The assumption has been that the Toronto Raptors are tanking this season.

That assumption is fair and based on both context clues and logic; the Raptors need to be bad to get good, and this is an especially attractive route in a year where Canadian Andrew Wiggins is available as a potential lottery prize. Industry insiders have hinted at the fact that the Raptors are in a tear-down mode, and the early part of the season has been spent waiting for the next domino and then the next domino to fall.

General manager Masai Ujiri has made two crucial steps towards setting a stronger foundation for the team: he’s gotten rid of two troublesome contracts and he’s acquired some future assets in the form of the picks acquired for Andrea Bargnani. Rudy Gay returned some useful pieces that actually have the team playing better (more on that next week), but that trade was about financial flexibility more than anything.

If you look at how teams are built, there are essentially three keys, none of which are mutually exclusive or necessary in combination: a star player, financial flexibility and tradeable assets. Ujiri has now successfully created financial flexibility moving forward and acquired some assets then in effect work as currency.

pic1 cap pic2 picks

The asset acquisition isn’t quite as obvious, but during the window in which picks can be traded, the Raptors have an extra first and an extra second. That’s not significant, but it’s not insignificant either, especially if you consider those picks as currency and consider the Raptors own picks as moveable.

And the currency aspect of picks may be why we’ve heard so much about Ujiri seeking future firsts in any deal. Why is a 2018 first from the Knicks or a 2019 first from the Nets so important? Sure, maybe he’s got his eyes on Seventh Woods and knows he’s going to stay in college for a few years, but it’s more likely that he’s in asset acquisition mode, and something like taking on Raymond Felton’s contract and grocery bill is well worth a future pick, however impossible to value that may be.

Now, before I go forward, it’s worth being forthcoming with the fact that I’m generally not in favor of tanking, even though I absolutely understand the logic and even the necessity in the current NBA system. If I was a GM, I’m positive I’d do it too, not because I’m guaranteed anything (you’re not) but because it’s a system that’s there to be gamed and there’s a chance of expediting the rebuilding process in an appreciable way.

With all of that said, I’ve softened on the anti-tanking stance (“you can’t fight it, you might as well embrace it”, in the immortal words of Sum41). If it’s coming, I’ll fall in line, even though I’ll never, ever cheer for a loss in an individual game.

I’m taking a circuitous route to get to my point, which is:

I’m starting to feel like the Raptors aren’t actually in full-blown, everything-must-go tank mode.

While, as mentioned, I realize this is probably the ideal route for the Raptors, consider the following facts:

*The Eastern Conference is absolutely awful.
*The Toronto Raptors are actually not that bad.
*No individual Raptor is likely to net a great return.

Let’s start with the second point; the Raptors probably can’t tank. They’re 11-15, which isn’t great, but they have an almost-even point differential (15th in the NBA) against a schedule that’s actually been above-average in difficulty (11th), leaving them 14th in Basketball Reference’s Simple Rating, 12th in Hollinger’s Power Rankings and sitting with a 93.8 percent chance of making the playoffs based on ESPN’s Playoff Odds.

And that ties into the first point; If Ujiri strips the assets that do have value, this team might fall to ninth or 10th in the East, perhaps a bit lower, but they’re not bottoming out unless Ujiri and Dwane Casey get really shady. In a best case scenario, on the other hand, this team might have enough to make the second round of the playoffs. You wouldn’t call them a top-four team in the East on talent alone but it’s pretty easy to see the Raptors ending up with Washington or Charlotte in a four-five match-up and making a series of it. This sounds like nothing, but for a franchise with only one playoff series victory in 19 years, with new ownership and a new MLSE boss, and the not-insignificant lure of four-plus games of playoff revenue, a playoff push probably isn’t being discounted entirely in the office.

And then the third point, that no Raptor is bringing a tonne back. You might get a future first for Kyle Lowry if a team gets more desperate, and you’d almost certainly be able to fish a future first, perhaps with protections, for Amir Johnson. You could deal DeMar DeRozan, but it’s unclear if his salary is such that, while he’s valuable, anyone would give you much for him. Jonas Valanciunas is reportedly off the market unless a deal is a can’t-miss proposition. Nobody beyond those four is bringing back a first, and nobody else is going to move the needle on the tank-o-meter.

If you could deal Lowry, DeRozan and Johnson for two firsts somehow (separate deals, or in one giant multi-team deal), you probably do it, but you’re not dealing them for things that don’t move the needle long-term. Lowry, yes, you get what you can if you don’t want to pay him this offseason, but DeRozan and Johnson don’t need to go – there’s already cap flexibility, they’re good players, they’re young and they like playing here. You could have worse pieces to help transition from rebuilding to building.

So, let’s review: you’re not out-tanking the rest of the East, you’re not getting much for anyone except maybe Lowry and Johnson, there’s playoff potential and you’ve already built in some cap flexibility and acquired future assets.

It’s very possible that Ujiri has evaluated the situation and realized that there are more plausible paths to building at the moment. The Houston Rockets waited with flexibility, asset acquisition and opportunistic striking to turn into a near-contender. Maybe a Dwight Howard wouldn’t sign in Toronto, but maybe with flexibility and assets (young players and picks) you can continue to poach from teams, ala the James Harden deal. Phoenix is doing pretty damn good with a similar “just make net-positive deals” strategy right now, too.

So you continue on the current path, deal what you can for assets largely considered as “currency” (future firsts, young players on cheap deals), and even use some of your new-found flexibility to get a team to pay you to take on a bad deal (Utah got two firsts to take on Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins). You sit back, you continue to evaluate and acquire assets. You don’t make a trade that isn’t a net-positive just for the sake of tanking, because making a net-negative deal because it makes sense in a narrow vacuum is poor asset management. Just stay the path, and make the deals that make sense.

And then you Chris Webber Andrew Wiggins.

Maybe this isn’t likely, but I have a theory that this is Ujiri’s current strategy. Acquire assets, improve flexibility, make smart deals and let the chips fall where they may with the 2013-14 season. And then you take those assets you’ve acquired, you leverage that flexibility you’ve created, and you make a major offer for a pick that can net you Wiggins (if he’s the endgame, which he almost certainly is).

Chris Webber was acquired for Penny Hardaway and three first round picks. It’s certainly possible a team with a high pick this year would see value in multiple future picks in place of one pick in 2014, specifically if they’re not enamored with the option available where they select. Say Wiggins slides out of the top spot, and the Raptors can offer their No. 17 pick, the Knicks 2016 first and either the Raptors 2016 or 2018 first (or the Knicks 2018, if they cave on the Lowry deal), for the second or third pick. Maybe a player is thrown in as sweetener, or the Raptors take back a bad deal as well.

