With news this weekend that Indiana had signed Andrew Bynum, the Pacers inadvertently sounded the bell announcing the next critical phase of the season: the trade deadline.

Larry Bird was quick to say this move was made as an insurance policy for added depth, but many are second-guessing why this tight-knit squad would open their arms to Bynum, whose presence has been best described as cancerous. Since Frank Vogel is a respected coach and Bird won’t suffer fools, others are speculating the move was made simply to remove Bynum from the open market before their competition did.

Undeniably, this move hastened preparations by each team in the league to finalize their 2014 goals and ultimately determine if they will be buyers or sellers. Buyers will look to fill holes in their roster via one of: role players who’ll function in a specialist capacity, an established star who could push a middling team immediately into the upper stratum, or a veteran to work with a young squad and serve as an experienced leader. Conversely, sellers will look to shed hefty contracts and simultaneously hope to grab additional picks for a draft class touted to be the prime of the decade, much like 1984, 1996 and 2003 were in theirs.

Probing previous February trades here are examples of players who met specific needs:

Kendrick Perkins/Derek Fisher: At the time of these trades Oklahoma City was one of the youngest NBA squads with limited playoff experience. These two veterans brought a winning culture and filled specific holes in the roster. Though OKC have not missed the post-season since the acquisition of these veterans, they remain a relatively young team, especially with James Harden and Kevin Martin having departed. The difference is Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – though only in their six and fifth years, they are now considered playoff veterans by virtue of getting to the Conference Championship in 2011 and the Finals in 2012.

Rasheed Wallace: The late February acquisition of Wallace by the Pistons was completed to fill specific needs of depth, 3-point shooting and defense. He immediately fit in with the existing team which went on to upset the Lakers for the championship and helped Detroit return the following year.

Carmelo Anthony: The most recent example of a deadline deal for a franchise star was when Ujiri dealt Anthony in a multi-player deal in 2011. Looking at where the pick-less Knicks are this season versus the absolute glut of talent that ended up in Denver, it’s no wonder these types of trades are rare. The risk/reward element can make or break a General Manager’s career, not to mention what it can do to the future of a franchise if the bet doesn’t pay off.

With these categories in mind I pondered what, if any, activity Toronto would have in the coming weeks. On January 25th Rod Black asked Ujiri if he would become a buyer at the trade deadline: following a giggle he replied “That’s for you to find out”.  After the initial big trade by Masai, majority opinion was Toronto was about to blow up the roster, but the subsequent emergence of the team as a top-four seed, coupled with the virtual impossibility to fail badly enough to rank among the tankers set the Raptors on their current course.  That and the fact Masai has consistently said Toronto will not finish in the middle leads me to believe he’ll want to add depth so the Raptors can finish strong, take the Atlantic Division, and gain valuable playoff experience.  The dilemma is about who he would shop, especially considering the chemistry of the current unit. Trading the wrong player or adding the wrong piece could completely upset the chemistry and progress made to date.

So let’s imagine we are in Masai Ujiri’s shoes approaching February 20. Some of the questions we’d be asking are:

  • What areas need the most immediate help?
  • Which players can we dangle to obtain a coveted player?
  • Which contracts would we like to shed?
  • Who do we want to retain for the future core?
  • What contracts are expiring?
  • Will the schedule play a role – if a trade is made, what teams will the Raptors face during the adjustment period?
  • Which teams will be most likely to participate in a deal as a direct partner or in a third-party capacity?

The following is my musings on the above questions and suggestions on possible direction; I invite you to offer your own perspective given the many variables. Trust me it’s fun to play armchair General Manager and spend other people’s money.

The back court is arguably the strongest area for the Raptors with Lowry and DeRozan and suitable bench replacements in Vasquez and Salmons. The front court features two improving sophomores (Ross and Valanciunas), a reliable cost effective vet in Amir Johnson, the steal of the trade in Patrick Patterson along with energy, experience and toughness from Hansbrough and Hayes. 

These ten players are the current nucleus of what has worked to vault the Raptors from a losing record of 4-12 to 22-10 or a 68.8% winning percentage since the trade!

I’ve pinpointed our immediate need as a back-up center who can handle some of the bigger, agile, big men, an area Valanciunas is still adjusting to.

In terms of who is the best option to trade I imagine my response will create the greatest debate, but I personally believe our options are extremely limited. In an ideal world we would shed Fields’ albatross contract, but his recent surgery makes him untradeable. Therefore the option is to either chance removal of a key contributor or one of the four players who aren’t receiving consistent playing time.

