Last July, the Raptors made a potentially franchise-altering trade that double as a statement on where management saw the team in it’s rebuilding path.

Kyle Lowry in. A future first round pick gone.

While Lowry was young-ish at 26, the sacrificing of a first round pick that was only top-three protected was a clear statement that the team expected to make the playoffs. Otherwise, why sacrifice a cost-controlled rookie asset (or potential trade chip) for what would then amount to one ‘meaningful’ year of Lowry, whose deal had just two seasons left at the time.

It also signaled the end of Jose Calderon’s tenure as the franchise’s sometimes-starter, sometimes-challenged, never-defeated point guard. Calderon would later be moved as part of the three-team trade that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto, a move that seems unlikely without the Lowry acquisition.

The Lowry deal also paved the way for another major move, as the Houston Rockets packaged that Raptor draft pick with other assets to pry James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Nearly a year late, we now know that the pick dealt for Lowry will be the 12th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. That pick, depending on where you look, is pegged to be Kelly Olynyk, Dennis Schroeder or Steven Adams. Plenty will change between now and the draft at the end of June, but we at least know what the compensation was in these deals.

So roughly 10 months later, I asked a Rockets and Thunder blogger to each update their take on the trade(s). My Raptors perspective follows.

The Deals
Trade 1
Raptors trade Gary Forbes and 2013 #12 pick for Kyle Lowry.

Trade 2
Rockets trade 2013 #12 pick (from TOR), 2013 #32 pick (from Cha, from OKC, from Bos), future top-20 protected 1st round pick (from Dal), Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb for James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.

The Rockets
Michael Pina, of Red 94, TrueHoop’s Houston Rockets blog:

Trade 1: It’s understated how important this trade was for Houston. If the Rockets never acquire that lottery pick from Toronto (which looked a lot more appetizing when the deal was made), they aren’t able to compile a package juicy enough to pry James Harden from the comforts of Oklahoma City.

Trade 2: Armchair quarterbacking a trade that occurred amidst so many questions, after many of those questions have been answered, can be obnoxious. But it’s just so tough to imagine the Thunder going through with this trade if they knew James Harden had top-10 talent, Serge Ibaka had a disappointing ceiling, the “lottery pick” from Toronto would actually be outside the top 10 in a shallow talent pool, and, getting extra snarky, Russell Westbrook would hurt his knee in the first round of the playoffs (which NEVER HAPPENS if the Thunder kept Harden, since it occurred against the very team Harden led to the playoffs).

The Thunder
Royce Young, of Daily Thunder, TrueHoop’s Oklahoma City Thunder blog.

Obviously the Thunder were hoping for better than No. 12 when they dealt Harden. And while it certainly diminishes OKC’s return for a true star even more, it’s far too early to judge the trade completely. We don’t know what Jeremy Lamb will be, and we don’t know what the player OKC picks will be. Right now it doesn’t look like the Thunder got enough for Harden. But we all might feel differently about that three years from now. Fans and media aren’t normally that patient, but the Thunder organization is.

The Raptors
The Raptors ended up dealing Gary Forbes and the 12th overall pick this year for Kyle Lowry. That is, unquestionably, a deal I’d make over and over again. Lowry had an up-and-down year and was quite polarizing for the fanbase, in part because of his tumultuous play and in part because he took the reigns from a man that would be sainted if Toronto were the Vatican.

Calling Lowry’s season anything but a bit disappointing would be too cheery. He certainly wasn’t terrible, but his per-36 scoring was down, as were his shooting percentages across the board. His rebounding and playmaking made small gains and his turnovers decreased, but his defense also didn’t match the reputation he came in with.

In fact, offensively I wasn’t too disappointed with the man formerly known as KLOE – he didn’t hit the expectations that were based on priced-in improvement, and he still exhibits an inability to score and facilitate at the same time. But his role changed dramatically twice during the season, once when he came off the bench after injury and again when Rudy Gay was acquired. You can understand inconsistency with changing parameters of play, and the final numbers were just fine. That consistency issue won’t be forgiven next year though with a (hopefully) more stable situation

Defensively, however, I was more disappointed. This article isn’t meant as a full evaluation of Lowry, but it warrants mentioning that the “bulldog” seemed far more often to be chasing cars than protecting the yard. That is, he’s a risk-taker, which is fine when you have strong help defenders behind you (only Amir Johnson probably counts in this regard) but can be harmful when teammates have to help beyond their comfort zone to account for your cheating. At times, Lowry’s defense was suffocating and created turnovers. Other times, his gambles left the Raptors without numbers or scrambling to recover. Like with his offense, finding consistency will be the key moving forward.

But this is about the trade, and it’d be tough to argue Lowry wasn’t and isn’t still worth a 12th overall pick. Based on Win Shares, he was worth roughly $10M this season. Win Shares are a sketchy stat to take at face value, but the fact that this “value” far outstrips his $5.75M salary confirms that he was a bargain. He’s only on the books for $6.2M this coming season, another discounted year in financial terms. As a refernce point, only four rookies in the past three years have ‘earned’ that dollar amount based on win shares.

