You can only control what you can control, and in the NBA… well, that ain’t much. It’s the lesson that Masai Ujiri seems to keep learning again and again.

The Toronto Raptors have the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference and currently hold the fourth-seed as a result of leading the putrid Atlantic Division. The Raptors’ front office had visions of losing enough games this season to get a prime seat at the draft table in June, but instead they are on a collision course with their first playoff appearance in five years and their second division title in a decade.

Oh, and this is after they traded away their supposed best player in what was widely seen as a tank-inducing move three weeks ago.

Suddenly no one knows how to read the Toronto Raptors. They are 7-3 since Rudy Gay was shipped off to Sacramento, a streak that includes five road wins, and with a three-week stretch of games coming up against the East it looks as though the team could keep the wins coming well into 2014. Despite a lot of chatter earlier in the month about Kyle Lowry and possibly DeMar DeRozan getting moved, the trade winds appear to have cooled while everyone takes a step back to assess what the hell is actually going on with this team right now.

If this were ten years ago, or maybe even five, the club’s management and fan base would be on cloud nine right about now. The team’s core rotation is playing beautifully together, the young players are improving and the primary veterans are playing the best basketball of their careers. The organization has max-level cap room coming their way and not a single player on the books is due more than $10-million in any upcoming season. Once upon a time this would have been reason enough to celebrate the trajectory of the Toronto Raptors, but teams don’t think that way anymore.

Team’s now tend to be focused far more on the future than on the present. With that in mind, here’s the problem that the Raptors face: while the team is playing their best basketball in years, they aren’t necessarily setup for a lot of growth beyond what they are right now. They’re good, but they don’t have that marquee talent that gets teams deep into the postseason and spurs Championship runs. That’s why everyone assumed that Ujiri was ready to tank-out the season to try and get a star in the upcoming draft. Bereft of other options, the draft was seen as his ticket to future glory. However, with so many teams playing such terrible basketball right now, and with so many teams facing major injury woes, there’s a legitimate question as to whether or not the Raptors could actually tank their way into a top pick even if they did start stripping the roster down to it’s bones.

Let’s say they tried it, though. Let’s say that Ujiri saw a potential 45-to-48-win club and decided with an eye to the future that gambling on the lottery was a smarter team-building strategy – what kind of psychic affect does that have on the organization? This wouldn’t be a case of taking a bad team and making it worse; this would be an example of taking what could wind up being the third- or fourth-best regular season in Raptors history (granted, that’s a very low bar to exceed) and tossing it away for another roll of the dice in the draft. Those kinds of decisions have ramifications. The club has spent years talking about changing the losing culture in its locker room, yet like a lingering infection it has refused to go away.

There is a chance, though, that they be turning that ever-elusive corner. To turn back now is a choice Ujiri may still decide to make, and it may even be the right decision down the road, but if he does go that route he has to face the fact that it might take a long time to get back to this point that the team is at right now.

Just look at the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ve been living on a steady diet of high lottery picks (including two number-one-overall selections) and cap space. They’ve been living for the future ever since LeBron James up and left for Miami – and this was to be the year when all of the planning and asset acquisition paid off. To their surprise, however, the team is ten games under .500 and mired in a five-game losing streak. The years of losing have created a culture that is proving hard to escape, which is something that Raptors fans are all too familiar with. That’s why Ujiri would have to think long and hard about aborting what the team is doing right now because it’s impossible to say how long it might take to get back to this point.

Of course, maybe we’re also giving this roster a little too much credit too soon. After all, they’ve only really been playing this well for three weeks, and in that time they’ve played their fair share of bottom-feeders and also-rans. Besides, haven’t the Raptors had plenty of strong stretches in recent years only to succumb to a near-inevitable loss of momentum that sent them spiralling back down the Eastern Conference ladder? Maybe Ujiri can just wait this hot-streak out, wait for the Raptors to bottom-out like they almost always do and not have to endure the second-guessing that would come as a result of breaking up a team that finally looked ready to make some noise after five years of total irrelevance.

Maybe.

But all of a sudden this Raptors team is starting to carve out an identity that makes them look like more than a flash in the pan. In fact, in a funny way these Raptors have taken on the look – structurally, if not stylistically – of the old Nuggets teams that Ujiri used to oversee: a team devoid of stars but with lots of talented pieces that play well enough together to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. They aren’t close to Denver’s level, make no mistake, but the blueprint is starting to look familiar. Right now Ujiri is just hanging back and making moves that improve his team while giving himself assets and flexibility to make the next move down the line.

Ujiri knows he can’t control how bad the Eastern Conference is, just like he knows that he can’t control the fact that a sub-.500 record could win him the Atlantic Division whether he wants that distinction or not. He could still tear this team apart, but that idea may not seem as savvy as it did three weeks ago. He could keep this team together, too, but that idea might not seem like a savvy decision three weeks from now. Ujiri thought he’d be spending the season finding ways to improve the team’s lottery odds, but a dozen underachievers have made that plan a lot harder to execute.

The third seed in the East could be Toronto’s for the taking and no one knows if they even want it. It seems fitting that in a league where one can control so little that the one thing you can always control – what it is that you want – is the hardest thing to wrap your brain around.

  • puffer

    Glad not to be in MU’s shoes right now. Things would be a lot easier if you could just peer three weeks into the future.

  • ds

    After 10 days without Rudy Gay, the starters:

    Lowry: 18.5 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.0 rpg, 0.598 TS%, 23.6 PER

    DeRozan: 20.7 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.7 rpg, 0.493 TS%, 16.9 PER

    Ross: 14.1 ppg, 0.9 apg, 3.5 rpg, 0.580 TS%, 14.9 PER

    Johnson: 14.6 ppg, 1.3 apg, 9.0 rpg, 0.681 TS%, 22.7 PER

    Valenciunas: 12.2 ppg, 0.8 apg, 9.6 rpg, 0.583 TS%, 17.2 PER

    • Jonathan Lealand

      Wow!

    • jjdynomite

      Nice group of stats, ds; DD’s APG and Ross TS% (for SGs) are great, great signs of their growth as players.

      But simply put, Masai would have to trade Lowry for the Raps to tank — which I, for one, do not want — as Lowry’s All-NBA level of play will just not let them tank if he remains on the team. Lowry is de facto irreplaceable with the Westbrook-lite way he is balling (given we have the erratic Vasquez and the PG scrubs as backups). A 23.6 PER would slot Kyle as the 11th best player ***in the entire league*** if amortized out to a full season: http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics

      … Oh yeah, and the Raps now have a 98.4% chance to make the playoffs: http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/playoffodds

      • http://www.facebook.com/asifyouknow Al Asifyouknow

        Trading Lowry has nothing to do with tanking…is all about money.
        These are different times in the NBA business, right now Toronto has a high dollar bargaining chip in Lowry, they don’t have enough talent to get past first round so the logical thing is to get something you need.
        Toronto might not want the guy or want to mortgage their team forever(Lowry is no Paul) they may already know he will want more than they want to pay.
        It would be a silly move to keep this guy and get nothing at the end. If they want the guy sign him now and move on with the playoff hopes.
        This guy will be gone before the deadline…Meanwhile there is no hurry and the fans are happy…lol

        • mountio

          Everything in your statement is correct, except the first part, because you went on the rest of your post to describe something that would lead to tanking (ie sacrificing wins this year for the long term gain)

    • Pello

      .493 is not a good TS% at all. In fact, it’s terrible.

