First of all, don’t be fooled by the title because I do not intend to give a list of actual trades that the raps should make to get these players, I am going to let you guys do the work. Instead, I will list the top ten players I think they should go after, with a couple surprises at the end, and I will let you guys propose/discuss the trades they should go about in order to land these players.
Secondly, I am only listing players at the Small Forward position, save one little surprise at the end.
I am considering players we have a chance to acquire/are available and who would be a good complement to our existing young nucleus of Andrea Bargnani, DeMar Derozan and Ed Davis. Here are some more criteria I will consider,
1. Defensive ability: Both post and perimeter,
2. Rebounding ability: Andrea Bargnani is a poor rebounder, I am aware of that, however, rather than continuously know him for that, event though he has been showing improvement, I propose that we find a Small Forward who can rebound and make up for Bargnani weakness in that area of his game.
- Younger Players: For younger players I am looking for potential, hustle, energy and willingness to work on their game.
- Veteran Players: I am looking for experienced veterans, with high energy who can be a leader and mentor for this young team.
As for the trades which I expect you guys to come up with, here are some of our current trade assets that you should consider…
- The remaining $10.7 million (not sure the exact amount but somewhere in that area) of the Chris Bosh Traded Player Exception
Leandro Barbosa: he’s playing great, would be a huge help off the bench for any team planning to contend this season, $7.1 million expiring contract so there’s nothing to lose if he does not work out
Reggie Evans and his $5 million expiring contract
Jerryd Bayless: Young player with potential, good backup for teams that already have a star PG because he he is a capable PG with potential and he can play defence
Sonny Weems: Young talent with some upside, expiring contract
Julian Wright: yet another expiring contract, also has some upside
Solomon Alabi: Young improving player, good defence, rebounding, some upside
First round draft pick: (the one from Miami in the late first round, not our lottery pick)
Espn Trade Macine: http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine (This is a great tool that can be used to check trades and make sure that they work with the cap, it also calculates how the trade will affect the win total for each team.
So there's a lot of ways Toronto can go about this and these are just a couple of my suggestions. They are not necessarily ordered by skill, but more so their availablity as well as the other criteria I mentioned earlier.
Also, I would like to mention that I am completely against any trade that would include our first round lottery pick. I think the best thing we can do is build through the draft, therefore, that pick is off limits.
So without final a due, here is who I think we should go after...
One word, Defence!
Battier can bring us some much needed experience and leadership, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Yes Battier is getting up there in age but there is no doubt he still has what it takes to compete at a high level for a couple more years.
Battier would also help improve our team defence, he has a lot he can teach our young players and as a result the whole team will improve.
And don't forget, he is also a sharp shooter from downtown.
Toronto gets: Shane Battier, (maybe Courtney Lee)
Houston gets: Reggie Evans, Solomon Alabi, Julian Wright, late first or second round draft pick,
We could just wait and try to sign Battier in the off-season if he doesen't stay in Houston.
Nicolas Batum is a great player with huge potential. He would be the perfect addition for the Toronto Raptors, however, it's pretty clear that Portland is not willing to part ways with him, this is the only reason why I have him ranked so low.
However, if he were available he would be one of our best options. He is playing great this year and he still has more to come. He's a great all-around player and would fit in very nicely with the group of guys we already have in place.
Also, I think this Frenchman would really enjoy the "saveur internationale" that we have here on the team.
Wilson Chandler has been playing great this season. Some may argue that his improvement is largely the result of having Amare' Stoudemire to draw the attention of the D which makes things easier for Chandler, however, I think otherwise. His game has really shown improvements this year and although having Amare' draw the attention of the defence helps, it is not the only reason why he has improved.
Furthermore, with there being a very good chance that Carmelo Anthony will be joining the Knicks at some point in the near future, and since they also have Danilo Gallinari at the wing, I think either Chandler or Danilo will become available, so let's just hope that it's Chandler.
Danny Granger is a solid defender and he is a big contributor on offense, he would also be a perfect fit for the Raptors.
He has quite a bit of experience and would certainly be a great leader on our team. Furthermore, with the great play of Paul George as of late there is also a good chance that Granger may become available, and you know the drill, if he does, we go after him for sure.
