Hey everybody, I'm not a regular here as I'm a Cavs fan but I follow Toronto really closely. They are the two teams I watch every game they play and I would absolutely love to see them become a successful franchise. So I hope you indulge me for a moment as I illustrate how I feel they can turn things around.
I don't think this team can be successful when nearly 50% of the salary cap is dedicated to two inefficient chuckers in Rudy Gay and Demar Derozan. While both players I actually liked for a period of time until in Rudy's case he was given way too large of a deal by Memphis and BC decided to bring him in and in Demar's case when BC decided to gift rap a much too large contract to Demar when a simple bridge deal for much less similar to what OJ Mayo got from Dallas would have sufficed. If Gay were paid 11 mill I would love having him in Toronto but that is simply not the case. Due to this reality I think it's necessary to move these players and free up room to become a serious player in the Wiggins sweepstakes. This is obviously an issue cause the Raptors have quite a few good pieces and real talent only the ceiling has been lowered significantly from where it was before the 2012-2013 campaign started due to the financial commitments that were made. But here's the moves I would try to do in order to both provide the team with more flexibility, young talent and a chance at possibly the best Canadian basketball player to play in the NBA.
It's going to be tough to find a team willing to take on Gay's big money but this might be the best suitor. Charlotte would be thrilled to dump Ben Gordon on another team and while I really don't like him he comes off the books after the coming year and really won't make Toronto any better. He can play limited minutes behind Ross. Charlotte would probably jump at the opportunity to add "a top level talent" the same way Toronto did and this would improve their team and hurt their odds at landing the 2014 1st overall pick. With the 4th pick in the draft I'd take Anthony Bennett going off the assumption that Noel, Burke/ Oladipo, and Otto Porter were off the board. Bennett would be able to be brought along at his pace and not asked to do to much backing up Amir for the next year or so before he can take over the role of starting PF. Plus he would benefit from learning under Amir. So this clears up the gong show contract of Gay and gives the Raptors a young talent and cap room moving forward.
Step 2. Use the amnesty provision.
First the team should try shopping Bargnani for anything. If you can get second round picks in this years draft or anything at all you do it but if you can't amnesty him before training camp begins. I don't think you can go into another camp with him on your roster. His presence is just makes too much of a negative impact on the team. If you can move him use the amnesty provision on Linus. I don't think I need to really support that idea too much lol.
Step 3. Move Demar.
I was tempted to put Lowry into this but I'll get into that further on. I'm honestly struggling to come up with a solution for what to do with Demar. I would love to hear some opinions on what you think would be a viable trade scenario for Derozan but here are the best options I can come up with.
- Derozan and the 2014 first round pick (top 10 protected) to the Phoenix Suns for their first round pick this year. Phoenix is trying to find an identity and at #5 in this draft there really isn't any franchise changing players available. Dragic is looking like their point guard moving forward and they can't afford to waste time waiting for a player to develop into a legitimate starter. The Raptors would then be able to select either McLemore, Oladipo, or Burke depending on who is left at that point. If it was Burke that was left then they could look to move Lowry but if it's one of the two shooting guards they can develop alongside Terrence Ross and take some lumps as they learn to play in the NBA.
- Derozan to Boston for Avery Bradley and draft picks. If they can get Boston's 2013 first great if not I'd probably be willing to accept a second round pick. This one isn't as ideal as my first one but what it would give Toronto is a "Thabo-like" player to start at SG or play some point (preferably as little as possible unless he improves his handle) and then bring Ross off the bench as an impact scoring sixth man while still getting starters minutes. Also give Toronto a pick that they could use to take a chance on another young talent.
4. Don't have veterans that help you win.
Here's where my fandom of the Cavaliers comes in handy. What you are left with after these moves is a young team that doesn't know how to win. If they select Burke with the pick from Phoenix I would then try to move Lowry but you really wouldn't have to. You could just bring Burke along slowly but my preference would be to land either Oladipo or Mclemore and have them compete with Ross to see who blossoms. But outside of that add good character veterans that are looking to hang on in the league. The Cavs did this with Luke Walton and D League guys looking for a chance. You let your young guys take their bumps and have them taught the ways of the league by high character guys that aren't going to jump in and salvage games and manufacture wins. It's a painful process but you'd likely only have to deal with one year of it before you add a top tier talent in the 2014 draft and can then fill the backup roles with quality backups with your new-found cap space. Wiggins is the ideal target of course but there are tons of really good players in that draft that would help put Toronto back on the upswing.
So what do you think? Like my idea or should I just retreat back to Fear The Sword and duck for cover?