“There’s no hard feelings. There’s no ill-intention. I have no problem with these guys at all. I’m happy for them. These are my friends.”

That’s how Rudy Gay summed up his thoughts on his old team going 27-14 since shipping him to the Sacramento Kings.

He’s glad they’re doing well and just as happy to have found his own game and started a turnaround in California.

“Change is for the better, for both parties,” Gay said ahead of his return to Toronto.

Apparently, and the veteran has handled himself with class, even as he’s been branded a scapegoat and the lone reason why the Raptors looked headed for the high lottery to start this season.

To Gay’s credit, he recognizes that while he wasn’t the only problem, his career-low 38.8% shooting and career-worst 3.3 turnovers per game were hurting the Raptors significantly.

“I was inefficient when I was here. I’m not anymore. I was when I was here,” Gay said, declining to provide a reason other than “it could have been a lot of things,” as to why his game was so off.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey feels for Gay because of the backlash he received.

“Rudy’s a tremendous player in this league, a tremendous young man,” Casey said.

“He was put in a tough situation where he was looked on to be the saviour. That’s not his role. He’s a dynamic player, a big-time talent. He was brought here for the right reasons. It ended up turning into something that wasn’t meant to be. He’s in a good situation. Our team is in a good situation now. So the trade worked out for both parties.”

Sacramento improved from 5-13 (.277) to 17-26 (.395) once Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray were acquired and Gay’s shooting percentage jumped to a career-best 50%, making the deal a clear win-win, but he’s not convinced things wouldn’t have turned around for him if he had been given more time in Toronto.