It might not seem likely right now, but teams are in different stages of building and might have different strategies for building and it’s not a certainty that every team is equally enamored with every draft prospect.

And yes, perhaps part of this thinking is my desire to soothe the cognitive dissonance associated with wanting the team to win while also knowing a high pick is the best long-term strategy for a team in the middle. But I also don’t think it’s at all unrealistic.

The Raptors almost can’t do an all-out tank at this point and the players that are trade pieces might not net the return you’d like. I think the prudent strategy, then, is to continue to make positive-value moves, let the season play out, and then utilize what you’ve done to take a strike at Wiggins (or whoever). If that fails, sure, you still don’t have a star, but you have flexibility, trade currency and some useful trade assets. If it works, you’ve got your players some playoff experience, (slightly) improved the overall profile of the franchise and have more pieces around your top pick.

I don’t have sources to confirm this thinking, but this is where I’m at presently. Tanking actually isn’t all that easy, so it may be time to find another path to a high pick.

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  • Balls of Steel

    Tanking is a lot harder than making the playoffs in this weak “Leastern” Division. A lot of posters and fans are enamoured by the tanking direction but I feel it will be a lot harder to accomplish than doing well this year. Also, if we gut the team for Wiggins, it’ll take 2 or more years to get this team to play respectable basketball yet again. It’s great for gate receipts as fans will sell out the building for a chance to watch Wiggins but it will be many nights of growing pains yet again. If the Knicks and Nets weren’t so bad, the tank mode could’ve been a lot easier for the Raps. Let the chips fall where they may, build some assets and let Ujiri’s magic take place come draft night.

  • webfeat

    Even if Ujiri traded away DD, Lowry and Amir, there’s still the possibility that the remaining team might make the playoffs. A starting lineup of GV, JV, PP, TR and Salmons could hold its own against the dregs of the NBA. And let’s not forget that the raps would get some players (to match salaries) in return that might fill in well off the bench. Ujiri has a habit of getting more than he gives. Casey’s not gonna be convinced to lose on purpose unless he’s given a contract extension, and I don’t think Ujiri wants to give him one. So what ya gonna do?

    As odd as it may sound: losing ain’t easy.

    • AB4EYE

      No way on earth that team makes the playoffs even in this division!

  • AB4EYE

    Trading Gay for what he got was a tank move, and making a Chris Webber type trade would set us back even more than accidentally winning the Atlantic will.

    • Saskatoon Raps Fan

      I disagree. As long as both Amir and demar are not in that trade there’s a solid core to build around with wiggins and JV as options 1 and 2. While he’s no superstar Demar could be a very good 3rd option. Same with Amir. Imagine if the sweetener was Ross and we kept both. As for the draft picks don’t count our 2014 because we’d be getting wiggins that year with a higher 2014 pick. The future 2016 is an extra pick we’d still have one. Again if ujiri gets another future pick out of lowry and includes it, its still an extra pick so we’d still have a 2018 pick ot whatever yr it turns out to be. Yes we’d be losing our 2015. But I’d definitely give that up for a player with as much superstar potential as wiggins. Especially since we already have JV so we really don’t need to get that 2nd top 5 pick because we’ve already got one. I wouldn’t be sweating the loss of those extra picks because we would already have a core that could be built into a contender. Also ujiri should be able to add a free agent or 2 to that core when it’s ready to compete.

      • AB4EYE

        Orlando got the #3 player in the draft and 3 more lottery selections for Webber, we can’t give up 4 lottery picks for one player and even unless that one player is the best player in the NBA by a mile.

    • Nathan Monteith

      Trading Gay was not a tank move. If you think that you must believe Masai is horrible at his job, since even the most casual fan knows we were going to be better without Gay.

      • AB4EYE

        How is it not a tank move? He’s not looking at winning now and none of the players he got are long term assets and we got no picks.

        • Nathan Monteith

          Uh. Because a tank move is move that helps us tank. We got better, and that was obvious in the trade. Vasquez and Patterson are potential long term assets that are affordable and young.

          • AB4EYE

            We got better short term because Amir is playing out of his mind and Lowry is playing some of his best ball of his career as well.

            The only real upgrade we got was DC sticking with one back up PG instead of drawing guys names out of a hat like he basically done before with DB, JS and DJA getting random PT from game to game. When he moves Kyle that upgrade is gone and the we also decline at the sporting spot.

            • Nathan Monteith

              Moving Lowry is a different discussion. We’re talking about the Gay trade. No doubt Lowry moved for nothing is a tank move. Amir is just playing slightly better than last years numbers over the last 8 games (15ish, 9ish) – thats player growth. He’ll maintain the pace because of the way he plays. Even Lowry’s numbers since trade (16ish, 8ish) are around what he was doing in Houston when healthy. Its no surprise how they are playing with Gay gone. And since you mentioned the word ‘upgrade at PG’, no matter how slight, that is further evidence the move wasnt a tank move.

              • AB4EYE

                Dude you don’t trade Rudy for no long term assets if you aren’t tanking and you aren’t out there taking offers for everyone on your team unless the tank is the goal.

                Amir is not going to shot near 70 forever, he fell off last game and we lost and he and Kyle have never played like this.

                Since trade
                16.4 and 9.6 for Amir
                17.3 and 7.8 for Kyle

                Previous career highs.
                10.0 and 7.3 for Amir
                14.3 and 6.7 for Kyle

                They are blowing our their career best pace on this run and without them doing so we wouldn’t be winning this game. We beat 2 winning teams all year long and in those games Amir was 16 and 9.5 not even needing 10 shots to do that, and Kyle put up 21 and 7.5
                in those two wins.

                • StrikerAI

                  No one would have traded a long term asset for Rudy. Rudy was playing terrible and can opt out after this season, and Masai traded him to get financial flexibility to sign players in FA. I do agree Masai was probably looking to tank, but at this point it will be pretty difficult given how historically bad the Atlantic division and the East is. Plus Masai isn’t going to trade away Amir, Lowry and Derozan just for the sake of tanking, he obviously wants something in return, or he would have took the Felton + World Peace deal for Lowry.

                • AB4EYE

                  He is going to trade some of those players to tank he just isn’t going to give them away.

    • ItsAboutFun

      lol, I don’t know if this is trolling, or a genuine desperate attempt to cling to a belief that MU is tanking.

