When Masai Ujiri got a five-year deal from the Toronto Raptors last summer it signalled one thing above else: you have time. Unlike Bryan Colangelo, who treated every season like it was his last in Toronto (and, in fairness, his and Chris Bosh’s contract situations often pushed his back against the wall), Ujiri was afforded a half-decade to turn around his new (old) club and the implication was that MLSE wanted him to make use of it.

Of course, circumstances have a funny way of infringing on the best of intentions. The Raptors were supposed to be a long-term project, but then they started winning lots of games, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan became All-Star calibre players and all of a sudden expectations began to rise and now the grace that the five-year deal was meant to afford seems suddenly irrelevant.

Now, it’s not as though the Raptors have arrived yet. They still have a loooooong way to go before they crack the elite clubhouse they are dying to gain entry to. Still, the events of the last two months have at least demonstrated that they may be one rung higher on the ladder than they thought when the season tipped-off, and that means that certain expectations have to be readjusted accordingly. If the team isn’t tanking, then they are building. No, Ujiri isn’t under any pressure to make quick moves to capitalize on what may well be an ephemeral post-trade improvement, but he shouldn’t simply ignore the momentum that the club has begun to generate, either, just because he has time to play with.

The Raptors are in an interesting spot when it comes to the trade market this winter. They have several interesting assets, including a borderline All-Star in an expiring contract (Kyle Lowry), a borderline All-Star on a multi-year contract (DeMar DeRozan), an emerging swingman that is shooting over 40% from three and plays defence (Terrence Ross), a highly regarded big man that is still early in his rookie deal (Jonas Valanciunas) and a stat-guru’s object of adoration (Amir Johnson). They also have interesting throw-in assets like a three-point marksman (Steve Novak), a rugged, veteran post defender (Chuck Hayes) and a better-than-average backup point guard (Greivis Vasquez). Put all of that together and the Raptors are in a position to go shopping if Masai Ujiri sees something he likes in a store window.

Aiding their cause is the fact that they are well-positioned when it comes to cap space this summer. That means that they have the resources to augment their roster as needed this summer as well as the flexibility to re-sign players (be it their own or trade targets) if they so desire. If Ujiri has done nothing else in his brief tenure as Raptors GM to date, he has given the team options – even if some of those options include leveraging assets that were acquired by his predecessor.

All that said, though, none of those assets are as interesting to me as that bight, shiny, 2014 draft pick currently sitting in Ujiri’s back pocket. Should the team consider packaging it in a deal? Heresy, you say! Well, like with any potential trade, it’s all about the return, and with the scarcity of available picks for this draft, the Raptors might be able to turn theirs into something a lot better than what a 17-through-22 pick might yield.

As with any asset, scarcity creates value. In year’s past, draft picks were tossed around carelessly and teams started to get severely burned when the picks were actually transferred. Now teams are clutching 2014 picks to their chest like they represent a one-way ticket to the NBA Finals. No one is moving them. They have begun generating a mythic value, and that is a perfect scenario for a GM like Ujiri to jump into to extract high value for what is fast becoming an overrated asset.

For instance, the Raptors could lump that pick with Ross to make a push for Greg Monroe, a player that Detroit has to be seriously considering moving given how poorly he, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith have meshed.

Or, the Raptors could try for the big fish and make an offer to Minnesota for Kevin Love, packaging DeRozan, Valanciunas and the pick and daring the Timberwolves to pass. Minnesota probably would pass, too, but Ujiri has put himself into a position to make that call credibly, and part of the job of the GM is to make (and take) those calls to see what options are out there.

The fact is that if the Raptors aren’t tanking, then they’re building, and if they’re building then these are the kinds of moves that they have to be (and most likely are) pursuing. Not these moves exactly, but moves of this nature. Moves that push the needle ahead of where it is now in a meaningful way. If Ujiri isn’t tanking and he wants to avoid living in the middle then eventually he’ll have to make a big move for a big player since it appears like the Raptors don’t have a big player currently on the roster.

That doesn’t mean that Ujiri has to do anything today. It doesn’t even mean he has to do anything this season. However, the team that he oversees has created its own momentum and Ujiri can’t (and probably has no interest in) simply ignoring that development because he has a long-term deal and oodles of job security.