Ultimately I settled on the two players who represent specific assets playoff teams would be seeking: Steve Novak for his three point shooting and Tyler Hansbrough for his energy and rebounding. Ideally we’d keep Tyler given several losses occurred during his absence, but perhaps Masai can turn his unique assets into an immediate and future positive. The other possibilities would affect the existing core and would require immediate decisions of Toronto’s long term plan.There are a number of options which could include any of DeRozan, Lowry or Vasquez but given the choice and barring an absolutely lopsided steal I’d keep these players so the existing functioning squad gains valuable playoff experience and offers Ujiri the opportunity to assess their performance in the post-season.

When determining who the core assets were I chose to follow the OKC and Portland model of keeping the youthful foundation together. Obviously our two sophomores form a crucial portion of this nucleus, Valanciunas due to his projected potential and because there are so few true big men in the NBA and Ross specifically because of how rapidly he has displayed growth on defense and potential on offense since being inserted into the starting line-up. I’m of the opinion that Amir Johnson is an untouchable for a number of reasons but mainly because he is a steal at his price, is a vet with 8 years in the league who won’t turn 27 until May and literally functions as the on-court defensive captain and off-court team ambassador.

After these three things get tricky, but bear with me on why each has a valid reason to remain a core asset.

DeRozan ranks 11th in the league in scoring has become the team’s main go-to guy and is comfortable in that role, has improved in areas beside scoring since Gay’s departure,  is durable and at $40 million over four years (in the 2nd year of this contract) would be difficult to replace for the price.

Patrick Patterson is a steal for his current salary especially given his upside and age (24). As a restricted free agent the Raptors could match any offers he receives this summer. Perhaps more importantly he is an intelligent guy who works hard and is dedicated to improving his entire game.


Conceivably the biggest question mark surrounds the future at the point and it’s where I’m most adamant in my stance.  I feel the Raptors should lock Kyle Lowry down right now. He is and always will be a bulldog competitor as it’s in his DNA. The fact it’s a contract year is irrelevant; his Raptor tenure began following off-season surgery which affected his preparation, regardless he was consistently the player trying to spearhead comebacks when the Raptors were already predestined to go fishing. My belief is he’ll want to remain in Toronto since the only team I think that could honestly sway him has Michael Carter-Williams earmarked for the long term.

Lowry has had a tumultuous career having to prove and re-prove himself as a starter and this season he’s not only underlined that, but in doing so he’s been the most consistent Raptor on the floor. His performance since his best friend’s departure improved exponentially when he no longer had to give the ball up only to watch it die in isolation. Lowry’s excelled in the role of quarterback, spearheading decisions and picking his spots to score when necessary. He’s one of only two guards this season with 100 three pointers and 300 assists (Stephen Curry is the other). We saw recently how easily he can put up 30 points and still achieve his assist average when DeMar DeRozan was injured, so the fact his focus remains on ball distribution speaks volumes.

If you are of the belief we should trade him ask yourself who replaces him; certainly not Greivis Vasquez. Granted Vasquez’s contrasting style is a perfect complement to Lowry and offers the opportunity to play them together. But Vasquez is nowhere near ready to assume the lead role nor has he yet proved he could come close to filling Lowry’s defensive shoes.  What point guard who isn’t currently in the top 5-7 at their position can do for the team what Lowry can, and would cost less to re-sign than Lowry? Exactly!

Salmons and Hayes have demonstrated the true value of veteran leadership so retaining them through to the end of the season seems like a no brainer.  Recently, these two vets have played valuable minutes in close games and the Raptors have reaped benefits from these efforts. Imagine what they’ll offer during a playoff run with the majority of the team experiencing the post-season for their first time. There will be time in the summer to assess what to do with these two players but for my money, veteran leadership is an undervalued commodity in today’s game. Just ask New York or Cleveland.

To that end, each of these nine to ten players receiving the bulk of playing time provide a piece to the puzzle, but perhaps the reason this specific group is proving to be so successful is that they are quality people. No one person is selfish, acts like a prima donna or puts his individual game ahead of the team.

