The Toronto Raptors were unable, or perhaps unwilling, to move into the NBA’s 2013 Entry Draft on Thursday night. There had been a lot of speculation leading up to the event that new General Manager Masai Ujiri, a man with a scouting background and a desire to reshape the team in his first offseason at the helm, would be aggressive in acquiring a pick.

Early on, there were rumors that the Raptors were trying to acquire the #13 pick from Dallas, with their eyes on Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Instead, Boston moved into that spot to take Canada’s own Kelly Olynyk, and Antetokounmpo went 15th to Milwaukee. (Thank Shamgod I won’t have to spell that name for the next few years.) He’s an interesting proposition for two reasons – that he’s not considered NBA ready but will be coming over, and that Bucks’ Assistant GM Jeff Weltman was part of the group responsible for drafting him. Weltman will be joining the Raptor organization after the draft.

Then there were rumors the Raptors were trying to acquire the #26 pick from Minnesota, perhaps with an eye on North Texas forward Tony Mitchell. Instead, the pick was dealt to the Golden State Warriors and then the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mitchell ended up being selected by Detroit 37th overall.

And then there were very light whispers that the Raptors would try and acquire a later second round pick with any number of targets in mind. They didn’t though, and you can’t blame them when you look at some of the undrafted names they can try to sign, without having to give up a non-financial asset.

When the draft hit the 50th pick mark, it was pretty clear that there would be some good names left over – why would Ujiri give up an asset, a Quincy Acy or a future 2nd round pick or even cash, for a player that he could probably grab after the draft? It’s an early hint that, while aggressive, Ujiri won’t be the type to get tunnel-vision for a move and make it at all costs. If a deal wasn’t there to be had, he didn’t make it, and that’s commendable.

Of course, we don’t know what offers were out there and what the price of said picks were. Ujiri obviously deemed them too costly, in terms of future assets or player exchanges, or other teams simply wanted nothing the Raptors had to offer.

From here, Ujiri will set his sights on a handful of undrafted players, the free agent market (which opens July 10) and, of course, trades. That includes Andrea Bargnani, who the team allegedly believes they can trade without using the Amnesty Provision on him, freeing that maneuver up for Linas Kleiza.

The easiest but riskiest hole to plug from the undrafted group would be the backup point guard position – Canadian Myck Kabongo, along with a few other semi-attractive names, went undrafted and could be had for even a semi-guaranteed deal, I’m sure. But if nobody drafted these guys, even in the second round without guaranteed money or a cap hit, how certain can the team be that these players will be more capable than, say, John Lucas III, the incumbent PG2? It’s worth a Summer League invite, for sure, but I’d still be perusing the free agent market.

As for other positions, well, nobody is safe on this team. Ujiri is not beholden to any player or contract, and it could make for a wild offseason. In fact, the Raptors have already leap-frogged Philadelphia and Boston in the Atlantic Division hierarchy (the C’s dealt Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for cap relief and picks last night, while the 76ers dealt Jrue Holiday and are apparently dealing Evan Turner and letting Andrew Bynum walk). Hopefully this doesn’t signal to Ujiri that it’s time to go “all in,” though his modus operandi certainly doesn’t feel like one that misjudges the competitive environment that egregiously.

Anyway, there’s still a lot to come in the offseason. The NBA calendar year officially ends on Monday, I believe, and then there’s the 10-day holding period for free agent negotiations (even though a bunch of deals will be announced anyway). So, two more weeks to speculate on trades and free agents.

Don’t assume the lack of a draft pick signals a timidness on the part of Ujiri or a move to veteran players or anything like that; the price simply wasn’t right this time.

  • ckh26

    This draft class, rightly or wrongly as only time will tell, was considered to be bereft of immediate impact talent. No need for hand wringing. If its not worth the money then don’t do an impulse buy. This non impulse reaction is the first look at the post colangelo era.

  • vino

    Agree with the general sentiment regarding the Raps and the draft; disagree with the
    notion that by doing noting (to this point) Toronto has leapfrogged Boston.
    Danny Ainge has just exchanged two old players that were leading them to 7-11
    for a few years, then retiring into four (counting Doc’s “trade” to the Clips)
    first round picks. Yes, maybe not high draft picks (Nets, Clips), but still…
    and this team still has Rondo, and their own pics. There are options in Boston
    and the time is on their hands now – they do not have to win now. The players
    they took back (bad contracts) are there for now; no one expects them to be the
    building blocks for the future. Their deals will expire and Boston will be in a
    better shape than before last night. No doubt! Properly done reset – that’s why
    Ainge gets paid those top $$! Toronto may have overtaken them for the next
    season… maybe two, but if you step aside and look at the overall picture – I think
    The Celtics are in a better shape than our team at this point. Not even taking
    into account they are a big market (time to get there as well for T.dot – TL?!).
    There is a lot of work for Ujiri…

    • Copywryter

      Your opinion won’t be popular but I agree with it. Brooklyn could very well be in rebuilding mode itself by 2016 and/or 2018 – making those picks and that deal much sweeter for Boston.

