As for Valanciunas, the promising Raptors big man who’s been averaging a 15-7 since mid-March, here’s a true story: When Sam Presti was quietly shopping James Harden last October, he called Toronto to feel out a Jonas package. And got rebuffed. Quickly.


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  • CalibreMC


  • PreHistoriC

    i dont get it.. you are your own source?

  • Johann

    this is from Bill Simmon’s column in Grantland. Apparently confirmed to him by Chris Broussard…

  • Brandon

    This is unconscionable. This is an outrage. Harden is worth more than the whole Raps roster combined, and it’s not even close.

    When other teams call Colangelo and offer him all-star players, superstar players, he turns them down flat. And then he goes out of his way to trade for a low-efficiency, high-volume scorer. Other NBA executives are trying to help the Raps, and Colangelo is sabotaging their efforts.

    How does Bryan Colangelo still run this NBA team? Is he being paid to fail?

    • Marz

      Harden was not an all-star at the time of the trade, he was 6th man of the year.

      It’s unlikely OKC only wanted JV. Looking at the Houston trade, they received 2 first round picks (via Toronto and Dallas), a late lottery pick (Lamb), and a veteran (Martin).

      What did Toronto have to offer? Let’s assume Jonas makes up for both Lamb and one of the first round picks (probably the one from Dallas). We’re left with a veteran and another first round pick. Except we don’t have another first round pick, so you’re looking at either packaging Ross, or sending out DeRozan.

      Hindsight is always 20/20, but these are the possible packages that I think are in line with what Houston gave:

      J.V. + Jose/Andrea + Ross/DD/Davis*

      *remember that Davis didn’t start playing well until Bargnani went down this season

      Would you do one of the above for Harden? Remember, he had been playing with two other all-stars (Westbrook, Durant), and an amazing shot-blocking presence behind him (Ibaka), so whether he could shoulder all-star responsibilities and be a max player was still in question. Much like JV’s actual NBA impact was in question. In hindsight, I think everyone would do a JV + Andrea + Ross trade, but try to take a look at it from the 2012 offseason view.

      • Hygdrasyl

        OKC took a rookie like Lamb, an expirer like Martin, Raptor’s pick and two other low picks. That’s not far away from Jonas+Calderon+filler.

        But ok, I can understand Colangelo not wanting to trade a young asset like JV. So, why did he pursued shortly after Rudy Gay giving away Davis? Wasn’t he a young valuable player too? Was Rudy Gay more proven than Harden? It only shows me that Colangelo doesn’t have any plan.

        • Guest

          Everyone over-values their own players. Jonas + Calderon + filler does not come close. For one thing, Martin fulfilled a need (he took over Harden’s playing time) that Calderon would not have. Had OkC tried to swing Calderon to Houston for Martin, would the Rockets have accepted that expiring for expiring swap? Probably not. In any case, it’s pointless to speculate and then assume as truth about the rest of the pieces needed to make the trade (i.e. OMG Valanciunas + Calderon + Kleiza would have done it, BC is an idiot!). And face it, whenever anyone mentions filler, they almost always mean Kleiza.

          Marz brings up a very salient point. The deal looks more attractive given the information we have now, because 1) we got to see Harden as a starter, and 2) we also got to see Valanciunas’ rookie season (which leads us to believe he would have been worth more in the offer). Rewind back to the time of the offer and Harden was an elite 6th man of the year who couldn’t perform versus Miami in the finals.

          Your last point is a straw man. Just because Davis is a young, valuable player doesn’t mean he has same value as Valanciunas.

    • fresco

      Mind you, BC has a tendency to “spot” talent after it’s actually matured, aged, and on its downward trajectory. This kind of foresight by our beloved GM is entirely lacking.

  • TheR3dMenace

    I would have done the same thing.

  • i trade the whole raptors team for james harden , we talking about the best shooting guard in the nba if kobe retire

  • ezz_bee

    First thing, you can’t trade Harden for JV straight up. What were the other pieces involved? What do you do with Derozan and/or Ross? Although I think Harden for JV is probably a fair trade, I’m glad for once BC didn’t trade his draft pick. Sometimes it’s better to stick with the guy you have, even if the other guy is arguably better.

