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Jump Ball: The Antonio Davis Affair

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We all know AD is returning to the Great White North where we all have pet seals and the metric system, and is planning on making his first re-appearance against the Spurs. Who knows what the fan reaction will be? What we do know is that it's time for RaptorsHQ to take a look at the AD trade and the aftershocks...Howland wins the tip and begins...

HOWLAND: I think we all agree with the trade, even with the Denver pick. This deal has done one thing for sure: brought new found optimism to the Raps and its fans. The last time we had cap space was years ago and the thought of checking ESPN every morning to read the rumours in the summer is going to be a lot more fun. I love the deal and think that, provided AD stays focused and does as he is asked without sulking, this could be great, both in the short term and long term. I guess the big "IF" here is the attitude he brings. The load he could take off the young guys in the front-court could make a huge difference.

CHAPMAN: I like the move. It gives us cap flexibility for next season and it also gives a player like Joey Graham a chance for some more burn. I think this move gets better if we can move AD. I don't think he wants to be here and I know Kendra doesn't want to be here. I get the feeling she runs the show. While he can't be moved to Chicago and can't be traded in a package of players, there are a few intriguing trade possibilities out there. Maybe trade him to Kentucky for Rajon Rondo, Franchise?

FRANCHISE: Yes yes, I'd do that in a flash if it were logistically possible. Love the young buck outta KY but we'll be talking more about him as we near the draft. I think for me the one sticking point in this trade was the draft pick. Yes, I think long term we got the better of the deal but giving the Knicks ANYTHING but more salary issues burns me up to some degree. I don't think the Raps should get too fancy with AD...use him for the season and move on. He's got his sights set firmly on returning to Chicago anyways...or wait...maybe that's his wife who has the family sights set. One interesting part of this trade is the report from The Globe and Mail that both this trade and the Aaron Williams deal were in fact deals recently dismissed GM Rob Babcock had intended to put into action. As I mentioned in my discussion concerning Aaron's deal, it does get you to ask some questions. For instance, if Embry is simply now fulfilling Babcock's plans, what happens when he starts making his OWN decisions?

HOWLAND: Yeah, you have to wonder what Babcock is thinking right now. I mean if he had these deals lined up and now Embry starts looking like some sort of saviour, he must be burning. But back to AD: I love how he has to suck it up and play because he is president of the PA. How classless would it look if he didn't? He doesn't have to move the family back because he is a short term rent-a-player (rent-a-wreck if discussing his wife) and I really think the draft this year is a crapshoot. I also don't think there is much else out there if we tried to flip him, and we are restricted in how we trade him as well.

CHAPMAN: That's true, Howland. The Raps are somewhat restricted like teen slasher flicks used to be. For example, AD can't be moved back to Chicago for Tim Thomas (as some outlets have reported recently), because teams cannot reacquire players that they've already traded during that season (July 1-June 30 being a season). Furthermore, Davis cannot be dealt in combination with any other Raptor for two months (April 3). It doesn't mean, however, that he can't be dealt. And I got my crack research team together to find some deals that just might work.

Here we go:

1. Trade Davis to Dallas for F Keith Van Horn

FRANCHISE: Hate it. Van Horn was best in his first few years in the league when he wasn't perenially injured. He's a duplicate of Charlie V right now only not as athletic and physical. Even though he typically plays SF, we've seen Mitchell play CV Smooth there lately so it's only going to get in the way of his or Pape's development. Next.

HOWLAND: KVH boggles my mind. If you play his career in reverse you have someone who is developing. Still, could we extract more from Dallas in a deal. Pavol Podkolzine? Ok, maybe not Pavol, in fact for a guy people were once touting as a number 1 pick in the draft this guy has been completely non-existent. Does he play at all anywhere? In practice even? Maybe it is because they have the best center in the West, you know the guy who is a back-up to DeSagana Diop!

CHAPMAN: I like Van Horn. I don't think Dallas will deal him, especially given the way he's been shooting the trey of late (51.6% in January). I'd be a fan of this deal. It would be nice to get a first rounder from them as well, in an ideal world, but the Mavs are forbidden to trade their first round pick this season due to earlier deals.

2. Trade Davis to Portland for Theo Ratliff

FRANCHISE: Don't hate this deal but it comes down to what management wants to do going forward. If they think that a younger, less expensive center like Joel Przybilla or Nazr Mohammad is available or wish to try their luck in the draft to continue the youth movement, then this trade makes no sense. Ratliff still has two years left on his deal so this would put a serious hurt on the Raptors' cap space. I don't think this deal makes much sense but the reason I don't hate it is because Ratliff would give the Raptors SOMETHING DECENT in the middle and would take a good deal of weight off Chris Bosh. Still...Patrick O'Bryant IS in the draft so far...