      • jjdynomite

        I was pointing out DeMar’s assists and Ross’ TS%. Pello, meet reading comprehension.

        • Pello

          I was replying to ds. jjdynomite, meet reading.

  • Derek

    I was definitely in favor of tanking after the start to the season, as your article suggests though, I think Masai might have no choice but to continue on the present course. If that’s the case, are the Raps then pushed to re-sign Lowry? If we’re “turning a corner” and don’t want this to a be a “one year blip, and back into mediocrity again”, then perhaps we need to find a way to keep Lowry, who’s been the best player on the Raps during this stretch? If Lowry leaves at the end of this season in free agency and the Raps get “nothing” in return – aren’t we doomed to be mediocre at best again next season?

  • StabbyRaccoon

    He has such a tough decision, there are big downsides to both choices; it’s just a difficult situation thanks to the previous management. Masai is one talented GM so something tells me he’ll pull a Houdini and escape from this looking good next year but there’s bound to be heartache no matter what.

    In the meantime I’ll just be enjoying the current team and the player development. The majority of fans still think in terms of the present, in terms of the current season and just how good it can be, because at the end of the day it’s about watching the game with some friends and some beers and rooting for the home team. Maybe they should think a couple years ahead, but the idea of blowing up an entertaining team will always be perverse on many levels. People will be angry and rightfully so. But that being said Masai might be smart to be the bad guy now so he can be the hero later.

  • Jamshid

    This is what I said 2 weeks ago. MU has a tough decision to make. He can not just sit and take his time to assess this team and pounder about the trades. He needs to make a move NOW if he wants to tank and go for rebuild. The east is so bad and so full of injuries that his current team will win most of the nights. MU’s inaction at this important time is as bad as rushed decisions that BC used to make.

    • your wrong and whack

      lol shut up

      • Jamshid

        LOLLLL, oh, kids 😉

        • ckh26

          “The east is so bad and so full of injuries that his current team will
          win most of the nights. MU’s inaction at this important time is as bad
          as rushed decisions that BC used to make.”

          Do you actually believe what you just said.
          That this current team will win most nights and its general manager by not changing anything will only prolong the winning and continue the suffering of winning and rewarding an enthusiastic fan base.. What do you think.. jail time or 20 lashes at noon at city hall for this foolishness ?

          • Jamshid

            You missed the point my friend. Is this team going to shoot for 3rd spot in the East this season ? If answer is yes, then we need to make moves to improve this team more so we can at least compete with Heat or Indiana. Keep in mind, shooting for 3rd spot in East meaning staying out of lottery in one of the best drafts of the decade.
            Now, are we tanking ? if yes, the recent wins are just taking us away from our goal.

            I am saying choose a path and stick to it. Sitting Ideal and not doing anything is being stuck in the middle and MU has been saying that he does not want to stay in the middle.

            • ItsAboutFun

              Thankfully we have a GM that’s smart enough to see more than two possible paths, though it doesn’t really take much smarts.

            • CJT

              Just because MU hasn’t come out publicly and professed which direction he is going doesn’t mean that he hasn’t decided. I think it’s silly to assume that he is lost or confused and simply biding his time until the right direction becomes clear. I think he will move pieces as positive deals present themselves and not just for the sake of making deals.

  • 567..

    Good analysis of what Masai must be ruminating on 24/7. Must be fun but cannot be easy.

    “If this were ten years ago, or maybe even five, the club’s management and fan base would be on cloud nine right about now.”
    Have you been reading how most are feeling around here of late? Cloud nine’s on the horizon. (and … ‘Tankers are losers/cowards/a-holes/Tim W fans.’ Lol.)

    “Team’s now tend to be focused far more on the future than on the present.” Like to think that’s hand-in-hand with smarter people doing more with analytics, scouting, personality profiling and common sense long range thinking – like Masai; not like James Dolan – and understanding that if their job is to win it all in the foreseeable future, SOME elite talent is pretty much a must. And there are only so many ways … (but be careful about saying that around here these days. Lol).

    • theswirsky

      “Team’s now tend to be focused far more on the future than on the present”
      Teams were ALWAYs focused more on the future than the present, the non-contending smart teams anyways. The details of the NBA may have changed, but how it operates has not.
      But living in a world of mass communication everyone gives us their 2 cents, no matter how smart they are or aren’t. Our media, so Raptors focused and enamoured by Colangelo over the years, somehow believed that because Colangelo was always focused on the present that the NBA in general must have been to!!. Now suddenly the NBA landscape must be changing.
      Its not. They were wrong then, and they are equally wrong now thinking this somehow changed.

      • Demoman

        Awesome that we can discuss ways of getting better as a Team and not the tired Tank talk.
        Inititially loved the idea of trading away a draft pick and Derozan for an Elite player.
        However, with the way Derozan has progressed over the years he may become that (semi)elite player next year anyway? We may trade him and lose a draft pick for a player he may actually become.
        On top of that how much better will Ross be next year?
        Will Valanciunas figure out to keep the ball above his shoulders on offensive rebounds and pick and rolls? Immediately gaining him another 8 ppg and vaulting him into “Top Big” level.
        Lowry is the wildcard. If we keep him can he mantain what he is doing?
        A trade might work, but I would suggest status quo and developing the players we already have may be the real key to success.

        Ist round playoff exit this year. Second round exit the following, and then who knows? If we can ge a reputation of consistent high level performance as an organization, free agents will be easier to come by.
        And before you know it that Andrew Wiggins Rookie contract is over and then…..

  • theswirsky

    Absolutely one can only control what they can control…
    … and Masai has slowly been losing control of what he could have controlled by waiting.
    This organization can’t dictate how good or bad the 29 teams are, but they could have better controlled their own.
    Waiting to see what would happen with this roster, its players values and where they stood was A decision, but that never made it a SMART one.
    Should be noted – with these Denver comparisons going around, they got out of the first round once in the last 20 years. With Melo, 2 years before Masai got there…

    • jjdynomite

      Not sure what you are musing about, other than being a contrarian. Besides the revealing stats ds pointed out below, here are some basic figures, proving that this is not a parallel of the last playoff team of Bosh and the Euros:

      Jonas: 21
      Amir: 26
      DeMar: 24
      Terrence: 22 (23 in February)
      Kyle: 27 (28 in March)

      Average age of an NBA player: 27

      And oh yeah, and each one of the above 5 is playing good-to-outstanding basketball, thereby only INCREASING their trade value. As I wrote below, Kyle is playing at an All-NBA level. Ya think the Dolans of the world wouldn’t pay more for him now, as opposed to 10 games ago?

      And yet, according to you and Jamshid, Masai is “losing control” because he is “waiting”…instead of striking while the iron is hot. Now when was that supposed to be? Like when Amir was benched 2 weeks ago? Or when Lowry had backup PG stats because Gay and DD were playing iso-ball?

      Even when the circumstances have dictated that Masai is making the exact RIGHT moves — removing Bustnani and then Gay, thereby increasing playing time, shots and, yes, trade value of ALL THE YOUNGER STARS/STARTERS ON THE TEAM (except for Tyler f*cking Hansbrough) — defeatists like you and Tim W. are arguing the opposite, that this is not “smart”… because the Raptors aren’t tanking. This would be funny if it weren’t so ridiculous.

