Who Could the Toronto Raptors Target This Trade Deadline?

Raju Byfield@@raptorcityAnalyst IIIJanuary 20, 2013

Who Could the Toronto Raptors Target This Trade Deadline?

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    We will take a look at some names that are said to be on the trade block as well as some names that the Raptors may make a move for over the next month.

    We will analyze whether the names mentioned are even realistic by examining whether we have the requisite pieces for a potential deal and whether other destinations are more likely.

    The Raptors players who are on the trade block include the obvious in Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, but one has to believe that anyone outside of the core four of Lowry, DeRozan, Davis and Valanciunas will be made available in potential trade talks.

    With that said, most teams will demand at least one of these assets if we are to make a serious splash before the trade deadline.

Josh Smith

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    Josh Smith has been on the market for the past few years and with him about to hit free agency this summer the Atlanta Hawks may finally be willing to deal the talented forward.

    Smith was recently suspended for conduct detrimental to the team during practice and although it seems like a longshot, the Raptors were mentioned as possible suitors for Josh Smith in a recent ESPN article.

    Do we have the pieces?

    As will be a recurring theme in this piece the Toronto Raptors likely do not have the pieces for any borderline superstar without including DeMar DeRozan in a deal. The question becomes is Josh Smith good enough to give up on DeRozan?

    An Andrea Bargnani machination makes little sense for the Hawks unless they have resigned themselves to the fact that Smith is a goner this summer and that an Al Horford-Andrea Bargnani frontcourt makes some sort of sense for a team that will be looking for a No. 1 scorer. Bargnani is not close to the talent Smith has been and would likely not be a huge draw in Atlanta.

    ESPN suggests that Ed Davis and Jose Calderon for Josh Smith may entice the Atlanta Hawks. In this scenario, the Toronto Raptors would have to work out a sign-and-trade as Smith could leave for nothing this summer otherwise.

    Other destinations more likely?

    It appears that the Utah Jazz would be a good fit for Smith as they have either Millsap or Al Jefferson to move and could play Smith at small forward allowing Derrick Favors into the starting lineup; this seems like a good marriage on paper.  

    The Houston Rockets were mentioned by ESPN as a potential landing spot, as they have a plethora of pieces which will allow them to be players on any deal.

Rudy Gay

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    We have spoken extensively about a Rudy Gay trade here and it seems like the Grizzlies' asking price is a little bit too high for the Raptors' liking. Gay may indeed be moved before the deadline but he will not be moved for pennies on the dollar, as the Grizzlies may very well wait to make another playoff push before dealing him this summer.

    Do we have the pieces?

    Since this is a deal that has already been discussed, we know that we do indeed have the pieces for a deal as the Grizzlies have asked for Jose Calderon, Terrence Ross and Ed Davis or Jonas Valanciunas. One also has to think that a package of DeRozan and Calderon could also get the deal done. While the Raptors have the pieces, the Grizzlies are asking for too much if Ross and one of our young bigs need to be included in a deal.

    Other teams more likely?

    The Grizzlies have made overtures for packages involving Jared Dudley and Bradley Beal, and it is clear they want a relatively inexpensive swingman as part of any package for Rudy Gay in addition to the required expiring contract. The Raptors are an extremely unlikely landing spot for Rudy Gay.

Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap

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    It has become readily apparent that the Utah Jazz will have to trade either Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson before the trade deadline.  They are not a playoff team in the West and with both bigs scheduled to hit free agency and Derrick Favors waiting in the wings, they would do well to cash in on one of their bigs and to pick up a legit scorer.

    Do the Raptors have the pieces?

    The Raptors don't appear to have the pieces for many deals at first glance but could potentially entice the Jazz with an offer of Jose Calderon (as Mo Williams is out until March), a first-round pick and someone like Terrence Ross. However, as will likely be the case with most of the Raptors trade calls, the Jazz likely will not make a move unless DeMar DeRozan is involved.

    Other teams more likely?

    The Rockets and Hawks seem like good trade partners, with the Rockets having a ton of assets to offer in possible deals and the Hawks having a piece in Josh Smith that could be a straight swap of talent and at the same time would help unclog the logjam in the Jazz’ frontcourt.  It is likely that most teams in the NBA will want in on the Paul Millsap sweepstakes while someone like AJ would likely appeal more to playoff teams in need of a final piece.

DeMarcus Cousins

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    Just the mention of his name is likely to elicit venom from hardcore Raptor fans nationwide, but he is way too talented not to consider. Arguably the most talented center in the NBA, the tech waiting to happen reminds me of a young Rasheed Wallace. Cousins wants his shots but does not want to be ‘the’ star and if he was teamed with the right alpha he could easily be on his way to the Hall of Fame.

    Do we have the pieces?

    This is an intriguing question because I would give up anyone and everyone for a chance at a talent like DMC. The Raptors would need to find the alpha to keep him in line like Oak did for VC, but I have always been of the opinion that managing players and their varying temperaments is a coach's job, not a general manager's.

    A trade of DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani and Landry Fields for DeMarcus, Hayes, Salmons and Outlaw works on paper and would free the Kings of all of their bad contracts in one swoop. The Kings could than employ Bargs off the bench and start a talented frontcourt of Jason Thompson and Thomas Robinson.

    Other teams more likely?

    Yes, which ones depends on who wants in, but the Raps do not have many enticing pieces outside of DeMar DeRozan and Jose Calderon’s expiring contract. The Suns, Rockets and Spurs would certainly be in on any Cousins deal. The Kings, however, have been firm in their insistence than DeMarcus is not available.

