Trade Scenarios for Toronto's Big Men
The Toronto Raptors currently have five serviceable power forwards on their below-average Roster, and the consensus amongst fans is to ship someone away for other assets which will actually see playing time on the court.
The team will have Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Andrea Bargnani, and possibly Reggie Evans and Joey Dorsey for next season. All are players that are talented in their own way, and even though it's most logical to trade one of them, it's not easy an sacrifice to make.
The power forward position is the most talented position in the league so finding a good valued deal is harder than it may seem.
Amir Johnson has proved to be worth the large extension he signed last summer, and he did that despite being riddled with injury all season.
Ed Davis was Toronto's star rookie last season, and he proved to be a major steal after establishing himself as the third best rookie big man of the draft.
Davis has the potential to be the anchor to this teams defense, and an above average starter in the NBA. Andrea Bargnani was the first overall pick back in 2006, and there's no denying he has improved greatly despite not being great enough yet.
Bargnani has the talent to be a top 10 scorer in the NBA, and it would be a mistake to give up on him without seeing him play his natural position.
Though Reggie Evans and Joey Dorsey are free agents that could sign elsewhere this off season, the Raptors will still have an excess of talent at the four slot.
It would still be a waste of talent to force Johnson or Davis to play as a third-string forward. Every successful team needs a legitimate bench which will provide maximum production for minimum salary, and Dorsey offers just that.
Though Reggie Evans is almost certainly a goner, the Raptors should still look to trade him in a sign-and-trade which will at least net us something back.
Without a whole lot to do this summer I've already came up with some juicy trade ideas here, and here; but today we're going to explore creative trades involving each of our power forwards so that Toronto could have a more balanced Roster.
Amir Johnson + Linas Kleiza + 2013 (Lottery Protected) First Round Pick for Thaddeus Young + Andres Nocioni
The Sixers will have many low payroll teams trying to steal Thad Young this off season especially since his stock has rose after star forward Wilson Chandler decided to forgo the NBA season in order to play in China instead.
Young has been instrumental for Philadelphia as the seventh seeded playoff team finished the season strong despite a slow start.
The Sixers should want to retain Young, but he isn't being utilized to his potential coming off the bench. Young is a versatile player who can do many things on the court, but some suggest he is a tweener.
The Sixers could be better off trading Young and letting Iguodala be the full time starter at the small forward position, while the young Evan Turner establishes himself as the team's starting shooting guard.
The Sixers will receive Amir Johnson a very efficient big man with plenty of room to grow. Johnson will be a great replacement for Elton Brand whose best days are behind him, and could possibly start along side of Brand who was solid playing center for stretches last season.
Also to sweeten the deal the Sixers receive a major upgrade over Nocioni by receiving Linas Kleiza. Not only is Kleiza younger and on a smaller contract, he was also solid despite playing hurt all season.
Kleiza could very well be a starter in the NBA, and with the addition of a first rounder, the Sixers should be very intrigued at this scenario.
The Raptors will add Thaddeus Young who played like an all-star with a limited role last year. On the Raptors Young could establish himself as one of the leagues top small forwards, as the team will rely heavily on his defense and efficient offensive game.
Toronto will no longer have a need for Kleiza, and with the addition of Young and a possible free agent, the Raptor's 2013 draft pick might be much later than most anticipate.
Ed Davis for Wesley Matthews
Ed Davis has tons of potential, but it's hard to see him living up to that potential coming off the bench.
Though he'd likely be the last to go, a good trade scenario would be trading Ed Davis for other prospects which can also become great players one day.
Wesley Matthews is already a great player and he only finished his sophomore season. The Blazers were glad to have Matthews on board after losing Roy to injury for most of the season.
They currently have a lot of talent on the wings and could be lacking post presence if injuries continue to plague Greg Oden and the 37 year old Marcus Camby.
Ed Davis is a great defender who could play 30+ minutes despite coming off the bench for Portland. Last season the Blazers were forced to play LaMarcus Aldridge at center for stretches, but he played surprisingly well.
With Davis both players could take turns playing the 5 if such a situation arises again, and the Blazers will also cut some payroll which will be a big issue for them in the next CBA.
The Raptors already have DeRozan as the starting shooting guard, but Matthews is a great defender and above average shooter who has great size despite being a tad short. Matthews could start at small forward, or still play heavy minutes off the bench for Toronto.
This trade will make Toronto much more talented regardless of what role Matthews plays. Matthews averaged nearly 16 points on a contender, and could even prove to be the best player on the Raptors with the right conditions.
Overall trading Davis isn't a great idea, but if it has to be done, Toronto should aim to trade potential for potential.