The 12th overall pick might end up being a usable rotation piece. That’s entirely possible, and as Royce pointed out above, you can never fully evaluate a trade until much later. But it’s difficult to think of a scenario in which two discounted years of Lowry plus the opportunity to sign him to a longer deal (assuming he settles and the new GM likes him) wasn’t worth a maybe-a-rotation-guy pick. And if it turns out to be a stud in five years, you can’t really fault the team for not seeing it coming, otherwise that player would have went earlier, anyway.

It’s unfortunate that Lowry didn’t make the jump to elite point guard as some where hoping. He was 23rd among “guards” in win shares, eighth in assists per 36 minutes, fifth in rebounds per 36 minutes, 17th in PER and 35th in true shooting percentage. Those are strong rankings but not “irreplaceable,” making the incoming GM’s decision about the long-term point guard position a tough one, although not one he has to make immediately.

Kyle Lowry was a mild disappointment this year, sure. But if you take the positive signs he shows, price in some maturity and consistency with a more stable environment, and look at the names in the late lottery, it’s a very tough argument that the Raptors didn’t make out well here. The Rockets used that asset well, and credit to them for that, but this is one move Bryan Colangelo can’t be criticized for on his way out the door.

  • Statement

    Regarding whether Kyle should be kept over the long-term:
    That is a very good question. I’m not so sure the new GM isn’t going to attempt to blow up the team with a chance to get Wiggins.
    If he does try to blow it up, do you keep Kyle?
    I’m not sure, because Kyle is a net-positive player, which hurts your chances of tanking. Also, he’s a little older and would likely be on the downside of his career when the Raps start to be come competitive with Val and 2014 high draft pick. Additionally, he would be more expensive to keep after this year.
    As much as it pains me because I think Kyle is a good player overall, you have to let him go if you are tanking.
    I would say the same about Amir Johnson, but that would be simply TOO painful.

  • Puffer

    As you said “That is, unquestionably, a deal I’d make over and over again.”

  • arsenalist

    Given the Raptors luck, watch the 12th pick this year turn into a Hall of Famer.

    I agree. I was OK with the trade at the time, and am the same. A big reason this was OK is about the guy who was doing the drafting. BC hasn’t nailed anything special in the draft yet in Toronto, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to do it with the 12th pick. The only parameter that has changed is who the drafting will be done by, if the new GM has an eye for talent we might end up on the losing side of this, but I think that’s looking too deep.

    Lowry is a serviceable NBA player, and could start on many teams in the league. I’m glad he’s on the Raptors because he is/will continue to be a productive member of the roster.

    • Hotshot

      Big Val is kinda special but that is pretty much it.

    • leftovercrack

      My issue with the trade is not that Lowry is likely a better player than who we would have drafted at No. 12, but that unless he develops into a starting point guard and signs long term with the Raptors after next season, it was basically a waste since I don’t believe anyone seriously thinks we will be competing for the title next season. And even if he does sign, it will be around $10 million a year on a team already in a cap space crunch. Assuming we are still a couple years away, it might have been better drafting a cheap rookie this year who we can control for four years at a low salary

  • Dr Scooby

    “…but it warrants mentioning that the “bulldog” seemed far more often to be chasing cars than protecting the yard.”


  • Statement

    You know,

    I like the Raptors starting 5 unit of Lowry, DeRozan, Gay, Johnson and Val.

    They were, as is generally known, a top 5 starting unit when they played together this year (encouraging though I wouldn’t necessarily extrapolate that to this year, not because of sample size, but because I’ve been burned by expectations for Toronto teams too many times in my life)

    The weak links are DeRozan and Val (only because he was a rookie). Given improvement in Val, this is very likely a playoff team (with the 2nd round a possibility too).
    Normally, I would be fine with keeping this team and seeing how this year goes. However, this year is an opportunity to tank for what could be a generational talent from CANADA. If the Raptors were able to somehow get Wiggins, that could be the turning point for the entire franchise for the next 10 years. It would be glorious and worth more than it’s weight in gold to obtain a franchise talent from Canada.
    So I guess my point is that in any other year, I’d probably want to roll with this team, given that it has some really good pieces, but this draft is simply too important to not try to tank your way into.

    • jjdynomite

      As a reminder, if the 2014 draft were held in 2013, this past Tuesday morning the Magic would have been all pumped to draft Wiggins, only to find out Tuesday night that he would end up LeBron’s heir apparent on the Cavs. So this speculation is kind of ludicrous until the third week in May, 2014, when the lottery happens.

      • Tim W.

        If this were the 2014 Draft, the Magic would still have Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Andrew Harrison or even Marcus Smart to choose from. Most of those guys would be number one picks if they were coming out this year.

        • jjdynomite

          Tim W., what a surprise. I post maybe like once a month and I have the pleasure of you responding. /sarcasm off

          I echo other commenters to say stop pouncing on seemingly every dialogue; it’s especially unbecoming for a Mod to do so. Statement’s post was regarding drafting ***Wiggins*** and his additional impact of being a Canadian citizen who has stated that he’s proud to wear the leaf. So you bringing up Americans like Jabari Parker and the like is, to put it kindly, irrelevant. BC didn’t pursue a 39-year-old PG in the off-season simply because he liked his new hairstyle.

