Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors.

Any fool who watches the raptors lose time and time again can all agree on one thing. Jamario Moon as the starting small forward is barely acceptable on a D League level. In fact, our perimiter play in general is perhaps one of the most lacking in the NBA. As the raptors tumble through the standings and as the 76'ers pull it together in the absence of Brand, the window of opportunity to claim a playoff spot is dwindling and the pressure to deliver a trade hightens.

During this economic recession, basketball and all pro sports take an interesting turn. How valuable is it to make the playoffs? Teams like Miami, New Jersey and Milwaukee, currently in the playoff hunt have to evaluate and wonder, is it worth it? With salary cap killers, Carter, Marion, Jefferson and Redd, an owner must be wondering whether a first round exit is worth all this money in troubled times. In my opinion, this recession makes trade talk all the more interesting as financial motives begins to take a higher precedence in trade motives.

What does this mean to the Raptors? Despite our famous stingy ownership, the Raptors are one of the few teams in the NBA who can afford to have salary busters. Being in a strong market, filled with corporate sponsorship, and a historical NHL franchise, they are one of the few teams who don't have to worry as much about breaking even and can contemplate taking on heavy contracts.

For the Raptors, we can discount a trade with the Bucks simply because, as I believe, our best trade bait is ONeal and with Bogut signed to a long term deal, they don't need Oneal there. But we can look at other teams looking to cement their core, give playing time to the young and shed some contracts. So who do the Raptors have a shot with? Just by looking at team situations, salary situations, and young talent, and players the Raptors may actually want, I think we can fairly easily narrow down possible trading partners to the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. These teams made the cut mainly because these teams would be interested in Oneal and have viable players to sendback and help clog up our deficiencies.

These four seem to be the most viable deals for the Raptors to do in return for Oneal, so lets take a deeper look into the benefits of each deal.

Dallas: Gets a great low post player to complete Dirk. In my opinion has a much better chance of working over the Bosh Oneal duo. Before he came I always felt that Oneal had a better shot of coexisting with Bargnani because that three point threat needs to be there.Not to mention this deal lets them dish their publicity nightmare Howard and also gives him the fresh start he needs. To make this deal viable, the expiring contract of Stackhouse would have to be thrown in as well. Given that he has seen a reduced role with Dallas given the emergence of Barea, they are also helping to solve their minute and chemistry issues. It is also of importance that in the west, they are going to need a solid defensive bigman to contain almost every team in the West. Dallas also doesn't lose any financial flexibility as the length of the contracts are the same.

Raptors: Giving the abundance of minutes at their positions, and Stackhouse's leadership off the bench, this may look like a simple financial inclusion, but his effect could be extremely influential on the rest of the bench. Both these players will look at this team as an opportuntiy, a fresh start and a chance to still be on a team that has a chance. In Howard we will find a solid all around sf, who more importantly, can create his own shot and be given the ball in late game situations. Having the team option for Howard may prove important in keeping Bosh with the Raptors if this trade works out.

*Note: For this trade, another player may have to be involved, possibly a Moon for Green swap.

Heat: Oneal round two. This duo may not be as powerful as the Superman Flash combo but it certainly would be a scary duo to face. With Wade unstopabable this year and able to get to the rim at will, he could be the perimiter play Oneal needs to regain his touch. Without any other credible bigs on the floor, this could also give him the room he needs to operate down low. An understated aspect of this trade could be the minutes it opens up for Beasley to have a more prominent, stable role and gain some valuable minutes to learn and get back into ROY contention. Again we see the immense cap relief in 2010 to keep wade and who knows what else.

Of all the possible options, this may be the easiest to do, but the least helpful. In Marion we certainly get someone to address our needs of a defensive stop, but the question is what can he bring to the offensive table. Do the raps really want another player who can't create his own shot. I can't imagine any team at any time giving the ball to Marion to make the last play. However, his knowledge and ability on the fast break may be what the Raps need to learn how to actually run effectively. I think the success of this trade hinges on Bargnani's ability to keep this run going. If he maintains himself as a 20 point threat, it may not matter what Marion brings to the offensive table and his offensive putbacks and few fast break points may be all we need. I dont think the Raps really will be getting anyone else of value to make contracts match. With the emergence of Roko, do we really want Banks to clog up pg minutes? Getting Wright may be valuable if he can provide a consistent role.

Charlotte: They may be able to get rid of the NBA player with what I assume must be the record for most concussions. They get a great defensive and offensive low post weapon in ONeal who will definitely fit in well with Larry Brown's System. The availability of this deal however has dwindled in my mind as they already made moves to acquire Boris Diaw and recently Diop. With Okafor on the roster, they may be reluctant to add another big and may be in fact more keen on acquiring a strong guard. I would think that if a player of Oneal's stature was acquired, it could mean another big is on the move in Charlotte or they may just like to keep Diop and Diaw incase Oneal's injury history follows him. I do think however with the acquisition of Oneal, Charlotte could boast perhaps one of the best post defenses in the NBA and with Raja on the wing, it may not matter how difficult it is for them to score.