      • theswirsky

        yes ofcourse… so I’ve been told many a time over the years.
        The Raps are headed in the right direction. Their savy GM, the guy who has a track record of success, is making smart decisions…..
        Years later…

        • foznik

          do you get bored of your shit? it must be exhausting to have faeces fly out when you try to communicate?

        • Jamshid

          Nicely Said. BC enjoyed 7 years of support from the fanatic fans on this site and smallest criticism of his work was attacked by his fans. It seems like fans here are not learning. MU did some good moves but he still has ton of work to do. First he needs to decide if he is tanking or is he competing. If he is tanking, he needs to move lowry ASAP because each game takes away lottery balls from Raptors. If he wants to compete , then he needs to bring some more talent in and make Field, Novak, Hayes (14 million) into something that can play on the court.

          • jjdynomite

            That’s revisionist history Jamshid. Many commenters were unhappy about the Turk signing and many more were up in arms with the Gay trade. How can you compare Colangelo’s “win (hah) now” methodology to Masai, when Ujiri has done the exact OPPOSITE (removing two overpriced underarchievers in order to let the younger players get minutes). Your cynicism is unwarranted.

            • Jamshid

              In no shape or form am I suggesting MU is the same as BC. All I am saying is that fans should be able to question these guys and should not just support them blindly. MU has done few good moves but right now, I just don’t know if he decided which direction this team is suppose to go. He keeps talking about not being stuck in the middle while hanging on to guys like Lowry and a team that keeps winning. If he thinks this team is a wining team then he needs to improve it by moving completely useless players like Field, Novak and Hayes ( 14 million) from the bench and give this team a real chance of competing against Indiana and Heat. Lets face it, grabbing to the 3rd spot in east that is so weak and full of injuries is no achievement at this point of time.

              • Mexiballer

                I disagree. After all the years of frustration and losing, grabbing the third spot and hosting a first round playoff series with the very real possibility of advancing to the second round is a good achievement for this team. Its not the end product or goal but its a very good start even if it is in a fractured Eastern conference.

          • GoingBig

            “he needs to move Lowry ASAP”

            But at what price? That Dolan-denied deal was good – but is that what’s being offered now?

            An early Lowry trade for Nothing focuses all attention on the value of just one mediocre 2014 Raptors pick(5-10) versus a 2015-2017 pick plus parts(expiring contracts) that can be traded for picks. Better to wait for a better offer.
            Long term building – 2 picks that can be combined for a higher pick in 2015 or 2016

            • Jamshid

              What Price ? That is an excellent question. Not trading Lowry right now means losing our position on the draft this year. As far as holding on to him, you have a point but is the 2 picks a guarantee. How long do we have to wait till a team comes and offer us 2 first round pick for lowry … If MU wants to really tank, can he take this chance ?

              • GoingBig

                There is no guarantee, but let’s be more precise and play some variations:

                Option 1) Lowry gone TODAY for nothing yields – a better Raptors’ pick (6th to 8th – 4th or 5th very difficult with the Raptors’ easy schedule and the NY/BKN horror shows)

                Option 2) Lowry gone within one month for better returns(to be discussed)
                a) Raptors’ pick is worse (8 to 12) because Raptors are better – plus
                b) Returns – using the Rudy trade or the suggested Lowry-NY trade
                = expiring contract(s) + one unformed talent – under-utilized bench player(probably PG)

                can be further exchanged for
                1) either a higher 2014 pick (trading Novak or Salmons + lower Raptors Pick + an expiring)
                2) or more likely – a higher 2015 pick (2014 are being over-valued and will be less likely to be traded)

                Final haul for waiting for a month = one unformed talent with upside + higher 2015 pick + some bench strength versus better Raptors’ pick (6th to 8th)

                The idea of tanking is to do only one thing – Franchise star
                2013-14 – 5-6th at best in good year with tank (and maybe not much to trade with – to get something better)
                2014-15 – still tanking – with new coach, Raptors will have to suck
                2015-16 – still tanking – with the Knicks’ 2016 first-round pick – might have enough for a franchise player
                If we trade Lowry for nothing today, we will likely have a chance for a franchise but only after a minimum of 2 years of tanking
                Hmmmm….Unfortunately, the choice is in MU’s hands
                MU prefers collecting assets rather than counting on the lottery ball
                He’s going to wait a month to get better assets for Lowry and he will trust that he’ll find or buy that star with the increased assets he has (picks/cap room)
                A lot of the above is me spinning variations to weigh the Raptors’ choices.

              • hoogie

                I really can’t understand why the question is still “are the Raps tanking”. It was never M.U.’s intention to tank. That is obvious and has been since he took over the team. He has made moves that improved the Raps, not worsened them. He knew getting rid of PrimoBalogne was necessary as he was a dead weight on the team and just taking up playing time better put aside for JV. He also knew that Gay was unable and unwilling to move the ball once it glued onto his hand. He didn’t trade Gay for useless bench riders. He got a decent backup PG in Vasques, experience and on the floor influence in staying cool under pressure from Salmons and an alternative to T.H. in Patterson. The trade also opened up cap room for the future. In making the trades he also opened up playing time for the developement of the young players JV and Ross who are well known to have talent and the potential to be better than average ballers. The Tank was never on and I for one am happy with the way the team is developing. Of course trades are always part of the game and any GM who would not consider each and every trade offer on it’s own merits is not doing his job. GO RAPS.

      • truth be told

        Not one of the players you listed is even as good as Bosh.

        At least those teams actually you know….made the playoffs.

        Premature to call anything so soon for a Raptor team under .500.

  • FREEJV

    lets go for the 3rd seed and win a series in the playoffs. Think about it the 2nd round against indiana/miami is gonna be a great learning experience for guys like JV and Ross to see how tough you need to be to win in this league.

    • raptorstand

      I cannot agree with you more freejv .Your the kind of Raptor fan that I could have a beer with. Just win baby , this team is becoming a beast and its going to be nothing but fun to watch , I couldn’t say that ten games ago. The future is so bright we gotta wear shades.

  • Bryan Colangelo

    Right now there is an unreal nine teams with 11 or less wins, or sub .333 records. That doesn’t include the Lakers or the Hawks, both which have been hit with tough injuries.

    You would need to trade off at least three of our starters to tank at this point. A team with 20 to 25 wins is not bad enough to get a top 5 pick. It’s absolutely nutty out there.

  • Rick

    Assumptions assumptions. Every article out there. “Ujiri’s plans to tank is failing. Should he try to make the team better now, since plans backfired” what a bunch of crap. Everyone seems to think he’s trying to tank. Even though even touch there’s like 6 other teams who’s way worst than raptors. Did anyone ever consider that ujiri made the deal to better the club because he seen better growth with a pass first and energetic club. Who’s bigs will play a lot better defense now that they’re getting plays ran for them? Anyways keep winning raptors!

    • rtzyyz

      100% agree. People think he was trying to tank because that’s what they want the raps to do. I think he is always thinking about getting better. Smartest comment I’ve read on this site.

      • SR

        People thought he was aiming to tank because the word around the league (according to the sources of every journalist reporting on the situation) was that every Rap save for JV was available, and that DD, Gay, and Lowry were being shopped aggressively. The Gay trade happened, a Lowry trade almost went through, and now with the wins Ujiri has pulled back a bit. It’s not a tank/anti-tank argument to beb in touch with reality.

