Masai Ujiri was active on the Raptors behalf at this year’s trade deadline. The Malachi Richardson trade showed clear intentions toward the buyout market. Following that, 4 players went out (Jonas Valanciunas, CJ Miles, Delon Wright, Greg Monroe) and only one player came in, Marc Gasol. While the genetic makeup of the team has changed, Ujiri couldn’t possibly be done tinkering yet. I say that, because the Raptors don’t have enough players on their roster as it stands. So let’s run through some hypotheticals, and get excited about depth and shooters.
The Raptors signed Malcolm Miller to a 10-day contract just this morning, the wonderful Vivek Jacob broke that down.
A big body, with an active twitter account, but a far more active presence on the glass. Valanciunas is a decent comparison offensively, albeit with much better defense. Kanter was a prolific fantasy player while with the Knicks but, struggled for playing time due to his famously poor defense. The question is, since one of Siakam or Ibaka will be moving to the bench, would the Raptors care to employ a big with Kanter’s playstyle. In the regular season he would likely have a couple big games off the bench, punching opposing bench bigs in the proverbial mouth and eating their lunch money. With that being said, the buyout market is generally an indicator of playoff depth, and I can’t see the Raptors relying on him in the postseason, not when he’s going to bleed baskets in the ‘pnr’.
He’s a talented player, and will definitely find a home somewhere in the Association. It’s likely that he’d want to go to a team that will hand him a decent chunk of minutes rather than subject himself to a third-string role with the Raptors. There hasn’t been any clear indication from either side on something happening here, but he’s a former 3rd overall pick and his loud numbers are likely to generate interest.
A pipe dream at this point, as the Hawks haven’t expressed any intention of letting Lin go this season. Toronto remains a wonderfully diverse city, and one that would fall in love with Lin on arrival. Lin works predominantly out of the ‘pnr’ on offense – the play that allowed ‘Linsanity’ to happen – and is a crafty finisher at the bucket, and he’s no slouch from behind the 3-point line. His last time in the playoffs (Charlotte Hornets) he was banged up routinely by the physical Miami Heat and struggled to score efficiently.
As it stands, the Raptors don’t have a true “marksman” on their roster outside of Danny Green. With Miles gone to the Grizzlies – and not a marksman at all this year – the Raptors are lacking in that department. Daniels is a career 40+ percent shooter from downtown, and he has no problem launching the majority of his shots from there. He’s shooting almost 60-percent from the corners this year, and with the added gravity Gasol will bring to the Raptors offense, it could open up a lot of space for a shooter to sprint around. His defense leaves a lot to be desired, but if the Raptors were looking for an end of bench guy to plug in towards the end of games, Daniels would be that guy.
Teodosic is actually bought out as of right now, and he’s one of the older buyouts we’ve seen thus far. This might be beneficial for the Raptors as he might be more inclined to sign with a contender. As we’ve seen with Wayne Ellington, some guys really do want minutes to showcase for their next contract. Not everyone is trying to get a ‘chip’ this year. Teodosic’s run with the Clippers wasn’t at all what it was meant to be, he was one of the most gifted passers in the world and had a wonderful career overseas, only to be injured constantly once in the NBA.
If Teodosic were to come to the Raptors, he’d slot in as the third-string point guard. He’d see a few minutes of run here or there, depending on how Lowry’s health shakes out. Teodosic is reliable from three-point land and remains one of the most intriguing passers league-wide. He remains a pylon on defense, though. This one seems like the most likely buyout for the Raptors so far. There’s still players who could emerge as options, but Teodosic looks like a decent enough depth addition.
Players We Missed On
Wes Matthews was supposed to help form the vaunted wing-trio of DeMar DeRozan, and DeMarre Carroll in the summer of 2015. Things shook out a different way, and he most recently signed with the Indiana Pacers. Before his achilles tear, Matthews was one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the league, and remains a great spot-up option to this day.
Wayne Ellington was a stud last year. We all remember the game where he singlehandedly dragged the Heat to a victory over the Raptors. He’s an exceptional shooter off curls, pindowns, DHO’s, you name it, he’ll hit it. He’s got clutch DNA, and he would’ve been an absolute luxury on the Raptors bench.
Is there anyone else I should’ve considered? Are you hoping to see any of these guys suit up for the Raptors, maybe hope some never touch the jersey? Do you like the 9-man rotation as it is? Either way, the Raptors have to fill out the rest of their roster, maybe some of these guys will be involved with that.
Have a blessed day.