With the NBA Draft coming up tonight, I’d normally write my Final Pre-Draft Thoughts column, regarding the Raptors, like I did last year and the year before. This year, the Raptors are without a draft pick (at least for the moment), so I thought I would do a quick Pre-Draft Thoughts part and focus more on moves I think the Raptors should, and possibly could, make.

PRE-DRAFT THOUGHTS

In all honesty, I know less about most of the draft prospects this year than most years. I’ve been looking forward to next year’s draft too much, I suppose. But that’s not to say I don’t have any opinions about this one. While I agree with many who say that this draft is a particularly weak one, I do think there is some talent. Just not any elite talent.

You’ll notice that I haven’t listed all the players, but these are the ones I’m looking at, for various reasons.

Sure-Fire All Stars

None

Potential All-Stars

Otto Porter

Nerlens Noel

More likely, neither of these guys will be All Stars, but very good role players. Porter has the best chance, because he should be a good two way player.  Noel should be an impact player on the offensive end, but how his offense develops will decide what his ceiling is.

Could Go Either Way

Trey Burke

Anthony Bennett

Kelly Olynyk

All three of these players have major flaws that could prevent them from making an impact in the NBA, but they all have talent. Coincidentally, two of these three are Canadians.

anthony-bennett-nba-draft-2013-underrated

Safe Picks

Ben McLemore

Victor Oladipo

Reggie Bullock

These are players that should help any team, but especially playoff teams. Both McLemore and Oladipo should become very good starters, while Bullock’s future is most likely as a bench player.

Avoid At All Costs

Shabazz Muhammad

There are just too many red flags with this guy for me to be comfortable with drafting him. He’s got talent, but talent is only part of it.

Sleepers

Shane Larkin

Rudy Gobert

Myck Kabongo

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Larkin might be drafted a little too high to be a sleeper, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the best PG from this draft. Gobert has fantastic physical tools, but is VERY raw. Kabongo desperately needs to get a jumper, but he’s a pass-first PG, has the potential to be a good defender and has an unreal FTA/FGA ratio of .700, which is amazing. He’s a project, but he’s someone the Raptors should try and grab in the second round, especially since DraftExpress currently has him going third last in the draft.

Caldwell-Pope is a sleeper, but he’s also on here because he’s got one of the best names in the draft.

TRADES, TRADES, TRADES

It’s no secret that I’m in favour of blowing up this roster, and considering the house-clearing that has been happening in the Raptors organization, I wouldn’t be surprised if Masai Ujuri has a similar opinion. I’ve always been vague when asked about what particular moves I’d make mostly because it’s really hard to know what other GMs would agree to.

That said, I’ve come up with a number of trade options that I think could realistically happen, and will change the direction of the team, getting some young prospects, and help them go into next year’s draft with a good chance of getting a top pick.

Keep in mind, some of these trades would not be able to be completed until after July 1st (for salary reasons), so if there is a draft pick involved, the original team would have to make the pick for Toronto, then make the trade officially later.

Last season, I came up with a bunch of trade proposals for the Raptors to move up in last year’s draft that they obviously didn’t do. Maybe this year will be different…

RUDY GAY

Rudy Gay

There are quite a number of people who have said that Rudy Gay is untradeable because of his contract, but I don’t agree. I think there are a few teams that might be interested in him.

Trade #1
Toronto trades:
Rudy Gay to Cleveland

Cleveland trades
Alonzo Gee and their first pick to Toronto

Cleveland has been rumoured to be interested in trading for guys like Luol Deng, Shawn Marion and even Paul Pierce, and have been apparently turned down by Portland and Minnesota, in trades for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, respectively. They seem to want to grab an established player who can help them win now, and might be interested in taking on Gay and his contract.

I think it’s unlikely that the Raptors would be able to grab the number one pick, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Keep in mind, because Cleveland would have to basically absorb Gay’s salary, they would have to choose for Toronto and then make the trade after July 1st.

Trade #2
Toronto trades:
Rudy Gay to Cleveland

Cleveland trades
Anderson Varejao to Oklahoma City
2013 19th pick to Toronto

Oklahoma City trades:
Kendrick Perkins and their 2013 12th pick (from Toronto) to Toronto

A more likely option, especially if Cleveland decides to move Varejao, who is 30 years old and has been unable to stay healthy. Turning Perkins and the 12th pick into Varejao should immediately make them a better team.

