Hopefully HO can help the Raptors as trade bait.

With the Raptors on-court so miserable, I’m turning to the world of ‘what-if’ for my fix. Word out of Miami is that Riley is interested in trading for Jermaine O’Neal. O’Neal will have to show him some good stuff to make it happen, which shouldn’t be that bad considering his production before he decided he needed a vacation was lost to injury the last couple weeks. Given Riley’s track record of building a team around a Center (Jabbar in Los Angeles, Ewing in New York, Traded for Mourning in Miami, Traded for Shaq), it stands to reason he is looking for a center since sending Shaq to Phoenix last season.

Marion would be a great running mate for Bosh, and give the Raptors a devastating front court of Bosh, Bargnani and Marion. Imagine the put-backs Marion would be getting with all the space he has to move with the defense focused on Bosh and VL.

While I’m dreaming…why not go after that Nash trade. Send Jose, Kapono and bits for Nash, Barbosa and bits. In the long run, this deal gives the Raptors salary cap flexibility THIS summer, so they can go after, say….Joe Johnson. Give the guy a 3yr/$42mil contract or something. Resign Marion to like $10mil/per, and voila, you have an Eastern Conference contender. Imagine a lineup of:

Starters:
Steve Nash
Jose Johnson
Shawn Marion
Chris Bosh
Andrea Bargnani

Bench:
Leandro Barbosa
Roko Ukic
Kris Humphries

Then Nash comes off the books after next season, and you can resign him to a more reasonable contract, and have him mentor Ukic in the meantime. It would require the Raptors to go into the luxury tax, which means it probably wont happen, but imagine, it all but assures the chatter of Bosh bolting will die, gives us a ridiculous team in the meantime, and will coerce AltRaps to come back down from that high ledge.

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