To put this in perspective, imagine where Toronto would be had they started the season together. Further, looking at the Portland game offers even more evidence to sway the scales to retain them. Portland is a top seed in the tough Western Conference, but on three day’s rest they faced a Raptor squad with 3 players just back from injury (4 if you count Hansbrough) who were playing in the second game of a back-to-back and yet Toronto almost beat them. The reason is Portland’s bench doesn’t come close to offering what the Raptors have gained through the addition of the four players who came over in via the trade, nor do many teams in the league have a defense as tough as the Raptors which will only improve the longer the core remains intact.


Breaking down Toronto’s remaining 34 games they have 6 games left to play versus the top 8 seeds in the West and 5 versus teams above them in the East; 3 of which are against their current see saw partners for the third seed: Atlanta.  Twelve games feature cellar-dwellers:  Orlando, Boston, Sacramento and Milwaukee (2 each), Philadelphia (1) and Cleveland (3). Assuming Toronto can maintain their winning percentage, which isn’t a stretch since 23 of the 34 games feature teams either below .500 or not currently seeded I estimate Toronto will finish with 48 wins. This number merits pause.  That’s one more than the year they won the Atlantic Division and would set a record for the highest win total ever.

In review, my assessment calls for the core 9-10 players to stay put through to season’s end, Lowry’s contract to be renewed, focus of any trade be on adding back-up front court depth and for Novak to be isolated as the bait with Hansbrough on the back burner should an equivalent value be available.

With these armchair GM decisions in place all that remains is to be deciphered is what teams would be open to trades and whether they:

  • Have something the Raptors need/want
  • Are looking to add a 3 point specialist
  • Could be leveraged in a multiple team deal
  • Have multiple draft picks available

Available Bigs:

  • Omer Asik: Currently rides the pine in Houston suffering a similar fate to what Lowry experienced under Kevin McHale’s leadership.
  • Greg Monroe: Detroit failed to negotiate a contract extension allowing him to become a restricted free agent, but with money invested in Josh Smith and the long-term upside of Drummond, he’s likely to be at the forefront of deadline discussion.
  • Spencer Hawes: An unrestricted free agent who Philly may want to shop rather than sign long-term.
  • Channing Frye: Is in a player option year, offers size, 3 point shooting, plays in a similar team style and likely is affordable.
  • Boston has several big men who could fill a need, especially if a third team enters the equation looking to pluck one of the picks the Celtics have accumulated.
  • With the current demise in Cleveland, Tristan Thompson may be available. Certainly returning to his home town would be met with excitement and the Cavaliers are another franchise which holds multiple draft picks. At 6’9″ he’d be an undersized center, but he’s filled in for Varejao during injury and is a capable rebounder.

Frye offers the best option in my opinion because he could function in the back-up role and with the Suns holding up to four picks in this year’s draft (all protected at 10 and above) there is the possibility to involve a third party who can provide an immediate asset for the Suns in exchange for either Novak (and/or Hansbrough) with the potential to negotiate an inclusion of one of those 4 draft picks.

Teams looking to add depth with three point shooting:

Current 3-point Shooting FG% ranking:

  • Chicago – 27
  • Houston – 26
  • Minnesota – 23
  • Clippers – 21
  • Indiana – 19
  • Memphis – 17
  • Although Miami ranks ,8th the loss of Mike Miller has yet to be remedied

All the above teams (other than Miami) will most certainly be interested in adding a proven three point shooter of Novak’s caliber. Marrying the list with the previous Big Man list, Houston stands out as a possible contender especially if we return to looking at incorporating a third team like Phoenix who are seeking to add talent in exchange for draft picks or may be enticed to part with Frye.

Teams with multiple draft picks available:

  • Phoenix Suns
  • Boston Celtics
  • Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets
  • Cleveland

One Caveat

Vasquez offers versatility, but his defense and turnovers in late-game situations is an issue. Management may wait until the summer to address this but if there is an opportunity to pluck a vet (Andre Miller from Denver?) who can create off the dribble for a song it would be worthwhile.

I’d look to capitalize on the number of upper-seeded teams seeking 3-point shooting (sorry Steve, I’m sure you’re a nice guy) while trying to add an agile back-up center. And if I could have my cake and eat it too, I’d look to involve one of the teams with multiple drafts in an effort to pick up a second draft pick which could be married with the Raptors pick and possibly bundled in a package for one of the coveted top 5 picks.

But hey, I’m just role playing, I’ll leave the real work to Masai; the thing is I wouldn’t bet against him pulling off exactly what I’ve outlined.