Perkins’ contract is bad, although he’s only got two more years left on it, but he’d be a good mentor for Valanciunas and a good locker room guy.
Trade #3
Toronto trades:
Rudy Gay to Cleveland

Cleveland trades:
Anderson Varejao to Brooklyn
Alonzo Gee and their 2013 19th pick to Toronto

Brooklyn trades:
Kris Humphries and their 2014 1st round pick to Toronto

Similar to Trade #3, but with Brooklyn instead of Oklahoma. Varejao would be a perfect fit for Brooklyn and a huge upgrade over Humphries, although I’m not sure they even can give up their 2014 pick.
Trade #4
Toronto trades:
Rudy Gay and Linas Kleiza to Golden State

Golden State trades:
Harrison Barnes, Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and 2015 lottery protected 1st round pick

Golden State probably doesn’t want to part with Barnes, but if Toronto takes on Golden State’s bad contracts, they might do it. Both Jefferson and Biedrins contracts expire next summer, so Golden State might want to hold onto them.
Trade #5
Toronto trades:
Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson to Washington

Washington trades:
Emeka Okafor, Jan Vesley, Trevor Ariza, 3rd pick to Toronto

While I’d hate to trade Amir, if the Raptors want to try for a top pick in 2014, it might be necessary to trade him. Washington wants to win right now, and I think would do this trade.
DEMAR DEROZAN

derozan_newst1

I know he’s still got a lot of fans among Raptor faithful, but with his poor defense and lack of three point shooting, it’s hard to envision a role for him on a good team. And his new contract kicks in this summer. The Raptors should sell high, with DeRozan, instead of making the same mistake they made with Bargnani, holding onto him too long.

Trade #1
Toronto trades:
DeMar DeRozan to Minnesota

Minnesota trades:
Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour and Minnesota’s 26th pick to Toronto

Minnesota has coveted DeRozan in the past, but with new management, and DeRozan’s new contract, it’s difficult to say whether they would still want him. I think Williams is a good low risk gamble that could end up paying off and Ridnour is a decent PG.
Trade #2
Toronto trades:
DeMar DeRozan to Detroit

Detroit trades:
Rodney Stuckey and their 2013 8th pick and 2014 2nd round pick to Toronto

Ironically, Raptor fans used to clamour for Stuckey, someone I was never high on. In this trade, Stuckey would mostly be included for salaries. If Detroit wants to win sooner, rather than later, they might opt for a young veteran like DeRozan over a rookie.

KYLE LOWRY

Kyle Lowry

Lowry was never the player most fans (and Colangelo) hoped. It’s easy to blame different things, but the fact is that he’s had a bit of a checkered history and he’s only got one more year left on his contract, so if the Raptors are rebuilding, I don’t think they want to give him the raise he’ll probably be asking for.

Lowry’s contract is one of the few good ones on the Raptors, so if the Raptors are going to try and move Andrea Bargnani, it will most likely have to be with Lowry.

Trade #1
Toronto trades:
Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani to Utah

Utah signs and trades:
Al Jefferson to Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City trades:
Kendrick Perkins and their 2013 12th pick (from Toronto) to Toronto

Utah doesn’t have a PG under contract, after July 1st, and will probably be losing Jefferson either way. Getting something for him might make sense. And, on paper, Bargnani would be the perfect type of player to play behind Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, both of whom will probably move into the starting lineup.

If the playoffs told Oklahoma anything, it’s that they need inside scoring. Jefferson has his weaknesses, but he’s one of the best post players in the game and is an excellent rebounder.

Trade #2
Toronto Trades:
Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani to Sacramento

Sacramento trades:
John Salmons, Jason Thompson and their 2013 7th pick to Toronto

Salmons’ contract is almost as bad as Bargnani’s (maybe worse), but taking it back would be worth it if the Raptors can move Bargnani, get a good, solid big man who can play both front court positions and grab the 7th pick in the draft.
If the Raptors are indeed looking to blow things up, I think these are the types of trades they would be looking at. It’s possible they could do better than what I have here, but I think these are, at least, mostly realistic. For me, the idea is to try and grab either draft picks or young prospects, understanding that the Raptors not only won’t be able to clear cap space, but would have little use for it in the next year or two.

Agree?  Disagree? Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments section.

  • Thank Nation!

