Toronto Raptors Trades That Would Fix the Team's Future
The February 21, 2013 trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the Toronto Raptors need to seriously consider bringing in a player that could affect their future in a positive way.
Starting the 2012-13 season off going 4-19 is less than ideal, but a 10-5 record since has the team sitting with a 14-24 record and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Tenth place doesn't sound too great, but they are only five and a half games back from the last playoff spot, and that's great when you consider their poor start.
There is no need to take the team apart and look to rebuild, they've pretty much been in rebuilding mode for the past five years. The key for this team is to bring in one or two players that can grow with Toronto's younger players.
Is it possible for this year's team to make a run at a spot in the postseason? It absolutely is.
But it's not what the Raptors' priority should be.
Their priority should be to look at the next three or four years and what moves would be most beneficial to their future.
Let's get right into it, here's a look at some trades that would help Toronto's future.
Andrea Bargnani for Almost Anybody
Andrea Bargnani is about as much of team player as an apple is a piece of meat.
Getting rid of the oft-injured former No. 1 pick is necessary at this point.
This trade is pretty simple.
Bargnani clearly carries some value because of his versatility as a seven-footer, but his value to the city of Toronto is pretty much gone.
The Raptors can't afford to trade the center for any player. It might be tempting, but they still need to be smart about who they get back in this one.
Regardless of if they aren't able to accept a trade for a low-quality player, Toronto needs to trade away Bargnani because he's nothing but trouble at this point.
Not to mention, it's tough to put too much stock into a player that (via ESPN) publicly tells an Italian newspaper that the Raptors are "pretty much the worst team in the NBA."
Three Raptors Pieces to Memphis Grizzlies for Rudy Gay
This isn't some miracle trade either, this is actually one that is in the works.
ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the Raptors are in serious talks about acquiring Gay. Stein says that Calderon and Davis are involved in the deal:
Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Raptors -- who tried to make a play for Gay before the 2012 NBA draft -- remain seriously "interested" in the Grizzlies' leading scorer and are trying to assemble trade packages to bring the 26-year-old to Toronto after preliminary talks with Memphis.
Among the trade chips that the Raptors are believed to be dangling, in addition to draft considerations, are veteran point guard Jose Calderon (who has an expiring contract worth $10.6 million) and young big man Ed Davis.
Calderon has been known to pop off and have great games at random times, but he doesn't give the Raptors much as far as long-term plans are concerned. Davis, on the other hand, has a bit more upside. The issue with him is that his stats in his third season are almost identical to the ones that he put up as a rookie. There just hasn't been much growth over the course of three seasons and that has to be a concern.
Gay would bring a player that can play out on the perimeter or down in the post depending on what the defense is giving him. He goes through his selfish moments on offense, but what scorer doesn't?
He'll also be a defensive upgrade, as he uses his length to guard players of all sizes. He occasionally goes through lapses of effort, so that would need to be addressed if he were to join the Raptors.
Apart from small effort problems on defense, Gay is a top-10 small forward that would help any team he goes to.
Two Raptors to Portland Trail Blazers for J.J. Hickson
Maybe I'm the only one, but when I think of Hickson, I think of a 30-year-old power forward. It just feels like he's been playing for years and years.
Well, if you thought I sounded crazy on that one, then you're probably not alone because Hickson is only 24 years old. My reasoning for thinking this is probably because he's currently on his third team in five seasons.
Three teams is quite a few, but he hasn't moved around because of a lack of production.
He's currently averaging 12.2 points and 11.0 rebounds in only 29 minutes per game. Those numbers are ridiculously productive and would be more than welcome in Toronto, as Ed Davis is leading the team with only 6.4 rebounds per game.
This trade would be more about grabbing a good but not great player, and that needs to be looked at as a positive thing.
Bargnani to the Philadelphia 76ers for Thaddeus Young
Here is a perfect example of a trade including Bargnani that the Raptors should hop on immediately if the opportunity comes up.
Let it be known that the Sixers were more open to shopping Young earlier in the season, but he's stepped up as a leader and productive starter, so it looks like they are beginning to lean away from sending him anywhere.
Still though, here's how Young would help the Raptors.
He's unique in the sense that you don't have to run plays for him, yet he'll still get his numbers. His season averages of 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game are crazy because he really doesn't get offensive sets called that end in him receiving the ball.
Another impressive attribute is that Young can guard small forwards and bigger power forwards. He's been forced to switch to power forward for the Sixers, allowing him to work on his interior defense. Success is pretty much all he's come by, as Young has grown accustomed to locking down those larger players.
It's possible that he's the most unselfish player in the league and bringing that type of attitude into Toronto to replace one like Bargnani's is more than a good thing.
Bargnani and Linas Kleiza to Indiana Pacers for Danny Granger
Well, if you answered yes, then it might be worthwhile to read what fellow Bleacher Report featured columnist Dan Favale wrote in an article for TheHoopDoctors.com:
Bear in mind that only last season, Indiana scored 7.7 points more per 100 possessions with him on the floor, compared to when he was on the bench. And for those worried that he’ll aid in the demise of one of the league’s top defenses, it’s also worth noting that without him on the floor, the Pacers allowed 105.7 points per 100 possessions last season. With him on it, though? That number fell to 102.2.
And if that’s not enough to sway you, there’s also the fact that Granger held opposing small forwards to a PER of 12.7 per 48 minutes when on the floor, well below the league average of 15.
So, not only does Granger enhance a docile offensive attack, but he strengthens an already stalwart defensive one as well.
How is someone like that expendable?
All of Favale's points are great for why the Pacers shouldn't give him up, but they also work toward why other teams should look into acquiring the small forward.
Giving up Bargnani and Linas Kleiza would also be a low price for Granger.
If you're wondering why Indiana would be looking to give up Granger, then the only name you need to know about is Paul George. George is the Pacers' future, and it's possible that Indiana just doesn't feel like there's enough room for both he and Granger to coexist.
Did you hear that Toronto? Get on this deal as quickly as possible please.