          On a larger note, your ubiquitous presence — which is mired in one-note negativity — is making the comments section of BOTH RaptorsHQ and RaptorsRepublic increasingly annoying to read. Hopefully Zarar is reading this post, because if not I’ll ping him or Ph.D.Steve privately — as I have their personal emails — and notify them what an utter pill you’ve become in the comments section, and that more-and-more disgruntled readers are agreeing with me. And that’s all I’ll say directly to YOU in this matter.

  • Dr Scooby

    Trade Gay, trade Lowry, trade DeRozean. I like these guys, but not at their current salary (Gay, DeRozan) or their expected future salary (Lowry).

    Get rid of Bargs & Kleiza (if possible) and start the team rebuild.

    • Milesboyer

      If you’re hoping for losses, you want to keep Bargs and Kleiza and give them lots of PT.

  • raptorspoo

    We got a PG who isn’t much of a play maker, who can score in bunches and who wasn’t all that impressive defensively.

    Am I missing something here? Hello? … Bayless???

    Not that I think either are or were the solution of our PG needs but this is idiotic.

    • Copywryter

      Not only that, but a PG who had a ‘book’ on him from two other teams: that he can be petulant, somewhat fragile, and hard to coach.

      • FLUXLAND

        That was the book on both of them… ha!

  • peter_7.701

    The chances of the raps tanking are extremely unlikely. First of all no team or professional player would even consider doing that in the first place, especially when the season hasn’t even started. We have a core and Lowry can be an above average PG. As long as Demar develops the three and Gay’s shot selection becomes better we have an atleast 6,7, or 8th seed playoff team. A few extra pieces by a NEW GM would definitely make a difference, and Amir will continue being Amir while JV will most likely develop into stellar and most likely a possible all-star centre in the league.

  • Ion66

    Blowing up a team is like entering your old car in a demolition derby for a chance to win a new car. There is a point at which, the car you have, is way too good (or just good enough) for that kind of risk. If what you have is a total beater and costing you money, then sure, go nuts. If the car has lots of good parts, then maybe it’s not so wise. If you fail to win that new car, those quality parts can be hard to find, and take too long to hunt down when you find yourself forced to rebuild the wreck you just created.

    • Dr Scooby

      I agree with your analogy. Arguably the Raps are that beater in that they are salary wise against the luxury tax without the benefit of being playoff worthy.

      Could they make the playoffs with this team…maybe, but then again I thought that last season too…

    • Tim W.

      Of course, next year’s demolition derby features several new cars, so you don’t even have to come first. And you can sell off a lot of the valuable parts before you even enter the derby.

      • ItsAboutFun

        Of course you’re missing the point that the car needs multiple parts to be worth anything. A spanking new engine gets you nowhere without appropriate wheels, so what are your suggestions to:

        -“sell off (what) lot of the valuable parts” that would ensure tanking enough to ensure winning one of those engines?
        – who would you trade these parts to and for what? realistic now
        – how would you sell this plan to the rest of the players and coaching staff, to say nothing of the fans buying tickets? (Note OKC didn’t give a shit, because they were leaving Seattle anyway)

        – how would you sell the wisdom of this plan if your new engine turns into Greg Oden or a Len Bias, and you’re left with nothing but scrap?
        – even if you do tank enough and get lucky to get one of these new engines that doesn’t blow up (hmmm, that’s a lot of ifs to count on) what would be your plan for getting the other parts needed for the car you want? For examples, how is Cle doing with that LeBron guy, or ORL doing with that Dwight guy, or NOLA doing with that CP guy, etc.?

        Just curious if you have answers to real questions that real GMs have to deal with?

        • Tim W.

          I like the new name much better, by the way.

          As for my suggestions:

          – The players I’d trade this summer would be Bargnani (if possible), Gay, Lowry, DeRozan and (unfortunately) Amir (unless you can convince him to delay offseason surgery until training camp so he’ll miss a big chunk of the season). I’d keep Valanciunas (for obvious reasons) and Fields (because he’s probably got negative value, at this point, and because he could be a valuable role player down the road. Ross I’d keep if possible, but wouldn’t have a problem adding him to a package.

          – It’s always difficult to gauge what is realistic. Would it have been realistic for a Lakers fan to suggest the Pau Gasol trade before it happened?

          But I’d be looking for two things in exchange. The first is draft picks, the second is young, possibly undervalued, prospects. You’d obviously have to take back some contracts, but that’s fine, since cap room won’t matter for a few years.

          Some specifics? A couple of commenters mentioned the possibility of trading Rudy Gay for the Cavs #1 pick, probably in a three team deal, where the Raptors would take back a Danny Granger or Kris Humphries.

          Maybe the Raptors could trade DeRozan for Derrick Williams and Luke Ridnour. Minnesota has apparently coveted him, over the years, and desperately need a SG.