  • This is crazy! I’m a big JV fan, but what’s the realistic likelihood that JV will ever be as impactful as Harden. JV is very far along the learning curve, I’m not sure how much better he’ll get. Watch his low post moves, his touch around the rim, his rebounding fundamentals. The improvements he has still to make might not make a huge difference.

    • The Truth

      What’s the realistic likelihood that you would have said the same thing *before* seeing Harden got showcased in Houston (i.e. when this offer would actually have been on the table)?

  • Optimist

    Hey, let’s compare, Darry; Morey, boy genius to BC some more. Especially since he should have traded a future MVP 20 year old center for a crafty shooting guard with inflated stats on a run and gun team set up for him to take more shots than Jordan did!

    I mean, every GM ever should have been able to open up cap space (by totally dismantling their team in a market starved for winning–oh wait, that’s not Houston) for Dwight and Josh Smith and they’ll come running home! The Raptors SO have that option! I mean, how many times has the GM failed because they just had to stockpile picks and a half decent option and the rest of the league would come running to join up?

    ! I’m sure harden would have hopped on a plane as soon as we had space for him when we had Bosh…right?..right! And of course, drafting a malcontent like Drummond who pissed off half the league with stupid interviews would totally be a smart move cause he would so just love the city! And who cares whether JV wiped the floor with him every time they were matched up? Drummond man child and JV euro!!! Harden would have totally signed with us when we traded for him, too, because Toronto is like in totally the same situation!

    Why didn’t BC see?

    Or wait, maybe we’re the Knicks or LA where players will turn down more money than they’d make in two seasons just to suit up with over the hill veterans?

    BC so should have been in on that!! And of course, should the unexpected happen and the Raptors actually make the playoffs, the league would totally help a great Toronto effort get over the hump just like they did against Philly all those years ago? Remember how good the officiating was? /green

    I am going to love watching the pseudo-star get his ass kicked by OKC by 25 every night, By the way…watch what happens when he gets shaded right into the defense and the defender closes tight. Oh noes!! Just because there aren’t any good twos left doesn’t make Harden brilliant any more than tankboy Morey a genius. He plays in a nice market where all options for improvement make his approach much easier than many, many, many other teams.

    • Now, I’m certainly not going to fault Colangelo for not making this deal, but this quote bothers me…

      ” a crafty shooting guard with inflated stats on a run and gun team set up for him to take more shots than Jordan did!”

      Harden scored the 5th most points in the league, but was 8th in attempts, which is a good reason why his True Shooting percentage is 9th among all perimeter players.

      Oh, and just so you know, Harden took 17.1 shots per game, which is less than ANY of Jordan’s season averages, including his one in Washington.

      You can disagree with whether it would have been a good move now or then, but let’s not diminish the fact that Harden is a top 10 player in the league for a reason.

  • raptorspoo

    So let’s see…

    We could of had Harden, picked up Drummond, and also gotten Gay (if he suits your fancy)… to build around.


    *btw – the Val / Harden trade should have pretty much worked out with maybe a small contract added as Harden was still officially on his rookie contract at that time.

    • Marz

      No, it was a sign and trade. The salaries would have to match. Hence why Kevin Martin’s contract was included in the Houston deal.

      • Marz

        Never mind, what I said is inaccurate. Harden signed an extension upon arriving in Houston… but OKC’s outgoing salary didn’t match it’s incoming, so I’m still a little confused.

        • Guest

          No, it matches. You’re probably under-valuing Cook and Aldrich, who had a combined 5.5 mil in salary. Also, since OkC still wasn’t a tax team after the trade (and the outgoing salary was between $9.8 and $19.6 million), they could receive $5 mil more than they sent out. (Even if they were slightly over the tax, which I’m fairly sure they weren’t, the deal would still have fit under the 125% + 100k rule.)

    • raptorspoo

      Even with a core of Harden, Drummond and Gay… we still would have had DD, Bargs (who I think is still useful if we resign him for $3~5mil coming off the bench), Lowry, Amir and the bunch – as fillers or trade bait (considering we wouldn’t really need DD anymore).