        • sleepz

          He has a big decision to make now with Lowry and the longer he waits, the riskier it becomes, imho.

  • Vancity Raps

    Here’s a thought that I haven’t seen discussed…

    It seems like the value of a first round pick is at an all time high in the league. Why not trade our pick and potentially grab more talent than what we’d get with the pick. Let another team “roll the dice” on draft day. I won’t get into specific names, but there’s several young players on rookie contracts that are proven NBAers who would have an immediate impact on our team. Many could easily be acquired through our pick. I know trading picks was a hallmark of the Colangelo era and will make most people cringe, but I think at it’s current value it might not be a bad option to trade our pick and grab someone proven who can jump in immediately and help in the playoff

    Interested to see what the Republic thinks.

    First time posting. Love the site and discussion.

    • DarkGhettoNight

      You make an excellent point, and have the wheels in my head turning. If we were able to use a draft pick and say a Demar Derozan to net us an elite player like: Demarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard, RIcky Rubio, Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson etc… we could be looking at an elite team in the East, with a serious chance at the late playoffs.

      • Nilanka15

        Some intriguing names mentioned, but personally, I wouldn’t call Jordan Leonard, or Thompson “elite”.

        • Roarque

          What about the concept? Try to focus.

        • DarkGhettoNight

          It’s just the idea of a young guy with sky high potential. Picking up a guy like that and making a run in the playoffs would be pretty awesome. Could you imagine a lineup (assuming we trade Ross +pick) of JV, DMC, Salmons, DD, and KLow in the playoffs with Amir off the bench? I’d say we have decent chances of doing some dammage. Not to mention a solid couple years ahead of us. Or even just an upgrade at PG, to trade Lowry to get a guy like Lawson or Rondo. JV, Amir, Ross, Demar and Ty Lawson/Rondo

          • Jamshid

            You really think our first round pick of ( not lottery) and Ross will land you DMC 😉 Come on people, if this board is about fantasy trades then why stop at DMC ?? Why not Durant ? Wait a minute, I forgot, he is coming here as a FA in 2016.

      • Slick

        Are you serious man? A draft pick and demar or Ross for deandre Jordan, kawhi Leonard? You’re crazy if you think they’re elite!!!!! I don’t agree with the fields and a pick for Tristan Thompson! But that’s about it. Marc gasol is elite, and Ty Lawson, Demarcus cousins is just a basket case! Can’t control emotions. But an elite big for sure. Ricky Rubio is always injured! He’ll no I’m giving up a pick and Ross or dd for him. Further more why the hell would I trade those 2 players if your talking about young talent. Sometimes I wonder about raptors fans. Again let’s get rid of young guys we have who love the city and has potential to get other guys whod probably wanna leave or ask for a trade. Sry bro. Fields good idea. But dd and Ross. Your not getting anything worth trading them for!

        • Slick

          Meant to say I do agree with fields and pick for Tristan. However if that did happen it would probably be Amir being shipped out. So not sure if they would do that. A lot of minutes would go to jv and Tristan. With skies salary he would get traded in that or another deal.

        • DarkGhettoNight

          Bro, you overrate Demar and Ross, I’m talking about plucking key pieces for the future from teams who can give them up. DeAndre Jordan is developping into a beast and is improving in every area. Kawhi Leonard when having the offense run through him, has all the tools to be a solid starter for any team in the NBA. If we’re going to be in the playoffs we’re talking a 17th to 18th pick plus an inconsistent wing in Ross or Demar, for a key building piece with value around the league.

          • Krespino

            Kawhi Leonard is San Antonio’s future, not logical to think he would be traded away; this discussion would make sense if only sensible names would be offered for thinking.

    • onemanweave

      Interesting point. Might be something MU is considering. Might not. Full points for original thinking.

    • ac1011990

      That would be a good option if this team does decide to make it in the playoffs. If we get a lottery pick no way you trade this years pick. If you don’t get a lottery pick that might be a good way to go. Masai is a scout so he probably doesn’t want to trade the pick but the idea is pretty good.

    • sitnonDfence

      *** slow clap ***
      First time post and you made my head explode. Why has this not been though of before!?
      Sooo enveloped in youth and potential that most of us looked right past our most valuable but least dependable asset.

    • Roarque

      Thinking outside of the box – cudos

    • mountio

      The concept makes sense .. Im just not sure there are many people who fit the bill who you arent taking as much of a flyer on as you would be with a draft pick. Sure, if you could get Lillard, AD or the other AD (Det) from last year’s draft you do that in a split second. Same for the 2nd tier guys (Barnes, Beal). Other than that – are we really upgrading with MKG or Waiters? The rest of the top picks not great.
      If you go back another year, Irving going nowhere. Outside of Klay Thomson (likely not available) – Im not sure who else you want. Kanter or Tristan Thomson … maybe, but Id rather have a top pick in this year’s draft myself.
      The year before, starts to get a little interesting. Cousins is a major flyer, but maybe. Monroe would be very interesting .. although given whats going on there, not sure you need to trade a 1st rounder for him (maybe you do). Favors is another.

      So .. I like the concept .. but by my scan, the only realistic / potentially interesting ones are Monroe and Favors. Would I give up a 10-20 pick for them/ Yes I would. A top 10, I dont think so, and a top 5 definitely not.

      • Krespino

        Favors is Utah’s number one player. No way they would trade him for a risky pick.

    • Al Shake

      Thought I would comment on this since this seems like a popular post here.

      The reason this isn’t being mentioned is because it’s not possible. The Raptors traded their pick last year to Houston (who then traded it to OKC as part of the Harden deal).

      Under league rules, you cannot trade a first round pick two years in a row. The best they can currently do is a pick swap.

      • ItsAboutFun

        You’re dead wrong about ability to trade the pick.

        • Al Shake

          I am not wrong about it, and a quick google search on First Round Pick rules can confirm it.

          In fact, all of these questionable moves led the NBA to institute
          what is commonly known as the “Stepien Rule,” which states that a team
          (usually) cannot trade its first-round pick in consecutive years.[3]

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Stepien

          • ItsAboutFun

            You’re wrong, and should perhaps educate yourself better before trying to teach others. here’s a link to how draft picks can be handled in trades:
            http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q85

            Here’s the part that you may want to focus on, and pay attention to the “future” conditions:
            “Teams are restricted from trading away future first round draft picks in consecutive years. This is known as the “Ted Stepien Rule.” Stepien owned the Cavs from 1980-83, and made a series of bad trades (such as the 1982 trade mentioned above) that cost the Cavs several years’
            first round picks. As a result of Stepien’s ineptitude, teams are now prevented from making trades which might leave them without a first round pick in consecutive future years.

            The Stepien rule applies only to future first round picks. For example, if this is the 2011-12 season, then a team can trade its 2012 first round pick without regard to whether they had traded their 2011 pick, since their 2011 pick is no longer a future pick. But they can’t trade away both their 2012 and 2013 picks, since both are future picks. Teams sometimes work around this rule by trading first round picks in alternate years.”

            • Al Shake

              My mistake. The way I read the post made it appear that he was talking about this years pick, which we cannot trade away.

              Rereading that, he didn’t specify this years pick. So a future first would work in a trade.

              • ItsAboutFun

                Your still not understanding. Read the above explanation, and you’ll see that they can trade this year’s pick.