      That he didn’t get draft picks has nothing to do with tank/no-tank. What he got was was he could get to unload Gay, who was hurting the team’s offense, immensely, and saddling them financially. What he got back was the best he could have expected, and found a sucker in the Kings.

      The contracts he took back present only 1 commitment beyond the year, at less than 1/3 of what Gay was due next year. Yup. Still has nothing to do with tanking this year. What it does is create financial flexibility moving forward, while giving them first dibs on Vasquez and Patterson (decent bench guys?), if they want to keep them or use them in a sign & trade.

      A “tank” move is supposed to make the team bad/worse, no? They rid themselves of a very high TO black hole that was killing any semblance of team offense, while upgrading (we’re talking this year, right?) the bench at EVERY position. Any attempt to look into one’s crystal ball and say certain players aren’t going to be able to maintain post-trade numbers is just desperate clinging to the narrative. Bottom line is that this team is playing like an entirely different team since the trade, and much, much better at both ends. Individual numbers go up and down, but commitment to a style/method of play that produces wins isn’t something these players are going to abandon.

      On it’s own, the Gay trade is far from a tanking move, despite what some babbling media people said. Whatever imaginary Lowry trade, or any others you conger up, nothing can be judged until something actually happens. The only seemingly legit rumour we’ve heard had NY seeking Lowry, and MU offering a deal they couldn’t accept. Doesn’t sound like MU is looking at any drastic moves to tank, as in get bad to get better.

      • AB4EYE

        If we aren’t tanking then who are we adding at the deadline? The answer is nobody because even in first place we are trying to trade our guys AWAY! MU does not want to win this year and would love to slide down into position to hit the lottery.

        • CJT

          Guessing is fun isn’t it. 🙂

          • AB4EYE

            Only a fool would think MU is looking to win this year and isn’t working to make this current team worse.

            • ItsAboutFun

              “Only a fool would” respond to your baseless/senseless trolling for long.

              • AB4EYE

                So I guess that makes you a fool, right?

                • ItsAboutFun

                  lol, thanks for the troll confirmation, but I guess you and the dough heads that liked your post missed the “for long” part.

                • AB4EYE

                  You been responding for the better part of a day so just how long does it need to be?

            • CJT

              Great point.

    • Steve Fisher

      The RG trade was the exact opposite of a tank. We are a much better team without RG as shown by our improvement in assists shooting %, turnovers scoring ,and overall team chemistry and morale .and team cap flexibility.Other than that nothing positive has been gained by the Raps. Steve Fisher

      • AB4EYE

        Then why aren’t we adding at the deadline?

        • CJT

          You understand that the trade deadline is still two months away right?

          • AB4EYE

            You do know we aren’t adding any players and will trade anyone on our roster in heartbeat for the right offer and for 90% of the roster isn’t that much.

            Do you honestly think we’re going to add a player at the deadline and not deal Kyle?

            • CJT

              I don’t pretend to know. I believe in our new management team and will try not to make uneducated guesses as to what they might be thinking. I hope they continue to make smart basketball moves to improve my team, whatever form that takes I will leave to them to decide.

              • AB4EYE

                They will make smart moves that’s why we will be trading players away and not adding at the deadline.

  • Milesboyer

    Yes. It would be very hard for the Raptors to bottom out at this point. Trading Lowry I could see but if you gut the whole team it poses two problems – first, it leaves the team with very little going forward but a “chance” at a star player that may or may not work out. Even if it did, is this “star” going to be any better than say a Kevin Love, John Wall, Demarcus Cousins type (how great are their teams)? Maybe, maybe not, and you still have to reassemble a decent team, which could take years to do. The second problem is that gutting the team at this point, i.e. trading Amir, Lowry and DD would look like such an outright tank that I don’t think Masai or the organization would do it.

    I’m on the “playoff push” side of the argument. 2nd round of the playoffs? Yes it’s possible. Is that being short sighted? Yes. Do I care. No. Do I want to see the Raptors actually play some meaningful games? Hell yes.

    • 7-11

      Define “meaningful”. Like, for your entertainment? Or $ for MLSE?

    • tonious35

      Sign and trade Lowry. Lowry will max out his value non-the-less, Ujiri being classy will offer him a 8-9 million dollar deal and package it out with a pick or cap ballast, and we can get on of the top picks for it. Worth a try and the risk.

  • Doc Stend

    I don’t know. The East is wretched for sure, but I think if you subtract either one of Lowry, DeRozan or both, this team loses nearly every single game.

    • ac1011990

      Ya i agree, I think just trading Lowry will most likely be enough. He has a history of getting injured and if that happens (hope not for his sake) this team goes downhill again and were back to the same spot we always are. Greivis is a decent player but he gets wrecked on defense, and is just as slow as the SAC fans described him. Lowry right now is whats keeping this team together, he brings that attitude, play making and defense to set the tone. Imagine replacing him with Greivis and either Buycks/Stone.

    • Dr. Scooby

      Yes for sure.
      Many worry that the so-called ‘tankers’ mean to tear the whole team down – which is not the case. Many suggest ‘tanking’ for a the #1′ is risky and flawed – true, but getting the 2-6 pick may be possible if Lowry is dealt.

    • Dr. Scooby

      Lowry is gone. He’ll be looking for $$$ this time as arguably he’s been underpaid. If the Raps opt to sign him, they’ll have to dole out 9-11 million per season…I like the dude- especially the way he’s been playing in his Contract Year (means he’s trying really hard for a big contract), but not so much at that price.

    • Dr. Scooby

      there are Lots of lottery teams in the East – they WILL be better after this draft, so you gotta factor that going forward with what the Raptors have.

  • DarkGhettoNight

    I really like the idea of this article. As a non-tanker myself, the Raptors are in a good place right now. We’ve just made it through the roughest part of our schedule and we’re leading our division. If the Raptors continue to put it all together as the season continues, we’re going to be a legit contender to win at least one playoff series. If we do that and take either the Pacers or Heat to 6 or 7 it does A LOT for a middling franchise and with Masai’s genius in terms of trades, acquiring a superstar not an impossibility. As much as we’d all love Andrew Wiggins, Randle, Parker of Embiid; it’s not worth it to firesell our future for it; especially when all of our 4 best players are still under 26.

  • CJT

    Interesting Blake, i tend to agree with your assessment. I find it funny that the pro tanking community tries to create this dire black and white scenario about how this team as currently constructed is a treadmill team, which may be true. But why on earth would this team remain as currently constructed? Just because we may not be tanking doesn’t mean that we will just stand pat and not make net positive deals to continuously improve and upgrade the talent level of the team, or continue to create flexibility and gather assets to be able to make trades etc. I think this is the more sensible way to proceed at this point.