Tipping off to another exciting week of Raptor basketball, follow me on Twitter.

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76 Responses to “On Pace To Win 48 Games, Raptors Face Deadline Day Decisions”

  1. conman_15

    My only concern is someone might give Lowry $10 Million or something close to it, crazier things have happened. If we re-sign Lowry to a healthy increase then I am not sure where this team becomes a true contender without trading Demar. Remove Demar and add a true center like Asik with a young SF and I would feel good with Lowry staying with us (he can also play the 2 spot if needed). We could draft or sign a better back up PG.

    I also feel we should keep Patterson. We just need another center.

    One thing is for sure, Fields’ contract is killing us.

    • Delabar's Weighted Balls

      Looks to me like the Raptors are a contender as they stand right now. Take away the 6-12 record from the start of the season (Rudy era) and the Raps have a tidy 20-10 record with wins & very close games against the top teams in the league, even on the road. I think the raps are fine as they are, with just a few minor tweaks to make them even better. But one has to be careful to keep this good thing going..

      • Mexiballer

        I hope you dont mean a contender for a championship. That would be wishful thinking. Now if Masai can go after and get Kevin Love next year…different story. That might be wishful thinkign too…but I am hopefull that that who is he will target in free agency.

        • Roarque

          To get Kevin Love would take 2 1st Rounders plus DDR and that could destroy the team chemistry for the foreseeable future.
          What the writer is proposing is to tweet the current roster so as to be more flexible at Center and she recognizes that TO has limited bargaining ability.
          Food for thought Tamberlyn – nicely presented.

    • Roarque

      I heard Tamberlyn suggest that the Raptors pay Kyle that kind of money in a contract to be signed tomorrow morning. And I personally like Spencer Hawes as the back up center for the next five years. So Hawes comes to Toronto, Novak goes to a team with a 1st rounder in 2015 or 2016 which would then go to Philly.

      • Lawrence C

        Reading all these comments it has become clear to me that Raptors fans are totally deluded about Novak’s value. Dude can’t even play once every 4 games for the Raptors (and when he does, he struggles mightily almost every time). There is not a chance of giving up nothing but him and getting a player like Hawes in return.

        • guset

          He has value to some teams, all he can do is shoot 3’s and is still in the league for some reason, Toronto just doesn’t need or want to use his skills

          • raptorstand

            He would be great in Miami , the spread the floor offence they run seems to always get the corner shooters open because of the Lebron drive.

            • Lawrence C

              The Heat already have that guy — James Jones, a career 40% 3 point shooter — and he’s played 12 games this year, averaging less than 6 minutes when he does.

        • Nate

          On a team like the HEat, all he would have to do is stay in the corner and out of the way and bomb away at a 45-50% clip when he gets a kickout. With their defense they could find ways to hide him. I could see him getting 2-4 threes a game with the Heat, value for sure

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      1. many would consider JV a “true” center. His D isn’t where it needs to be for us to do any serious post season damage, but he should be much better next season as most bigs take until their 3 or 4 season before truly grasping the NBA game.
      2. Ross’s defensive instincts and length/athleticism enable him to cover most SFs already, which is normally the reason why you don’t start 2 SGs. Considering he’s only going to improve, I think the team has other priotities in terms of glaring weaknesses.
      3. The team would be better served by acquiring a long athletic PF to pair with JV and 2Pat on the front line to improve our shot blocking/lane intimidation.
      Edit: 4. Lowry will receive an offer at or above 10 mil a year for 3 years. That’s almost a given.

  2. Justin

    I feel if the Raptors can swing a deal with Detroit for Greg Monroe.. our front court would be dangerous. Nothing against Amir, but I feel Greg has so much more to offer.

    • Quest

      but he is not a good defender. we need a defensive presence in the paint, and jv is not there yet. amir is a good fit, as is ppatt. maybe someone like asik as a backup center would be a better fit. amir/jv and ppatt/asik would be great big man combos

    • ItsAboutFun

      Monroe, as skilled a scorer as he is, would be a terrible fit for how this team is constructed, presently, and moving forward if the intent is to develop Jonas into much of a low post presence. It would be an Isaiah Thomas/Joe Dumars type deal of slapping together mismatched talent and expecting it to do good.