                • Lucas

                  Correct: we ARE allowed to trade our pick this year. To put it simply, this rule ignores THE PAST. The last draft is in the past. The rule only looks forward, and the 2014 draft is forward in time.

                  Ask cap expert Larry Coon on Twitter if you still don’t believe us (he regularly fields questions, including this one). Believe me, we CAN trade our pick this year.

                  Also, I am all for it, if it nets us a top-20 or top-30 player, depending on who we move with it.

        • ac1011990

          no he isnt actually wrong, that’s why raptors didn’t have a first round pick last year, they traded it. And you cant trade consecutive picks in a row. OP had a good point, but its not possible.

          • ItsAboutFun

            Yes, he is actually wrong. See above. Sheeeesh

            • ac1011990

              Oh ok makes sense. Sorry, my bad.

      • ac1011990

        Forgot about that, good point.

    • Jamshid

      “but there’s several young players on rookie contracts that are proven NBAers who would have an immediate impact on our team”

      Care to name a few that you think their team is wiling to give us for our 2014 first round pick which is going to be probably in the mid first round ?

      • raptorstand

        Ed Davis ?

  • Raptor Advisor

    this current unit needs at least 20 games to determine our trajectory.If we are 7 and 3 since the rudy trade then that means we are 6 and 2 with all of our guys in the rotation. Give us another 12 games and if we go 15 and 5 out of 20 games then you’d have to keep this group together to see what we can achieve. People who say Lowry is un happy and headed else where at seasons end are flat out wrong, imo. If you look at options for K lo in the summer, name me ONE title contender, who could a) afford him and b) have a starting position for him(he a will not come off the bench). CAnt do it? didnt think so. now name me one up and coming rebuilding team with cap space, that could a) use a starting point guard, b) give kyle the same/better chances at winning then toronto and c) a better city to live in. Cant do it again can you?

    • kyle lowry

      Could he join Rudy in Sacramento?

    • MalcomX

      How about the Toronto Raptors – they’re up and coming , imo.

    • mountio

      The reality is for KL that this summer, winning is going to be a distant second to getting PAID. He has been relatively underpaid so far his career and I would suspect he will go to the highest bidder, period. So, its less about whether we have a better situation, city etc and more about do we want to pay this guy the $10mm/yr + that he will get from someone in the open market.

      • ItsAboutFun

        If your assumptions and suspicions could be taken as “reality”, you have a point. But, before being so convinced of what he’ll get, you may want to take stock of which teams are not already locked into a starting PG, and which of those are likely to pay KL such big dollars. The pickings are very slim, and could get even slimmer after a couple of high potential PGs are drafted.

        When all that is said and done, there may not be another organization and city that comes close to what the Raptors present to him, and the opportunity he has here. As Billups reportedly told him, “you’ve let two other opportunities slip from your grasp, you’ve got a great one here, don’t blow it”. Seeing his competitive spirit on display since he came into the league, not just now, I haven’t the faintest idea how you can so confidently say “he will go to the highest bidder, period.”. At the end of the day, he’s an athlete that wants to compete, and be a big part of the puzzle. Come the summer, Toronto may be the best such opportunity available to him. Add that they can offer one more year, and a more acceptable and manageable salary than $10M could look good to him.

        • mountio

          why do I think he will take the most money? Well, lets start with the fact thats what 95% of athletes do. The rare few, like DH12 (or Duncan), who have already made mega millions will chose slightly less for a situation that they prefer. But, often those guys, given their egos will take money over situation. Look at Kobe and his explanation for signing the contract he did. He KNOWS he didnt do the best thing for him winning and he unapologetic-ally doesn’t care. Hes getting his, he thinks he deserves the money (and then some) – and hes probably right.
          On top of that .. arguably any of the “shitty” teams that get a top 5 pick this year and add Wiggins, Randal, Embid etc would be viewed more positively than us in terms of go forward situation. Same for teams that are legitimately better than the raps (although I acknoweldge most either have a PG or couldnt afford Lowry).
          Anyways – the point isnt so much that our situation is bad compared to others .. its just that its not SOOOO awesome that he would turn down more money. Its ok. There are lots of ok situations in the league, especially with the addition of a draft pick or a FA.
          So, ya, I think we have a fair shot at him for sure – this isnt a bosh part 2. But, I think we will have to pay market rate, which will be $10 mm.

    • raptorstand

      15-5 ????? I’m the most ardent fan of the Toronto Raptors, but I cant remember a time when this team went 15-5, and your whole theory is if this young team plays 500 ball blow it up and start over?? Wow.

      • Raptor Advisor

        there will be no middle-ing with this group, so yes its either top 3 or bottom out. 500 ball in this weak conference is not good enough

        • raptorstand

          Of course top 3, but 15-5 is really asking a lot. Give these kids a break. I think they can do it , but if I see small things , consistent things , hard work , attitude , I am happy. Crawling before you walk , walking before you run, I think you and I can agree we need to learn to crawl, we are just out of the womb.

          • hoogie

            Yes Sir…….Give me a 41-41 record this year and I will be happy. I know they are better than a .500 team with the talent they have but it will take time and a few little tweaks to get the Raps playing with the big boys. Go Raps.

  • raptorspoo

    So when do we considering trading away our draft pick?

    • Slurktan

      We didn’t have a pick last year. We can’t trade the pick officially until after we make our pick in the draft.

      • ItsAboutFun

        Wrong. You misunderstand that rule. The “can’t trade consecutive 1st rounders” is reset after the draft. Last year’s draft has zero to do with the rule anymore.

  • onemanweave

    Congrats Big Guy. We know that was painful.

  • MalcolmX

    Stop with the draft pick machinations already. It’s like going to Vegas and thinking you can control your personal finances by playing Blackjack!!!
    Here’s one example of what Masai will be doing:
    It probably was just luck but let’s say the Portland Trailblazers’ braintrust knew what they were doing when they snagged C Robin Lopez from NO via Sacramento for a 2nd round draft pick in the 2013 off season. That one piece has changed the character of the Blazers so they are now a force to be reckoned with in the competitive West. Robin Lopez, despite his pedigree was worth next to nothing because his skill sets couldn’t be properly used by the teams he played for (Phoenix and NO) but when he landed in Portland those same talents allowed that team to move their all-star big man Aldridge away from the oppositions’ behemoths in the paint to the Power Forward position where he could dominate his opposition on O and rest on D because Robin Lopez is now doing the heavy lifting on D for Portland.
    For me, this is one example of an NBA GM earning his salary and taking a Raptors-like team ( the 2012/13 Blazers) and turning them into a Rockets-like contender.
    This is what Masai should be doing for Toronto – specifically in the Point Guard position. Toronto needs to find a Wing who can guard the opposing PG so that the Raptors PG can rest a bit on defense and save his energy for running the offense – yes, I am referring to Greivis Vasquez whose D is mediocre but whose O can be excellent if he’s not worn out running around chasing some of the teenagers playing PG in the NBA these days.

    • truth be told

      That ‘Blazers’ like team has 2 legitimate all-stars.

      How can you compare the 2? Who do the Raptors have as good as Lilliard, let alone Aldridge? I’d take Batum over Derozan happily.

