After a crazy few days for the Raptors last week, the only news to come out of the weekend was that the team has reportedly come to terms on a new contract with Aaron Gray. Woj later tweeted that it would be a two-year deal, though a couple of days later, financial details still haven’t been leaked. Hopefully we’ll know more by the time everything becomes official on Wednesday.

While the re-signing of Gray will likely be seen as one of the more minor moves in what should go down as a busy summer for Bryan Colangelo, if you’ve been reading RaptorBlog, you’ll know that I’m definitely in favour of it.

Despite the comedic “M-V-P” chants that Gray received in the Air Canada Centre last season, no one expects the guy to be a star, or anything close to it. If you look at his career numbers of about four points and four rebounds per game, you might laugh at the fact that I’m even writing about him staying on board.

But guys like Gray are still invaluable in the NBA. He gives you everything he’s got, night in and night out, whether you call on him for three minutes or 20 minutes. He never tries to do anything outside of his job description. He rebounds, he bangs in the post, he sets hard screens, and if he finds himself in a golden opportunity to put the ball in under the basket, he’ll take it. Gray also averaged a career-high 5.7 rebounds last season in under 17 minutes per game.

On top of his impressive 51.2 career field goal percentage, a testament to his knowing when to shoot and when not to shoot, Gray’s career numbers per 36 minutes are a good indication of his nightly production, where the Pittsburgh big man posts 10.6 points and 11.4 rebounds.

What I really like about keeping Gray around though, is that he gives the Raptors a competent “true centre” to play every night, which should help smooth Jonas Valanciunas’ transition into heavier minutes over the next couple of years. If Aaron can continue to give Dwane Casey and the Raptors about 15 solid minutes per night, and if one of Ed Davis or Amir Johnson can slide to the five for 10 minutes or so, then realistic goals can be set for Valanciunas, who would only need to stay on the court for about 20 minutes.

Despite his veteran demeanor, Gray also fits in nicely with the youth movement the Raptors have been building towards, as he’s still just 27. Lastly, while signing a much more veteran big man might have been more costly, Gray can provide everything I’ve discussed without the Raptors needing to use up too much cap space going forward. He’s never earned more than $2.5 million in his five-year NBA career, and I can’t imagine this two-year deal can be worth more than about $6-8 million, can it?

It’s not a big move or an attention-grabbing move, but re-signing Aaron Gray is a smart move, and is most likely a sound economical move as well.

Comments (8)

  1. true center – yes
    competent – ehhhhhhhh…… dunno about that one

    • He needs to lose a few pounds… Looks more like a coach potato than a athlete

      • “coach potato” or couch potato? Big difference.

        He might not be the most athletic guy on the court, but we don’t need another athletic big man. What we need is exactly what he brings to the table – someone that can set solid screens, box out, and generally use their body to take the other team’s big out of the paint. I’d take him over Magloire at this point in his career.

  2. I’d take him over Magloire at this point in his career.

    Really have to agree with you Matt. I was really hoping that Mags wouldn’t be brought back.

    I think Aaron is worth it if he is being paid $2.5M or less per season. Anything more, and I’d say BC probably over paid again.

  3. Solid signing, knows his role, true professional.

  4. According to Sports Illustrated (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1187806/index.htm) there are less than 70 American males between the ages of 20-40 who are more than 7 feet tall. When you can find a member of that population who (a) is also strong enough to hold his ground, (b) understands how to position himself on the court to maximize the benefit from his size, (c) is, by all accounts, coachable and a good teammate, and (d) available at a reasonable price, you keep him.

    I’ve been a big Aaron Gray fan ever since the Knicks game last season

  5. Sorry, incomplete post above. I’m not talking about the “MVP” game, I’m talking about the one where Carmelo flagrant-fouled Jose and Gray made a very credible attempt to caber-toss Carmelo into the courtside seats.

  6. The more Big East the better for these Raptors, folks. Gray is a great depth player with a Pitt pedigree.

    Love Kyle Lowry for his Big East sentiments as well, from Philly; played at Villanova. Finally Colangelo breaks up his PAC 10 love fest in the back court (DeRozan – USC, Bayless – ARZ, Fields – STAN, Ross – WASH). How come the media never mention this obvious bias he has for the west coast guards?

    Really wish I would see more Big East, ACC, Big Ten, A-10 tendencies in his player selection, be it the draft or otherwise. The team would be much better and much grittier.

    How about Tu Holloway as a back up point guard? Trade Calderon for a swingman or his precious trade exception. Just forget the insanely overrated Bayless. Tu’s just waiting for someone to call him. Could be a total steal, such a talent and undrafted. He started a brawl at Xavier? Great! Find me 11 more.

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