Kyrie Irving

Steve NashI really toyed with making the headline of this article some iteration of “Nash Gay in Toronto” but instead went with the more appropriate and less page-view-trolling title you see above.

Anyway, it’s been a couple days since we posted anything here, what with Chad Ford’s Mock Draft 6.0 still pegging the Raptors to reach for Dion Waiters of Syracuse, and not much else happening in terms of draft news ahead of this weekend’s Chicago combine.

There was, however, a rumor floating around some Toronto media sites and forums about the Raptors’ plans ahead of the draft and into the summer. It was mostly speculative, but when the rumor chain reaches as high as Marc Stein, we can at least think about it and respond in kind, whether it’s a pipe dream or not.

So, I direct your attention to this article from True Hoop, which states:

”The Toronto Raptors know exactly what they want out of the 2012 NBA draft:

An established, athletic wing man.

And that’s why the Raptors have already made it known to rival teams that their lottery pick on June 28 — No. 8 overall — is available to a trade partner that can provide the elite small forward they seek, according to sources close to the situation. “

The piece also outlines Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala as the primary targets, with the pick, Jose Calderon, and Ed Davis being potentially tradable assets.

The piece then, of course, mentions what we’ve all been having wet dreams about since he signed on as General Manager of Canada Basketball – that Steve Nash could come play in Toronto. Well, it doesn’t say “could” but implies “the Raptors would get just as wet for this idea as their fans would.”

So is there any chance the Raptors can utilize their #8 pick with their current assets to get a star wing player, thus helping attract Steve Nash here? Well, my big issue with the idea is that it’s very difficult to do without a wink and a nod from Nash letting you know he’ll come here, which is of course against the rules until July 1st, which is of course before the draft on June 28. If you ignore that fact, let’s look at the two intended targets quickly.

Rudy Gay is a great fit in basketball terms, since his scoring prowess from the wing is something the team sorely lacks, and his defensive shortcomings could either be hidden in team defensive schemes or coached away by Casey. In terms of salary, it’s burdensome at $15M for three more years, but the nature of a Toronto franchise, as we’ve learned, is that you may have to overpay for elite talent. A deal of the #8 pick, Jose, and Davis for Gay works under the salary cap, but likely wouldn’t be enough to entice Memphis to make the deal – both Jose and Davis would be backups on their squad, while the #8 pick wouldn’t replace Gay’s production (yet), and the cost savings wouldn’t be substantial enough to comfortably keep O.J. Mayo in the fold. You could throw in another asset somewhere, but nobody with a small enough contract to fit in the deal would really push it over the to, and it would eat some of their flexibility up. Maybe there’s a potential deal here though.

Andre Iguodala seems a great fit in terms of character and style of play, being a defense-first, team-oriented player with versatility in abundance. While he isn’t the elite wing scorer the team needs he’d still become their best one, and is more affordable at $13.5M for two more seasons. Unfortunately, the 76ers have adequate depth and only really lack for the financial flexibility to re-sign Lou Williams and Spencer Hawes, so I’m not sure offering them a Jose/Davis/pick package really fills any needs for Philly – Jose would split time with Jrue Holiday, Davis would split time with Thad Young, and the #8 pick would probably be a shooter to start at a wing (Terrence Ross maybe), while offering next to no financial benefit in the short-term. The Raptors could take back Thad Young to give the Sixers some financial relief ($7.5M for four more years), but then the Raptors need to somehow send assets back that match his production, which is substantial.

So in both of these cases, it’s questionable whether a deal even makes sense for the team sending out the pseudo-star. Maybe a three-team deal is out there, or maybe I’m undervaluing a Jose/Davis/#8 package. Mostly I wanted to throw the article up here to foster discussion, and pose three questions:

1) Would you prefer Gay or Iguodala?
2) What package would it take to get either one?
3) Would Steve Nash sign for 3yrs-$30M (approximately) to play with a team that would look as follows?

PG: Nash, Bayless
SG: DeRozan, Forbes
SF: Gay/Iguodala, Kleiza, Johnson
PF: Bargnani, Amir
C: Valanciunas
Plus the 37th overall pick