  • Paultheball

    I am a fan of the no-tank and the build-from-within, as I feel like most people watching the Raptors the last couple of weeks are. The one thing I wonder about is where the Raptors would turn should they stick with the current talent base? Although the Raptors are doing better this year, I feel like they have the same problem they always have: reasonable but not outstanding talent at every position, making it hard to fill in obvious gaps. And in 2014 (beyond the obvious stars like Lebron and Melo) there don’t appear to be obvious candidates that would slot in super well to the Raptors roster. Particularly if we don’t want to stunt the growth of Jonas and Ross. If Lowry is gone after this year (which isn’t a certainty at this point) then drafting/signing a point guard would be an obvious choice, but beyond that I’m not sure how the Raptors improve on their current roster. Any suggestions?

    • grossman

      I think an upgrade to one of the wing positions would be ideal. Extend Lowry this season. Make either Demar/Ross a bench player (or alternate them in the starting five,) ready to come in and score a lot when the need arises. Getting rid of Fields/Novak would clear enough salary that we could attract a free agent in the off-season. Maybe Drake could convince someone big? Anyone know who the big free-agent shooting guards and small forwards will be?

      • Paultheball

        Yeah that’s true, Salmons probably isn’t the long-term answer there. The swingmen free agent field is kind of a crapshoot in 2014. There are guys like Danny Granger who holds some appeal. I think Sefalosha is also available, as a potential D and 3 guy.

      • Paultheball

        Yes I suppose Salmons isn’t the long-term solution. Swingmen free agents in 2014 is kind of a grab bag. Danny Granger? Sefalosha for D and 3s?

      • Dr. Scooby

        Lowry has been underpaid for his whole career; I bet he’s looking for a big paycheck – considering he’s been top dog for this little Raptor run, he’ll probably get it.

        How much do you think Lowry will ask for?

        Also, as far as FA signings – did you know that Hedo Turkoglu was the franchise’s biggest signing – who exactly do you wonder might be interested in signing in T.O.?

        • GoingBig

          Speculation Xpress
          KL currently is paid 6.1MM per year
          He has less potential than – Rajon Rondo – 9.0 – 8.0 – 11.0 12.0 13.0
          – but Ty Lawson has 10 -11.5 – 12.4 -13.2
          – Stephen Curry – 9.8mm – 10.6 – 11.3 – 12.1
          9MM minimum – 12mm maximum + maybe 1.5MM for messianic overpayment craziness

          • mountio

            This is about right. Cant imagine it will be less than $10 mm / year

          • Dr. Scooby

            Yeah, I agree with that dem numbers.

  • Lyall

    Win now. With our starting five we have some very serious talent + youth and a bench filled with several experienced Western Vets from the bull chargin’ West and 2 of them gave our club a boost in ball movement (Salmons, a drive & kick-all around dude, and G.V. a taller Jose with better court vision and some Carlos Delfino long bomb shot streakyness). Develop and win now to get better for a few years and see how it develops. If it doesn’t work out too well in those few years from now, Masai will be smart enough to have collected assets to trade for Wiggins, who has made it public that Toronto is a destination he would like to play for. LET’S DO IT WIN WIN WIN!

    • Dr. Scooby

      Don’t believe the hype – its fan based rose colored glasses. OKC win was huge and this team is playing well right now (mostly against really bad teams)…but the current Raptors are not good enough in my opinion to build upon. I want really good talent that could be great, not average talent that might be really good if everything works out perfectly.

      Our payroll is huge, Lowry will likely be traded, DD might be traded – keep the rest, draft really well, get better, draft well next season, then get really excited about a promising team instead of just being happy ’cause we’re not losing 3 of every 5 games.

      • raptorstand

        Winning is a very powerful elixir , This team is going to win a lot of games and its really gonna be fun to watch . Jonas getting more then 30 minutes a game is changing this team from a weak and defenceless inside game , to a solid middle on d and a very real threat if the offense is ran through him. He is getting some crazy attitude and never backing down from anybody. Chandler is going to pay him back down the road for showing him up , but I cant wait to watch it. This spirit has me reminiscing about the Oak man and I love it. These guys are like a new platoon that are getting to know each other. Soon they will die for each other. And we get to watch it ,arnt we lucky?

        • Dr. Scooby

          Not sure I agree that this team will win a lot of games..,they really aren’t as good as you describe, but I do agree they have been fun to watch.

          • raptorstand

            Dr you have been reading way to many of the Debbie downers. This is the best team basketball I have seen since Oakley was traffic cop in Toronto.

    • ac1011990

      No we have some very decent talent. Really serious talent is a KD, Westbrook, Harden, Griffin, etc talent. None of our guys are anywhere close. We have chemistry and these guys are playing good but Lowry is playing at an all star level. Players go on hot and cold streaks, Lin also played at an all star level for a few games but reality usually kicks in. We have seen miraculous streaks with players that make us believe that they have morphed or turned a corner, go back and see bargnanis 13 games a few years back.

      • raptorstand

        I have watched this team for a long time, never in recent memory has a team come together so quickly by a team this young. To rip apart the starting 5 of this team would be a crime. What about a team growing together to become really good, and with additions not subtractions take us to some serious basketball games that count. Hansborough is invaluable teaching Jonas about attitude and taking nothing form anybody and giving as good as you get. Jonas is becoming a beast , this team is becoming a beast , and you want to rip it all apart , for what? You cant even tell me.

        • ac1011990

          Fine if you want to think this team is a beast great. Indiana is a beast, the spurs are a beast the heat are a beast, raptors sir are not a beast. Lowry is playing out of his mind right now, he’s on a contract year and can leave for nothing. Lowry is a very good player but he is not what he’s shown over the past 10 games, if you go by averages. We have seen many players go on streaks and then reality hits. Go back a few years and see Bargnani or Lin.

          No offence to Derozan but your team can only go so far with him as a number one option. He thrived with Rudy here because he needs an elite wing to play with. Ross has a very bright future, but as of now he’s only good spotting up and in transition. Jonas has been playing really well but these guys wouldn’t be on this streak if it wasn’t for Lowry. I along with most the pro rebuilders want to add upon the foundation. I don’t want Derozan, Ross or Valancinuas gone, we just want that elite talent that can bring this team over the hump. This year means nothing, we can’t compete against the good teams in the conference (pacers and heat) so why not go back when you have a chance.

          • raptorstand

            I understand every point you make, what you fail to realize is the exact moment when Indiana became a beast. They put in the time, the effort , the coaching , and then they started winning. I don’t know if you watch this team, but they actually look like they know what they are supposed to do out there. Constantly ripping on Lowry is a joke. The team is better , hes getting better looks and he hustles and the team is winning. Big difference if the team was losing and he was getting these numbers. Indiana just didn’t know how to win , there starting five learned together how to win. Its like having a real nice crop of your own strain , that you grew from seed and you’ve watered it and fertilized it got lots of light , and just when the fruit is coming to bare, somebody comes along and rips it all out of the ground and leaves you a couple plants and some seeds that may or may not be a better strain. This starting 5 will be amazing to watch for a long time, lets enjoy it.

            • ac1011990

              Pacers became this good because things went their way, George became a superstar and Hibbert is a defensive monster. This league is about skill, but alot of it has to do with luck. Nobody can control that part so you have to do your best in terms of finding those players that can turn your franchise around, if it happens great, if it doesn’t your back to the drawing board.