          I think you get the idea.

          – How would I sell this to the players? You don’t have to. Most of them would be gone. The coaching staff? You tell them this is the plan and the focus needs to be on player development. The fans? You tell them that you realized, as many of the fans already do, that the core of last year’s team was not one you could contend with, and the goal is to build a Championship team. You sell them on hope, which is a lot more many of them have right now. Plus, you put Valanciunas front and centre.

          – What if the new player turns out to be Len Bias or Greg Oden? Well, first you do you homework. Secondly, you do what you’d do if any of the current “core” gets hit by a bus. You move on. What does Oklahoma do if Kevin Durant gets hit by a meteor? What does Houston do if James Harden gets flesh eating disease and loses a leg? Some things you can’t control. That has nothing to do with building through the draft.

          – Well, obviously getting the elite player is only the first step. What I would suggest is you actually have good management, unlike what Cleveland and Orlando had. It doesn’t matter what your plan is if you suck at making personnel decisions. And that doesn’t matter if you tank, remain mediocre, or somehow luck into 3 Hall of Famers in the draft.

          The Raptors would be already in a good position with Valanciunas, and if some of their young pieces or draft picks you got in return for the current players turn out well, then you’re well on your way.

          • Tee

            TIm I understand what you are thinking but you can also grab elite talent by moving your own players once they start performing. For instance, If the Raptors make the playoffs next year and Derozan or JV does well you can trade them for a top 3 pick.

            btw (no ill will intended)but- if i hear the name Luke Ridnour & Raptors again, ill puke.
            People used to complain about Calderone’s defence? Imagine Luke R.

            • Dr Scooby

              DeRozan is not a top three pick, nor (based on what I’ve seen) will he fetch a top 3 pick.

            • Tim W.

              I have two major problems with this strategy. The first is that it is predicated on the assumption that a team is going to give up a potentially elite player for players who are not. Why would anyone do this, considering the scarcity of elite players and how difficult they are to acquire?

              There are usually three reasons a team trades away an elite, or potentially elite, player without getting one back. The first is because they are afraid he will leave, anyway (Carmelo, Howard). The second is that they can’t afford to pay him (Harden). And the third is that they simply can’t make it work and he’s already peaked, so they decide to cut their losses and start again (Garnett). A team is not going to trade away someone who is potentially the next Durant for a couple of good players. Especially since teams almost always overvalue high draft picks, anyway.

              Secondly, if you are able to trade for a top 3 pick in potentially one of the best drafts in the last 10-15 years, you’re going to probably have to gut the roster to do it. There isn’t a single player on the Raptors’ roster that is enough, so you’d have to package Valanciunas and a couple of other players or draft picks to even get into the conversation, like what Brooklyn did to get Deron Williams, and I’m betting they would not do that over again if they had a chance.

              Let’s say the Raptors can get a top 5 pick in this draft and maybe a mid-first rounder next year, as well as a prospect or two, for the current players. Add Valanciunas and you’ve got a lot of great pieces to keep or use as assets.

              As for Ridnour, if the idea is to lose, who cares about his defense. He’s a decently talented PG who isn’t going to look horrible as your starting PG, but won’t help you win. That’s what you want.

              • Tee

                Ok i see what your saying, trading for a top 3 would be a stretch.
                But that doesn’t mean that strategy doesn’t work,

                What about Kobe?
                What about Vince? Brandon Roy, Aldridge, Rubio & kevin Love all were draft day trades.

                My point is that tanking to get a top 3 pick is a huge risk & there may be other ways to acquire elite talent.

                Also, if you are suggesting that there are not prospects after #3 then its even more of a risk.-Look at the bobcats this year.

                • Tim W.

                  Well, the Raptors traded DOWN to get Vince, so I’m not sure that’s a good example. Kobe was straight out of high school at a time when that was rare, which is why he was drafted 13th, so that’s not a good example, either.

                  Roy and Aldridge were drafted very mediocre draft with no can’t-miss prospects. High picks are much easier to come by in those drafts. I think several high picks will be up for grabs in this year’s draft, and I’d love to see the Raptors try and grab one.

                  But in a year when there are a number of can’t-miss prospects, draft picks are held onto like life rafts on the Titanic. You think Denver would have traded their 3rd pick in the 2003 pick and the chance to draft Carmelo Anthony for anything but another you, elite player? If the Raptors have anyone a team would want enough to give up a can’t-miss prospect, then why would the Raptors need to trade for one?

                  And the thing about finding elite players outside of the top 5, is it’s a bigger gamble than the lottery. Some background:

                  Kevin Love was a chubby, undersized PF with limited athletic ability and questionable potential when he was drafted. No one thought he’d turn into the player he did.

                  The lower you draft, the less likely you are to find a star player. And the more likely a player is going to end up being a star, the more difficult it will be to trade for him.

