I've been meaning to start this thread for a week since I read this article but just never got around to it.
I know I've raised this point along with a couple of other posters before reading this. (Out of curiousity, is the Shantz poster here at RR one and the same with the author of this post?)
Just two years ago, the Philadelphia 76ers were a playoff team. Granted, they just squeaked into the playoffs, but they were a playoff team nonetheless and had youth on their side. As a front office, they needed to do something drastic in order to try to contend. They shipped Andre Iquodala to Denver in a four team trade that brought Andrew Bynum back to Philadelphia.
Flash forward a year, and everything had gone wrong. Andrew Bynum never suited up for the 76ers and the franchise was in desperate need of a new direction. They found it on draft night, by shipping Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Now, for the Toronto Raptors, the circumstances can’t be much more similar. A young playoff team, built on a foundation of their dynamic backcourt, and with offseason uncertainty over Kyle Lowry‘s contract situation. Masai Ujiri finds himself with some very interesting possibilities this summer. Ultimately, all of his decisions must come down to one question: What is the ceiling of this current roster? If Ujiri can’t see ways to build upon the current foundation and make a contender, then a change of direction will need to take place. And the most viable option to do so might just be to trade DeMar DeRozan.What could make DeMar even more valuable than Holiday, may be the position he plays. The current depth of starting point guards across the league is deeper than it may have ever been, but shooting guard is a different story. There are few top-tier shooting guards in the league today, as there has been a gravitation towards 3-and-D type players. Based on the numbers, is it unreasonable for DeMar to be viewed as a top five player for his position?
Ujiri has always said that his only goal for the Raptors is to bring an NBA Championship to the City of Toronto. If he believes that trading DeRozan could bring him closer to that goal, then Raptor fans can only hope that he can bring back the type of trade that Philadelphia got for Holiday.
If you can get a Philly/Holiday type return for DeRozan, I think you have to trade him. Why?
1) Ross - no Ross doesn't produce like DD but he also isn't the focal like DD. Ross is also a superior defender on the other side of the ball.
2) Financial flexibility - shedding DD's salary in exchange for rookie contracts will allow the Raptors to be bigger free agent players in 2015 and 2016.
3) Long term planning and stability - JV and Ross can be Raptors for the next 6-7 seasons. Any draft picks selected by Toronto will be Raptors for 8-9 years if the Raptors choose. DeRozan could walk for nothing in 2 seasons.
4) Ujiri and Weltman - Fantastic history of identifying talent in the draft.
5) Ownership - they will pay luxury tax for a winner. The way to do that is not free agency. You are limited. The way to paying luxury tax and keeping a talented core is through Bird Rights. Raptors need to acquire as many pieces as possible that have Bird Rights. It is then you can take advantage of multi-billion dollar ownership pockets.
This summer is going to be interesting. Masai has said he'd give the team an opportunity to see what they can do. But he has always referred to 2013-14. He has never said anything beyond 2014.
Considering trading DD for two possible lottery picks is not hating. It is a serious question and if the possibility is out there, I am not sure you can say no.