              Im not ripping Lowry, I really like the guy, he’s a good defensive player, has a bulldog mentality and is a good leader. However i dont think he is what hes shown over the past 10 games. This is the stat line the guy below us in the comments posted, 18.5 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.0 rpg, 0.598 TS%, 23.6 PER. History tells us that he is not this player. Hes a good player but not this good. Go back and look at the 13 games Bargnani had which lead people to believe he turned a corner and was now going to become the next superstar of the league. Jeremy Lin also went through something like that. I don’t want to take a chance on a guy who is 27, been in the league 7 years, to now turn a corner and go into elite status. Make no mistake this team is decent but the past 10 games have been all Lowry. Amir and Derozan have been here the longest and have not produced wins for us. Yes Derozan is improving and yes Amir is very efficient and great defensively but that has not gotten us anywhere in the past. Lowry is not the elite player this team is after, if hes here after obtaining an elite talent then great.

              Either way the direction of this club is up to Masai, if he thinks this team is a contender then great. The new leadership came in and talked a good game saying the goal is a championship, now i want that as a reality. I know its not going to happen this year or next year or even in 5 years but this team as is is not championship caliber.

              • raptorstand

                Hibbert sucked coming into the league, but he worked, George worked and became great. We have the same thing here. I know to be a Toronto Raptor fan you have to take a university level entrance exam on pessimism. If you don’t have pessimism your heart will be ripped out over and over again. Walls up. But I see something different , understanding , youth , fun, learning winning and if you keep them together special. I really like our attitude that is coming around this team, I don’t think I have ever seen it before by players this young. Jonas beating up on a tired out of shape chandler is the highlight of the year. All out right to the end , Charles Oakley would be very proud . Tyler Hansborough can not be taken lightly in the development of Jonas ,crazy is what Jonas needs. Tyler has been injured , but he is so tough he wants to be out there and Casey is giving him small minutes , but he is going to be huge in the future, when we need him.

  • ItsAboutFun

    The general concept behind this article, that the team may be too good when compared to the handfuls of bottom feeders, to tank,,,,, and that IF,,,, that’s IF,,, he had sights set on tanking,,,, the recent play of this team may be causing quite a conundrum/dilemma. Like, what do you tell the paying customers when you blow up a damn fun to watch team that is winning. This general concept is a good discussion piece at this time, but some of the details of the reasoning within the article leave something to be desired.

    “You can only control what you can control, and in the NBA… well, that ain’t much. It’s the lesson that Masai Ujiri seems to keep learning again and again.”

    Seriously? Maybe it’s just a misstep in the wording, but I don’t think he’s “learning” anything in this regard. He didn’t get this far without having learned that a long time ago.

    “The Raptors’ front office had visions of losing enough games this season to get a prime seat at the draft table in June,”

    Huh?? Is there even the slightest shred of evidence of this? Or was it your preconceived notion, shared by others’ speculators? If the latter, I hate this crap! The kind stuff that when repeated enough, becomes “internet fact”, directing people down all the wrong paths of opinion/discussion. Why? Why state a guess/speculation as reality? I don’t get it

    ” traded away their supposed best player in what was widely seen as a tank-inducing move three weeks ago.”

    Supposed best player based on myth only. His combined skills and physical attributes certainly made him the highest potential on any given night, but his actual play didn’t make him near the best player. No need to repeat how much his actual play was hurting the team. The “supposed best player” was nothing but an overweight anchor dragging the team down.

    As far as the “widely seen as a tank-inducing move”, I still don’t get how people saw it as such, never mind sticking to it. Isn’t it very obvious that the primary incentive in moving Rudy was his contract, further complicated by the uncertainty over what he was going to do in the summer? His very poor play made the decision a no brainer. That said, regardless of how the team has actually changed so drastically at both ends, it wasn’t difficult to see:
    – considering his contributions, removing Gay from the line-up was an AB-like addition by subtraction. So many TOs, so many bad decisions, such bad high volume shooting. Taking that out of the line-up is the opposite of a tank move, but that’s not all!!!
    – the trade returned an upgrade of bench bigs, an upgrade at bench wing, and an upgrade at bench PG.

    How is getting rid of an offense killer, and getting back upgrades at every position, a tank inducing move? I didn’t see it then, and the results of the trade have exposed such proclamations as misguided at best,,,,, so why is anyone still using it as a talking point in current considerations?

    Sorry, but myth building through turning guess/speculation into truth is a burr under my saddle.

    • Mexiballer

      Agreed.

    • raptorstand

      Why is this guy not a writer on this forum. This is a guy that actually likes the team, enjoys winning and is insulted that he has to read the same absolute nonsense spewed continuously by the people that think they are watching the same team at the start of the season. The ages of the starting 5 is sick, adding pieces to this team could be some serious fun to watch very soon. Exciting times in Toronto and all fans that want the team to win get is Debbie downers.

    • truth be told

      ‘7-11’

      ‘No man’s land’

      ‘Compete for Championships’.

  • Tinman

    A lot depends on Lowry. .Do we risk losing him for nothing at season’s end? Is he the PG to lead this team for next 3 years? How much is he worth if we resign him? Is he at his peak value right now? What could we get in return?
    I’m hoping Masai rides this out. The team is playing it’s most watchable basketball that I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t believe that any of our young core that we are invested in (AJ, DD, JV, TR and possibly Lowry) have reached their peaks. He’s managed to quickly transform the team without losing any of it’s young assets. Shit he even got a few picks back for Bargnani.

    • RapthoseLeafs

      The question is …. is Lowry coming back.

      If he continues on as he is, Free Agency will not just be about money, but about playing for a good team. Kyle will get a number of offers, some that will entice him.

      Toronto is doing well, but the East is skewing people’s thinking right now. I say move Lowry. Get that draft pick and another player.

      .

      • RapthoseLeafs

        Thinkiing even further, I’d move Demar is the price was right. But not now. Closer to the trade deadline, when play-off teams (ie. western teams) are missing in the Guard slot.

        Toronto has the nucleus in Jonas & Ross (plus veteran Amir), to go along with a decent 2014 draft pick.

        .

        • Tinman

          I really don’t know what the next move is.
          If it’s to throw away the season, moving Lowry for future assets would be he first step. Then you gotta hope that other teams don’t tank better than you and then hope again for luck in the lottery.

  • Mexiballer

    Tim…please reveal the evidence available to you when you say, ” The Raptors’ front office had visions of losing enough games this season to get a prime seat at the draft table in June.” I have heard Masai Ujiri say repeatedly that losing does not promote winning. I have heard him say repeatedly there will be no tank and for that matter he also said whatever T word one uses, Tank or Tear down, that wasnt something he was interested in. He also candidly said after the Rudy Gay trade that he did not know what direction the Raptors were heading in. Trading Rudy Gay was not a tank move. It was a no brainer trade. Gay was killing the team, killing the spirit of the team, and killing the spirit of the fan base. Gay was a huge waste of big time money. How is ridding a contract like that a tank move? What else has Uriji done or said that implies that he is tanking for the draft in June? He has said that he will listen to all offers for all of his players. That does not imply Tank in any way. That implies that he wants to make the teams situation better and he will look at all options. Tim…if your only evidence that Uriji’s plan has been that he has been wanting to Tank are the same media sources and rumors that we all have been reading about, I have to say that that is very weak evidence for you to state it as if its accepted truth. Especially given that what he has said and done so far is to the contrary. He has said from the beginning that he is looking for growth and improvement and has not said or done anything to contradict that. Tanking speculation needs to be kept where it belongs. As nothing more than speculation.