    • sleepz

      I can respect the point of view but in one instance the argument is that none of the young players can net anything decent in return via trade but at the end you refer to therm as good young players that can transition from rebuilding to building.

      Which one is it? If they have no value around the league but you are choosing those players to take you to the next step in building, how good is your team?

      Lowry is a free agent at the end of the year as well and can go wherever he pleases. If you resign him, you can forget the flexibility and roster improvement.

      I think it is also highly unlikely that any team trades away a potential franchise player for a combination of middling first round picks and young players that you’ve already determined have little trade value.

      • ItsAboutFun

        Black meet white, again. whoooooooooooooooooooooooosh!

      • CJT

        I agree with some of this, I personally believe that some of our players do have value both on their own as well as part of a package. I certainly appreciate that MU is trying to maximize their value right now and don’t feel panicky to have to pull the trigger on a deal that is anything less than a net win for the Raptors. If dealing someone for picks and/or prospects ends up making us worse this year then so be it. But I am not going to deal all of our assests just to lose for a chance at a decent player. Nothing I have seen from the golden boys in the NCAA so far has me convinced that there are overly special players guaranteed from this draft class. I believe in making small and steady forward progress and think that we have seen MU do that so far this season. We’ll see I suppose.

  • ckh26

    Here is a something to consider as the debate rages on whether to tank or not to tank for draft position as the way to the promised land. The Cleveland Cavaliers in a 5 year sample size have had multiple picks in 3 of the last 5 years including 2, 1st overall selections and 2, fourth overall selections. Thats (count’em) 4 top 5 picks in the last 3 years. They currently sit 10-17. Just sayin.

    Year 2013
    Round 1 Pick 1 Anthony Bennett
    Round 1 Pick 19 Sergey Karasev

    Year 2012
    Round 1 Pick 4 DionWaiters
    Round 1 Pick 24 Jared Cunningham

    Year 2011
    Round 1 Pick 1 Kyrie Irving
    Round 1 Pick 4 Tristan Thompson

    Year 2009
    Round 1 Pick 30 Christian Eyenga

    Year 2008
    Round 1 Pick 19 JJ Hickson

    • ac1011990

      How about you list the picks of the thunder, Warriors, and Blazers, Depends on who you have as scouting. Cleveland has reached with all of there top picks, except for Irving. The draft is not guaranteed but its a tool to turn your team from being horrendous like the Seattle Supersonics to what the thunder are now, if you use it right.

      • ckh26

        Portland’s draft is not exactly murder’ers row now is it ? Other than Lillard they look pretty much like a who’s who of the waiver wire. ….
        2013 1 10 C.J.McCollum
        2012 1 6 Damian Lillard
        2012 1 11 Meyers Leonard
        2011 1 21 Nolan Smith
        2010 1 22 Elliot Williams
        2009 1 22 Victor Claver
        2008 1 13 Brandon Rush
        2007 1 1 Greg Oden
        Nothing in the NBA draft is for sure. From where you finish to where you actually get to pick to who you pick.

        • CJT

          I don’t think this was what he was expecting to see.

          • ckh26

            Yes logic and facts tend to get in the way of this guy.

        • ac1011990

          Their 2 main players were drafted #2 in 2006 and #6 in the 2012 draft. Their this good because of those 2 players. Without the high picks they wouldn’t be where they are. Outside the lottery the quality of players generally goes down, look at that list. Thats why if your not a big market team its important to get higher picks, if your not anywhere close to contending. The thunder and Warriors are perfect examples of how drafting high, having a decent scouting staff and good GM can change the fortunes of the team.

          • ckh26

            And there are two examples in Portland and Cleveland that stand as examples of why the draft is not the sole answer to building a team. Indiana is another. The Heat didn’t build through the draft either.

            • ac1011990

              Lolz when Raptors can attract a Lebron, and Wade, then come to me with the FA signings. Im not going to answer or talk anymore about this with you, If you like the team as is great. Your not even answering my questions, and you seem to find the draft completely useless.

              • ckh26

                You are the composite tanker / quitter. Your done.. your beat… Run away and hide. You have no questions. All you have are objections to anyone that does not share your point of view.

              • jjdynomite

                You do realize, ac123456789, that Wiggins (and, to a lesser realistic extent, Durant) said they WANTED to play in Toronto. For the Raptors. Why are you casting this team and this City as Milwaukee East?! And besides those guys, what about Euro FAs who Masai can charm to come, who don’t care about South Beach and shorteez? Like, far better players than Turk? That shouldn’t be too hard. Think Gortat wouldn’t be pleased with some Roncesvalles kielbasa? Or Batum with some fine French cuisine? Toronto isn’t some backwoods, we’ve just had shitty management through the history of this Franchise (and our local government).

                • ac1011990

                  My god you people are something else. I love Toronto, when did i ever say anything against the city. Whether we like it or not, Toronto is NOT a preferred destination of star players. If you don’t want to accept that your choice. I’m sure Wiggins wants to play here, Most people would love to play for their own city. I would rather try getting him here now instead of potentially waiting 8 years. Durant said he wanted to play for the Raptors growing up, if we presented a case for him to come he might think about it, who knows. But that is after we get a good coach and established elite players. I seriously doubt he would leave his current team, a legitimate contender to come to this Raptors team. If you think this team has more upside then the current thunder team then dont even reply back. Do not come back with the whole we can draft players and trade and sign unknown gems, forget about that, so can any team. The thunder are probably one decent piece away from being a championship team, we are not even close. Any team in this league can sign an unknown player that turns out to be the next Manu or whatever, the history of this team has shown we have not made any significant trades or free agent signings. Live in your world of Durant leaving the championship contender Thunder for us, or Wiggins leaving his team to play here. We actually have a chance of going after Wiggins this year and your talking about waiting multiple years hoping he decides to come. How about showing him we really want him to be the franchise face of the Raptors, how about showing him wel do what we can to obtain him this year. This organization at this point benefits way more from him being here then he would. Hes going to make his millions, if he lives up to his potential hel benefit another team for most likely 8 years. Fans sit here and act like hes obligated to come play for the raptors or that its a given. If his drafted team is a contender by the end of his contract, hes not guaranteed to come here. Im not happy with a Gortat or a Batum, I want a superstar, i want this team to be a legitimate contender one day. Keep dreaming we pull off a miracle trade or find that Lebron 2.0 sitting in Spain.