                  Tanking is a gamble, but so is building with any other strategy. It’s a gamble to expect to find a star player outside of the top 5, and in fact it’s less likely than being successful at tanking. It’s a gamble to try and trade for an elite player because so few teams do it successfully, especially outside of the prime NBA destinations. And then you’ve got teams like Philadelphia that were able to trade for a potentially elite player and failed, losing valuable assets. It’s a gamble to build a team without an elite player because the likelihood of that team becoming a contender is miniscule.

              • HogyG

                How did trading away an “already peaked” Garnett work out for Minnesota anyhow? I know the team that traded for him ended up with a championship and competing for others, making their fan base incredibly happy for his entire duration with the team. In fact, he is the poster boy for the entire Anti-Tank Movement, the only kinda tank he acknowledges is the kind that blows things up.

                • Tim W.

                  The only lesson you can ascertain from Minnesota’s history is not to hire Kevin McHale or David Kahn as general manager. Nothing else.

                  No one is suggesting that the Raptors be managed poorly, which why most lottery teams stay lottery teams.

          • ItsAboutFun

            – So your plan involves trading Bargnani, Gay, Lowry, Derozan and Amir, and including Ross if need be. Okay, salaries total up to $54M going out, with a team of JV, Fields, Kleiza, Gray, Lucas, Acy. Since we do not know the replacements yet, we cannot make any judgements yet if this ensures tanking enough to ensure a top pick, but we can visit that later.

            – Difficult to gauge realistic. Yeah, but that is one big difference between actually being a GM and being an on-line blogger, and without it, then this (blow it up and tank) plan is nothing but blowing smoke fantasy talk. So you would target draft picks and young prospects, but unless you can define what teams that could reasonable expect to even think about trading you draft picks and young prospects, that would be nothing but more wishful blowing smoke. Specifics you say eh. Some commenters suggested getting the Cavs #1 pick for Gay, eh. Wow, interesting fantasy talk from others but I was asking for you to give something realistic. You talking a wishy washy third team involvement without a single specific about how this makes sense for ether party of 3. But let us say that was somehow possible, we would be taking back Who in their right mind thinks the Cavs would take on Gay and give up that #1 pick, while giving up what else to make up for salary, while Indiana gives up an Granger and his $14M expiring for what, or Nets give up $12M expiring Hump for what. Just wishy washy pie in the sky suggestion not even bordering on realistic without more info. Next you have DD going out for Williams and Ridnour. I think the league would conduct an investigation into that one, and fans who actually pay for seats (not those sitting on a couch on the west coast) would be calling for heads to roll. I get the idea ya think, eh. The idea I get is you have not offered a single realistic scenario for moving any of those players, much less all of them.
            – So you assume you can sell this idea to players and coaches because you think they see the team assets just like you do, and that highly competitive coaches and players that have reached the highest level of the game are going to buy into a tanking and pray for lottery luck plan. How many of these people do you know at this level of the game that give you even remote insight to believe there would not be open revolt, if not from players and coaches, from the fans paying for seats.

            Responding to the rest is a waste of time, as it appears the plan you have does not have a single realistic part to it, much less a total package that can ensure you get these imaginary elite pieces you need to make you happy. Typical armchair, fantasy, smoke blowing GMing that ignores most realities in the real NBA world.

            • Tim W.

              You somewhat snarkly asked what I would do in certain circumstances, and I politely responded. Then you raised your level of snark because you didn’t like my answers, dismissing them. It seems you’re not interested in actual conversation, but simply shooting down ideas that you disagree with. As usual, I don’t see the point in engaging in conversation with you. I was hoping the new name would mean a new attitude. Apparently that is not so.

              • ItsAboutFun

                It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that has observed you for any length of time, even in the month or so that I have since you’ve been back in an official capacity using your overt screen name, that you come back with something like this when called upon to actually put your “wisdom” where your mouth is.

                1. What exactly is “somewhat snarky”? It’s either snarky or it isn’t. However, what’s snarky about my post asking you to provide something other than some nebulous “tank and get elite” plan, like it’s as easy as deciding what you want and pushing the appropriate buttons? In other words asking you to be “realistic” about this “plan” that you want, as you claim people who don’t agree with you aren’t.

                2. I tell you what: instead of crying about me not liking your answers, how about give legit answers to begin with. What else is one to do but dismiss them, when you’ve suggested unloading 6 players, basically all of the talent except JV, as part of your plan, yet when responding to a request for examples of what’s feasible in unloading these 6 players, you come up with:

                – some nebulous, and incomplete plan to unload Gay to one team and get a #1 pick from them, while involving one of two players from either of two other teams, put don’t put an ounce of effort into suggesting a complete trade scenario of any kind, much less something that actually sounds reasonable. In other words, you’re whining about me not liking a virtual non-answer, with smoke floating around it.

                – then in your second trade proposal in your quest for “draft picks and young prospects”, you suggest trading a 23 year old, who is hugely dedicated to the team, a workaholic toward improving, which he has every year, and so durable (not to be scoffed at) that he has missed a total of 5 games in 4 years, none in the last 3,,,,,,, for get this,,,,, a 22 year old that has not lived up to his prospects at all, earns a whopping $4M less, and a 32 year old scrub. No draft picks, and a 1 year younger much less of a prospect than the young prospect that we would give up. What’s there to “like” about a trade that accomplishes nothing that you said your target was?