Defence, hustle, intensity, playoff experience, and leadership, what more could you want? Throw in the fact that we could still add to this acquisition by picking up say Kyrie Irving or another big name player in the draft and we are set for a playoff run. Gerald Wallace has done all he can for the Bobcats and although they had a surprise season last year I don't think that will be happening again for a while. He needs a change of scenery and I think T.O would be a good look for him.
Great defence, playoff experience amd leadership.
Tayshaun Prince was a big part of the success the powerhouse Pistons were able to have not all that long ago, and I think he still has a lot more of that left. He wants out of Detroit and they need to trade him. He is hungry to win and if we can get him for cheap, and we do well in the draft than that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.
Toronto gets: Tayshaun Prince, (maybe Ben Wallace)
Detroit gets: Leandro Barbosa, Reggie Evans, Soloman Alabi, late first round or second round draft pick.
**This trade works with or without the "(maybe)" players.
This is definitely an easy one, the guy can do it all, offense, defence you name it. On top of that, he has been in the league for a while and he has playoff experience. AK47 would be a great leader on this young Raptors team.
Toronto gets: Andrei Kirilenko
Utah gets: Leandro Barbosa, Reggie Evans, Linus Kleiza
Andre Iguodala is a top notch defender and he certainly knows how to score. He is one of the best Guards/Forwards in the league and he would be a great fit on this team.
So why isn't he number one? The only reason I don’t have Iguodala listed as number one is because our chances of acquiring him are slim to none. On top of that, if we were to trade for him we would have to give up way too much, i.e DeRozan.
We never should have passed on him in the 2004 NBA Draft, however, in this situation, I think it is best that we do. Nevertheless, I still think he would be one of the best options in terms of turning this team around.
Speaking of the 2004 NBA draft, Luol Deng went one pick before our big flop, Rafael Araujo. Luol Deng is one of the best defenders in the league at the Small Forward position and he has playoff experience. He would be a great fit for this team and on top of that I think we have enough to offer in order to take a shot at acquiring him.
We need a small forward and Chicago needs a true Shooting Guard, so, maybe we could find a way to swap Leandro Barbosa and maybe a pick(the late 1st rounder) and some players in order to make this deal work. The only thing keeping this from happening is the fact that Chicago would then need to go out and get a new Small Forward, and they may also be hesitant since Deng has been one of the best players for them this year due to all the injuries. However, if we can somehow pull this off I think it would go a long way in turning this team around.
Toronto gets: Luol Deng, (maybe Taj Gibson)
Chicago gets: Leandro Barbosa, Julian Wright, first round draft pick from Miami, (maybe Sonny Weems as well.)
**This trade works with or without the "(maybe)" players,
Just wait and draft this 12 year old prodigy, check this link, Jordan McCabe has been drawing much attention, and he’s a Steve Nash fan too. He’s seems to know a lot about the game and he has an incredible work ethic for someone his age.
Forget the trades, lets rebuild using the draft.
We aren't exactly loaded with exceptional trade assets at the moment and we would most likely have to give up one of our best players to make any of these trades happen. Yes,we would finally be able to fill the Small Forward position with a great player, however, in doing so we would create a hole at another position. By acquiring a small forward via the draft we would end up looking like this...
PG: Calderon, Bayless, (late first round Pick)
SF: Drafted player (Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Harrison Barnes)
PF: Ed Davis, Amir Johnson,
C: Andrea Bargnani, (late first round pick)
Aside form getting our small forward we can use our other first round pick to get either a solide backup for Bargnani or another young point guard to give us more options in case Bayless doesn't work out.
The following players may not be back next season due to free agency... Joey Dorsey, Sonny Weems, Julian Wright, Leandro Barbosa, Reggie Evans, Alexis Ajinca
**And I'm pretty sure that Barbosa needs to have surgery (on his wrist I think) in the off-season, so if he does come back who knows when and how well he'll have recovered
Furthermore, we would still have about $10 Million left on the traded player exception so we could save that for after the draft and use it to fill out the rest of the roster with a couple of players to come off the bench, like.... Shane Battier (defence), Chris Doublas-Robers, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (defence), Thaddeus Young, etc...
In the end, I think it's clear that the draft is the way to go.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget to comment and leave your trade ideas.