                • ckh26

                  “The thunder are probably one decent piece away from being a championship team, we are not even close”

                  Perhaps the thunder can follow your sage advice and tank ? That way they can get that one additional player that will win them the championship in two years time

                  “Any team in this league can sign an unknown player that turns out to be the next Manu or whatever”…

                  Really.? Really any team in the league can sign an unknown allstar ? Really ? The next sound you hear will be a kind of popping sound as the cranial rectum inversion your currently experiencing ends..

                • ac1011990

                  Lolz you don’t stop do you. I didn’t want to talk to you because my opinions are hurting your feelings, please stop insulting me and my intelligence. I’m not here to attack anyone personally, if you feel a certain way good for you. I’m expressing how i feel, so are you. Be a decent civilized person and come back to me with intelligent points, none of this head in my ass stuff. My stance has been clear and consistent this whole time. I said multiple times you rebuild when you know your team is not getting anywhere, like the Raptors over the past 5 plus years. You pick high in the draft, try and obtain elite talent like the Thunder did, and then you sign players to fill in the holes. You keep thinking the Thunder and Raptors are in the same place, they are NOT. The thunder are a legitimate contender, the Raptors are NOT. If we had a Durant and Westbrook I would NOT be advocating a rebuild, no sane person would. In that situation you find role players through free agency or trades.

                  jjdynomite said that Masai can charm Euro FA to come play here in Toronto, so can any team. Every basketball player’s dream is to play in the NBA. If the Bobcats offered a Euro FA a chance to play for them you think hes going to reject that offer and say no id rather wait till the Lakers find me, no that’s not going to happen. Any team in the NBA has the ability to sign Euro league players if they want. The Raptors have no advantage in Euro league signings just because Toronto has a diverse community. Stop twisting my words, read the convo then reply. Do you need me to explain anything else, or are we done?

                • bballi

                  Roncesvalles perogies…(drooling)

          • jjdynomite

            And the Thunder and Warriors haven’t won anything more than Portland or Cleveland yet. IOW: nothing. And the great GM of OKC traded away the #1 SG in the league to save money. There are many ways to win a title — or give one away. To say there is one template to winning (a top 3 pick) is pretty limiting, don’t you think?

            • CJT

              Or the Raptors for that matter!

    • Ian Reynolds

      Confirmation bias.

  • One relaxed fella

    Very nice article, Blake. Personally I don’t think that Ujiri is that type of GM who would trade his three first rounders for one player/pick. He likes to keep his picks to himself and he always looks to acquire some additional picks in trades as well. I think that this strategy (acquiring picks) is also a form of flexibility to Ujiri, next to getting rid of big contracts and having financial flexibility.

    Since Ujiri is SO damn good in the draft lottery I wouldn’t want him to miss any of the future drafts (especially the first round ones) because he can and has proven in the past that he does find valuable players in draft regardless the number of the pick. I also think that Ujiri will never dive into one idea will all that he has. He will always keep something in case. Giving away your three first round picks sounds like stagnation of your movement in the future. I don’t think that’s going to happen, although this proposition is very interesting and actually more realistic than the idea of tanking and hoping to win the lottery. That’s why I liked the article.

    At this point there are plenty of teams who tank really hard, therefore Raptors would need do give up too many valuable players to reach the very bottom. Getting rid of too much could cause a situation where it might be too difficult to construct a proper roster in the future. At the end, it’s all about what do you give up, what do you get in return and what do you keep. Trading DeRozan and Lowry is fine with me as long as Ujiri manages to get picks or/and young talented players.

    • ac1011990

      If we manage to get a future first for Lowry we could trade away New York’s 2016 pick, the future first along with our own 2014. We wouldn’t be giving up much because we already have our own picks for those years. Nobody gives up elite talents or prospects for nothing. Houston essentially gave up 3 first round and 1 second round pick for Harden, and that turned out great for both sides. Fans dont want to tank this year because they all think that this win streak actually means were a legitimate threat now for some reason. Nobody really knows what Masai is thinking so this is likely the best way to acquire a top pick. This method doesn’t require the breaking up of our current core of Valancinus, Derozan and Ross and we can also potentially add a game changing piece.

  • demar

    I think if we traded Lowry and demar,, we would be stuck in no mans land! the east is to weak and once are schedule eases up, no way we loose a lot of games unless they trade amir and JV

    • AB4EYE

      We are 4 games under .500 and in first but also just 4 games from last place, if we move those guys we would have no problem sliding down to get a Top-5 slot before the lottery.

      • ckh26

        What if we whiff on the pick…?
        What if we draft the equivalent of a Darko, or a Greg Oden , a Yi Jianlian a Derrick Williams ?

        • ac1011990

          Then what? What happens if we whiff on a pick, life moves on, if it didn’t work you move on exactly like it never happened. What if we get a player who turns out to be the next Carmelo/Pierce mixed or if we get the SF we all know we need. Wiggins may not be the next superstar but he has massive amounts of potential and plays solid defensive and is a very willing passer. People act like this fluke of a playoff experience is going to morph this team into the Pacers or magically surround us with winning culture like the Spurs. Nobody respects the Raptors not now, not if we get into the playoffs because nobody can compete in the Eastern conference. The only way we get respect is if we can continuously go toe to toe with the likes of the Spurs, Heat,, Pacers etc.

          • ckh26

            You have to start to erase the stink of losing sometime. Making the playoffs this year is the first step in a journey to do so. Respect is earned through competing and winning. Building a team that has a winning ethos is not easy. I think we have enough purple “participant” ribbons.

            • ac1011990

              Great now we can replace that participant ribbon to ribbons of “thanks for letting us practice for the next round” handed to us by the pacers or heat. No thanks id rather have a chance before going in.

              • ckh26

                Winning the Atlantic would get us 4th. We wouldn’t see the pacers or the heat till round 2. Yup we don’t have the players to run with the heat or the pacers and most likely would lose that series.
                But potentially two rounds in the playoffs to see what it takes to get deep into the playoffs and what DD, JV, Ross can do when it counts (Amir is a given) combined with a mid to late teens pick in a deep draft and an FA signing says next time through we do have a better core and a better chance.

                • AB4EYE

                  We lost both games to the team we would play if the playoffs started today and they have 3 more wins than us.

                • ckh26

                  So distilled down to its basest .. we should quit now because the team we would play in the playoffs has beaten us during the regular season and has 3 more wins overall ?
                  Tanking is another word for quitting. One can accept not being good enough. You should never advocate quitting as a course of action because the task at hand is to hard.