    • BlakeMurphy

      Moreso meant jumped them in the near term. Obviously unloading those guys for a rebuild makes sense long-term.

    • WhiteVegas

      I just wish BC hadn’t traded so many of our damn draft picks away otherwise we’d have been able to wheel and deal yesterday too. If we just had our damned 2nd round pick we could have easily gotten into the late 1st round. Fucking BC. We have got to give Ujiri a little leeway after the wreck of a situation BC left him with.

  • elkabong

    not sure how anyone could look at our salary structure and think the new GM could pull off any type of deal for a pick…. we have 3 almost untradeable contracts in Bargani,Kleiza + Fields and the biggest one in Bargs will net us a similarily bad deal in return if/when it happens. the other part of moving Bargs is he needs to play again and show he can at least contribute sumthin for the 2 years and 22mill it’s gonna cost someone….. nice to think they’ll amnesty that but i think it’s just too much to pay for the minor instant relief you get. if they can’t move him at all this season then biting the bullet on his 11.5 will likely happen for 2014-15 so we need to save that amnesty for now …..at that time Kleiza runs out and we’d be at 50 mil for 7 and staring at 17.7 mill for 3 in 2015-16 and at that point we can get real busy ……. it seems to me that this season is pretty much and sit on it and wait it out affair since that biggest first domino isn’t falling any time soon

    • Jamshid

      Nicely Said … I said this many times during the last season and after Rudy Gay trade. The new GM is left with a huge mess in his hands and it will be a at least 2 years before he can do anything with this team. We have some really bad contracts that we need to give assets out to move them at this point. BC did tons of damage and recovering from that can take a long time.
      People need to be patient and realize that. The best the new GM can do right now is to position the team in a good place for 2014 draft. It is suppose to be a very good draft that can really help our team.

  • Amigo

    Great job MU, trade for Javal McGee has a 40 mil contract only

  • Van Grungy

    I hope we can favorably compare Masai Ujiri to Pat Gillick in the future

  • aaron.in.toronto

    Ok, first of all to say that he wasn’t willing or didnt get tunnel vision is wrong. He did try to make those trades, he made his offer and it was not accepted. Swinging and missing is not the same as not swinging at all.
    On top of that the very same picks we were after
    were traded to other teams. So saying that we don’t know what the price of said picks is also wrong. We know exactly what the price was because they were given away to other teams right before our eyes.
    It’s possible that our offer(s) were equal but simply not accepted. You can’t blame the GM in that case, but the fact remains that he swung and missed and trying to spin that as something commendable is out of line.

    • CJT

      What are you talking about? How is MU not overspending for draft picks that are destined to become decent players out of line? Why is showing restraint and not knee jerk reacting to this situation out of line? Isn’t that how we got here?

    • elkabong

      just which “given away” pick deal did you think we had assets to come close to matching on any of the draft night deals? short of dealing away 2014 picks we were completely hamstrung it seemed to me

  • aaron.in.toronto

    Look what the other teams in our division did. Once they asses their team and see that they don’t have a franchise level player (76er’s, celtics) they identify guys that could be that type of player in the upcoming drafts, and wipe out all the high priced talent and try their best to get the top pick(s).

    The formula is that simple and it’s a cycle repeated over, and over. With superstars like wiggins coming up look whose going into tank mode; LA, Bos, Philly. We will sit back with Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay and watch while an iconic franchise like the Lakers miss the playoffs for and single year and grab the best Canadian player ever, putting them back on top of the NBA heap.

    This is the same as it always is teams like us are panicky and blinded by us missing the post-season for multiple years and we go for it the moment we should be looking for the 1st pick

    • WhiteVegas

      What makes you think LA is tanking? They still have Kobe, Nash, and Pau.

  • nahnahnah

    man tony mitchell would of been sick !!! whatever tho

  • Vega

    “But if nobody drafted these guys, even in the second round without guaranteed money or a cap hit, how certain can the team be that these players will be more capable than, say, John Lucas III,”

    But you forget that JLIII himself was undrafted out of college.

    I wouldn’t have picked Myck with a second-rounder either, but shooting woes aside, with his ability to run the pick and roll he does have some potential as a young third PG that could develop into a decent backup.

  • YKOil

    Great night for Boston. With a little bit of luck (not a lot of it mind you – just some) they will be the next dominant team after Miami.

    2014 1st rounder x 2 (1 early lottery (BOS) and 1 not (BNN))
    2015 1st rounder x 2 (1 early lottery (BOS) and 1 not (LAC))
    2016 1st rounder x 2 (1 late lottery (BOS) and 1 possible lottery (BNN))
    2017 1st rounder x 1 (20-30 range)

    2018 1st rounder x 2 (1 probable lottery (BNN) and 1 late pick (BOS))

    And that doesn’t include what they can get for Rondo.

    THAT is how you build a championship quality team. Colangelo only pretends to greatness.

    I am a very sad Raptors fan right now.

    • Vega

      Colangelo didn’t have nearly the assets the Celtics had. Who was he gonna trade for those picks? Antoine Wright?

