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Posted on May 31, 2012 | 7 Comments
With a couple of recent trades (Corey Maggette for Ben Gordon, as well as Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza for Rashard Lewis, I’ve updated the trades with Charlotte (who is apparently looking to trade down) and Washington (there really is no point in updating New Orleans, since they aren’t moving the pick).
With the Raptors now selecting 8th, and the likelihood of finding a franchise altering player there pretty small, the team is in real danger of becoming perennially mediocre. Again. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been through 18 years of that and am not anxious for more of the same.
So I’m going to use my blog as a soapbox to suggest a few options the Raptors might have to improve their lot. Please feel free to forward this to Bryan Colangelo.
I am not a fan of trading out of the draft, especially for a veteran. If your goal is simply to make the playoffs, but not actually build a contender, then packaging the pick for Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala is fine. But we know what their ceiling is, and neither are franchise players. Neither are even perennial All Stars.
My feeling is that Colangelo should make available ANY player on the current roster to move up in the draft. There isn’t a player on the roster who isn’t expendable, as far as I’m concerned.
They have the first pick in the draft and the ability to draft Anthony Davis, who I think is the best big man prospect since Tim Duncan. If, for some strange reason, they are willing to trade the pick, here are a couple of options…
New Orleans gets an influx of talent, a lottery pick that could net them an All-Star, another possible lottery pick and gets rid of Okafor’s contract.
Similar to the above trade, but save much more money and look more towards the future with two young prospects.
Likelihood of dealing for the 1st pick: Infinitesimal, but what do the Raptors have to lose making the offer?
Option 1: **Updated**
The Bobcats get rid of Thomas’ bad contract, while netting a very good scoring big man to play beside the defensive and rebounding machine, Bismack Biyombo. The Bobcats are apparently looking to trade down and are looking to upgrade their three point shooting. With this trade, they get both. With the rumour they are looking to move the pick, this trade suddenly becomes much more likely.
Option 2: **Updated**
Use Davis’ North Carolina’s roots to entice Michael Jordan, and the prospect of saving him cash. Of the two deals, this one would probably be more likely, although I’m not a fan of losing Davis basically clearing the way for Bargnani to remain the starting PF for the Raptors.
Likelihood of dealing for the 2nd pick: **Updated** Fair. If the rumours are true that the Bobcats are looking to trade down and want 3 point shooting, then they might be ripe to be trading partners with the Raptors. Bargnani would provide the 3 point shooting, and would give them some sorely needed front court scoring. The question is whether they would trade as far down as the 8th pick.
Option 1: **Updated**
With the trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, Washington desperately need Bargnani’s outside shooting and his scoring. Bargnani would benefit from John Wall‘s penetration and visa versa. By trading Blatche, instead of amnestying him, they use their money more wisely. And I’m guessing they’re not anxious to add another young player to the roster. They want to win now.
Washington dumps their two bad contracts in one fell swoop, save a ton of cash, have the ability to sign a max free agent, get a $7 million trade exception and acquire a 20+ ppg scoring big man who can draw the defense out.
Again, Washington saves money this season but with this deal doesn’t take back a long contract in return. Calderon gives them a steady PG to backup Wall and mentor him. DeRozan gives them another athlete that would benefit from the running game. The Raptors would also move up a bit to the 2nd pick in the 2nd round.
I don’t think the Raptors even need to throw in the 8th pick for this. Washington gets two athletic young players with upside, and get rid of Blatche, a major headache with 3 more years on his contract. Including Davis would give them more potential, whereas Amir would have a more immediate impact.
Likelihood of dealing for the 3rd pick: Even money. Washington desperately wants to make the playoffs and make a big improvement next season. Trading JaVale McGee for Nene showed they are willing to take a shortcut to immediate respectability, and really the last thing they need is another player that needs to be developed. They are probably the most likely trading partner for Bargnani because he is exactly the type of offensive player they need, and one could argue that he would benefit playing beside a center like Nene. The most valuable thing the Raptors have, though, is cap room, which would allow the Wizards to go after a veteran free agent, like Eric Gordon, Ersan Ilyasova, Gerald Wallace or Landry Fields. Or maybe use their cap room to absorb a bigger contract (Rudy Gay).
Cleveland obviously doesn’t need another PF, but desperately needs good wing players. DeRozan still can be a good player, and they still only move down four slots, so should be able to draft another good prospect.
Likelihood of dealing for the 4th pick: Fairly even. They have different priorities than the Raptors, who need high ceiling players, and DeRozan and the 8th pick might look better for them than the 4th and 24th pick. Plus they save a few million by getting rid of Walton’s contract. Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, wants to win now and might see the possibility of having two young potential starters better than one enticing.
SPEAKING OF CLEVELAND…
If the Raptors can’t move up in the draft, and want to trade out of the draft, here’s an option I would be happy with…
I have no idea if the Cavs would even consider this, but if the Raptors do decide to trade their 8th pick and can’t move up, I’d want a young prospect, like Tristan Thompson, in return. The Cavs would have two top 10 picks and a 20+ppg scoring big man. They could select Bradley Beal at 4 and John Henson at 8, or Andre Drummond at 4 and Jeremy Lamb at 8. It certainly should be, at least tempting.
The Raptors finally solidify their PF position with a talented Canadian, who should become a better player than any of the current Raptor PFs.
Denver has plenty of SFs, but are lacking PFs. Davis gets a chance to play a lot of minutes and develop more quickly. Johnson becomes expendable for the Raptors, with the addition of Chandler, but might be enough to get Denver to throw in their 20th pick.
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