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Luol Deng Raptors Offseason/Trade

Luol Deng Raptors Offseason/Trade

Looking at advanced team metrics (www.82games.com) and for anyone who watched the Nets-Raptors playoff series, the weakest position for the raps is the SF position.

Proposed Trade

Cleveland Cavs to do sign and trade of Luol Deng to Toronto (contract details below) for John Salmons (7 mil contract), Tyler Hansbrough (3.326 mil contract), either ours or New York's 2016 1st rounder and 2 second rounders (2014 Thunder 2nd rounder and 2017 Knicks or Raps 2nd rounder) and 2 million dollars.

Trade has to be completed by end of June. Cavs acquired Deng for protected 1st rounder, 2 second rounders and Andrew Bynum. The Cavs would then release both Salmons and Hansbrough (they both have 1 million guaranteed on their contracts only - hence the 2 million dollars in the trade). So basically, the Cavs end up getting the picks they gave up to get Deng. If the Cavs don't do a sign and trade, then they lose Deng for nothing. Also, I don't believe there is any other team that has players with non-guaranteed contracts like Toronto that could make a deal like this work.

The financial part of this deal is the tricky part. Given that Toronto is over the cap, the most the raps can take back in salary is $12.9 million. Using the salary information from hoopshype.com, and assuming it will take just under $9 mil total to resign Patterson & Vasquez and that we release Buycks, Stone and DeColo, that would leave the Raps with about $22 mil to sign Lowry and Deng and still remain under the $77 mil luxury tax line. However, using the numbers from (www.raptorshq.com/2014/5/12/5710702/raptors-2014-15-salary-situation), the raps would have about $24-26 mil to sign Lowry and Deng. Given that Lowry is the team leader, I don't things will work well from a locker room dynamic if Deng got paid more. Given that they are roughly the same age (Deng's actually 1 year older), I would suggest a four year contract of 11 mil/11.5 mil/12 mil/12.5 mil. for each player with the fourth year being a team option with 3 mil guaranteed.

The above scenario, of course, wouldn't work if either Deng, Lowry, Patterson or Vasquez wants a lot more money. It is possible that other teams (Phoenix, LAL, Dallas or Atlanta have been rumored to be interested in Deng) might be willing to offer Deng more in free agency, but Deng has stated that he wanted to be on a playoff team, and I believe the Raps have the most playoff potential (esp. with Deng) of the teams listed. I believe that Deng would be a great fit in Casey's system and it is rumored that Ujiri is a big Deng fan.

Draft Strategy

If the Raps do the above moves, the Raps primary needs would be a PG or C, with PG being a bigger need because if Lowry get injured, we don't have a third string PG. I think Elfrid Payton would be a great choice if he was available (I would even consider trading up with our 20th pick and 37th pick to grab him). He is a defensive minded PG with Rajon Rondo type potential.

With the 37th pick, the raps may have to draft an international player and stash for a year or two if they are right up against the luxury tax line. If they can afford it, then probably draft BPA.

Post Trade/Draft Depth Chart

PG-> Lowry, Vasquez, Payton

SG-> DeRozan, Ross

SF-> Deng, Novak, Fields

PF-> Johnson, Patterson

C-> Valanciunas, Hayes, ?#37 pick

Our starting lineup would consist of 3 All-Star calibre players, a hard-working glue guy (see this ESPN article looking at Johnson's value to the team (http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2014/story/_/id/10844963/amir-johnson-hidden-gem-toronto-raptors) and a developing center. We would also have a solid bench, minus the C position. If the raps are still under the luxury tax line with all the above moves, then I would consider trying to sign Jordan Hill or Cole Aldrich as our backup center.

Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to be thorough. I would appreciate any comments.

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