This also doesn’t mean Ujiri has to “Go Colangelo” and jump at the first name that crosses his desk. Ujiri was hired for his mindfulness in situations like these. If he can’t land an impact player then he will continue improving the team in small ways internally. He won’t sit still. In sports if you aren’t getting better you’re getting worse. The Raptors are on an unexpected upswing and this trade deadline represents the first time Ujiri has to make a decision as the head man of the Raptors (in this scenario, doing nothing represents a decision if that’s the route he decides to take). He may not make his big move just yet, nor does he have to, but know that the Raptors’ play this season has created a new operational mandate that doesn’t adhere to the same elongated timeline as the one Ujiri walked in the door with.

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  • 2damkule

    i don’t want to be the guy that zeroes in on one point, but the pick, DD & JV for love? i love love. LOVE him. think he’s a legit top-10 player in this league. but part of me thinks that that’s a really short-sighted move. and trust me, i have my issues with DD, and i’m not nearly as sold on JV as some are (or as much as some assume i am). but love isn’t locked-up long-term, so that kind of move is pretty risky, given that you’re giving away ‘all-star calibre’ talent in DD, a potential top-5 centre in the league (says more about the dearth of quality at the 5, but whatever) – both under team control for some time – and a middling pick in a purportedly loaded draft for a guy who could bolt in a year? yikes.

    • SR

      Yeah – the point’s not the gist of the column, but I agree.

      Good column, though. Ujiri’s next move is harder to predict now than ever. He has a lot of options, as Tim pointed out, and everything will depend on:
      – Whether or not Lowry re-signs
      – What trades are on the table for some of these assets
      – What swing-for-the-fences FA recruitment ideas TL has in mind

      Beyond that, we can only speculate…

    • Ds

      I agree with 2damkule. Ujiri should target teams that are blatantly tanking or are out of it by the trade deadline: Orlando, Phildelphia, Utah, LA Lakers, etc. How would Pau Gasol look next to Valenciunas?

      • raptorstand

        Pau looks healthy for the first time in years , the draft pick and a second line player and I could go with that .

        • What the

          nah, you go watch him in LA if you want

          • raptorstand

            Hasn’t Gasol won 2 NBA championships with the Lakers? Nice locker room addition , and coming in behind JV? Its a thought if we don’t give up to much , but his contract would probably kill us.

      • afrocarter

        Despite Amir saying that he’d like to finish his career in Toronto, I don’t think he’d mind playing for his home town. Plus, his athleticism would work well in a D’Antoni system.

        • MIke

          Then Amir can sit next to Jordan Hill on the bench – who is a similar type of player and someone who D’antoni hardly plays for some reason.

      • Dr.Scooby

        I’d rather have a younger player who plays better defense.

        • ozrapsfan

          Thad Young?

          • ozrapsfan

            And Spencer Hawes to shore up the backup center spot.

          • Dr.Scooby

            spot on

    • FREEJV

      Loool masai is never giving up our pick and Ross for Greg Monroe. Ross’ potential is too much to give up sorry. maybe i would do amir and our pick for Monroe but not anyone else.

      • Mike

        Monroe plays 4 on Detriot, but over 80% of his shots come near the rim.. That won’t work in Toronto if you expect him to share the court with JV.

        • FREEJV

          Hes better than Amir on offense Amir just stands outside the paint thinking he can shoot but he actually cant. Amir is mainly inside the paint cleaning up missed shots to get his points.

          • Mike

            That’s fine. But are you going to post up Monroe and JV? Have them take turns? If you really want to free JV, you don’t bring in another post player. Now Monroe can pass better than JV and Amir right now, Maybe he can learn how to defend (which Amir does) and shoot (which Amir tries to do). But I don’t think the things he does well are pressing needs for the Raptors.

            Besides, Drummond is Detriot’s Amir – he doesn’t post up at all, he gets all of his points cleaning up missed shots and getting thrown oops. Off topic I know, but one he’s been in the league as long as Amir has, he should be pretty damn good.

          • CJT

            Isn’t Amir shooting like 60% on the season? Not bad for a guy who just stands around thinking he can shoot. He is a good slasher and cutter in the pick and roll, has great hands and can finish. Give the guy some credit.

          • Roarque

            Which is a good thing 😉

    • Mike

      I was thinking about Love likely being available since it doesn’t look like he will be happy long term in Minnesota. But his opt-out clause is damn risky and I wouldn’t give up those assets for him. JV? Minny just signed Pek to a 5 year deal, they don’t need another center. Maybe Amir instead, with an additional asset. They do need shooting – even with Budinger back. Either way I think Minny will try to make him stay.

  • Anono

    surprised you didn’t mention Patterson in that mix of names of Rap assets, especially after the game last night.

    • GetLicks

      Project Pat makin a name for himself. I’d rather keep him though at this point. Could be a solid rotational player going forward

      • Nilanka15

        Patterson’s definitely a keeper. Good teams need good benches.

