Ujiri wants to play the patient, see-what-I-have card. If he thinks he is not getting decent offers for his players currently, there is little risk in holding on to them. If they play well, perhaps their value goes up. And they might win some games, which Raptors fans have heard great things about.
But to pretend there is no risk here is to cover your eyes and ignore the lessons of the past. If the Raptors head into training camp with this roster, a slight improvement from last year’s 34-48 record is perhaps the most likely result. And if the team ultimately decides it wants to “suck to be good,” as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke delicately termed it, any early success would run counter to such a philosophy. (Especially since Andrew Wiggins wants to be a Raptor!) Toronto has lost out on some draft slots by winning meaningless games at the end of the season, and a decent start could be the difference between the 11th pick and the fourth pick, which matters quite a bit.
There is a risk of failure with Ujiri’s chosen path, because there is a risk of failure with all paths. By limiting himself to minor moves and preaching patience, the Raptors GM is not putting himself on the spot in the same way he would if he dismantled the roster Bryan Colangelo gave him or significantly added to it. He is betting that some of those pieces, such as Gay and Lowry, will produce either more wins or trade pieces in the future than they would at this point. But even if he is right, he is still opening himself up to risk. In the asset-obsessed NBA, there is always a potential loss lurking; there are no true win-win situations.
I think Ujiri will make a move one way or another by trade deadline and either tank or improve. By playing the wait and see game through the off season though I get the feeling he will try and improve and not tank.
I think it happens sooner, one way or the other. I think the preseason, much like last year, will matter greatly. There are a lot of teams looking to see if their new plans for this year will work out or if they need one more key piece. Rudy will attract more attention as we get closer to the beginning of the season; so will Kyle (a whole lot of teams with an untested solution at point guard looking to contend right now), maybe also DeMar and Ross. And if Ujiri decides to give the season some rope, he's only going to go 20 or 30 games, tops, before making his move.
He essentially already said he's not going to tank and he said he's not going to give assets away. Most teams almost have their rosters settled and at this point history indicates you don't see many trades until you get close to the trade deadline. If they were to phone it in Rudy Gay would be traded and any team looking at him is probably a playoff team and wanting to see what they have right now before they make a move, especially a move where their not going to get a sweetheart deal. The demand for Raptors players should be highest around the deadline, which means that's where they can extract the most value. That's my take.
Anyway, the Raptors seemingly always contend for the playoffs in deep draft classes. My guess right now based on the team that have is 36-41 wins.
Firstly, I think the Lowry point is really good, especially with his expiring contract. I feel like he'd be the first domino to fall (or sharing this honour as part of a package). And I honestly think even Ujiri isn't sure who would be dealing next. But I can't believe he'd trade Lowry and have that be the only move for the season.
Secondly, teams also will want to wait around 20 or 30 games to also evaluate the 2014 draft class. Lots of teams unwilling to deal any picks whatsoever right now. Even with a strong draft, you'd think a couple of teams will change their minds if they feel they really want to add something in-season.
Also, I feel like even if Ujiri decides to blow it up in some fashion, one of DeMar or Rudy would probably still be on the roster come the end of the season. Dealing all the other scoring threats, however inefficient, is going to make life very hard for JV this season.
If you think the mediocre ceiling is a reason to tank, you don't want to already have 20 wins...the top lottery teams will have around that range at best. You wait that long and you still end up stuck probably in the late lottery.
If you think despite the mediocre ceiling, if with the pieces you have you can upgrade somewhere, most obviously PG or PF, and build around such a pick up and JV, it also makes sense to do it early. Get the player, develop team chemistry as soon as possible, hope to make a playoff push, even a low-seeded one, with what you think is a roster with a higher ceiling.
*Edit: I also think that the early evaluation should be easier with a team like the Raptors. Almost the whole rotation is the same. They really have no excuse for a slow start.
Last edited by white men can't jump; Fri Jul 19th, 2013 at 12:54 PM.
Which is just wise, but we've had that discussion before many times.and he said he's not going to give assets away.
Last year, the James Harden trade, the Dwight Howard trade and the three-team trade which sent Robin Lopez to New Orleans all took place before the season even began. The Rudy Gay trade happened almost a month before the trade deadline. At the actual deadline the only significant trades were the Houston/Sacramento trade and the Milwaukee/Orlando trade and neither one was exactly a blockbuster. Two years ago, the Chris Paul trade happened just before the season began, as did the Tyson Chandler trade. The only significant trade at the deadline was the Golden State/Milwaukee trade where Monta Ellis and Andrew Bogut swapped teams and in that trade GS was tanking so they had no downside (and Milwaukee was doing what they were always doing, running the treadmill).Most teams almost have their rosters settled and at this point history indicates you don't see many trades until you get close to the trade deadline.
You have to go back three years to find really significant moves at the trade deadline - the Carmelo trade, the Deron Williams trade, etc. And in those cases you had unhappy star players who were demanding trades and a lockout looming the next year, so owners were a lot less wary about making big deals. Go to the 2009-10 season and again it's the same: the trade deadline is where small tinkering happens, and that's been the case for years now.