      For Jonas’s development, Amir and Patterson are very good compliments, in different ways, to Jonas. Amir for his very active defense, especially on help, and his improving mid-range game, just like Patterson, draws bigs out to clear space for Jonas and/or drives by the PG/wings. Monroe’s strength is in the low post on offense, and he’s a poor plodding defender. The team’s biggest need for a big, by far, is a much taller version of Hayes to backup the C spot against 7 footers.

  3. TT

    Love that you floated Tristan Thompsons name. He is someone they should target, given th state of CLE right now. He might be deemed untouchable because he has improved each year in the league. That’s comment had me salivating, though, because TT is the PERFECT compliment to JV for the next 10 years! Probably have to give up a whole lot to get him though…t Ross, 1st rounder next year

  4. GetLicks

    Good list, TT & Monroe are intriguing, although I don’t see Asik fitting in Toronto at all. If he’s not happy playing behind Howard, there’s no way he’ll be willing to play behind JV.

    • Tamberlyn Richardson


      I guess I didn’t explain that well, the article was already so long.

      I didn’t mean Asik for Toronto I meant him as the piece being used in the 3 team scenario. My thoughts were Asik goes to Phoenix, Novak goes to Houston &/or Hansbrough and then Toronto gets Frye. If either Phoenix or Houston also take Hansbrough then we get pick(s) as well.

      That way Houston gets their 3-point shooter and rid of a disenchanted Asik, Phoenix gets talent up front to add to the big’s they have who shot from the field/perimeter and Toronto gets a big who can hit from outside, handle the more agile Centers and compliment JV off the bench. The picks are just gravy which is where Tyler comes into play.


      • Lawrence C

        I know Asik’s value has been lowered by not playing in weeks, but this is a guy that Houston was trying to get TWO first round picks for earlier in the year. There is not a chance they would trade him to get Steve Novak in return. Why wouldn’t they just take Channing Frye straight up in your hypothetical? He’s a much better player. Novak’s value is unfortunately quite low, and without throwing in some picks, the Raps will have to set their sights a fair deal lower than that.

        • raptorstand

          Hasn’t Asik got a huge contract, how about our huge contract (Landry) that doesn’t play , for their huge contract that doesn’t play?

          • Lawrence C

            The difference there is that Asik is a high quality player who isn’t playing because of attitude problems/refusal to accept his role, whereas Fields doesn’t play because he’s a borderline NBA talent at best since he lost his jump shot. Darryl Morey is too smart to trade Asik without getting something that can help his team.

            • raptorstand

              I was kinda kidding Lawrence, We couldn’t get a box of chocolates and a roll of tape for Landry. 8 million next year, can we amnesty his contract?

              • Abused Raptors Fan

                The amnesty provision was negotiated as a part of the most recent CBA that enabled each team to waive a player signed during the previous CBA and remove their onerous contract from salary cap consideration.

                I have suggested that we utilize the stretch provision on Fields, which spreads a player’s remaining salary over the length of their original contract. In this case, it’d be 6.25 million averaged over the next 3 years. But that’s only worth it if we need the cap space for a free agent or trade

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        What do they need us for then? Phoenix and Houston could just do a swap of Frye for Asik and cut us out. I’m sure they’d prefer Frye over Novak anyways (duh?)

      • Nerius

        Do Houston really need another big that can (on paper) shoot threes? Isn’t that what Parsons, Casspi and Motiejunas are for?

        • Tamberlyn Richardson

          I hear what you are saying I put it in the article based on reports Houston has stated they want more 3-point shooting & ideally from their 4 or 5 b/c Dwight works the paint. I think they are trying to replicate Orlando’s system when DH excelled. And we all remember that was when Turkoglu was functioning like the Turkish MJ (or at least that’s what HE said).

  5. Abused Raptors Fan

    Correction – Derozan is only in the 1st year of his new contract. The reason it was signed before the start of last season was to avoid restricted free agency.

    • Tamberlyn Richardson

      I considered him BUT he is so injury prone I ruled him out. I went with who I thought could add value in a short stint and would come cheap. Given Miller isn’t playing he fit a short term fix and would allow Ujiri more time to figure out the PG situation after the Play Off’s.

      Also figured Masai’s ties to Denver might help the Rap’s get him for
      cheap; he could say let me help you take him off your hands.

      • Mexiballer

        I hear you. Im just partial to Jameer Nelson and not that crazy about Andre Miller. I would like to see anyone that is an upgrade to Vasquez for the playoffs. Someone who can take care of the ball and make good decisions. I like Heinrich too but the asking price is probably to high.