HOWLAND: I hate this deal more than the KVH idea. Seriously, are we going to kill the cap space we just created for Theo Ratliff? The only team that has expressed interest in him is the Knicks, and they have interest in everyone with a contract that could feed a small nation. Ratliff would bring nothing that a second-tier free-agent couldn't bring this summer but at a lower cost. Now, throw in Travis Outlaw or Jarret Jack and you have a deal. In fact if Jack was involved it is possible we could deal James. Although like I said earlier this year I am the first guy to sign the petition for re-signing James, regardless of his occassional off night. Besides I think we have a similar but younger player (to Ratliff) in Pape. He provides blocks and rebounds and just needs to stay out of foul trouble. Some of the best deals are the one's you don't make. This is clearly one of those.

CHAPMAN: I agree with Howland. This doesn't do anything for us. If the Raps want a shot-blocker from Wyoming, draft Justin Williams. Or bring back Fennis Dembo.

3. Trade Davis to Denver for Earl Watson, Nene and Voshon Lenard

FRANCHISE: Um...I don't think I can say YES fast enough for this one...with one caveat. That we can resign Nene. Watson has a big deal but if we can get him then James can walk which would work out salary-wise. Watson has four years left and makes about what James will undoubtedly be asking for. Lenard comes off the books at the end of the season so this works well for Toronto as well. I guess the bottom line for me in this deal is that Davis gives Denver a big body that they may need to make a playoff run but this trade makes little sense for them unless we're throwing in some picks or something. The deal, for the first time since Marcus Camby left town, would give Toronto an actual center. So in total this deal would give us a good starting point guard until Jose gets his NBA legs, a replacement for James, a starting center, and even some cap space with Lenard off the books. Done, done and done.

HOWLAND: Wow, I only see this if Kiki has already taken the Toronto job without telling anyone.....and then Stern would likely penalize us with 6 forfeited first-rounders. Denver would never do this. They need a shooter. Now if MoPete was somehow involved (requiring more in return) there is probably a higher likelihood. I just can't see this, but getting Nene into the city and letting him grow accustomed to it would likely go a long way to making the Raps leaders in locking up his services long-term. A Nene, Bosh, CV Smooth front court....it would be like Double Dribble on the original Nintendo...."Now we're playing with POWER." Unfortunately I think the odds of this are about the same as Jerramy Stevens living down his Superbowl performance....NEVER.

CHAPMAN: Howland, you can't add MoPete to this deal. Didn't you read the restrictions? Maybe you took the same classes at Ohio State as Andy Katzenmoyer. Seriously though, I can't see Denver making this deal. My crack research team has just been fired.

4. Trade Davis to Philadelphia for Jamal Mashburn and Johnny Salmons

FRANCHISE: This is another deal that I'd do in a flash but can't see Philadelphia doing. While Iverson was out recently with ankle problems Salmons once again showed why he was such a promising prospect out of Miami-Florida. While the salaries work out this trade makes no sense for Philly who would essentially be giving up one of their best young prospects in Salmons for "rent-a-Davis." The only way I see Philly pulling the trigger is if the team starts making a run at the playoffs and decides it needs to get some short term success to put fans in the seats. (You'd think that a team with AI wouldn't have such a tough time bringing in fans?!)

CHAPMAN:Mashburn is still in the league??? I bet Howland will want to throw someone into this deal to make it work. Maybe I can hire him a salary cap tutor....unless, of course, the tutor is busy with Isiah Thomas and James Dolan.

HOWLAND: I doubt there is a way to involve Eric Williams as well and as a result (and I hate to do this) I agree with Franchise. The thing with Philly is they just need to blow it up and start with Iggy, Dalembert and Korver. I am a big proponent of them trading Iverson and asking Isiah Rider to kidnapp C-Webb. Salmons is a nice piece and King is no fool and AD is simply not that good anymore. He is not a player that could get a team over the top, just a complementary piece. Unfortunately for us, this is good enough to be our starting centre. Again, I stand by the thought that we keep him and see what turns up with the cap space. The playoffs are not that far out of reach and no one else on this list is making me think their addition could help us make a push. In the meantime, let's enjoy the fact that AD is now helping Bosh, which in the grand scheme means more than anything else this team can provide trade wise.