The Houston Rockets seem to have an abundance of starting point guard options. Would any of them make sense for the Raptors next season?
The NBA schedule is finally winding down.
The Toronto Raptors have only three games left, and don't play next until Sunday, giving us some time to talk about something other than, well, games. The Raps have certainly played their share already, cramming 63 of them into about a three and a half month span.
The biggest questions regarding the club don't have anything to do with said final games however, but deal with what happens at the season's conclusion. The draft, free agency, these are both the marquee events for Raptors' fans in 2012, arguably more than the current season, and whatever unfolds in these events will likely go a long ways towards shaping the next few seasons of this club.
One big question that's likely on the minds of both fans and management alike, is what happens to Jose Calderon.
Jose has had a great season, the best of his career in many ways.
But there are still questions as to his long-term status as the team's starting point guard, and with questions regarding Jerryd Bayless' return, this is definitely a position on the team that's extremely up in the air going into next year. Add in the fact that there aren't a ton of great point guard options regarding the upcoming NBA draft, especially in terms of where the Raptors are slated to pick, and the club may very well have to turn to trades to address the PG spot.
One such trade idea that I began to ponder was a move by the Raps to acquire one of the Houston Rockets' talented guard duo of Goran Dragic or Kyle Lowry. Lowry, prior to an abdominal injury (and then a viral infection) that saw him miss a large chunk of the season, was playing at a near All-Star level, while Dragic has been somewhat of a revelation filling in for Lowry. Would the Rockets part with either if the price was right?
To gauge the feasibility of such a potential move, I reached out to Tom Martin of SB Nation's "The Dream Shake," covering all things Houston Rockets. Here was his take:
As you said, Gogi (Dragic's super Euro-style nickname) hits the market this offseason and I'd heard rumors before that Houston was going to try to extend him before Gogi's people basically said, "We like it here, but we're testing the market." At this point, with his recent play and with a few teams like the Raps needing point guards (Portland is the favorite to land Dragic, if I had to guess), I think Houston may back away from trying to spend more than they thought they'd have to in order to keep him. Classic example of a contract year boost, although I think Dragic's recent surge has more to do with favorable circumstances than any sort of inclination to suddenly "play better" for a paycheck.
Long story short, I think Houston - who already has Lowry under contract - will make a push for Dragic but ultimately stick with Lowry if need be. He's much more versatile and with the Rockets wanting to shift parts even more than they have already, I'd say their team leader needs to stick around to be a part of that transition. Dragic has been great and will do other teams proud, but I'd say there's a good chance it's Lowry who stays.
In case Houston, for whatever reason, DOES decide to trade Lowry, looking at the Raps, I'd be inclined to maybe say Bargs (although the Rockets think they have a better version overseas right now, so we'll see if that works out). I can't really give you a name because DeRozan is far too inefficient for Morey's liking and Lowry's kind of his pseudo-son of sorts - he wanted to draft him, he couldn't draft him, so he traded for him and has watched him blossom in Houston. Ed Davis is taking a step back this year, too, at least from the looks of it. My best guess for the Raptors is that they'll push for Dragic on the open market or go for a PG in the draft.
RaptorsHQ: One final question for you, having witnessed Gogi's rise of late, who would you prefer to have, him or Jose Calderon as your starting PG?
I think it's close right now, but I'd take Dragic. As for down the road on a four-year deal? Gogi, every day. Calderon strikes me as a really talented floor general but I think Dragic can really take control of games in ways Calderon may not be able to. I haven't seen nearly enough Jose to know the major differences, but that's my hunch.
It sounds like the Raps don't have a lot of assets that Houston would be interested in in terms of making a play for Lowry, and if Dragic is looking to test the FA market, the Raps have just as good a shot at landing him there.
But give us your thoughts in the poll below.
Should the Raps even entertain a move for either PG?