      Trade DD for Jennings (very possible) and now there’s a team I would pay to watch.

  • knickz

    another colangelo blunder. anybody against this trade seriously needs to get their head checked. i like val btw

    • cdub

      i wouldn’t have made this trade then and I still wouldn’t make it today. i don’t need my head examined either. Val is going to be a freak, real centers with his size and skill are extinct hes 20 years old and you want to dump him for a beard….no thanks. houston is an 8 seed you guys talk about harden like hes taking houston to an NBA championship…theres a reason presti called for val….

      • Jerry Garcia

        Driving that Train,…..

      • j bean

        So true. Presti calling Toronto with a deal for Jonas confirms the value for him is sky high and the fans who believe that they may be on the right track with this roster may be right.

  • hateslosing

    So BC refused to trade our best prospect for a guy who may or may not have worked out. People seem to forget Harder was not a sure thing. People thought he wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure and there were wuestions on his value. I’m glad we didn’t thake that risk.

    • A.C

      That risk turned out to be a top 10 player in the league. That move could have brought the Raps back into relevancy. Assuming the package the thunder wanted JV, Jose and Derozan our starting lineup could have been Lowry, Harden, Fields, Davis and Johnson. I’m not sure about you but I would take that over what we have right now any day. GM’s are brought in to know these things and have a sense of what a players potential is, this shows what a complete moron Colangelo is.

      • Raps Loyalist

        I think you have to wait a year or two more to evaluate if BC did the right thing by turning down this trade. JV has all-star potential at the hardest position in the league to find an all-star and DD is playing well and looks promising for next season.

        I hate how Bill Simmons judges every trade/draft pick within the first year it happened.

        Remember how he said the Pau tarde to the Lakers “was the worst tarde ever made”…a few years later Memphis has the best center in the league (that could easily be JV in a couple seasons)

        • A.C

          I dont know, to me when you miss out on a guy who is averaging 26 points 5 rebounds and 6 assists, it seems like the deal has already been lost. I understand that JV has the potential to be an all star but i’m not sure he will ever be mentioned in the top 10 list at any point in his career. Harden is a special player, he has a fairly good 3 point shot at 37 percent, he has good play making abilities and everyone knows hes one of the best at getting to the line. He’s the type of player that makes everyone better when he gets on the floor. I realize that center is the hardest position to fill, but its really crucial in this league to have solid play makers, and raptors are severely lacking in that department, with Lowry being the only one. Theres a reason the Raptors future seems pretty dim while the rockets are an up and coming team.

          • Raps Loyalist

            Harden is a very good player…not “special” though and certainly nowhere remotely close to Top 10…his high scoring stats are largely a product of Houston’s run and gun offense and he plays below average defence (JR Smith’s clone).

            “There’s is a reason” Presti chose Ibaka, Westbrook and Durant over Harden.

            Much rather have Val on his rookie deal the next 3 seasons (who is also 4 years younger) than a maxed out Harden.

            It would be great to have Harden on the Raptors but you simply do not trade a rookie C on a rebuilding team with all-star potential on offense and defence(who’s is also already a 80% FT shooter) for a SG.

            Defence wins championships and Val can help you a million times more on that end than Harden!

            • A.C

              Harden has been ranked by various sites as a top 10 player, Im not sure about you but i find 26 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds very very impressive. His ability to get to the line at such a high rate indicates that hes not just a product of the run and gun offense, and i think Tim answered that question above showing some numbers. Defense is obviously very important in this league, but you need someone who can put up points and create his own shot at will. This years example is the Chicago bulls, there an excellent defensive team but probably wont make it very far in the playoffs because they don’t have Rose, a play maker and guy who can score. I like JV and think he’ll turn out to be very good, but id do that trade any day of the week if it was still there.

              • Raps Loyalist

                “various sites have him rated top 10″…top 10 regular season maybe…MMMAAAYYBBEEEE (but even that is a joke)…Presti went with Ibaka over Harden because of defense…Presti would have rather had JV than Harden doesn’t that tell you something????..oh wait i’m sure “various sites” would have made this trade though…of wait Prest, one of the best GMs in the league, was desperate to make this trade but I guess you know better than him.

