Twice-Traded Vasquez Helping Raptors


VIDEO: Kyle Lowry scores 22 points as the Raptors stun the Thunder

DALLAS – Greivis Vasquez truly believed he was on the brink of great things in New Orleans. He had the best season of his career and the franchise was quickly picking itself up from the Chris Paul trade, positioned to burst into a new era as the Pelicans.

The Venezuelan-born Vasquez, a 6-foot-6 point guard, loved everything about it: The team, the city and his personal breakout — career bests of 13.9 ppg and 9.0 apg. The thickly bearded, 26-year-old believed he was only scratching the surface. He believed that he, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis could form the backbone of a hard-working club that would do right by the city and even, as he said last year, rise together in the mold of Oklahoma City and soon be a team to be reckoned with in the West.

Then came Draft night and the three-team trade Vasquez never saw coming.

“I guess you can’t turn down an offer for a Jrue Holiday,” Vasquez told NBA.com last Friday night prior to scoring 14 points in 15 minutes in Toronto’s overtime win against the Mavericks. “I felt like we had the same numbers. He was an All-Star and all that stuff, all that crap. Like I say, I’m really thankful because [New Orleans coach] Monty Williams gave me a chance. That whole franchise was first class and still is. It was such a great experience for me to just make a name.”

Holiday, fresh off his first All-Star season with Philadelphia, was NOLA’s point-guard prize. Vasquez went to Sacramento to start at point guard. Eighteen games in and he was gone again. The Kings’ sluggish start convinced new ownership and management to reach for Toronto’s maligned, but tempting small forward Rudy Gay, himself now twice traded in the past 11 months. Vasquez headed north of the border to another foundering franchise where starting point guard Kyle Lowry has swirled in trade winds since the Gay deal.

Funny, though, that just as the Gay trade seemed a weighted strategy to clear cap space and sink the season for prime Draft position, Vasquez and his quickly bonded teammates have turned the tables, winning four of five, including Sunday night’s handing of a first home loss to the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder. Toronto will try to make it three in a row against West competition tonight at San Antonio (8:30 p.m. ET, League Pass).

“We got a great group of guys. We’re just here to do our job,” Vasquez said. “The media and everybody is going to have their own opinions. We just have to go out there and play and play hard, have fun. We can’t really guarantee that we’re going to get every win. But we can guarantee you that we are going to play hard and play the right way.”

In five games with Toronto, Vasquez has averaged 9.8 ppg, 4.0 apg and 2.8 mpg in only 18.6 mpg, far off the 34.4 mpg he averaged last season with New Orleans, and a chunk below the 25.8 he averaged starting for the Kings.

“It’s been rough, but this is one of those years I’ve got to keep grinding and keep working. I’ll be a restricted free agent [this summer] and we’ll see what happens,” Vasquez said. “It’s just the business. At first Sacramento was talking about building a future with me and then all of a sudden I get traded. If I’m going to get traded [again] it’s going to be this year because I am going to be restricted. I am going to have to sign with somebody and find myself a home.”

The Raptors, flush with added bench depth from the trade, have life. They’re just 11-14, but they’re also back in first place in the woeful Atlantic Division after Sunday’s win. Coach Dwane Casey, working in his uncertain final year, said earning the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 2008 is the only goal.

“We’re at a crossroads with our organization, which way we are going to go,” Casey said Friday night at Dallas. “Right now we’re fighting like crap for the playoffs. I mean we’re right there. I know those guys in the locker room don’t want to hear anything else but competing for the playoffs because it’s all up for grabs.”

Same goes for Vasquez’s future. On his fourth team in four seasons,  Vasquez said he’s ready to plant some roots, somewhere.

“The biggest thing for me is just being happy and enjoying playing basketball,” he said. “I don’t think I was really enjoying playing basketball in Sacramento, so here I feel like I can re-find my identity and the way I play, the things I can do. Other than that, I can’t really control what is going to happen.”