      • Lupe fiasco

        Pat is better than ed davis. And for some reason everyone was high on him

  • GetLicks

    NO WAY IN HELL I would trade JV, DD & our pick for Love. I wouldn’t even do that deal without our pick included.

    • GetLicks

      I do like the idea of trading our first-rounder though. Otherwise an interesting column.

    • conman_15

      Why not trade our pick along with DD to move up in the top 4-7 in the draft and also take someone back (likely not a great contract to make it work). I think Massai is trying to stockpile future picks to make a big deal when there is one available.

      • T.O hammer

        No one is trade out of the top 8 in this draft. Unless it for a superstar player.

  • raptorstand

    Tross and JV have to be off the table. I would be beyond apocalyptic if those 2 elite 21 year olds left town. Demar and Amir have to be open to get a great talent . Lowry has to be signed. Patterson has found a home. There is something to be said for keeping a starting 5 together for as long as possible to see what we have. I like the chemistry of this team . The second line players plus the draft pick and I can agree.

    • Tom

      I’d be interested in hearing you define “elite”.

      • GetLicks

        To be fair, he said elite ’21 year olds’, Ross is 22 but that’s nitpicking. Considering Ross just put up 51 points, and JV manhandled Garnett like the beast that he is, I think it’s safe to say we have 2 elite YOUNG talents. With the right coaching & hard work, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say both of them could at least be named to multiple all-star teams.

        • Just Is

          I agree with this but I wouldn’t say multiple all star teams. They play for the same team and,generally speaking, every year there are lots of All Star stubs (which is an even bigger risk for JV given what they’ve taken away the Centre position). I do think they could very well play like perennial all stars for multiple years though.

          • GetLicks

            Yes I didn’t mean at the same time or every year, but I think individually they could both make the team multiple times in their career. You’re right, tons of snubs every year for guys that are playing at that level.

        • DDayLewis

          If JV (21) and Ross (22) are ELITE young talents, what would that make Anthony Davis (20)?

          • GetLicks

            So only one young player can be considered elite? I love Davis and would take him out of the 3, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Ross or JV. Raptor fans seem to be the only ones complaining about the potential of their young players. Other teams, the media and even fans of other teams have noticed both our guys (especially JV) and hold them in a high regard. The problem is that when our guys go through growing pains, ppl start jumping ship and writing them off. Last year was a small taste of what they could do, and this year I think they’re exceeding expectations.

            • DDayLewis

              How am I taking anything away from Ross and JV? I’m just asking how you would characterize Davis if you consider JV and Ross to be elite for their age and experience.

              • Roarque

                Davis is Super Duper Elite ( it’s a new thing )

              • ItsAboutFun

                Oh c’mon now William. That’s the kind of shady spin doctoring response I’d expect from Tim W, but not from you. The subject wasn’t about who is the best young player, nor anything to do with Davis. C’mon man, such a retort clearly is intended to take something away from JV and Ross, unless you’re looking for help in defining a “super elite” category, which hardly seems of any value.

      • truth be told

        Loose definition.

      • raptorstand

        Elite is the word that tankers have been throwing around all year , they mean that their is “elite talent” in this years draft. So I have been using “elite “talent when I talk about our 21 year old starters , maturing , getting real minutes in the NBA.

        • truth be told

          No elite talent is just referring to the type of players that are……elite…… really good…..multiple all-stars……..game changers etc.

          For homers, elite can obviously mean any player you want the term to fit to.

          • raptorstand

            I will match up anybody in this draft against JV and Tross . Elite this.

  • monocled_gentleman_scholar

    I think we should be shopping Amir aggressively. He’s on a good deal with one year left, and is an efficient player. But it’s become clear that the Raptors need more size up front, and Amir is a bit undersized. On top of that, I think he’s played his best ball already and is going to be chronically injured every season from here on out. If we can package him with some kind of pick/and or take back salary, we should try to get a beefy double-double PF who plays great defense and still has some upside. A Serge Ibaka type.

    • Peter

      I agree. Toronto’s big losses have come when we couldnt defend the 4 spot. It’s our only liability since every other position can create their own shot, including big JV. Throwing the rock to Amir down in the post is usually the fifth option and his pick and roll is only as good as the guard play. Bring on a big 4 spot and we’re serious contenders.

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        We could probably get Thaddeus Young for our 1st and like Hayes so the contracts match. Honestly, Philly is in full out asset acquisition tank mode, and apparently the market has offered up a lot that Philly wants (ie: a first round pick this summer). Young would be a GREAT fit alongside JV, as he can defend and shoot the 3 and slash.