Raptors: For this deal to be a success, I think a lot of it hinges on who the second peice is. If we were to receive Felton, this could be a steal. We would garner a solid pg/sg rotation and our whole at Sf would certainly be filled but at the same time let's not forget however that charlotte struggled to score with these two players as key weapons. I think it would be safe to assume they would be no better for Toronto's offense. As Raptor fans cringe when Solomon and Moon take their jump shots, do we really want two more players who have a penchant for bad shots? This deal to me is the riskiest of the possible ones out there, these players could thrive, or it could be the beginning of the end.

Bulls: The final deal to discuss. It's almost definite that one of the pieces involved will be Nocioni, and the success of this deal will largely depend on who those second and third pieces are. With Rose claiming the spotlight, Hinrich's days as the pg could be numbered. As the Bulls have searched for a low post threat for years, and after missing out on Gasol, this could be their chance to add that missing piece. A core of Rose, Gordon, Deng, Oneal and with the progress of Noah and Thomas, this would be a scary team for anyone to play. If I was Paxson, I would have to consider this deal greatly.

Raptors: I think perhaps the most important element of this trade is the fact that we would be getting three players back. With Hinrich, Nocioni and perhaps a thrown in Sefolasha, although their are no stars, we would be contributing greatly to our depth, our bench, and I believe our attitude. Nocioni is one of the most hard nosed players in the NBA and in all three of those players, we would be getting players with defensive mind sets. To build on my last article, I think they would be great leaders for our bench as well. With Calderon, Parker, Nocioni, Bosh, Barganin and Hinrich leading our bench, I think that's the biggest improvement our roster could see by only losing one player. We solve our SF and backup PG/SG holes in one swift move. Who knows, maybe we could sucker Paxson into taking Will off our hands as well.

I love the Bulls and Dallas the deals the most, but I think the best part of all of these deals, is that everyone's a winner. Here's hoping GM's agree with me!


  1. that bulls deal sounds tempting as hell!

  2. I agree with Rachel... and Malin, you read my mind completely as I was also going to put that Bulls option out there. Nocioni fulfills our need for a hard-nosed, energy player. And who wouldn't want Hinrich? He's a proven vet, who can even start for the Raptors. Another reason why this deal might be more tempting for BC is the fact that he's a huge fan of Sefolasha.

    As talented as Howard & Stack might be, I'd rather go for the Bulls option because as you said, it makes us a lot deeper.

  3. One thing I forgot to mention is whether this Marion deal works for the raps or not, I do like it just for the fact that his contract finishes now. Let him go, sign a great free agent, show progress and then suddenly that makes it harder for Bosh to leave. Everyone talks about 2010 but I really believe 2009 summer is going to be the deciding year. Most teams that have space for 2010, have space for 2009 as well. This will be the summer and the year where teams have to show what they got. I expect a lot of teams to create some upset for 2010 by clearing space for 2009 and stealing away the talent. Let us hope that happens for the Raps.

  4. Don't forget about the Lakers! Odom/Mihm/Radmanovich for O'Neal. What do you think? I think this would be just as good as the Bulls option, simply because again it gives us some depth and a little flexibility in terms of having some cap space with Odom's contract ending this Summer.

  5. Argentinian raptors fanJanuary 18, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    I love that bulls trade, I've been saying that we need nocioni as a three for about a year now. I'm from argentina so i watched him play a lot. You're right about Noc's defensive intensity, but don't forget he's a proven winner a has the experience Moon hasn´t. That guy cant be a starting SF in a playoff contender. I don't see Hinrich as a back up Pg, he'll affect Roko devolopement. I realy like de Calderon-Ukic tandem for the future. The other way this trade can be done is by adding Hughes in the deal, but i think he can mess with the great team chemistry everybody talks about. So probably a three team trade with NYK or Washington is the best option. The Kincks need a scoring 2 and Hughes contract will expire in 2010, just how they want. The wizards tried to get Larry before his shoulder injury.
    We may want to add Sefolosha in the deal as well. He has a great potential and could be our starting SF in the future.
    To me, both trades work for all the teams.

    With NYK:

    With the Wiz:

    This roster sounds very good to me

    PG: Calderon/Ukic/Solomon
    SG:Parker/Delfino (we need him back)/Kapono
    PF: Bosh/Hump
    C: Bargnani/Thomas/Jawaii

  6. I would want Delfino back as well. The problem with that Knicks trade is that I don't think New York would want to part with Gallinari.

    I'd only deal with the Knicks if the Raps can get David Lee in return.