Eric Bledsoe

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    I do not know why the Clippers would even entertain trading Bledsoe this season as he is not an RFA until the summer of 2014, but he was mentioned by ESPN as well as by some readers, so we will take a quick look at him as well. Bledsoe is arguably a starting point guard on half of the teams in the NBA and has a lot of trade value due to his cap-friendly contract.

    Do we have the pieces?

    A deal for Bledsoe would more than likely cost us Ed Davis or DeMar DeRozan, a price that could be deemed prohibitive with Kyle Lowry already in the fold. With that said, Bledsoe and Lowry could likely play in the same backcourt and would give the Raptors a most formidable point-guard tandem. Bledsoe could arguably usurp Lowry as the starter and may actually be a better player when all is said and done.

    Other teams more likely?

    With Kyle Lowry already in town, it is unlikely that we will be major players for Bledsoe, but the Raps would do well to at least inquire about what it would take to get a deal done. Teams that could really use Bledsoe and would at least make an inquiry include Miami, Utah and Sacramento.

Charlie Villanueva

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    Sometimes I wonder why we ever gave up on Charlie V in the first place, as we tried to make Andrea Bargnani become the same player.

    Charlie V was a Raptor fan favourite and was actually able to man the the three, something which Bargnani could never do. Bargnani has been a better scorer than Charlie, but Charlie has never taken 17 shots per game over the course of an entire season.

    In the end, though, it would just be a swap of bad contracts but at this point, getting anything for Bargnani will likely be seen as a win by some fans.

    Do we have the pieces?

    As mentioned above, Charlie V could be swapped straight up for Andrea and would give the Pistons a much-needed scoring punch. I am not sure this deal makes the most sense for either team, but it is a deal that would likely be well received by fans, even if it is an admission that both franchises made a mistake in evaluating the respective big men.

    Other teams more likely?

    I believe it would take a giant leap of faith for Colangelo to make a move like this, which would likely be akin to admitting that he messed up since day one when he went and drafted a big first overall who could shoot the three when we arguably already had a superior all-around one on the roster.

Gerald Wallace

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    There is no indication that he is actually on the market, but he has been linked to the Raptors in the past when still a member of the Charlotte Bobcats. His salary is close enough to Andrea Bargnani’s that a deal could potentially be worked out.

    Do we have the pieces?

    With both Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon to dangle, one has to believe that the Raptors would definitely be players if Wallace were made available before the trade deadline. The Nets have MarShon Brooks and Jerry Stackhouse, so they would not necessarily be looking for a swingman in return.

    Other teams more likely?

    Other teams would definitely be in the mix with expiring contracts to dangle, but a Jose Calderon deal might make the most sense, as it would help shore up the backup point-guard position for their postseason run.

Samuel Dalembert

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    Dalembert is a player who has made sense for the Raptors for years and has found himself at the end of the rotation in Milwaukee, playing less than 15 minutes per game this season and less than eight per game this month. Dalembert is a defensive force in the paint and could help to mentor Jonas Valanciunas.

    Do we have the pieces?

    A Jose Calderon for Samuel Dalembert trade makes a lot of sense for both teams as the Bucks could use Calderon as a backup point guard for their playoff run and the Raps could use Dalembert and his defense in the paint.

    Other teams more likely?

    This trade makes a lot of sense for the Bucks but may not happen because the Raptors would likely insist on a draft pick being included in the deal as well, which may be a deal breaker. A team like the Heat makes a lot of sense for Dalembert, but they might not be able to put together a amicable package without involving a third team.

Derrick Williams

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    I have long been of the opinion that Derrick Williams would be the best we could get for Andrea Bargnani outside of Michael Beasley. Williams, much like Beasley, has a ton to talent but has been forced to play out of position at the three for most of his career.

    A fresh start with the Raptors, who are in desperate need of some frontcourt scoring, would help rejuvenate a once-promising career. The Raptors would do well to inquire about Williams before this year's trade deadline as the T-Wolves may be willing to give him up for the right package. 

    Do we have the pieces?

    A deal that could have some potential would be one with Derrick Williams, Greg Stiemsma and Luke Ridnour for Andrea Bargnani and Aaron Gray. Bargnani would provide some firepower for the Timberwolves second unit, and Gray would be a much-needed upgrade on Stiemsma. With that said, however, it is unknown whether the T-Wolves would actually deal Ridnour, as they value his defense at the point. But with Rubio back from injury and Barea also in town, shipping Ridnour makes sense.

    Other teams more likely?

    It is unknown whether the T-Wolves would actually have any interest in Andrea Bargnani, but it has become clear that they do not have the minutes at power forward for Williams to ever live up to his potential with Kevin Love in town. The Lakers and Rockets make sense as a destination for Williams, and I am sure the T-Wolves will also dangle him in a package for Rudy Gay.

Omitted Players

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    Danny Granger has been omitted from this list as he refused to work out for the Raptors during the Joey Graham draft and would likely not be looked at by the Raptors.

    Amar'e Stoudemire has also been omitted after James Dolan indicated he wants no part of an Andrea Bargnani-for-Amar'e swap.

    Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce have been omitted because the Celtics are more than likely to keep their core together for one more run.

    Marcin Gortat has been omitted because he is likely the only player the Phoenix Suns would not trade unless getting a superior big in return, i.e., something like Cousins.

    Michael Beasley has been omitted because Colangelo famously refused the second overall pick as part of the compensation for Chris Bosh in an sign-and-trade and instead opted for a trade exception that would never be used.