  • george

    I dont want love who says hes gonna be happy here and dd and jv w a first rounder is to much id rather give the pistons ross and a first rounder for monroe. Monroe and jv to start amir and hansvrough off the bench with vasquez salmons but were left with a hole at the 3 . Make it a 3 team deal and try to get another 3and d small forward whos still young like t ross. Maybe stuckey but the problem wud be the money we wud have to give up a guy like amir and play stuckey at the 3. Ujiri shud keep kyle demar and jv then shop ross and amir. Ross has great value right now especially if yu put him with a first rounder and amir is struggling lately.

    • raptorstand

      2Pat ??

      • arsenalist

        I love 2pat. Honestly, I don’t think you find many bigs/stretch-fours in the league that are 1) able to make a consistent mid-range jumper, 2) have the ability to step out for the three, 3) play defense, and 4) move well when they don’t have the ball.

        Right now 2pat is in a perfect situation playing with guys who like driving (Lowry), guys who love to pass (Vasquez) and big men who aren’t hogging the ball when they get doubled (Johnson, JV).

        I don’t want to oversell the guy but he’s a type of player that every good team needs. Very versatile, plays hard, and seems to have a good head on his shoulders (three years in college).

        • Tanks-a-lot

          Could 2Pat be a Robert Horry type of player?

          • arsenalist

            That’s not a bad comparison. I think Patterson has greater offensive skill, though. Horry was one of the worst one-on-one players of all time, I think Patterson’s a little better than that.

            • Abused Raptors Fan

              My major concern is that his great fit and resulting play will generate a lot of interest in him during the summer, upping the ultimate price to resign him

    • afrocarter

      I don’t understand the mentality of giving away Ross for Stuckey. Nope.

  • Bendit

    The respondents (most) must have skimmed over this in the main post….” Not these moves exactly, but moves of this nature.”. The writer was providing examples of not suggestions and certainly was not the crux of the piece.

    • jjdynomite

      But it would be nice if the author proposed something tangible. Why even mention trading long-term signed players (on good/rookie contracts) like DD and JV for Love when the latter is from a warm weather state and has an opt-out clause after NEXT season? There is no way Masai would do this unless he got Love to sign an extension upon signing. The chance of that happening are as good as Bosh 3.5 years ago, and we know how that turned out.

      • Bendit

        Point understood…but one of the quickest ways for a writer to not be taken seriously (and Chisolm is one of the better ones around) is to propose trades in a popularly read journal. He did not and said so citing they were but examples. Are there any realistic possibilities out there? I dont know and TC certainly didnt want to go there. He had a column to write and this aspect of his piece was filler in my view. This column was really on the options available to MU now that the team is performing as well as it is and is forcing a rethink of strategy on team building/improvement going forward. I was just pointing that out since many seemed to take those examples as serious suggestions .

        • ItsAboutFun

          But if there’s no serious suggestions to make, how can it be a serious option? I understand the concept of throwing out hypotheticals, but if they’re unreasonable ones, what value are they in creating discussion?. Not that I put Tim in near the same category, but such examples remind me of the oft used “we should offload player “x” and get young prospects and picks”. Sounds great in general, but when push comes to shove in providing real suggestions, suddenly the only ideas presented make no sense.

          • Bendit

            Possibly, I did not fully clarify my mention of “options available to MU” in my previous post. I was referring not to the specific (eg. the Love suggestion) but rather to the option of trade in a macro option sense. You will agree that is a “serious” option, no? Just like another mention in the main post of utilizing cap space. Love is not a player I would pursue but is he really an “unreasonable” target? My view of unreasonable would be the chatter one hears about James and Durant vis a vis the Raps these days. Maybe TC should have left out specific players all together. It’s a minefield with all the GMs on the board 🙂

  • matt ryan

    What a stupid article those trades you suggested are the same reason you aren’t a gm in the nba.

    • What a stupid I am to read thi

      What a waste of time reading this article. Can we not have better editing at this website than to allow idiot writers like this guy show this stupidity.

  • ScarBoro416

    We are unable to trade that pick, as per NBA rules you are not alloud to trade first round picks in consecutive years. Our 2013 pick was traded in the Lowry deal. Little research please.

    • DanH

      That rule applies only to future picks. So even if our 2013 pick was traded, once the 2013 draft has passed, the 2014 pick is free to be traded. Little research please.

      • ScarBoro416

        Apologies the rule was explained a little different to me.