        • asifyouknow

          Hey dude move on, he is here forever…get used to it….maybe find another team you like….lol …you stuff is getting to the trolling stage,,,

          • Mexiballer

            Ill move on when Vasquez moves on. I guarantee he will not be in a Raptors uniform next year. Another team? The Raptors are my team.

  6. Marshall

    GREAT article Tam! I agree that our top 9 man rotation should be left intact until the end of the season. Salmons and Hayes have had an “Oakley” effect on our young team.

    I was really hoping we’d see a better season from Psycho T but I guess the fit just wasn’t right. But yeah we really need a backup center/PF. I’d prefer one with a good mid range game so it wouldn’t get too crowded for JV in the post. But I loved all of your scenarios!

    Should be an interesting couple of weeks….

  7. Will

    Great article. With all your analysis, I was fully expecting you to propose a trade scenario at the end, but you left me hanging.

    I fully agree that we should leave the core rotation and only shop Novak and Hansbrough. I’d throw Hayes in there too but I don’t think anyone wants his contract for next year. I also agree we need a backup centre but I don’t think Asik or Monroe are available for what we’re offering. Also, those two are starting caliber players. They’re not going to want to be JV’s backup.

    Too bad Hansbrough isn’t a tad bigger. I love his hustle. Maybe we should just get him to put on some weight and then Hayes can teach him the hand in the face move.

    • Tamberlyn Richardson

      My suggestion was Channing Frye in a 3 team deal (see my not above to GetLicks).

      • Will

        That makes more sense. However, if Houston is interested in 3 point shooting, they could just go after Frye instead of Novak. Also, I’d personally prefer a more defensive backup centre. I’d love to have someone like Dalembert behind JV. We already have a shooting big in Patterson.

        • Tamberlyn Richardson

          Yeah my thinking was we need a back-up that is different from JV, ideally a Center who can either guard agile bigs that Jonas has problems with OR a Centre who will make the opposing big work on their defensive end. Frye would offer a bit on the first part but keep the other guy working on the offensive end. He wouldn’t disrupt the chemistry given he is playing with a similar emphasis with the Suns.

          Not sure Dalembert is quick enough to handle the agile guys but maybe.

          Plus I’m so thirsty to steal one of those 4 draft picks the Suns have. My head keeps saying all roads go through Arizona especially b/c they are still contending and made it public knowledge they want more talent and will trade for it.

  8. Matteemo

    One thing you didn’t touch on is the possibility of Masai trading our first rd pick, or a future 1st rd pick… just throwing this name out there for the sake of debate (and because it was batted around a bit when we played Philly last) but if there was a deal involving our 1st and someone like Hansbrough or Novak for the likes of Evan Turner you’d be hard pressed not to consider it. Even though Masai has a history of drafting well, it’s not extremely likely that our pick (probably somewhere between 17th and 23rd overall) develops into a player of Turner’s calibre. Just a thought… Overall, great article, I’ve really enjoyed your contributions to the Republic!

    • Lawrence C

      Good point, and I really like the theory that first round picks have almost become over-valued in this market, and thus it may time for the smart GM’s to start parlaying that overvalued asset into a good player that can contribute now. Thad Young is a really great example of someone where I feel like that would be a smart move that would totally fit with this team.

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        If we are giving up a first rounder for young, I honestly think we could offload fields, though psycho t would probably have to be included. But given the immense value of 2014 draft picks this year and Philly’s position as a franchise this year and next that trade is probably doable. Look at what Boston gave up for a 1st rounder and Joel Anthony.

        • Lawrence C

          Thad Young is a young player on a reasonable contract averaging more than 17/6 right now, and still improving. The Raptors pick won’t even be in the top 20, in all likelihood. To me, if the Raptors are trying to compete now, I’d rather have the young player currently contributing, whereas for the Sixers it makes more sense to gamble on a low draft pick that may or may not ever be a useful player. I guess it all depends on what Ujiri considers the team’s priority to be. One thing is for certain though — ain’t nobody touching that Fields contract.

          • Matteemo

            In one of the articles/podcasts (can’t remember which), the day before we played Philly last, the writer from Philly said he loved Thad, but would pack his bags for him if we offered our 1st for him. The fact that a Philly fan would consider parting with a young player of that quality is a direct testament to how over-valued 1st rd. picks have become

          • Abused Raptors Fan

            There are a ton of examples where teams have taken back garbage contracts along with draft picks. Really, it’s almost a necessity as draft picks often have to be paired with filler contracts to get any sort of value back in return. Just look at some of the trades Boston and Utah have made recently.