                • AB4EYE

                  No we should quit because its best for our future, we have nothing to gain by making the playoffs except for making some fans with short attention happy who them will bitch and moan for the next 3 years while we’re still rebounding when the east reverts back to normal.

                • ac1011990

                  Lolz you do realize that if the playoffs started today we would be facing the Bobcats. We lost both games to them. One before Rudy and one after. Fans are so excited about making it into the second round because of the weakness of the eastern conference but fail to realize we are facing a team were win less against. They also have a better record then us.

                • ckh26

                  Your afraid of the Bobcats ?:

            • AB4EYE

              If we win the division with a losing record players aren’t going to magically want to come here.

              • ckh26

                Players never magically go anywhere. If the prospects for the team are good look to be moving up and the money is right you go. We got the money. We have to show that our propspects are also good .. by winning

                • AB4EYE

                  We don’t have even money that’s the problem, if we did we would have signed a star by now. Toronto has to draft or trade for its good players and if we don’t we will never get any stars.

                • ckh26

                  MLSE has pantloads of money. We haven’t been able to sign a marquee/star player as we don’t have what star players want. A winning team that has the ability to get even better when they sign with us. With that players will come.

                • AB4EYE

                  We he money but the money isn’t equal to what US teams can pay due to taxes and other off the court issues that limit star power.

        • AB4EYE

          What about we do?

          If He blows that high pick how can we expect him to nail one in the middle part of the draft and turn it around. The only way the Raptors are ever going to be good is get at least 3 elite players in the draft and the better spot you pick in the better chance you have to land on of those players.

          Trying to fast track the rebuild and dealing assets for Gay and Lowry and missing out in last years draft all while not even winning set us back. Going for another mediocre run at the playoffs again this year will set us back even more.

          • ckh26

            Getting 3 elite players in the draft is a great plan. However the likelihood of being able to actually do that is pretty long odds. Agree with you that the higher the selection slot is the better your odds are of getting that elite player. However nothing is for sure. You can still wind up with a Derrick WIlliams and you still need lottery luck to get that top 3 pick.. We could finish with the number 5 pick based on record and pick 7th.. just out of range.

            Perhaps we could cheer for injuries ? Kyle to roll an ankle ? Demar for a knee injury. ? Maybe JV gets a back problem ?

            • AB4EYE

              We potentially have a shot at 3 if we got one in this draft. People always want to point out early busts but there is far more early HR than busts and you stand a far great shot at getting a franchise changing player there than where we will be picking if we accidentally win the Atlantic.

      • CJT

        What you are failing to mention is that we have also played the second fewest games in the conference. We have 2 games in hand with most of the conference and have also had one of the toughest schedules to date. So not quite as easy as you make it out to be.

        • AB4EYE

          We still are that many games from having a Top-5 pick.

      • Bryan Colangelo

        Yes. But the competition to be shitty is so high this year you have to seriously consider whether or not we would be better off exploiting teams that have already divested too much into sucking.

        If the Jazz, Bucks, and 76ers are neck and neck in the loss column, who knows? You might be able to pry off some quality players for a second-round pick, expiring contracts and a bottle of scotch.

  • demar

    Looking at schedule past Jan 7th, its to easy! so for sure we win some of those games enough to be stuck in no mans land!

  • demar

    what would be the point? then we loose all our young guys and then hope the player we pick is injury free and turns into a super star based on potential but that doesn’t always happen! lets say money gets to them… they don’t train? get into drugs lol and we are in a worst situation then ever as a franchise!

  • demar

    I also want to point out we have played san antonio twice, miami twice, OKC, pacers, portland, houston, dallas.. our schedule seems to be so hard compared to other teams! then miami and pacers again in early jan.. I looked at some of the top teams schedules are theres were so easy up unto this point

    • AB4EYE

      We have played some good teams but we are 2-11 vs teams .500 or better and only 4 other teams have fewer than 2 wins vs those types of teams. The Wizards and Bobcats are 1-8 each so 1 less win in 4 less tries, NO is 0-11 in winning West but also 12-3 vs bad teams and the Bucks are 0-7 as NBA’s worst team.

      • ItsAboutFun

        No idea what point you’re actually trying to make, but let’s add to whatever train of thought this is, with numbers that don’t fit your narrative.

        The Raps are 2-11 vs teams .500 or better? Yup, and 2-2 since the trade. Tanking trade, huh? 0-9 before, 2-2 after. hmmmm

        Vs Western teams? On the season overall, the Raps have 4th best record among Eastern teams, exactly where they sit in the standings, at 5-7.

        • AB4EYE

          If you and the other silly people who think we moved Gay to get better why are we still talking about trading guys away rather than trade to get better?

          Amir and Kyle played out of their minds in those two wins. The 3 new players in those two wins shot 40% in those games and had a combinded negative +/- in those games.

          • ItsAboutFun

            Speaking of “silly”, how silly is it that someone spends endless hours trolling a fan website, digging deeper and deeper with more and more senseless “arguments”?

            • AB4EYE

              That what I was thinking about you, only a fool would think the goal is to win this year in one of the more star studded drafts in recent NBA history,

              After 19 years of losing why would any smart fan want to pick this year to be the one to win, especially when the #1 and #2 teams in the conference aren’t getting beat by any other eastern team in a 7 game series.

              Only a troll would want to set the franchise back by backdooring a playoff spot when the East is never going to be this bad again and we already are at a disadvantage on being to sign star players playing in Canada.

              • CJT

                How many of these draft stars are the top 5 of points, assists, rebounds, steals, PER in the NCAA? Go ahead, you can look it up, I’ll wait but you must sense the answer already. And this is at the COLLEGE level playing against boys!

                • AB4EYE

                  Tyler Hansbrough was one of the greatest college players in history and but isn’t a NBA star and his brother was the best player in loaded Big East and can’t even stick on a NBA roster.

                  Lowry averaged 9.5 PPG and had just 3 APG in his college carrer and is the only reason we’ve beat any decent team this year so what’s your point?

                • CJT

                  You just made it for me, thank you.

                • AB4EYE

                  You don’t even know what your point is.

                • ckh26

                  Whats next in your stunning array of commentary.. Nah Nah de Boo boo ?

                • AB4EYE

                  It might as well be if you’re stupid enough to think guys putting up numbers in NCAA means anything. We should trade JV for Jimmer he scored 28.9 his last year in college just think what he could do here.