        • Abused Raptors Fan

          Unfortunately you’re not the only one. Anytime someone mentions the idea of trading the 2014 1st rounder someone tries to say it can’t be done…

  • Andre

    id move derozen for monroe and a draft pick.. These deals, or deals like this seem to be one sided. I dont think masai would think to move those types of player epecially not including one of those big contracts that are choking him (ie landry fields and novak)

    But I do like the way your thinking. My question is: What exactly are the Raptors missing to make them a serious elite team in the east? Then make the discussion from there.

  • Andre

    Oh and Tim W. I was asked to ask you to park your tank in my garage, since I am parking mine.. I still agree with you, but man this team looks awesome. JOIN THE DARKSIDE

    • GetLicks

      No no.. Tim W. parking his tank would be the equivalent of Vader turning and throwing the emperor out like yesterday’s trash.

    • arsenalist

      This article wasn’t written by Tim Chisholm, not Tim W.

      • Andre

        LOL My bad arsenalist! Well can you forward my message to Tim W. ? Thanks bro

  • Tinman

    Good article showing how 40 games in objectives have to be adjusted. And who knows what end result will be.
    ESPN seems sure that Lowry is still on the market, and seeing how he is an UFA it will be interesting to see how MU deals with him. The only thing I do not want to see is signing him to an extension before the season finishes. No need to commit now.

  • ckh26

    Nice piece ! Tim’s touches on the seemingly incredibly high value of this years 1st round draft pick. Marc Stein coroborates that view with his speculation (and it is just speculation) that the Raps ask for Lowry is way to high as its a first round a draft choice for this year. If a this years 1st draft pick can buy a player of Kyles caliber then perhaps we should trade it. This loaded with hype draft maybe a redux of the 2004 Lebron / Wade / Bosch draft class .. or it may suck .. or Parker and Wiggins may choose to stay in school for a second year. Who knows ?
    But if you were able to trade the 1st pick at seasons end or at the deadline for the rights to hold a Monroe or a Bledsoe or even a Hayward then simply match the RFA offer sheet you absolutely know what your getting.

  • dalmatino

    Keepers ( starters ): Lowry, TR, JV……keepers ( bench ): 2Pat, Vasquez ….. Trade bait: Amir, DD, first round 2014 pick …… tradable assets: Salmons, Hansbrough, Hayes, Novak …… non tradable players: Fields …… low profile players: Daye, Buycks and Stone.
    What do we need? Despertely! – Another big, Centre.
    To improve our playoff chances – Another PF, starter.
    To improve our bench – SF, shooting guard,
    Lowry is keeper because of his leader’s role. We should try to get centre, PF for our 2014 pick and sweeteners in Amir or/and DD.
    We can use expiring contracts in Salmons, Hansbrough and maybe Novak – to get SF, SG to solidify our bench, not for this season, but for years to come.
    Any thoughts?

    • Rick

      You’re dilusional! Dd trade bait. Get real man! But Ross isn’t?

      • dalmatino

        Point is to separate what we will keep and what others would want ( and we can trade for other assets ). TRoss has a more uspide than DD and I think DD has a value among the other GMs and teams. DD and Amir and 2014 first round pick can net to us a center and PF ( and that we really need, today and for tomorrow ). Other tradable assets give possible cap space and other teams could be willing to trade young, perspective SF, SG for cap space and save $$$.
        Dilusional, maybe 🙂

    • Roarque

      I like your strategy but I’d keep Amir as the sixth or seventh man. Because of his heart – he’s a glue guy. Amir is Superglue.

  • rye247

    Amir and 1st rd pick for Monroe?

    • jjdynomite

      I’d do that but to be honest Monroe isn’t that great. Yeah he’s young and big but Amir is a way better shot blocker and has a way better FG% and FT%. And to include a 1st round pick?! For a player that will be asking for $10 million a year next year?! Why not just try to sign him outright?

      • ckh26

        To Rye247+jjdynomite

        Yeah I’d do that deal in a New York minute. Monroe is younger, is a legit big body PF with a post presence and I think would just get better getting out of Detroit where theres something in that locker room thats just not right. They have more talent than their record shows. Playing with that assmppet Jennings can’t be all that great for Monroe. Unfortunately for us… Detroit won’t do that deal unless Dumar’s finds and inhales some Grosse Pointe window box..

        • DDayLewis


          The trio of Drummond, Monroe and Smith is clearly not working, so it doesn’t make sense for Detroit to match an expensive offer sheet for Monroe. Extend him an offer in the off-season and there’s a good change the Raptors can keep their assets.