                – What about the other four players? Does your plan involve finding unidentified GMs that are going to willingly bend over and get abused by the Raps’ GM? You gave zero answer to “like” or dislike.

                3. What’s with this lame “It seems you’re not interested in actual conversation, but simply
                shooting down ideas that you disagree with. As usual, I don’t see the
                point in engaging in conversation with you.” ???? I did engaged you in actual conversation, but you weren’t strong enough to provide ANYTHING of SUBSTANCE behind this “plan” that you speak of all the time, and now when faced with being called out on that, you run away crying that I’m not being fair somehow. Them’s real gonads, man.

                I asked you to engage in a conversation of substance, not just daily doing the easiest thing in the entire world of professional sport: criticize with no solutions. Apparently you’re not up to the task, and want to blame me for you’re running away with no answers.

                • Dr Scooby

                  Blah blah blah

                  two words: seek help

        • Dr Scooby

          Hey its always buyer beware. You do your homework, suck in your breath and take a chance..or don’t

    • Rubuntech

      Good analogy but you are missing one thing – the lottery – you don’t win the car, you win a reasonable but not guaranteed chance to win the car after putting fans through an agonizing season – just ask Charlotte.

      It is not worth the sacrafice to go where we are today to the worst team in the league and lose Wiggins in a lottery

      • Tim W.

        But it’s not just about Wiggins. Or it shouldn’t be.

      • Ion66

        That’s why I said “For a chance” to win a new car. Ditching too many good to very good players, in order to tank properly leaves you stuck to replace those guys when you decide to actually try and win. Average players can be traded for easily, but the better ones usually cost more to buy when you want/need them, than you get when you just want to sell. If you fail to land that star (car) you were after, you now would have to rebuild via. the draft and the usual routes. Figure yet another 2-3 years of development and rebuild, just to get back to being a playoff contender. Do that, and you’re looking at going nearly a decade without the playoffs. You may also fail to keep a guy like Jonas, if all he’s been around is rebuilding and losses.

        • Tim W.

          True, but the Raptors don’t have a whole lot of good to very good players. They have a collection of vastly overpaid and overrated or mediocre players. If the Raptors had those good to very good players, they wouldn’t be a lottery team, and there wouldn’t be so many people who see this team as nothing more than a perennially mediocre team, at best. Hell, if the Raptors had those good to very good players, Colangelo would still be making basketball decisions.

          And as I said in another comment, Colangelo didn’t tank when he took over the Raptors, and Bosh still ended up leaving. Same goes for Orlando and Dwight Howard. They left because they had, rightly, lost confidence in a management that had collected overpaid, overrated players on an underperforming team. And, ironically, that’s exactly what the Raptors have right now.

          • Dr Scooby

            I disagree as I think Gay qualifies as ‘good’ and Valunciunus likely will be ‘good’ as well.

            • Tim W.

              I agree that Gay would qualify as good, as would Amir. And Valanciunas will be. But three “good” players aren’t going to get a team very far.

      • Copywryter

        5 years of not making the playoffs and not having hope is also agonizing.

    • Copywryter

      Our car is a Ford with expensive (but used) aftermarket parts. It doesn’t start that well. The Italian turbocharger hardly ever works. Other drivers don’t give it much respect, and our mechanic just got ‘fired’.

      So if you’re happy driving a Ford that you hope will one day barely exceed the speed limit, great.

      I’d rather keep trying for a real automobile.

  • Andre

    correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t there a trade on the table for the 8th pick for lowry and the 16th pick? That i would have done. NO ONE would have taken Ross that high and the Raptors could have gotten ross at 16. and if ross wasnt there at 14, there would have been a very suitable roll player.

    • arsenalist

      What bugs me is that BC was lamenting about losing the coin toss which would’ve given them a shot at Harrison Barnes. A coin toss. We won a huge amount of meaningless games which cost us a chance at Barnes and Lillard (who BC was “targeting”). At the time of winning those games the whole organization/media was talking about how great the growth of the players was when everyone knew it was all BS since the games didn’t matter anyway. That’s a stretch of basketball that potentially changed the direction of this franchise.

      There’s a way to “tank” in the last 15 games, and at the time BC was more obsessed with padding the win count rather than looking ahead to a very strong draft where we have a relatively high pick:


      • Nilanka15

        It’s not the 1st time we’ve been screwed by meaningless wins praised by Colangelo.

        The 7-4 run we went on to close out the 2008-09 season (led by Shawn Marion) helped us limp to a whopping 33-49 record….which left us with the 9th pick instead of the 7th pick….which was the difference between DeRozan and Steph Curry.

        • leftovercrack

          Yes, but the fact that Steph Curry was available doesn’t necessarily mean that our brilliant brain trust would have selected him

          • Nilanka15

            Point taken.

      • Tee

        Really though?
        You really think BC wanted to pad wins going into the draft? I thought he hinted that he wanted to tank.