Teams look to be trending more conservative towards the deadline, and frankly that's probably the wisest move since you generally don't want to shake up team chemistry that late in the season for what is most likely only a moderate difference in standing (since in between 2/3 and 3/4 of the games have already been played) unless the payoff is huge. But any trade involving Rudy and Kyle is not a tinkering-level trade: it's substantially altering your starting lineup, particularly considering the amount of money involved in moving Rudy.
I don't think it makes sense for Ujiri to move them late in the season. I think if it happens, assuming it can happen (e.g. for a reasonable value), then it happens earlier.
We have two possible directions to go in my opinion, both of which are pretty solid options.
1) We start off the season HOT. Demar has a 3pt shot, Rudy is lighting the league up, Val is dominating, Lowry is in shape, etc. We are looking much better than last year. The value of ALL our players immediately reaches a peak. Before the deadline, Rudy + Lowry get shipped out for high picks and perhaps a young stud here and there. All the momentum is taken away from our sails, and we spend the rest of the season going into the Lottery.
This is my favorite move because it means optimizing the value of our assets, then tanking and still getting a high pick(s?)
2) We start off the season TERRIBLE. Demar has failed to improve, Rudy is volume shooter, Val isnt as dominating, Lowry is lazy, etc. We keep our core, dont trade anything at all, and tank the rest of the way. Hopefully Rudy and Lowry get injuries somewhere along the line, we find ourselves in the top 5 of the lottery, adding a potential AllStar to this core group.
The Baltic Beast is unstoppable!
Better yet, tell me what is the minimum you would accept for Rudy Gay?
Last edited by white men can't jump; Fri Jul 19th, 2013 at 05:09 PM.
As others have pointed out, in context I meant ASAP where it is defined as "as soon as we can get good value for them." Right now we likely can't - teams have gone out and acquired most of their free agents and are waiting for training camps to fill out their rosters. I mean, it's possible Masai is quietly talking with teams about a trade - and really, teams keep their feelers open at all times anyway so he probably knows who's interested - but I don't think it's likely that we see a trade happen for reasonable value until training camps begin. At that time teams will start to get a sense of what they have and what they might need. Charlotte might take a look at their core, see how Zeller and Kemba and Henderson are playing with Al Jefferson and be impressed, but decide that MKG just isn't developing fast enough at small forward... trade potential opens up. Detroit might decide that their frontcourt is good, but they need a quality point guard... trade potential opens up. Cleveland might decide that Anthony Bennett is the real deal but he needs to be played at power forward rather than small forward... trade potential opens up. Or maybe Cleveland decides Bennett was a mistake, or maybe Detroit decides they need to play Josh Smith at PF and Greg Monroe needs to be moved for an upgrade at another position. And so forth.Sorry but did I not say "closer to the deadline"? ASAP is not closer to the deadline. I get why you want it to happen right away, you want them to lose as much as possible so you're probably not too concerned about what they get back?
Training camps and the pre-season will be important, both for other teams to decide what they have and for Masai to see what he has (although the latter is mostly a known quantity at this point).
One good young player with upside, one first-round draft pick (2014 if possible), and garbage to make the money work, but ideally nothing that expires later than 2015.Better yet, tell me what is the minimum you would accept for Rudy Gay?
For example (and note most of these trades probably have us send something else along with Rudy - maybe Quincy Acy and/or the rights to Tomislav Zubcic), this is the sort of thing I'd be looking for from teams potentially looking to upgrade at SF for a potential playoff bid:
CHARLOTTE: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the top-8 protected Detroit 2014 first-rounder, and Ben Gordon.
CLEVELAND: Tristan Thompson, Cleveland's 2014 first rounder, Alonzo Gee, someone else (Cleveland is difficult to make the money work at this point).
DETROIT (assuming they move Josh Smith to PF): Greg Monroe, Detroit's 2016 first-rounder, Charlie Villaneuva and Rodney Stuckey.
MILWAUKEE: Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh, 2014 first-rounder. (I'd prefer John Henson to Udoh but Ilyasova is good enough that it's hard to justify.)
WASHINGTON (if Washington thinks Otto Porter looks to be a bust or needs seasoning): Porter, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely, 2014 first.
MINNESOTA (not an ideal partner for us at all): Derrick Williams, Ronny Turiaf, Dante Cunningham, 2014 first.
There are other details that make little sense in some of those suggested trade scenarios, but expecting bottom feeders (I don't care what they say about chasing playoffs) to trade a 2014 1st rounder seems like kinda fantasy territory. It's not like any of them would actually think they're missing that piece to contend next year.
Hypothetically, if they're going to be trading for Rudy, why would they insist on holding onto their pick? You don't trade for Rudy Gay if you want to be bottom of the barrel.
Minnesota's season last year was awful because they were absolutely shredded by injuries, but this year Rubio and K-Love should be healthy, and they've added Kevin Martin and Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng; they're arguably better than the Pelicans are and everybody agrees the Pelicans are contending.
Milwaukee really shouldn't be trying to make playoffs because they're mediocre at best, but they're a special case because their ownership wants them in the playoffs so they can make a better case to the city and state for a new arena. They will make bad trades in the hopes of a playoff run (see last year's awful Tobias Harris for J.J. Redick trade).
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