          • ckh26

            OK on the nope.
            However have to disagree after the Nope. There is zero chance that Detroit doesn’t match any offer that hits the fax machine and loses this guy for nothing.

            I’d do this because this guy projects as a 10 year guy averaging 16-18 Pts per game with 10 boards. Today he is 14 and 9. PF in that snack bracket career avgs are
            Boozer @ 17-10
            Zach Randolh @ 17-9
            Aldridge @ 19-8

            Love the front line of JV + Monroe + DD and Ross on the Wings. Serious hole at PG to fill though.

            • DDayLewis

              It’s not a certainty that Detroit matches a big offer sheet to Monroe. They’re definitely going to keep Drummond and Smith is on a huge contract. I’m not sure Detroit wants to lock themselves into this gridlock in the long term.

              • ckh26

                DD its as certain as the sun rising in the east and Canadians getting obsessed with hockey. To not match an offers sheet would be the same as when Bosh left for nothing. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thought that was a shrewd move.Millions of keystrokes have been hit on how BC muffed that one. Its just business. Not sure what Joe D is doing there but he is going to let the marketplace set the price for Monroe and match. Monroe is not the problem. The deal with Josh Smith is. To add this guy if hes an RFA will cost something of real value becasue you know what your getting and hes just 23. YOur not drafting “potential” He is going to be good for a long long time. You have to pay to get that.

                • DDayLewis

                  I’m not discounting Monroe’s value or production, I’m simply pointing out that Detroit’s hands are tied, hence the rumours of him being shopped around.

                • ckh26

                  Lets try a different prism to view this through. You DD buy a 1,000 options for the right to buy shares of stock at $10.00 each. Its a 3 year option. In three years time the value of those shares rises to $100.00 dollars .
                  Do you
                  a) exercise your option to buy and have an asset that is now worth 100,000.00 that you can keep in that stock or use it to buy another investment that in your eyes is worth 100,000.00
                  b) let the option expire and have nothing because your short of money..

                  That’s why Detroit will resign Monroe at whatever the RFA offer sheet is worth. If Dumars didn’t do that he’d have to go into witness protection and never expect to work a day in his life again as an NBA exec.

                • DDayLewis

                  First off, we’re talking about Dumars, who famously signed CharlieV and Ben Gordon, so if he’s not in NBA exec jail already, I’m not sure he’ll ever be. He rivals Colangelo and Isiah Thomas for executive ineptitude.

                  Anywho, I see your point. Hilarious enough, I just came out of a monetary economics lecture so it’s funny to see you present your point the way you did.

                  I agree on a couple of things:

                  1. Monroe’s value is likely to appreciate (your example being price of shares increasing). He’s a young player and I’d say that a change of scenery away from Detroit’s total lack of spacing would do him wonders.

                  2. Detroit would be wise to not squander the asset they have at hand (your example being do you choose to buy or not). The Pistons do have some flexibility going forward (ironically, CV’s expiring contract will give rise to a fresh pile of money for Dumars to set aflame), and money is not the issue.

                  Here’s where we disagree:

                  1. NBA players are not entirely fungible bonds/stocks/assets. They have value in a sense, which is a function of their salary, their remaining number of years, their productivity, their ability, their age, their injury risk, etc etc.

                  However, you seem to be overlooking one major factor — the job of a GM is to build a team, and fit is important. This current front-line is unlikely to succeed anytime soon (there’s a complete lack of spacing), and Smith is locked in long-term. Drummond will also surely be retained, so my point is that there’s some downside to locking up Monroe because it ties you to the mast of this sinking ship. It is for this reason why Detroit might opt to sign-and-trade Monroe, or should the offer to Monroe be too exorbitant (lets say someone offers him the max), to let him go altogether.

                  2. We probably differ on Monroe’s value. Personally, I’d peg his value at 44 million over 4 years. Are we in the same ball-park?

                • ckh26

                  Fungible eh ? Nice one DD 🙂
                  So I think we are on the same page now on not letting Monroe go for nothing by not matching whatever the amount of money is on the RFA offer sheet should it get that far with him in Detroit.

