Raptors Rolling Into Trade Deadline; Could Make Some Deals

Bruce JonesContributor IIFebruary 2, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 16:  Chris Bosh #4 of the Toronto Raptors attempts to drives past Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during the game at Amway Arena on December 16, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Raptors have a history of making blockbuster in-season deals, as illustrated last year in their swap of Jermaine O'Neal for Shawn Marion. They completely gutted their lineup in the offseason, retaining only 3 players: Bosh, Bargnani and Calderon, and added a number of players, but only Jarrett Jack has really made a significant impact.

The Raptors are seen as buyers this year, having gone 19-8 in their past 27 games, and winners of all of their last 5. However, they have played terrible against the 4 teams ahead of them in the East, and need another contributor to overflow their tipping point. In the offseason, much of the focus was on Bosh, will he stay at the end of the season? Should they trade him at the deadline? The Raps are already in to far to back out, they have to make a playoff push, and make the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time since the Carter era.

The Raptors don't really have a glaring need, although they have a general deficiency of defense. Reggie Evans should help out when he comes back from his injury, but the Raptors need someone who won't be as much of an offensive liability. If Houston drops deeper out of the playoff hunt, Sean Battier could become available and can defend both guard positions and small forwards.

If the Raptors wanted to make a serious move, alter their starting positions, an excellent strategy would be to acquire a scoring swingman, by trading Hedo Turkoglu and maybe Calderon to a small-market team looking for long-term security. Kevin Martin has been rumoured to be possibly Raptors-bound, but he can't create his own shot, and is seen as one of many so-so stars that needs a lot of touches to produce, someone eerily similar to Turkoglu.

I propose a trade to Detroit: Richard Hamilton, who will provide an experienced flavour to the team, and will also not be a detriment to the other players on the Raptors, for Marcus Banks (mainly a contract), Reggie Evans and a 2011 first-round selection. This trade would free up a lineup space for Ben Gordon, who Detroit would likely want to emerge into a starter, and give Toronto a veteran presence and above-average defender at Shooting Guard.

That being said, I don't expect the Raps to really shake up their lineup, as it is working right now, and they are winning games, and certainly have a chance to overtake Boston as the 4th seed regardless of deadline deals.