Andrea Bargnani + 2012 Second Round Pick for Brandon Knight + Charlie Villaneuva
The Detroit Pistons drafted Brandon Knight eighth overall in this years draft.
While most fans (and maybe Knight himself) expected Knight to be drafted within the top five, he dropped all the way down to eighth.
This shows that perhaps this draft class was much weaker than most perceived—teams probably looked at their current Rosters and decided some of this years most hyped prospects just weren't quality NBA talent.
The Detroit Pistons already have Rodney Stuckey a player Brandon Knight closely resembles. If the Raptors offer Andrea Bargnani for Charlie Villaneuva's bloated contract, the Pistons will have much more talent and could make a serious playoff push.
Currently the team looks lost, and maybe they're deciding not to resign Stuckey because there's no use paying for an expensive player if the team doesn't look like it's going anywhere.
If they add Bargnani however, the Piston's may decide to retain Stuckey and "win now", which will make Brandon Knight more or less expendable.
The Pistons will have a very impressive sophomore in Greg Monroe who has the size to play center, and with Bargnani, Gordon, Hamilton, and possibly Stuckey/Prince on the Roster, there's no reason why they should miss the playoffs.
Toronto will be stuck with Villaneuva, but there's no guarantee he will be garbage for us. In his season in Toronto and subsequent seasons in Milwaukee, Villaneuva was a solid starter peaking at 16.2 points per game and under seven boards in 2008-2009.
Charlie V. could prove to be a decent starter for the Raps at small forward, while the addition of Brandon Knight will make Toronto one of the most dangerous teams two years from now.
With players like Knight, DeRozan, Johnson, Davis, Bayless, Valanciunas, and another (high lottery) prospect expected to join the team the next June, the Raptors will enjoy numerous seasons of success after a short rebuild.
Currently the Raptors are at a crossroad where they don't exactly look like a team that wants to "tank it" but at the same time they don't have the required pieces to win significantly yet; such a move would solidify the position and plan Toronto will want to move forward with.
Reggie Evans (sign and trade) for Avery Bradley
The Boston Celtics would love to have a player like Reggie Evans.
The Celtics had a rough time rebounding the ball after trading Perkins, but since Perkins didn't even play in the beginning of the season, you have to question their front court of Kevin Garnett and Jermaine Oneal.
Can both of those guys keep up with the Noah and Boozer combo's out there? Probably not.
With Reggie Evans the Celtics will get a relentless worker and will do a fine job replacing Glen Davis for next season. The Celtics will still need to add other solid veterans if they're serious about another title run, but Reggie Evans will be a huge plus for the C's.
Avery Bradley is recognized by many as just a bench warmer, but Bradley was selected 19th overall in the 2010 draft. Bradley is only 20 years of age, and has great upside. Doc Rivers is known to keep his rookies on a short leash, but with Toronto Bradley could turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
Overall we don't need much in return to get good value for Evans simply because he's on the wrong side of 30, and will likely cost a fair amount playing for an average team like Toronto.
A scenario like this would be great, but personally I doubt Evans is actually willing to play for (nearly) the veterans minimum.
It's become common to assume a veteran is just willing to throw millions of dollars away to sign on the cheap. Until we actually hear it from Evans himself there's no guarantee that he'll agree to such a sign and trade.
Joey Dorsey was struggling to earn a roster spot last season, and the Raptors were smart to offer him the job.
As stated earlier, every team will need a "garbage man" willing to give it their all despite having being the third option in their respective position.
Joey Dorsey is that man, and his game was shockingly similar to Reggie Evans last season and Toronto got a lot of bang for their buck with Dorsey.
Since Dorsey is younger and will almost certainly cost less, he's a great player to keep on the Roster.
In conclusion it was really hard coming up with any ideal trades.
The majority of NBA teams already have solid power forwards while the others already have young talent lined up and ready to play.
Perhaps my trying to stay away from previous trade suggestions also played a role in it, but overall Toronto will have to decide if and who they should move.
Personally I'm hoping for a best case scenario where Ed Davis proves he's capable of playing center and still improves despite being forced into that role.
Davis is 6'10" and long, but he only weighed about 215 pounds coming into the league. If he steps into training camp weighing closer to 240 pounds there's I believe there's hope.
If Reggie Evans signs elsewhere this off season, the Raptors could have three main power forwards, with Davis and a free agent playing the center. Since the inevitable injury (or two) might occur, Toronto will be set at the four and five positions in this situation.
Now it's your turn to give your thoughts! If you had to choose, which power forward would you trade? What are some good trade scenario's where we'd solve some of our Roster issues while ironing out the jam at the power forward position? Are these ideas realistic?
Let us know your thoughts and start the discussion!