FanPost

Where do we go now, sweet Ujiri of mine.

The Toronto Raptors are off to a decent start this season winning two of their first three games, however, there are still reports that Masai Ujiri is fielding offers for everybody not named Jonas. By reading through the multiple reports that all make this claim it seems that he is looking to make moves that help this team win now, while still improving the long term ceiling of this franchise.

Lowry, Demar, Gay, Amir and Jonas is a pretty good starting lineup. It's long, athletic and has performed well since it's been brought together. It's clear to most though that this is a starting lineup that lacks a star player to build around. Jonas has a chance to become a player of this caliber, but big men take time to develop. If the team isn't going to tank it needs to try and get long term pieces around Jonas that are on similar points on their development curves. It's tough to make a trade for a proven star that doesn't have any issues/ flaws. But what Toronto can do is build a solid core and leave themselves room to sign a free agent star to go along with a good core and potential franchise player in Jonas.

Now considering that every player not named Jonas is available. I thought I would put on my GM cap and think of some moves that would help the team moving forward. I'll break it down into the different types of trades the team can make:

Dumb Moves:

Steve Nash for... These rumours need to stop. Nash doesn't help this team at all and Ujiri is too smart to make a move for Nash. The Lakers can't trade away their 2014 first round pick because they owe the Suns their 2015 first. There just is no advantage to any Nash trade for the Raptors.

Godfather offers

Demar Derozan, Amir Johnson, Top 8 protected 2014 first round pick for Al Horford.

The Hawks are looking to rebuild. They have a lot of really nice good young pieces. Derozan would be a really nice fit on the perimeter next to Teague, considering that they have Kyle Korver spreading the floor. Amir Johnson and Paul Millsaap isn't as ideal of a fit considering they are both fours. But Amir has shown the ability to play center in the past and considering that Horford is also a four, this is a problem the Hawks are already familiar with.

In return the Raptors receive one of the best big men in the NBA. Horford plays both ends of the floor, rebounds well and has a beautiful jump shot. He's the kind of player that does everything well and would give the Raptors one of the best big men duo's in the game. Horford is also criminally underpaid and has two years left on his contract after the 2013-2014 campaign.

Rudy Gay and Terrence Ross for Greg Monroe, Charlie V, Jonas Jerebko.

This gives the Pistons the ability to put out a starting lineup of Jennings, Ross, Gay, Smith and Drummond with depth coming off the bench in KCP, and Stucky. It also frees them of Charlie V's expiring deal as well as Jerebko's. In return the Raptors again receive a fantastic big man that fits perfectly next to Jonas. While he's on the final year of his rookie deal this would allow the Raptors to have is RFA rights and would have no problem matching any offers that come his way if they can't extend him prior to him hitting the market.

Cap clearing for young assets

Rudy Gay for Ben Gordon, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

I'm one of the biggest Kidd-Gilchrist fans there is out there. He's still ridiculously young and while his shot needs a lot of work, he does everything else on the court at a high level. You also take on Ben Gordon's expiring contract in order to help a Charlotte team that wants to win now for some reason. I think if you make this move you would also try to trade Derozan as you would need to have a shooter next to MKG in order for the offense to work. Obviously you would hope Terrence Ross would eventually fill, but in constructing a young roster to grow along side Jonas, Demar and MKG is as nightmare worse than the pairing with Gay. Which leads me to my next trade...

Toronto gets: Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Boston's 2014 second round pick

Boston gets: Kyle Lowry

Phoenix gets: Demar Derozan

This gives Toronto a point guard of the future at the reasonable price of 7.5 million per year over the next three years, a floor spacer/ defender in Courtney Lee and a pick to sweeten the taste of paying Lee 5.5 million a year.

Boston gets a PG on an expiring deal so they can really put their rebuild into gear and trade Rondo, plus it frees them of Courtney Lee.

Finally Phoenix gets an guard that can run with Bledsoe and clears up their log jam at the point guard position. There may need to be minor parts thrown in to each team to make the deal a little more enticing for each team but overall it helps all three franchises get to the point where they want to go. If Toronto was to pull off these moves their lineup would look something like this:

Goran Dragic, Terrence Ross, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas . With Gordon, Lee, Fields, and Hansbrough rounding out their top 9. It's nothing flashy but it might be just as good of a lineup as what they have now with a lot more flexibility moving forward.


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