        Are you saying that those wins were Colangeo’s fault?
        Please explain cause I thought that roster was shit.

        Dog shit.

        • arsenalist

          I’m saying that those wins were touted as team growth and were labelled as meaningful, and yes, encouraged. The right approach would’ve been stealth tank mode as all fans wanted, which basically means you sit every starter.

          That year the standings were so close, that you could actually control your draft positioning without blatantly tanking.

          Water under the bridge, I know, but it’s funny BC complaining about their draft position because of coin toss, when it wasn’t the coin toss but the meaningless wins that basically cost them Lillard.

    • Guest

      Way too much speculation here. Unless you have actual evidence (and I don’t mean rumors, inferences or assumptions), it’s the easiest job in the world playing armchair GM. I’m only criticizing you, of course, because you actually think your opinion reflects reality (i.e. “NO ONE would have…”).

  • M

    When are you guys going to understand the difference between “reign” and “rein”? You pretend to be writers, learn the language.

    • raptorspoo

      Whoa~ calm down buddy… get that stick out of your ass~

      • ItsAboutFun

        hmmm, I guess disciples can say what they want, but opponents get deleted or banned for less.

  • Bouncepass

    For the tank strategy, who needs a GM? The approach is just to trade any decent players on the roster for crappy players. To make the salaries work, you take back crappier players than you are trading, with crappier contracts. Then you sit back, cross your fingers and hope that you win the lottery in the right year, because there are going to be a handful of other teams trying to tank too. So, if there are five teams going through the tank strategy, the overall average chance of the number 1 pick is less than 15%. Now, what happens when you end up without Wiggins, and quite likely not a real franchise player. You’re left with a crappy roster, bloated salaries, and a team that no free agent wants to join. So you tank for another season, only this time there isn’t a franchise talent, so you might end up with another decent rookie. By the third or fourth year, JV has had enough of this nonsense, and decides to head to a franchise that is as competitive as he is, and doesn’t think that the only way to build a team is by tanking and taking your chances.

    • Tim W.

      Well, that approach would be the bad management way of tanking and not one I’d recommend. I already said I’d recommend trading the current roster for draft picks and young prospects, so that you still have some valuable assets, you just don’t win.

      And as I’ve stated countless times, next year’s draft isn’t a one-man draft. You’re trying to argue against an argument that isn’t a real argument. Next year, there are a handful of players who are potentially elite players. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if Jabari Parker ends up to be a better player than Wiggins.

      And if you’re talking about players leaving, because of a team tanking, you don’t take into consideration that players leave even when teams don’t tank. Colangelo never tanked with Bosh, but failed to build a contending team around him and he left. Orlando certainly never tanked, but failed to build a contending team around Howard and he left.

      Bad management tends to make players leave. Not tanking.

      If you have a better, viable alternative to building a contender than tanking, I’d be quite interested in hearing it.

    • Copywryter

      You don’t need a number 1 pick. Superstars also come in the 2-4 range. Durant, Wade, VC, Melo and so on, while #1 duds should be quite familiar.

      “You’re left with a crappy roster, bloated salaries, and a team that no free agent wants to join.”

      So pretty much what we have now?

  • bigweeze

    I didn’t think the pick was an overpay at the time of the trade (Lowry is a quality player), I just felt it wasn’t the right trade for a lottery-bound team (with or without him). Luckily, the pick we dealt holds as little value as it could have – but that does not change my feeling about it very much.

    The reason being – it is simply not worth the expenditure of a lottery pick if the team’s expected result is getting stuck in low-lottery limbo. Nestling into the low-lottery is asking for sustained mediocrity, especially with the temporary loss of your annual cheap talent replenishment.

    The worries I have:
    – Lowry’s contract is up soon (he will require a new, more expensive deal or walk)
    – he may never become the heady sort of PG that non-Lebron/Durant teams need during the playoffs

    So #12 is not as coveted as it would be in other years. But that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. What if I called the #8 pick last year worthless? Pre-draft evaluation is far from perfect and many great players have been undervalued and underdrafted. Indiana has shown that drafting with non-premium picks can still yield great rewards. Not that every team should imagine such significant success, but the possibility of replicating something similar requires just a little bit of good fortune.

    Back to the trade – plateauing teams need to deconstruct to take risks on controllable, high-potential youth. The trade did not accomplish this goal and the lotto pick coming out on the low end did not change that.

    • Copywryter

      +1 to your analysis of our low lottery problem. It is a quagmire and we have been stuck in it for a long time.

      Imo, Lowry is not only never going to be a great PG, but it was obvious even before he came here. Hell, it’s not like BC pursued him first – he was an afterthought in the wake of the Steve Nash thing.

      Typing that makes me sick.