15 Comments

  1. Steve Allen says:

    Vas to the Lakers get rid of Nash and Blake, etc.! Please😝😝😝😜my thinking goes along with Kobe, Lakers for sure

  2. bynum shynum says:

    lowry is playing expected better in his contract year and so he chose to finally start playing a team game and that’s a huge part because of Vasquez. They’re competing for a spot in Tdot and for their future contracts…we’ve seen it with Tj ford and Calderon, then Lowry and Calderon. Raps either keep both for the remainder of season, or (what I hope is,) get rid of lowry now and keep/pay the taller, smarter guard who wants to be here and help win. truth be told, lowry hasn’t wanted to be here since day one. he thought he could do the Mike James thing and be some instant star here, throwing up mad shots to prove it. (come on lowry, admit it’s more fun to play a team game!) Lowry is a good back up or change of pace player but not a leading pg. from day one he’s been about himself and recently it’s come to light (rumor mill) that he’s been looking for a trade before the recent rumors so let him go if he doesn’t want to be here. period.

  3. okc2014 says:

    Why is that whenever Rudy Gay (who is supposed to be really good) leaves a team, that team gets better? It still kills that that the Raptors beat OKC. But they won fair and square.

  4. SA_NYC says:

    I often wonder why teams don’t fasten onto guys last Vasquez and make them long-term fixtures…he may not (or may) be quite start/starter material, but a player like Vasquez is only going to help a team; worst-case he’s a solid backup PG, maybe more, plus a great teammate and citizen. And he wouldn’t break the bank. No doubt I’m being totally naive, but I think that if I were a GM, I’d sign at least a couple of guys like this to 5-year contracts, maybe at around $2.5 million per (hope you’re not offended, Greivis, if you read this–I consider that a lot of $$!), and with the full intention of keeping them the entire time, no trade throw-ins or other nonsense. If he surprises big-time on the upside, you redo his deal after a couple of years to keep him happy and pay him fairly.

    • I agree says:

      I agree that guys like Vasquez need to kept long term, but the NBA does not allow for the re-structuring of contracts. If he ever signs a 5 year deal for 3 million a year, it would be Vasquez and his agent saying goodbye to a lot of potential money, especially in years 3,4, and 5.

    • you are certainly naive lol…I guy who can easily average 15 and 10 as a big playmaking/shot making PG can easily make those 12.5 million you offer him in 5 years…once a year!…

  5. dustydreamnz says:

    I didn’t realise he was 6’6 either! Every so often trades are made and you think nothing special but for the Raptors atleast this trade seems to have worked wonders. Lowry and Amir Johnson have also been tremendous lately.

  6. The Lakers should find a way to swing a trade for Grievis Vasquez for say a Chris Kaman. Vasquez on that Laker team would get them into the playoffs with the current team and take a lot off of Kobe´s work load when he returns. The Raptors also need a backup Center.

    • Raps says:

      Why would Raptors need a backup Center? We have J.V, and Amir who both can play the 4th and 5th. Comparing the amount of words in each sentence to support your trade, seems like lakers would gain much more, and raptors obv gain not as much. Vasquez is here to stay, Kyle Lowry is going soon anyways.

  7. waltwilliams55 says:

    You didn’t enjoy Sacramento because you did not get anything done.

  8. mr. Flirt With The Triple Double Lowy :)) I just love when he comes to play and makes moves like this one http://wp.me/p49gAF-8q

  9. cp10 says:

    Greivis is 6’6? Good lord many other players look even taller & bigger, I’d hate to bump into any of these guys at the wrong time..

  10. Sean says:

    I felt that it was such a bad idea to get rid of Greivis. He is such an amazing player and he had a tremendous impact on the Kings. I was originally skeptical about having Rudy Gay with the Kings but he seems to be working out alright, but Greivis brought an energy to the team that I haven’t seen in a long time. Oh well… hope he does well in Toronto.

  11. Kal says:

    This should just the beginning for Raps and Vasquez… I think in time the city could embrace him like a Jose Calderon. …Many things in the Raptor universe depend on the next month and a half, however… Hopefully this post-trade team keeps going strong like they have so far.

  12. Mr. Basketball Kobe Bryant says:

    Greivis Vazquez should look for a team that can give him the starting job from day one and the exposition he needs in order to become a star in this league. There are only few teams in which you can get that job Greivis. The Knicks and Lakers two teams with a huge fan base and history. New York is the arena where every player wants to play because The Garden is a Kingdom and the Staple Center isn’t behind with all the history and the run they have to equal Boston in Championship Titles so these should be your only options if you are looking for playtime and be recognize fast as a star in this league. Become Legend Greivis!!! LATINO!!!!!!