should they keep the No. 8 pick.

We’ll have a lot more on potential Raptors draft targets over the next few weeks. Until then, a few more eyebrow raising reports will probably come out mentioning Toronto.

Cheers to off-season relevance…I think.