Toronto Raptors Acquire PF Reggie Evans; Is a Deal with the Bulls Next?

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Toronto Raptors Acquire PF Reggie Evans; Is a Deal with the Bulls Next?
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers broke the unwritten rule about making trades during the Finals and swapped role players in a minor deal.

The Raptors acquired power forward Reggie Evans in exchange for sharpshooter Jason Kapono.

This deal wasn't anything major, which is probably why nobody either noticed or cared that it took place on the day of Game Three of the Magic-Lakers Championship series. But the domino effect that might happen could be something everyone notices.

Let me state again, for emphasis, what the Raptors did yesterday: They traded for a power forward.

This comes within a handful of days of the Raptors' franchise player, Chris Bosh, saying he would join Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter on the list of Toronto's former franchise players after the 2009-10 season.

There have been rumors since before the trade deadline this spring that there are nearly a dozen teams interested in the young superstar, but this specific trade brings one rumored exchange into focus.

The Chicago Bulls are looking at losing guard Ben Gordon either in free agency or, more likely, in a sign-and-trade deal this summer.

Gordon's name was linked to rumors about Bosh before last season, and his playoff performances against the Boston Celtics certainly raised his profile as an elite scorer in the league. He isn't going to average 35 a night, but he can get his from anywhere at any time.

Again for emphasis, the Raptors unloaded their best (maybe only) three-point shooter to acquire Evans.

This could very easily be a deal of extra pieces between the Sixers and Raptors, but the tea leaves seem to read that this is Toronto laying the foundation for more, bigger deals. This might be a precursor to a swap between the Bulls and Raptors of big-time players.

The Bulls have a lot of options that might look good to Toronto. They have two first round draft picks in this summer's NBA draft and have a couple of young bigs in Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas that might be part of a package with a signed-and-traded Gordon.

In Bosh, the Bulls undoubtedly see an athletic power forward that can score and rebound and get up and down the floor with this season's Rookie of the Year, point guard Derrick Rose. A combination of those two young stars, with any assortment of surrounding pieces (a healthy Luol Deng, John Salmons, Kirk Hinrich) could become the cornerstone for another competitive decade of basketball in Chicago.

In Gordon, the Raptors would bring in a scorer to a team that lacked that last season. With a nice collection of younger players and upcoming draft picks to add, the Raptors could get Gordon under contract for the next few years and build around a backcourt of Jose Calderon and him.

The Raptors would then have an athletic nucleus of Shawn Marion, Calderon, Gordon, and Andrea Bargnani, with the prospect of adding as many as three players to that group in this year's draft. The Raptors currently hold the ninth overall selection; the Bulls have the 16th and 26th selections. 

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