    • mountio

      Not so sure about that. The Boston picks you list are now different than that picks that any shitty team has (ORL, Char, etc) – otherwise known as their own picks.
      In the Brooklyn deal, they pick up a 14, 16 and 18. But, as you point out, those will mostly be late picks (at least 14 and probably 16). So, how again is this a “great night for Boston”, considering the took back Wallace’s 3 years and 30 mm?

      • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

        How good are the Nets going to be in 3 years? Or 5? Garnett, Pierce, Terry and Johnson are probably going to be retired, by that time. Williams will be on the decline. The Nets could end up falling off a cliff in two years, and Boston will be there to benefit from it.

        Wallace’s contract isn’t good, but by the time they’re ready to contend again, it’ll be done.

        My guess is people will look back on this trade as the best thing the Celtics could have done.

        • WhiteVegas

          I agree it was the best thing they could have done. The Big 3 era in Boston ran its course and they were able to turn Pierce and Garnett into some future picks before they retired. I don’t agree that this sets Boston up for a championship future as YKoil is implying, especially not if they keep all those picks. What it does do for them is gives them some nice assets to trade to build around Rondo. I’m guessing they will tank next year in the Wiggins sweepstakes (there are soooo many teams that look like they’re tanking next year) and then look to bring in some big names and get back into the playoffs in 2014-15.
          So basically, it was a good move by the Celtics to get something for Pierce and KG while they still could, but that’s all it was. Trading their coach for a 1st round draft pick was even more impressive to me, has any other team done that before?

        • mountio

          Prokorov doesnt strike me as the kind of owner who is going to stand still. Hes committing to pay something like $84 mm in luxury tax alone THIS YEAR. You are right, Garnett, Pierce and maybe Johnson (I dont include Terry in anything – he sucks) will be retired. But, I fully expect them to be replaced with other signings, given that $50 mm ($60 mm with Terry) will be coming off the books whenever those guys retire.
          To be clear .. Boston did the right thing. I like the move .. it was a good one. Im not objecting to the move .. good for them for getting something in return for their assets.
          What I object to is the suggestion that Boston is set up “to be next dominant team after Miami”. I would argue they have done well to put themselves in a good position to rebuild. But, lets not forget, Orlando, Charlotte, Cleveland (especially) and other crappy teams not only have their own picks, which should be high, but also have some good young talent (whereas Boston has none right now (outisde of Rondo .. who knows what will happen to him and if he will still be productive 5 years down the road when these picks come to fruition) having not picked high in the draft over the last several years). I very much disagree with the notion that they are destined for a dynasty as a result of this trade.

          • CJT

            Agreed. Boston as stockpiled some picks and put themselves in to a strong rebuilding position. I don’t know that this move really helps the Nets all that much even in the short term. Pierce and Garnett are not what they were a few years ago. I don’t think this helps them get any closer to a Championship.

            • Kps

              Honestly i woulda taken that NO packege that netted Jrue Holiday for Valunciunas, maybe substituting Mclemore for Noel tho, two lottery picks 4 one lottery pick works for me and I’m a big fan of Vals.

          • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

            I’m not suggesting that the Nets won’t TRY to do something, but they are slowly using up their options. They’ll have few assets and if they don’t happen to be able to sign a big free agent (which is a good possibility), they’ll be screwed. I think there’s a good chance the 2016 pick and 2018 picks will both be lottery picks, and they’re both unprotected.

            And the difference between Boston and Orlando/Cleveland/Charlotte is management. Cleveland hasn’t made a good draft pick since selecting Kyrie Irving, and the jury is still out on the other two.

  • plk

    The Sixers are “letting Andrew Bynum ‘walk'”… Hahaha. Great pun.

    • arsenalist

      Well done, sir.

  • bob

    Interesting that MU keeps everything very close to his chest.. we still don’t know what direction he is taking with this team (maybe improving defensive play?).
    Hopefully, what didn’t transpire last night is a sign that the 7 years of overpaying ala BC (see Fields, resigning DeRozan) are gone. Now we just have to learn to be patient…

  • Brandon

    I don’t think they care about any of the players on the current roster, and rightly so, but they couldn’t get a pick without giving up a future pick, would be my guess. They don’t want to move out of any future draft.

  • WhiteVegas

    FYI, we declined the the option on JL3’s contract, so our PG2 slot is wide open. Bring on Kabongo!

  • Kps

    Honestly i woulda taken that NO packege that netted Jrue Holiday for Valunciunas, maybe substituting Mclemore for Noel tho, two lottery picks 4 one lottery pick works for me and I’m a big fan of Vals.

  • FAQ

    Masai “Playoffs” Ujiri.. or.. Masai “Tankman” Ujiri… which will it be…??!!!

    • TANKMAN

      honestly they should have let BC keep operations of basketball and MU have the GM position.
      Let BC tank and get rid of bad contracts like bargs lowry fields, flip ross & DMDZ for a (2) 2014 picks amnesty kleiza and rebuild with a core of rudy gay, amir J, JV.. in need of a solid PG & SG (brandon jennings & monta elis)
      theres still more to come.
      what about our bench? who can provide that boost off the bench other than Amir?
      so many things, such little time.. and the clock is still ticking for the new GM.