According to a report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Raptors have agreed to trade small forward James Johnson, the teams best perimeter defender, to the Sacremento Kings in exchange for a future second-round pick.
The move doesn't come as a surprise to most Raptor fans after the questionable offseason GM Bryan Colangelo has had so far.
He makes a wonderful trade with the Houston Rockets to acquire point guard Kyle Lowry, but then makes matters worse by not offering point guard Jerryd Bayless a qualifying offer.
The result of that? Now, Jose Calderon wants a trade out and the Raptors are left with no back-up point guard unless they trade for one, or sign one.
Now this move by Colangelo is even more questionable. He recently signed wing Landry Fields to a three-year $20 million offer sheet which was not matched by the New York Knicks. For all that Landry Fields does at the three, there's one thing he does not do better than Johnson and that's defend.
For $2.8 million, the Raptors could've just kept Johnson and not spent $3.2 million more per year minimum for Fields. Cap management I guess was not one of Colangelo's best subjects in Be a GM University.
Johnson was one of only a handful of players to average more than a block and steal per game last year, and the void he'll leave on the Raptors defensive end will be great.
After a good start to the year, by the sounds of it, Johnson's ego got the best of him and was beginning to have issues with the coaching staff, which resulted in decreased playing time down the stretch of the season. Alan Anderson, a 10-day contract pickup, started for the Raptors in his place and actually did a good job; better than Johnson offensively, but not quite there defensively.
The move doesn't come as a surprise to me simply because every move Colangelo makes leaves me puzzled and wondering what is coming next.
The Raptors now need to trade Jose Calderon as per his request, or amnesty him leaving the Raptors without a backup point guard and likely a starting small forward who can create his own offence.
With the extra $2.8 million in cap space, I believe the Johnson trade was made to facilitate another trade which should be completed in the coming days. I say this because why do you trade a rotation player for nothing when you need more depth on your squad?
Expect Colangelo to be actively shopping and another deal to be announced soon.
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