            And Matteemo, injured players can be traded just like healthy ones. Phoenix traded Gortat before the beginning of the season for Emeka Okafor and a 2014 1st rounder, and Okafor was expected to be out all year. For tanking teams, injured players are great to trade for as you usually get a draft pick(s) and don’t have to worry about accidently improving your team in the process. Also there is a minimum cap in the NBA as well, so injured players also help teams fill up the roster/cap, again, without accidently adding any Ws atthe end of the year. Just ask Masai hahahaha

            • Matteemo

              Yeah, you guys are definitely right about being able to trade injured players, I just looked into it and apparently the injury just has to be disclosed and the team acquiring the injured player has to waive the physical requirement, even still I can’t see anyone taking on Fields and his contract and us getting anything of value in return. That being said I said the same thing about Bargnani before Masai pulled off that miracle, so fingers crossed.

        • Matteemo

          I would love to throw in Fields in a deal like that but sadly I don’t think he will be eligible to be traded before deadline due to his injury. Pretty sure injured players can’t be traded.

          • Christopher Bird

            You can trade injured players. Emeka Okafor got traded just this year when it became clear to Washington he’d be out most of the season.

  9. Dre86

    This was a very well done piece. You didn’t reach on anything and I think you are bang on with Greivas. I think he will shoot better though and his intensity and fire are a great compliment to the bench.

    Novak I think scares some teams because of his defense but he would be a great 12 min guy in Miami.

  10. moe

    monroe would be good. maybe 1st pick and Novak. he can’t fetch for a lot since he is a free agent so a1st pick (ours will be in the 20’s) is fair for both. Monroe and jv could be dominant. pistons then could allow josh at the 4 and then they have a deadly shooter which. they desperately need

  11. ItsAboutFun

    Monroe: NO, NO, NO. Not only do you not want to give up much for an expiring contract, but he’s terrible fit for this team, at BOTH ends.

  12. CashGameND

    I want the big guy from boston who owned us. he’d be perfect. i have no idea what we’d have to give up for him, but if some how we could swing a 3 way trade where we trade novak & hayes or PyschoT and/or a 2nd/3rd round pick. I’d love that deal

    • afrocarter

      I don’t think there’s any chance of Boston parting ways with Sullinger; he seems to be an integral part of their rebuild.

      • CashGameND

        Yeah, thats why I said or another big time rebounder with some offensive skill. We need a sullinger whos not going into his prime, somebody who is older & a team whos out of the race wouldn’t be looking for much to get rid of. Sullinger is more of the “type” of player I think we need to get. Backup PG might need improvement, but the chemistry is so great I’m not sure its worth the risk, also long term it may not be worth the risk either as I think Gravy still has upside & has been dealing with injuries for a while now.

  13. Abused Raptors Fan

    Great article! I really appreciate it that someone finally took the time and effort to produce a realistic evaluation of the Raptors’ situation as we approach the trade deadline. As it happens, I took some time a week or so ago and compiled a list of potential trade targets based on our current front court needs and the relative availability of suitable players:
    Front Court Trade Targets
    Was – K. Seraphin, T. Ariza
    Phi – L. Allen, T. Young, S. Hawes
    Mil – Ekpe Udoh
    Bos – Humphries, Bass
    Det – J. Harrellson, J. Jerebko
    Orl – A. Nicholson
    Cle – Earl Clark
    Hou – D. Montiejunas
    Uta – B. Rush
    Mem – Kousta Koufus

    I don’t think this list is exhaustive, as there are a number of other possibilities. I do, however, think that most of these players are viable trade targets that do not need complex 3 team trades to acquire. Granted, none of these players are what most would call ‘game changers’ yet without disrupting the team’s core,

  14. Lawrence C

    The way I see it is if the Raptors don’t want to move any of their rotation pieces (understandable, given the chemistry this team has), the only thing they have to offer that has any actual value around the league is their draft picks. If they want to improve this year and attempt to compete right now, that is certainly something consider. However, if they want to hold onto their picks and their rotation players, I’m afraid there isn’t much of a market out there for Novak, Fields, etc. At the very least I’d like to see the team sign a token 7 foot stiff to replace Aaron Gray, and give the Raptors 10 minutes of toughness and D when they play the Roy Hibberts and Dwight Howards of the league. Maybe Jason Collins would make sense?