                  Based of NCAA we need this to be our starting 5…

                  Scott Machado
                  Jimmer Fredette
                  Damion James
                  Tyler Hansbough
                  Jarvis Varnado

                • ckh26

                  Well name calling is pretty much the requivalent to yelling Nah Nah de Boo Boo. We are not stupid. We just have a different point of view and can support it. You name call.I don’t think any of the non tanking advocates would advocate those named above as the Raptors starting 5. Come to think of it, niether would any of the tanking advocates.

                • AB4EYE

                  CJT should want them since they were so good in college.

                • CJT

                  The point is, as you have illustrated so well, that the draft is a crap shoot every year and to be so narrow minded as to think the only strategy that will work is to gut your team for a slim chance at drafting a slim chance is not sound strategic planning.
                  You’re welcome. If there is anything else you need help understanding like your grade 10 math homework please let me know.

                • AB4EYE

                  The draft isn’t a crap shoot some players do miss but still have plus, plus talent and others get hurt or end up with off the court issues but at the end of the day you’re going to get your premium talent at the top of the draft.

                  9 of the leagues Top-10 scorers last year all came in the lottery and 8 of them came in top-7 picks. That’s not luck, that’s just where most all the North American stars come from.

                  Here are the NBA Champions since 2000 with Finals starting 5 and where they were picked.

                  13th Bryant
                  1st O’Neal
                  4th Rice
                  8th Harper
                  23rd Green

                  13th Bryant
                  1st O’Neal
                  24th Fisher
                  24th Fox
                  10th Grant

                  13th Bryant
                  1st O’Neal
                  24th Fisher
                  24th Fox
                  11th Horry

                  1st Duncan
                  28th Parker
                  1st Robinson
                  42nd Jackson
                  UD Bowen

                  7th Hamilton
                  3rd Billups
                  4th R Wallace
                  UD B Wallace
                  23rd Prince

                  1st Duncan
                  28th Parker
                  57th Ginobili
                  11th Horry
                  UD Bowen

                  5th Wade
                  6th Walker
                  1st O’Neal
                  7th Williams
                  UD Haslem

                  1st Duncan
                  28th Parker
                  UD Bowen
                  UD Oberto
                  21st Finley

                  10th Pierce
                  5th Allen
                  5th Garnett
                  21st Rondo
                  27th Perkins

                  13th Bryant
                  3rd Gasol
                  43rd Ariza
                  24th Fisher
                  10th Bynum

                  13th Bryant
                  3rd Gasol
                  16th World Peace
                  24th Fisher
                  10th Bynum

                  9th Nowitzki
                  2nd Chandler
                  2nd Kidd
                  9th Marion
                  UD Barea and 23rd Stevenson 3 starts each

                  1st James
                  5th Wade
                  4th Bosh
                  6th Battier
                  34th Chalmers

                  1st James
                  5th Wade
                  4th Bosh
                  34th Chalmers
                  5th Miller 4 games and Haslem UD for 3

                  That’s more than a crap shoot game changers come early and those game changers get rings.

  • statler

    we don’t have the knicks 2016 first. denver still owns swap rights on that pick so we have the worse of denver or nyk first round pick (Masai’s old work, part of the melo deal). to me this seriously devalues that asset. worth pointing this out since i never see it mentioned around here

    • jjdynomite

      Knicks cap burdens (Bargs, etc.) really tail off at the end of the 2014-2015 season. So there is a possibility they could be a fair bit better (e.g. not suck) by the time of the 2016 draft, signing FA stars who want to play under the bright lights of MSG. Who knows, they could be better than Denver by then.

  • ad

    No team is trading a top 5 pick in the lottery this year. I highly doubt that is MU’s strategy and seems very unreaslistic. A team like MIL isnt going to trade wiggins for the 13th-20th draft pick in this years draft and some future 1st rders. If a team can get one of the top 5 players in this draft, they are going to keep them.

    • Kujo2020

      Yep, this is being called the best draft since ’03. No way any team in the top 5 trades their pick . It ain’t happening.

  • Dr. Dread

    Fuck tanking! We got what we need have faith!

    • Dr. Scooby

      Yeah, uh huh///right.

  • theswirsky

    “I’m starting to feel like the Raptors aren’t actually in full-blown, everything-must-go tank mode”

    when did anyone even feel like they were? They should be, they should have started long ago, thats going to be part of this teams problems going forward.

    “Chris Webber was acquired for Penny Hardaway and three first round picks”
    Aside from the significantly different CBA today than 20 years ago, let me ask, do we expect to have the 3rd overall pick (or a top pick) to trade for another higher pick, if we aren’t tanking?

  • ElmoreLeonard

    Dear RR
    I think it’s time for you to accept the truth. There is a reason why Masai was hired by MLSE and why he’s being paid more money each year than most of us will earn in a lifetime. Call it experience, call it strategic thinking, call it tactical brilliance or call it all three but remember that he obviously has these skills. Now, about the truth: none of us have these same skills.
    Sorry if I upset you but sometimes a dose of reality is needed. If I could make a suggestion? Why not just be fans of the team? We can talk about how each of the players dealt with the in-game pressures they overcame to win or that they could not deal with and chat about how one Raptor should be used in a game situation. Why not just be fans of the team? The team that exists not the team that we wish we had.
    The endless bickering about who is overpaid and who is about to bolt serves little purpose, except to bring out the Ebenezer Scrooge in many of us. Why don’t we all just scroll to the last scene of the story – the one where Tiny Tim says Merry Christmas to all…?

    • BlakeMurphy

      I award you no points, and may Shamgod have mercy on your soul.

  • Steve Fisher

    This is the best and most realistic article on the evolution of the Raps that i have seen in a long time. The RG trade has had more positive effects than any other trade i can remember and we are in the early stages of the transformation and growth of the future of the franchise.Hopefully this will finally put the the out of touch with reality tankers to rest and they should be happy and excited about our improved and exciting play and improved winning %. We are now FAR too talented and deep to tank in the weak Atlantic Division.If fans had a little patience and actually carefully listened to the new GM he repeated that their is no quick fix and we will have to WAIT and see how things develop.No one could accurately predict the results of the RG trade because their are too many variables and human factors for anyone to predict and they will only get better as they become more familiar with each other. In other word as UM said we all will simply have to wait and see. Steve Fisher

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  • Christopher Bird

    “Webbering” Wiggins is an interesting idea, but Blake seems to be missing the crucial element that made the Webber trade work. Golden State gave up a ton of assets to get Webber: three future first-round picks and the rights to Penny Hardaway. Or, to put it another way, they traded FOUR first-round picks to get Webber, and one of those picks was a can’t-miss prospect (eventual 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA First Team; his first All-Star game was his sophomore season) that Orlando got the same year.