    • raptorstand

      The ages of our starting 5 is remarkable, why would you not want to watch where they can grow and go to. People have watched so much bad basketball that they cant understand what is right in front of their faces. Once these young men get some battle scars together and do some winning , nothing is out of their reach. Yea I said it , these guys are good only gonna get better, to break this group up now would be a crime.

    • hoogie

      100% agree that the Rudy Gay trade was in no way a tank move. Anyone who had watched the Raps since Gay was acquired could plainly see that the whole teams focus was to get Gay the ball and let him do the scoring. He didn’t do it very well and that kept the ball out of the hands of JV, Ross and even Lowry. DD was the only other go-to Guy even considered when the ball couldn’t get to Gay and the other teams knew it. Once Gay got the ball on offence the rest of the team basically stood in place and waited for him to make his move. We see a big difference now that Gay is gone in that the ball is being passed around to whoever is open and that puts the pressure on the other teams defence because they are not sure anymore who is going to score for the Raps. Even DD has seen the light. He is becoming a play maker in more situations rather than the guy who shoots the ball every time he touches it. M.U. was never on the Tankers wagon in my opinion. If a trade comes along that he considers beneficial to the team both now and in the long run he would have to consider it. That’s what good GM’s do.

  • Steve

    Ujiri has such a difficult task at hand, thanks to Colangelo. I think he will get this team in to being a contending team in the future (lets say 3-5 years). One of the things i hope he does is getting a guy like Greg Monroe in the free agency or a trade for Luol Deng, if we want to be a solid playoff team and thinking about championships we have to make trades or make free agency signings that upgrades the talent level significantly. These transactions don’t necessarily have to happen this year although it would be a sweet thing for us fans. Although we are playing great basketball at the moment, I just don’t feel like this squad is complete nor can we fully trust them, after all scouts on other teams could figure our weaknesses and slow us down.

  • raptorstand

    butbut

  • raptorstand

    We have a good Team. That is only going to get better, The level of incompetence by the authors of these posts is truly amazing. Do they watch the games? Jonas is putting up Noah numbers after being freed by Gay. They are jelling becoming beasts, five road victories in okc and Dallas is truly amazing for anyone that has watched this team for any length of time. This is the kind of team that is learning to win , because they are just better then the other people on the floor. The best thing about watching a young team turn a corner is the ground swell of excitement that comes with winning. But instead of excitement and joy, we have writers who actually say trading Gay was a tank move? Really ? I say resign Lowry right now , look to improve on this unit by managerial moves and not the ugly shameful tank word. Enjoy every moment of these young men having fun playing a game. Let the GM do his work and lets start having fun WINNING , and not complain geeeez

  • Mihkel Bafter

    He forced his own hand when he stood pat during the offseason

  • earlyj

    We should make a trade to rent Carmelo, Knicks aren’t going anywhere, we’re in a good position and we need a star to make a serious playoff run, just a thought though

    • raptorstand

      Carmelo is a little better Gay, Sure lets trade Novak and Fields with New Yorks second we got in the Bargs trade and throw in Daye for a case of beer and some of those orange jerseys.

      • earlyj

        Lool, we should, it could elevate us to the next level

  • Teesh

    I do believe that this group of
    Mixed young and veteran players can grow. Understand that you must not under estimate playoff experience. It gives players a better understand of the game, and gives them glaring awareness of their flaws once every second they are in the playoffs. It even awakens things in players that might not show in the regular season. Give this team a chance.

  • mehmet

    terazili transpaletAsm1 terazili transpalet teknik zellik Yapılan ölçümlerde toplam alma Birden Fazla yapılan ölçümlerde yapılan her Ölçüm yeni yapılan ölçümüm başına eklenir Böyleçe aşırı yüklemelerde önlenir Ağırlık eklendiğinde ekranda yeni ağırlık görünür kullanıcının daha önce aldığı bir Ölçümü unutmaması için önceki tartım ekranına dönmesi yeterlidir

  • mehmet

    sperm arttırıcı Erkeklerde kısırlık problemini oluşturan sayısız faktör bulunmaktadır. Özellikle sperm sayısı ve kalitesindeki düşük değerler yüzünden ortaya çıkan bu durumu yaşayan aileler, kısırlık tedavisi için hastane kapılarını aşındırmaktadır. Uzun süren tedavi süreci sonunda aile; yüksek paralar harcar, zaman kaybeder, işinden gücünden olur ve maalesef umutsuzluğa kapılır. Kısırlık tedavisine başlanabilmesi için erkeğin öncelikle Spermiogram analizlerinde (sperm testi) gözlemlenen düşük değerlerin yükseltilmesi şarttır. Burada devreye giren Cym Plus, güçlü içeriği sayesinde, düzenli kullanımla kısa sürede sperm değerlerini olumlu yönde değiştirmeye yardımcı bir üründür. Kısacası; nasıl çocuk sahibi olabilirim diye soran milyonlarca ailenin haklı umudu olan Cym Plus’ın, yapılan klinik testlerde sperm sayısını ve kalitesini arttırdığı gözlemlenmiştir. Cym Plus, ailelerin yaşadığı hüzünlü tablodan nemalanmak üzere kurulmuş dolandırıcı bir firma ürünü değildir. Türkiye’nin her yerinden, hatta yurtdışındaki gurbetçilerimizden sayısız tebrik telefonu almış mucize bir takviyedir. Birçok ailenin uzun süredir beklediği bebeğine kavuşmasına yardımcı olan CYM PLUS’ı kullanma sırası şimdi sizde. Sormak istediğiniz herşey için lütfen telefon numaralarımızı aramaktan çekinmeyin.

  • volkancan

    cym plusErkeklerde kısırlık problemini oluşturan sayısız faktör bulunmaktadır. Özellikle sperm sayısı ve kalitesindeki düşük değerler yüzünden ortaya çıkan bu durumu yaşayan aileler, kısırlık tedavisi için hastane kapılarını aşındırmaktadır. Uzun süren tedavi süreci sonunda aile; yüksek paralar harcar, zaman kaybeder, işinden gücünden olur ve maalesef umutsuzluğa kapılır. Kısırlık tedavisine başlanabilmesi için erkeğin öncelikle Spermiogram analizlerinde (sperm testi) gözlemlenen düşük değerlerin yükseltilmesi şarttır. Burada devreye giren Cym Plus, güçlü içeriği sayesinde, düzenli kullanımla kısa sürede sperm değerlerini olumlu yönde değiştirmeye yardımcı bir üründür. Kısacası; nasıl çocuk sahibi olabilirim diye soran milyonlarca ailenin haklı umudu olan Cym Plus’ın, yapılan klinik testlerde sperm sayısını ve kalitesini arttırdığı gözlemlenmiştir. Cym Plus, ailelerin yaşadığı hüzünlü tablodan nemalanmak üzere kurulmuş dolandırıcı bir firma ürünü değildir. Türkiye’nin her yerinden, hatta yurtdışındaki gurbetçilerimizden sayısız tebrik telefonu almış mucize bir takviyedir. Birçok ailenin uzun süredir beklediği bebeğine kavuşmasına yardımcı olan CYM PLUS’ı kullanma sırası şimdi sizde. Sormak istediğiniz herşey için lütfen telefon numaralarımızı aramaktan çekinmeyin.

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