                Defense wins championships and Harden is lousy on defense…nough said

                • A.C

                  Lolz you accuse me of thinking i know better than Presti, when your sitting there telling me you know more than those people who ranked Harden in the top 10. Just because your man crush on JV is blinding you at the moment it doesn’t negate the fact that Harden IS a top 10 player. Presti wanted to keep Harden, he offered him a 4 year 55.5 mill contract, Harden declined. Presti is one of the best GM’s in the league instead of waiting like our idiot GM did with Bosh, Presti got the most out of Harden. Just so you know after the first season JV’s DWS is 1.5 while Harden posted a 3.0 with the rockets, both had the exact same DRtg at 106. I realize that there are a few flaws such as JV playing C, him being a rookie and Harden playing on a pretty bad defensive team. Either way at this point in time JV is not the defensive force you claim wins championships.

      • Guest

        Hindsight is amazing, isn’t it? That risk also completely flopped against the Miami Heat during the finals. I’m sure the BC haters would have been in full force about how we traded a potential franchise true center for someone who would not be able to get us over the hump versus Miami.

        • A.C

          Lebron flopped during the Mavericks series, that doesn’t diminish the fact that hes the best basketball player in the world right now. That was the thunder’s first finals and the pressure got to them, doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Every body has preferences i guess, and in my opinion id rather solidify my back court with a guy like Harden than worry about the other positions. Also for fans Harden turning into a superstar may be hind sight, but GM’s are paid millions to live, eat and sleep basketball, they had 4 years to look at Harden play. If Harden turning out like this was a surprise to any of the 30 GM’s, im not really sure what the point of them is.

  • Optimistic

    Harden sure looked like he was worth JV tonight! He is so overrated it’s ridiculous. The guy is a system-pace player who doesn’t even get back on d…he’s a total cherry picker. Can he shoot elitely, yes….on the break. Can he shoot of the dribble elitely…yes….when not guarded to his weakl hand…OVERRATED. But hey! He can beat everybody down the floor! Yay efficiency!
    This is no Durant or Kobe ..hell he’s not even a westbrook.

  • Van Grungy

    James Harden.. yeah, no.
    20pts 6-19 in Game one. One person does not a team make.
    Since these are the LeBron/Durant team years, I’m very happy that knee-jerk potential trade did not happen.

    James Harden could have been our Dominique Wilkins. Ummm, yeah……..

    • sleepz

      Look around the league. Dominant big men who control the game are non-existent anymore as the game has changed. Who’s the best centre in the league. Howard? Marc Gasol? T Chandler? Noah? Duncan? Whoever you pick, their team’s only go as far as their perimeter players take them.
      I like JV and think he is going to be a good 5 in this league. However, in today’s game it’s easier to win a championship with an elite guard and or wing player than a center.
      The Lebron’s Durants, Kobe, Rose and Paul’s rule the NBA today. It’s a guard oriented league and for my money I would rather bank on an elite accomplished perimter player like Harden than JV.

      • Van Grungy

        “Dominant big men who control the game are non-existent anymore”
        ding ding ding, we have a winner
        “the game has changed.”
        Oh you crapped out.

        The regular season does give you an idea as to the strength of a team. But nothing says Championships through the history of the GAME like a strong to all-star front court along with the requisite perimeter scoring.

        Every playoff is different. You think you see a trend. I see anomalies that you call the ‘changed game’.
        I’ll stick with history

  • Skeptical

    Meh… It’s hard to judge at this point just how good J.V. will end up being – although the effort and activity he brings is sure to make him a crowd favorite regardless. I also had doubts before the season started that he would justify the contract he was demanding, although it wouldn’t be close to the worst contract on Toronto’s roster. In the end, Harden would be fun to watch but I have a hard time seeing the Raptors team being in the playoffs with or without that trade.

    “What could’ve been” speculation is always fun though: trade Bargs (for just about anything, especially if it involves future draft picks) before the season starts, swap J.V. for Harden straight up (although that was probably never an option), draft Drummond instead of Ross, don’t offer Fields a ridiculous contract… But none of that happened, so it’s not worth getting sore about.