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Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (JOHN E. SOKOLOWSKI/USA TODAY SPORTS)
Toronto Raptors forward Rudy Gay (JOHN E. SOKOLOWSKI/USA TODAY SPORTS)

MacLeod: Rudy Gay trade seen as clearing the deck for Andrew Wiggins Add to ...

Just in time for Christmas, Masai Ujiri has delivered a big present to fans of the Toronto Raptors.

In a move that is a clear salary dump by the Raptors general manager, Ujiri somehow found a taker for the shoot-happy Rudy Gay and his bloated contract whose new team is now the Sacramento Kings.

While the seven-player blockbuster lightens the financial obligations of the Raptors considerably, the Gay trade is viewed in Sacramento as a “bold step” by the Kings new management group.

Gay, who will earn $17.9-million this season, is shooting a career-low 38.8 per cent from the field while jacking up a career-high 18.6 shots from the floor.

In the view of many, the trading of Gay is an overt tanking move by the Canadian franchise hoping to finish as low as possible in the standing to give the Raptors a better chance in the draft lottery to nab Canadian sensation Andrew Wiggins.

But the Raptors probably are not done moving pieces around with veteran point guard Kyle Lowry expected to be the next player to be moving to a new area code

And in case you missed it, the short-handed Raptors went out and hung a 106-94 victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles, a game that marked the return of Kobe Bryant to the lineup after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.

Bryant's aura was back, but his athleticism was not, looking very rusty finishing with nine points on 2-for-9 shooting.

Wacky weekend in the NFL

It was a crazy Sunday in the National Football League, with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions playing through a veritable blizzard while in Washington the there were never-ending rumours related to the continued employment of Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.

In Philadelphia, where a freaky storm created almost whiteout conditions at times at Lincoln Financial Field, LeSean McCoy picked a strange day to romp for a franchise record 217 yards as the Eagles came back to beat Detroit 34-20 .

The Eagles-Lions game was an instant classic, beginning with the coin toss that referee Ed Hochuli had to do twice because the coin did not land flat on the snow-covered field

It was like watching a game through a “shaken snow globe” with the Lions looking as unsteady as the “Tahitian ski team”

Snow also hit the Washington area but the real storm was raging within the Redskins’ executive offices amid a report that coach Mike Shanahan tried to quit the team last season

Shanahan was apparently upset over how team owner Dan Snyder coddled then-rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III last season before a knee injury derailed Washington in their wildcard playoff game against Seattle.

Shanahan would not address the reports that he wanted out last year.

After an ugly performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, who crushed the Redskins 45-10 to drop Washington’s record to 3-10 on the year, there was another report that Shanahan could be fired as early as Monday

His replacement would be Baylor’s Art Briles.

Hockey players behaving badly

The Boston Bruins manhandled the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 despite a depleted lineup that saw Boston possibly lose another player when Kevan Miller was drilled from behind by Dion Phaneuf.

There was no penalty on the play but it is being reported that Phaneuf will have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety as a result of the hit on Miller.

It is a busy time for the NHL’s discipline body which will likely hand down a lengthy suspension to Boston forward Shawn Thornton for sucker-punching Brooks Orpik during the Bruins game on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This came moments after Pittsburgh’s James Neal went out of his way to deliver a knee to the head of Brad Marchand as he was lying prone on the ice.

The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web most weekday mornings.

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