                  What I was tossing out there is….. could we get Monroe at the trade deadline for an offer that is below his current and future fair market value. Dumar’s is under some pressure in Detroit to get into the playoffs. That was the expectation in Motown as the season opened and personal agendas do drive deals. So what would it take to get Monroe into Toronto and out of Detroit if thats what Ujuri wanted ? It would take something that Detroit needs to get to the playoffs which they may see with Lowry. As he is UFA Dumars would ask for something else of value which may be our 1st pick in 2014. Others in this thread think we could trade Landry and Amir and the pick but that doesn’t help Detroit financially or on the court and it just won’t fly. There wil be no deal and Monroe will get to RFA status and Detroit will then just match the offer sheet and either figure out a new offensive scheme to make it work with Drummond and Smith or resign themselves that it will never work and trade him for a fungible asset with a different skill set at equal value. At that time Dumars may be gone if Detroit misses the playoffs. There is a reason for him to do something now with Monroe and take less than what hes worth . Maybe it could be with us.

                  I think Monroe will get offered Horford money at 12M but not Aldridge money at 14-15M. Good discussion DD. Hope to have more.

                • DDayLewis

                  Yeah we’re mostly of the same mind on this thing.

                  Given Dumars’ position, I really cant see him turning down a Demar for Drummond swap. They solve their spacing issue, plug a huge hole on the wing and gets a young-ish player with some upside to sell to his fanbase.

                • ckh26

                  You lost me on the Demar for Drummond thing..
                  Its Monroe who is in play in Detroit. Drummond is very unlikely to be going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

                • DDayLewis

                  Sorry, I meant Monroe.

                • ckh26

                  OK..DD is also a possibility and all other assumptions remain unchanged..

                  The other drifting ship out there is Cleveland. They are loaded with mismatched players and have draft picks. See anything of salvage value on that carcass ? I would like to know what they would want for Thompson. I don’t think even they know what they’d want back as its just a mess.

                • DDayLewis

                  Thompson isn’t really good at anything other than rebounding. I’d try to pry picks from them if possible, but they’ve royally screwed up the draft over last few years. If we’re trying to upgrade for this season, we could look at getting Varajeo, but Cleveland clearly intends to contend (see the Deng move), so they’ll probably hold on to Sideshow Bob.

                  Grabbing some guys from tanking teams like Utah or Philly makes sense. Hawes, Turner, Hayward, Burks and Young make sense.

              • WhiteVegas

                It would still be worth it for them to resign him just to trade him later. Drummond’s next contract won’t start until the 2016-17 season, so they’d have plenty of time to move someone to make room, plus there will be room anyways. Jennings contract comes off the books in 2015-16 and Smith’s contract is finished in 2016-17 (the only contract on the books other than Pope), so it’s not like Detroit won’t have room to resign Drummond then, regardless of whether Monroe is on the books or not. They’d be very very foolish to let Monroe walk in FA, and as such I don’t think it’ll happen.

                • DDayLewis

                  It’s not really a matter of finances, as you stated above, rather it’s a problem of fit. If they resign Monroe, they’re basically stuck with their current frontline (Smith is too expensive to readily move, Drummond is untouchable), which would be untenable for a GM on the hotseat like Dumars.

    • WhiteVegas

      How about Amir, Landry, and our 2014 1st for Monroe, Stuckey, and their 2014 2nd. We get to dump Landry’s contract for the expiring Stuckey to free up cap space next year. Landry and Amir’s contracts account for $13.2M in savings next season, a portion of which can be used to resign Monroe. Stuckey gives us some much needed wing depth for our playoff run. I’d hope Ujiri would go for a move more like this and really get full value for the 1st round pick if we dealt it. I don’t expect us to deal it, but I wouldn’t be upset if we did this trade.

    • ItsAboutFun

      I don’t understand the love in with getting Monroe on this team, that is pushing real hard to be a defense first team. Monroe is horribly slow and plodding at that end. On the offensive end, he’s primarily a low post player, which is what we hope JV becomes a monster at. Two guys like that make for a very crowded front court. The perfect compliment for JV is a Patterson type, who can be very steady in the mid range and even outside, clearing space for JV to work. If we could get an upgrade on a 2Pat type, great, but he’s also only 24 and appears to love his new situation, so….

  • truth be told

    If they are building, what are you building with?

    What is your foundation based on? Seems more sand than brick and mortar.

  • Mike

    To answer the headline…no. Nothing is going to force Ujiri’s hand.

  • Rupert

    The East isnt getting any better in the next two years the cavs dont seem to be able to put it together. the wizards arent that great. the nets will get older so will the heat.ha the knicks they stink. The hawks not too good and the pistons also arent special. The first round picks wont be able to change it that quickly for the lottery teams.(ha we arent a lottery team cool) this team can contend in the east to some degree we happen to play indy well and dwade is very old maybe the lebron goes to La and boom. Oh and the bulls will probaly be good

  • guest

    It would be great to see our young core of players grow here on this team on a long term basis. They’re proud to be Raptors, they play their hearts out, and they’re achieving success. There has been talk lately of the organization’s need for and lack of it’s own history (and our need to “reimagine” VC). I see today’s group of players as a new beginning for our franchise and a chance to create a legacy that we can all be proud of as Torontonians.