    Doubt any of the Rudy Gay to Cleveland trades would happen. The one thing in common with all the SF’s that they have been rumored to be interested in is that their contracts expire after next season so Cleveland can make a run at Lebron. It was a nice thought though

  • joe

    Is it too early to think about a Battier type, or do you look to develop all roles if the opportunity presents itself? As in Gay already doesn’t fit.

    • joe

      Or is a Battier type the final thing you do when trying to go over the top?

      • joe

        Thank you that’s great.

  • Nilanka15

    I like the Gay-for-Barnes proposal.

    Also like the DeRozan-for-Williams one.

  • RaptorsFan4Life

    Demar Derozan is legit the future of this franchise I dont see why you are so low on him. Apart from that Golden State is not trading Barnes in any way possible you can do all you want but its a fact

    • Nilanka15

      Gravity is a fact.

      Barnes’ apparent tradeability is an opinion.

      • DanH

        Gravity is a theory. 😉

        • Nilanka15

          Scientific theory = fact 😉

          • SR

            Wow, nonsensical reply of the week award goes to you.

            • Nilanka15

              You need to read books more often.

              • SR

                Says one of the most prolific commenters of a sports blog.

                Tip of the day: “Betty and Veronica” is not a book series. Aside from that, feel free to continue dispensing fortune cookie advice.

                • Nilanka15

                  Commenting on sports blogs prevents one from reading? If you say so….

                  My previous comment stands.

  • changv10

    * I agree with you that Shane Larkin will be a sleeper pick. I think Bennett will be ROY (no Canadian favoritism here, he’s really good), with some contention from CJ.

    * Good thinking about Rudy to Cleveland – definitely a possibility there. I don’t think we can get Barnes though. The Brooklyn deal looks solid. 2014 1st round pick yielding trades are valuable.
    * Derozan for Stuckey+8th. I had thought of this one too coincidentally. But it also depends on who’s on the board. With Bennett on the board, its a no brainer for me.
    * The Lowry deals, I’ll have to say I really really dislike those.

  • Duncan

    all of these trades are shit.

    • Duncan

      but the draft part of the article was good

  • elkabong

    i liked the very 1st one and the very last one but i don’t see either happening….. Bargs is only moving if we take back as bad a deal and while Salmons fits the profile i don’t see any way in the world you can get Thompson+7th …. as i looked for info on Salmons i found this nice article
    http://cowbellkingdom.com/2013/06/23/sunday-musing-kawhi-leonard-jimmer-fredette-and-finding-the-right-pieces/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ckingdom+%28Cowbell+Kingdom%29

    which doesn’t really say a lot about him other than he’s a square peg but does delve into team building philosophy. i’m still not seeing the need to blow this up since my eyes were seeing some nice chemistry when our best 5 were on the floor and the numbers produced backed it up on the offensive end and with more time as a unit i think they could be much more competent on the defensive side given more time together. now the sample size is very small but if i’m Ujiri i’d be intrigued and would want to see more. this unit was +14 and Lebron’s best lineup was +12 so how are we to blow it it up and grab some mid 1st round picks and be better off in 3 years time?

    Bargs has zero trade value after the season he just had and while missing the final 19 games of the season he’s gonna have to play to show something so anything involving him and a pick this draft i don’t see happening just as i don’t see throwing 21 mill away on an amnesty happening either so i think we should prepare to watch him play at least for a while longer

  • Tank Nation!

    If Tanking is the option Massai chooses to take. I believe here are 2 trades that might work. The first is similar to the trade proposed above but is for Gay instead of DeRozan.

    Rodney Stuckey (Expiring Contract)
    Charlie V (Expiring Contract)
    8th Pick (Potentially use on a PG, Burke, MCW, McCollum)

    For:

    Gay
    Fields

    And then try to move DeRozan to Charlotte in a trade that looks like this (This one seems less likely since not sure Charlotte really wants to give up DeRozan for Gordon when they have Gerald Henderson who looks promising at SG):

    Ben Gordon (Expiring Contract)
    4th Pick (Potentially use on McLemore, Bennett, Porter)

    For:

    DeRozan
    Kleiza (Expiring Contract)

    Next move is to amnesty Bargs

    Going into the 2014-2015 Season this would leave the Raptors with $24M in contracts (Including the 2 2013 picks and IF the Raps won the 2014 lottery)