  • duncan

    need i remind people how good klow was once he was let off the short leash casey had on him almost the whole year!?!? as long as casey stays out of his way, he will do well here.
    on another note, what do you guys think are the chances of us trading for the 13th overall pick this year (dallas)? its projected to be dennis schroeder, the kids athletic and is a good passer. he fit well as our backup pg. oh and hes a sick 3 point shooter

  • HogyG

    After reading this I decided to go looking at the comparisons between Kyle and Jose, because in my mind you guys missed the mark when only assessing the move by looking at the trade, and not how it affected the team and it’s players. The article mentioned Lowry’s rankings amongst “guards” for several statistics, and I thought they should be compared to the man he inevitably ousted (though not by outperforming him while being teammates).

    Now, I will start off by saying I was very impressed by Kyle’s rebounding prowess over the course of the season and being fifth in rebounds (5.7- per 36 min) shows his willingness to battle in the land on the bigs. I agree that his defense was not nearly as strong as advertized this year (nor was the rest of the team in general after a noticeable improvement the year before) and he was more streaky than consistent. His steals (1.7 per36) and steal % (2.5) was higher than Calderon’s (steals per 36 min @ 0.8 for the raptors and 1.2 for the pistons, steals % @ 1.2 for the Raps and 1.8 for the pistons) over the course of the season as well, which was to be expected.

    Beyond that when you look at the numbers you mention “23rd among guards in win shares… (5.6)” Calderon had a 7.4 win share total this season (4.4 with the Raps and 3.0 with the Pistons) I’m not sure where that ranks him but bigger is better, no? Lowry ranked “17th in PER…(17.5)” which I guess is good but Calderon’s 18.8 over the season (19.2 with the Raps and 18.2 with the Pistons) seems better to me. So does Calderon’s assists, which for him was no big deal, he finished at 8.6 per 36 minutes (9.4 with the Raps and 7.5 with the Pistons) versus Lowry’s with a career high of 7.8. Lowry finished “35th” in True Shooting % (.543) while Calderon finished with a TS% of .616 on the season (.594 for the Raps and .654 for the Pistons). Calderon, also with no surprise, had the edge on turnovers per 36 minutes with 2.1 versus 2.8 for Lowry. I don’t know where Jose sits in the rankings among Guards in these categories but I can tell you that they are all ahead of Kyle Lowry.

    SO. In conclusion, if you want to only look at it as “a 12th pick + Gary Forbes for Kyle Lowry” then sure it was a good trade as in all likelihood this draft’s 12th pick being as good on Nov.1 as Kyle is gonna be slim to none. BUT, when you look at the reason behind the trade, in bringing in someone else (eg. Ford, Jack, Bayless ect.) to try and take the team away from Jose, fail at it like all the rest and still be given the reigns anyhow because the GM couldn’t take another failed attempt at ousting Calderon… well, then I’d have to say no, it was a bad trade. Lowry doesn’t have the confident demeanor that Jose brings as a floor and team leader, Lowry has issues staying focused on the task at hand and can get frustrated at officiating that doesn’t go in his favor (a extremely negative trait for any Raptor player). Lowry was supposed to be a more natural scorer, which wasn’t the case with KL @14.1 and JC @ 13.8 (14.1 on the Raps and 13.2 on the Pistons) on the season and a good 3 point shooter KL @ .362% and JC @ .461% (.429 for the Raptors and .520 for the Pistons).

    There’s too many variables to play “what if…” but I would have preferred to keep the pick or spend it on other assets then trying once again to oust the best PG Toronto has ever had (for whatever that’s worth) not to mention our team leader on and off the court, who has been one of the more efficient PG’s in the league since showing up in the NBA despite his supposed “lack of defense”. Jose made the worst scorers on our team a threat on the offensive end on a nightly basis, something that KL just hasn’t been able to do consistently despite bringing up his assist average and dropping his turnovers from years past. Maybe KL is a better defender but it seemed that last years Raptors played better D than this year’s team did, but looks can be deceiving.

    But that’s just my 2 cents.

  • Slippery

    To assemble a contending team in Toronto isn’t as cut and dry as 99% of the people think it is. Tim W. has made many good points on why Colangelo failed, but I simply disagree with BC being ousted. Toronto fans are too panicky and don’t understand that you can’t just slap a team together and get positive results. BC did a good job of putting the talent there & I believe the team we currently have is going to be a top 5 team in the East next year FOR SURE. Tim W. thinks like the modern day NBA GM does without a doubt, his thinking is synonymous with what they are doing in Memphis. But BC was more of a wildcard and I think his gambling ways are about to payoff in the 2013/14 season. Kyle Lowry was a big pickup and we will all see why this year. Firing BC is going to be big motivation for these guys.

  • Yu-Hsing Chen

    With Lowry, the question has rarely been on court, and this year is little different, sure, you can pick apart his game, but who can you NOT pick apart really? the end of the day he was pretty comfortably within top 10 PG and probably closer to top 5 than most people realize rate wise.

    The problem of course, is that he’s pretty a pretty negative off court guy whereever he went, and this year didn’t really do much to lessen that worry.

    At the end of the day, Lowry is probably not elite enough to really build a team around from the ground up, but if he’s ur second or 3rd best player your in pretty good shape, I’d guess that the Raptors FO would look to trade him if there’s a good deal out there, but are certainly more than willing to hang on to him if nothing right comes along.

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