    Another NBA quality point guard is kind of essential too, as my dread when Lowry left yesterday’s game will attest to. Imagine any stretch of time with Vasquez starting and Buycks/Stone backing him up? YIKES.

  15. vino

    Our 2 needs are: a) a wing D, who is younger/has more potential/cheaper than Salmons, who is as good as gone in four months. b) post up big. Hopefully, we’ll address the first need in the draft and the second… well, that’s going to take time – either Jonas development or a trade, but not right now.

  16. Saskatoon Raps Fan

    The only way the raptors are adding a piece that can make a noticeable contribution this yr (and therefore actually worth making a move for) without trading anyone from their current core, would be by trading their own first rounder. Forget all thoughts of picking up someone else’s 1st rounder using nothing but our scraps.

    If we could trade our 1st plus filler for t young, t tompson, or sullinger. I’d be ecstatic. As a lot of ppl have already pointed out, draft picks are currently being overvalued, lets cash in.

  17. Maputo88

    We can’t trade this year’s first round pick because wetraded away last year’s pick. Great article. I like the list made that included Ekepe Udoh(?) and Brandon Rush. Go for it Masai!

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      Yeah. We can. The Stepien Rule only applies to trading consecutive future draft picks. We could make our selection this year and trade that player in a package with next years draft pick on draft night if we wanted to.
      Edit: and thank you. That was my list 🙂

  18. monocled_gentleman_scholar

    I’d love to see us stand pat at the deadline and use our first rounder this year on a point guard.

    • ckh26

      Agree. However if we could bundle our 1st pick this year plus one of Derozan or Ross for Greg Monroe before the trade deadline I would do that. Its a steep price to pay but Monroe is a talent that will put up 18 points a night along with 9 rebounds for the next 10 years. The adage you get what your pay for plays here.

  19. jakdripr

    Phoenix have 4 top 10 picks in this draft? How did this happen? How are they so good and still have so many draft picks? And how is the west so stacked?

    Good article though, should be interesting to see where masai goes with this team. Fingers crossed we finally cross that 47 win barrier.

    • Tamberlyn Richardson

      Phoenix has 4 picks (potentially) in this draft that are all top 10 protected which means… they acquired the picks through trades & those teams protected the pick anywhere from 10 and higher. The way the picks are protected was described really well by Eric Pincus of Lakers Now on February 3, 2014:

      The Suns are in a unique position heading into the NBA draft on June 26. They could have four of the 30 first-round picks.

      In addition to their own pick, which would be 23rd as of Monday’s standings, the Suns have the Indiana’s selection. The Pacers have the NBA’s best record at 36-10.

      Phoenix (29-18) could also have the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick, although it is heavily protected.

      If the Wolves (23-24) finish with a top-13 selection, they keep their
      pick. The selection is also top-12 protected in 2015 and 2016. If
      Minnesota’s first-round obligation isn’t met by 2016, the Timberwolves
      instead will send Phoenix a pair of second-round picks (2016 and 2017).

      If the season ended Monday, Minnesota would hit the NBA draft lottery at 13, and would keep the pick.

      Finally, the Suns are also owed a protected first-round pick from the Washington Wizards.

      The Wizards (23-23) keep their pick if it lands in the top 12. That
      protection dips to top-10 in 2015, and all the way to 2019. It becomes
      completely unprotected in 2020.


      Hope that helps.

  20. raptorsfaninRH

    How about MU trying to go after a guy like Taj Gibson who could provide some low post scoring that the raptors do not have. Valanciunas is developing a post game but still has a long ways to go. Raptor fans would probably kil me for this, but i think we could trade Amir Johnson for Taj Gibson. Taj Gibson is around the same build as Amir, 6’9 around 230 pounds. Hes a solid defender, has a good post game, and has a solid mid range jumper. Gibson would provide another dimension to the offence whereas Toronto’s offence runs mostly through P&R and down screens.

  21. Louvens Remy

    I’m into having Zaza Pachulia on this team if you guys are. Maybe we can unload Fields’ contract along with one of our future 2nd Rounders.

  22. Louvens Remy

    I think what the Raps should do is trade their 1st Rd draft pick to a team with a young PG/SG in the waiting like CJ McCollum. I don’t see the difference trading for a guy like that or drafting someone. Maybe it could work.



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