    The roster for 2013-2014 would look like (with names I’ve slotted in based on potential draft)

    PG: Lowry, Burke (Draft), Lucas
    SG: Stuckey, Ross, Gordon
    SF: Porter (draft), Villanueva
    PF: Johnson, Acy
    C: Valanciunas, Gray

    This team would be bad enough to tank and potentially get a chance at Wiggins (or 4 or 5 other great prospects in next years draft). The chance of the Charlotte trade is less likely in my opinion (not sure they are willing to give up #4 pick for DeRozan), but similar trades for DeRozan for an expiring contract and a lottery pick seems more than reasonable (Utah Jazz are an option with Marvin Williams and 14th pick; Dallas for Marion and #13 Pick) I’m not saying I’m fully in for tanking, but if you’re gonna do it I believe this would be a good road-map, leave the Raps with young talent, and plenty of Cap Space 2014 to find 2 Max players in free agency to complement the young roster above, along with potentially Wiggins/Parker etc (Which should be a good selling point for bringing in 2 Max Free agents).

  • dc

    Im not totally against blowing this team up because of the overpaid players we have and the strength in the upcoming draft, but if thats as good as we can get itd be much better to see how this season plays out. Not that trading Gay’s contract is easy but none of those trades are really that appealing or realistic IMO

  • DanH

    As a note, yes, Brooklyn can trade their picks, but their 2014 and 2015 picks come with the downside of ATL being allowed to swap if they so desire. We’d still get the worse of Brooklyn’s and ATL’s picks in the deal, and since you are looking at a mid-late first from Brooklyn anyway, and ATL is unlikely to end up much higher in the standings, that’s not really a hangup.

  • DanH

    Oh, and good article Tim. No way Golden State gives us that package with Barnes, but otherwise I liked all those trade options.

  • YKOil

    Let’s have some fun:

    Toronto trades: Gay, Bargnani & Fields
    Toronto gets: Boozer, Hamilton, Barron, Duhon, CHI 2013 2nd, SAC 2014 2nd, LAL 2016 2nd, and cash

    Chicago trades: Boozer, Hamilton, 2013 2nd and cash
    Chicago gets: Stoudemire

    New York Knicks trade: Stoudemire, Barron, SAC 2014 2nd and cash
    New York Knicks get: Gasol and Fields

    LA Lakers trade: Gasol, Duhon, 2016 2nd and cash
    LA Lakers get: Gay and Bargnani

    Toronto trades Boozer and Hamilton to Golden State Warriors for Biedrins, Jefferson and GSW 2015 2nd

    CHI: Stoudemire may bring the offense that Rose needs (and Chicago has the defensive chops to cover)

    NYK: Gasol should be a better on-court partner for Carmelo

    LAL: Gay would be youngest ‘star’ level player on team and hopefully Bryant/Nash can up his game

    GSW: in the second trade GSW can pay-out Hamilton if they wish and Boozer would add to Bogut/Lee (speculating there)

    TOR: gets a whack of 2nd round picks (including one this year) and some cash

    – more importantly –

    TOR: ultimately shaves $11.09 million in salary 2013/14 and $37.07 million in salary 2014/15 and thus clearing the books

    FUN!

    • YKOil

      Oh, and to bring it back to the thread – that pick become Kabongo or Muscala

  • Raps Loyalist

    This was the only trade that made sense for all the teams involved….Raps could take international players at #12 and #19 to store overseas for a year and then let the tanking begin by moving Lowry and Amir!!! Tankfest 2014!!!!!

    Toronto trades:
    Rudy Gay to Cleveland

    Cleveland trades
    Anderson Varejao to Oklahoma City
    2013 19th pick to Toronto

    Oklahoma City trades:
    Kendrick Perkins and their 2013 12th pick (from Toronto) to Toronto

  • mu

    love te blog and the effort but glad you`re not gm

  • Guy

    Is it possible to read a Tim W article without seeing at least a couple links/references to his own ‘The Picket Fence’ blog? There’s four links in this article alone. What possible relevance are his thoughts on the 2011 or the 2012 draft tonight? How relevant are his trade proposals for last year? How relevant are his thoughts on what the team should do next year? Answer…… They aren’t, but the links to his blog are provided anyway. As much as anything else, it seems like he’s using Raptor’s Republic as a means to drive traffic to his own blog. Shame.