    And it was Hardaway that made the trade work, because Orlando was still in rebuild mode (even though they drafted Shaq the year previous) and needed more talent. They were able to give up Webber and get a player of nearly the same calibre as Webber, which meant they could continue on their upward rebuild, gaining momentum. The extra draft picks were just what they needed to be bribed out of just playing Webber instead, but Webber was never going to go cheaply.

    Coming back to the Raptors situation: Wiggins will be expensive. There’s no doubt that some future draft picks would be necessary to acquire Wiggins from whatever team drafts him, even if Wiggins doesn’t go #1 (maybe Parker or Randle or even Exum or Embiid goes #1, but I very much doubt Wiggins drops below #3; he’s simply too damn promising a player, and frankly I still expect him to be the #1 pick). But if Wiggins goes #1, he’s going to a team that needs another young star badly: Utah, Sacramento, Philly, etc.

    What are these teams going to get in the IMMEDIATE to give up Wiggins? Because they’re going to want something right away: no team picking in the lottery is going to realistically say “nah, we’re good with being better later on” because GMs have their own jobs to think of and they all need to make their teams better as fast as possible. What are we going to give them? Our own mediocre draft pick since we made playoffs? I’m sorry, but James McAdoo (or whoever) and three future draft picks isn’t going to get you Wiggins. DeMar? Not even remotely possible. Jonas? MAYBE Jonas works.

    In short: the Webber scenario is basically a pleasant fantasy and not realistic. We’d all like to get Wiggins for peanuts and still be able to compete in the playoffs this year, but the NBA doesn’t work that way. If we want Wiggins, we HAVE TO TANK. Period. Even to be able to realistically trade for Wiggins, we have to tank, most likely trading Lowry and DeMar to get some more picks for trade leverage.

    Now, if you don’t want to tank, I completely respect that. But don’t bother wasting your time with Wiggins fantasies that will not, under any circumstances, happen. Even James Dolan is wise to Masai at this point.

    • mountio

      Exactly. This whole discussion is only relevant if we first tank, then don’t quite end up with the top pick (say we are 3rd-5th) and someone thinks that Randal, Parker, Smart of someone else is actually going to be better (or just as good as) Wiggins – and they figure him + a bunch of first rounders is a better bet than Wiggins at one.
      HOWEVER – you cant even get in the conversation without having a top 5ish pick as the trade chip.
      I get why people dont like tanking – when I watch every single game, I want the Raps to win. I get it.
      BUT – lets not confuse short term gratification (ie getting to watch some wins / sneak into the playoffs), with the proper long term planning, which is getting a high draft pick.

  • MalcolmX

    How about trading for a second year or third year player that you and/or your scouts believe has much more potential than does the team on which he is currently laying. An Amir Johnson playing for the Detroit Pistons oh those many years ago when the Raps signed him as a free agent. An Ed Davis who was used to entice a real superstar away from Memphis. 😉

  • Chris

    All I can say is…*slow clap*

    Nicely done Blake!

  • tortacular

    All they need to do now is trick bad teams into trading lottery picks to the Raptors, luck into the number two pick in the lottery, work out a trade with the team picking first, and then pick the correct player. Is a team picking high in this lottery really going to trade Wiggins or Parker or whomever for a pu-pu platter of mid-to-late first rounders? Nope. Not. Gonna. Happen. Ever.

  • SR

    Blake – I agree 100% with the first half of the post. It’s pretty much too late for the Raps to nab a top 6 pick in 2014. The only way to get that now would be an all out fire sale on the roster, where they’d be losing trade after trade. Even then, nothing is guaranteed.

    By Dec. 26 of last season, the top 8 Eastern Conference teams all ended up being the 8 playoff teams at the end of the season. The bottom 7 essentially finished where they sat at Dec. 26, only moving 1 or 2 positions in the standings by the end of the year. (

    The only exception was the Orlando Magic, who started 12-16 and sat in 10th on Dec. 26. They went 8-46 the rest of the way to finish dead last in the League and nab the #2 draft pick in the lottery.

    That’s they kind of season the Raps would have to finish with, losing 4 out of 5 or maybe 3 out of 4 games the rest of the way to “guarantee” themselves a good result in the lottery (not necessarily #1). I’m not sure the required fire sale and all the crap they’d have to take back (unproductive players, horrible contracts, giving up own future picks) as well as clearing out the likes of Lowry, DD, and Amir would be worth it. The roster would likely be set way back in terms of flexibility and talent. It’s a gamble that is less worth taking with each passing day.

    I think Ujiri’s already moved on. He’s got to focus on winning every trade, continuing to accumulate picks and prospects for the rebuild, and leave himself open to make Houston-type moves by trade or FA as well as developing his own talent. Landing a top 6 2014 pick requires way too much of an “all your eggs in one basket” overhaul at this point.

    • Bryan Colangelo

      Yes. We would have to not only trade away all our most valuable assets, but accept toxic assets in return. At that point you have to wonder if it’s even worth the risk.

      This is the only year where teams don’t want to help other teams lose.

  • Bryan Colangelo

    I’m not anti-tank. But tanking this season and getting a top five lottery pick is as wistful and impractical a ‘plan’ as hoping this team is a championship contender.

    Masai knows it’s too late to get into the horserace for this year’s draft. There are too many teams actively tanking this year, and the ‘cost of entry’ to even try to ‘compete’ for a high pick this is way too high.

    People say that building a championship team is a multi-year process. So is stripping down a team to the studs. We all need to be patient instead of rooting for Masai to sabotage the team through bad, inefficient trades.

  • Andre

    Great read. The chris webbber idea is pretty good, but it would need to be to the right team. Maybe phila? I think the raptors are in “limbo” right now. something big has to happen for them to get out of it. I understand a playoff game with the bobcats or washington would be awesome, but next year, the WHOLE bottom half of the league will get better and the raptors will not. Thats all i am saying.

  • Waiting for a playoff game

    Go raptors. Guys and Gals, there’s no reason to tank, forget it, clear your heads. Build a good strong team, by that I mean good players as well as good people, which they now have and more will come available as other teams try to position themselves for the big splash. Then with a good solid foundation, let some other team take care of Wiggins and others growing pains and then grab Wiggins, who would like to play in Toronto. I think a guy named James did just that a few years back.

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