    • Roarque

      Elite athletes ( read NBA players) play for their team mates – it’s the camaraderie that drives them. I got your back mentality amongst a dozen or so guys who are brothers. They don’t play for the uniform. That’s why trades hurt so much. Remember Acy on the video when the trade news hit the locker room. The kid couldn’t deal with losing his brothers.

    • guest-VC

      Agree. We have a young core that if they keep improving we could have 3 all-stars in 2 years – DD, JV and Ross. Offence is fine especially with the team work going on. Need some young good defence, someone young to replace Chuck Hayes, someone who will sacrifice for the team and who is a big, mobile defender, the guy you would put on the other team’s best player in the playoffs.
      We’re in Toronto remember….hard to attract superstars…they have to almost want to come on their own. Just keep building patiently with smart young additions and maybe a superstar will come.
      What I am saying, I guess, is better to have 2 pretty good guys with heart and chemistry, rather than a superstar, unless the superstar option is an easy get.


    If Masai wanted he could trade Stone and Fields for Kevin Love but its too easy for him he wants to make it harder.

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  • raptorspoo

    Here we go again~

    Your suggestions are based on the logic that you think our team is close to title contention so we should (again) mortgage our future for immediate benefits (hmmm… where have I heard this before???). We’re doomed to repeat history because people like you don’t learn from the past.

  • Hassan Mehmood Khan

    why dont we try to make a play for Rondo trade lowry and amir for rondo and Jeff green and give them a pick

  • K10

    These trade examples seem Colangelo-ish than Ujiri-esque.

  • VLB87523

    Im just thinking if we do trade someone like amir we need a pp type player. One came up on my mind was ryan anderson but he’s hurt but lets say he’s fine do you think we should get someone like him?

  • Louvens Remy

    The Raptors need some grown ups to go with the young core. Solid, no nonsense , ‘do what needs doing vets’ – 8 years in the league minimum with experience winning or absolutely sick of losing and ready to die to be in a winning environment. Please apply at Raptors/MLSE HQ.

  • Louvens Remy

    The only Canadian I like right now is young Andy Nicholson. He’s a 2Pat type player though.

  • troy

    is this guy for real??? both those trades are preposterous, and would not help the raps,,,give ur head a shake

  • fM

    Val derozan and pick for love?? Are you crazy?? Love hasn’t won anything, he’s over rated and a terrible defender. We get ripped of heavy in that transaction, if i told my buddy who works on the team hell die of laughter lol. Crazy talk right here

  • Keepup

    The Raptors are better than Love’s Wolves right now. Why would we trade a couple of our best players and a first round pick for him? If he was truly a franchise player worthy of that kind of return, the Wolves would be a better team. I’m glad Masai is in charge…

    • elbow

      Couldn’t agree with you more. Lowry said something akin to “doing it for D” and he’s talking about DD. Trading away one or more of the core players on this team as is risks unbalancing the chemistry that has been already established. It’s incredible, at first trading for Rudy Gay was a bad deal, but what we’ve been able to swing him for has been a handsome return, vindictive of the style of trades that Masai Ujirih has gone about making himself known for. He just happens to make this team better every time.

      Personally, I feel like all this chatter is realistically about getting your hands on a lower first round pick. Would we really be talking about this if it wasn’t a draft comparable to the LeBron one – only in foresight ? Or, what is Lowry’s real worth in terms of dollars and assets in return? While I agree in terms of the pragmatic nature of that line of reasoning, it’s the desperation associated to the aforementioned that is unnecessary. If the true goal is to be a “better” team after the draft, then I have no doubt we are in the right hands.

  • Adreamer

    Lowry and DeRozan are snubbed all-stars, JV is developing and T-Ross has the potential to be one of the best in the league.. why on earth would we trade any of them now? They’re young and they’ll only get better from here on. The only trade I would like to see before the deadline is Landry Fields and Chuck Hayes for Ben Gordon and someone else maybe Bismack Biyombo. In the off-season drop Gordon and Salmons, get Lowry back by any means possible, sign Lance Stephenson as sixth man, sign Vince Carter as bench leader and mentor for the rising all stars. Then.. trade our pick and as many picks as necessary for Andrew Wiggins. This is all possible.. the weakest link on our roster would be Amir.