Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Raptors to acquire Gay; Mayor announces boycott of team

The Toronto Raptors have agreed in principle to a trade to acquire high-scoring forward Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for veteran point guard Jose Calderon and third-year forward Ed Davis. Memphis is expected to move Calderon to a third team, possibly the Detroit Pistons, for a small forward to fill the void left by Gay’s departure. The Raptors will also acquire Grizzlies centre Hamed Haddadi in the trade.

In an unexpected and perhaps related move, Mayor Rob Ford hastily arranged a scrum in front of the council chambers early Wednesday evening to announce that he is boycotting the Raptors “until their management straightens things out.”

Given the peculiar timing of the impromptu news conference held moments after news of the Gay trade broke critics are already drawing comparisons of this development to Ford’s decision to skip Toronto’s annual Pride Parade in each of his first two years as mayor.

“I’m sick and tired of this city having to put up with a second-class basketball team,” announced the mayor, a well-known sports fan.

Mayor Ford is boycotting the Toronto Raptors

When questioned on the timing of the announcement, Ford was quick to point to the return of the NHL and the upcoming Superbowl as the reasons behind his abandonment of a team that he had spent the first half of the NBA season supporting.

“Look, it has nothing to do with that Gay guy they traded for. My family has a long-running tradition of loving football and hockey. With the NHL season back on track and the Superbowl just around the corner I can focus on things that are actually worth watching. I’m just not willing to put up with the Raptors anymore,” Ford stated flatly.

When asked if he would be attending the Raptors matchup with the Miami Heat at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon, Ford responded with exasperation. “No, I won’t be attending Sunday afternoon’s game. I’m going up to the cottage to watch the Superbowl pregame show with my family. This is a tradition that we’ve had for as long as I can remember."

Ford was scheduled to present Raptors guard Kyle Lowry with a community service award at a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game.

“Family takes priority,” Ford responded when questioned about skipping the ceremony.

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