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The Draft Scenarios - Trading Down

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Previously at RaptorsHQ, we had a poll asking what the Raps should do with the top pick.

Most people voted to trade our top pick to the Knicks for their next seven...

While I wouldn't put anything past Isiah Thomas, I don't think this will happen. (Or the Raptors would probably only get the Knicks next five.) But the second most popular choice on our poll was indeed a very plausible option - the idea of trading down.

So far the rumour mill has been spouting out the "trading down" scenario as the most likely event for GM Bryan Colangelo and co. as well. Besides the daily Bargnani and Aldridge speculation, various sources have reported that the Raptors principle target in trading down scenarios, is Marcus Williams. Of course as we discussed in his workout report, Williams would be a great fit for the Raptors and would address one of their pertinent needs. The question is, where would Toronto trade down to acquire him?

For speculative purposes, let's take a look at some of the options that have been bandied about - from reader comments to, the latest Vescy-esque proposals, to more plausible situations starting with Charlotte at the number 3 spot and working on down. Like a children's story from Slick Rick, heeeeeeeeeere we go...

Trade the number 1 pick and Eric Williams to Charlotte for the number 3 pick and Brevin Knight.

Why would Toronto do it?

First of all, the trade would give Toronto the point guard it desperately needs. Brevin Knight has been a bright spot for Charlotte over the past two seasons and would easily be the best PG on the Raps. He comes from a pass-first mold and while a bit injury prone, is a solid defender and consistently one of the league's top thieves. Sure Toronto falls two spots in the draft but it seems likely that there will still be a solid player there in Bargnani, and maybe even Aldridge or Thomas depending on which way the Bulls go. The talk in Chicago is that they want Thomas, or even Brandon Roy. In addition, the Raptors finally move Mr. Malcontent Eric Williams.

Why would Charlotte do it?

Now that Raymond Felton has picked up his game and looks to have the Charlotte PG position locked up for the next 7-10 years, Brevin Knight's value to that team has been drastically reduced. The question is does Charlotte value a guy so much that they are willing to make the move to be sure they get their number one choice. Rumors are Charlotte likes Morrison and Gay...so do they need to move up for one of them? Seems doubtful but if they feel someone else (aka Portland or others) would move up and take their guy, they could pull the trigger.

Verdict: With the amount of rumors surrounding Brevin Knight, it seems very likely that he will be moved this off-season. Him coming to Toronto though probably depends on if Charlotte feels they can get the player they want in the draft at 3. Oh, and they may pass on Eric Williams (as everyone else seems to have done.)

Trade the number 1 pick and Alvin Williams for Darius Miles, Jarrett Jack and the number 4 pick.

Why would Toronto do it?

As much as Alvin Williams is loved for his grit and attitude, right now he’s not playing and is very expensive cheerleader. The Raptors in this deal would rid themselves of his contract, acquire some depth at point guard in Jack, obtain a talented multi-dimensional player in Miles and still have a shot at a great player (including Bargnani) at the 4 spot while not having to pay “first player chosen overall” type salary.

Why would Portland do it?

The Blazers are a mess. The team is desperate to get rid of some of its immature and over-priced talent and Darius Miles is at the top of this list. The trade would allow them to move Miles and select whoever they wanted with the top pick speeding up the rebuilding process. With their current logjam at point guard, Jack could easily be moved as well to speed up the development of Sebastian Telfair.

Verdict: While on paper the Raps win this deal on talent acquired, it’s not a great deal from a chemistry perspective. Miles will want to start, something unlikely with Villanueva playing the 3, and he’s been locker room trouble everywhere he’s played when he doesn’t get his way. Plus, he’s still got another four years on his deal and another blowup in Toronto would make him ridiculously hard to move. Toronto would have to be absolutely sure that Sam Mitchell could control Miles and that he could excel in their style of play (he’s not exactly a defensive force) for them to pull the trigger on such a deal.

Trade the number 1 pick, the number 35 pick, Eric Williams and Pape Sow to Atlanta for the number 5 pick, Zaza Pachulia and Josh Childress.

Why would Toronto do it?

Once you move down past pick six there seems to be some consensus that the talent drops off. The feeling now is there are really six top players; Morrison, Aldridge, Thomas, Roy, Bargnani and Gay (in no particular order). So making a move down to 5, although risky, still ensures a solid player. Zaza is an undervalued centre and his contract is extremely reasonable for his numbers (11.7, 7.9 rebounds). Josh Childress has shown flashes and is a streaky player. He is extremely long and as a result a solid defender who could play a number of positions for Toronto. While he is not a guy who can really create is own shot, he’s only been in the league for two years hence has a lot of room to grow. He would also be a great insurance policy for Morris Peterson and would definitely negate the loss of the 35th pick.

Why would Atlanta do it?

There is talk that the Hawks like Shelden Williams. If that is true they clearly want someone to man the centre position to either compliment Zaza or replace him. The question then is, how much better can a guy like Aldridge be than Shelden Williams? A lot. It's a heavy price to pay for the Hawks, and obviously Eric Williams is just filler for cap purposes, but there is a chance he could make an impact. The second round pick is a high one and has some value and although Pape Sow is not going to make or break the deal he would get minutes.

Verdict: A lot of the plausibility of this deal revolves around who Atlanta really wants to select and who’s available to them when they pick. If they have their hearts set on Shelden Williams, they probably stay put. However if getting a shot at Aldridge is tops on their list, then this trade makes sense as they get a stud 4/5 to go with their multi-positioned lineup. Plus moving Childress clears some of their logjam at the 3, they can bring in Eric Williams to help provide some veteran leadership and they can use the high second-round pick to grab perhaps a pure point guard or defensive presence. While this trade helps both teams, it really comes down to who Atlanta wants in the draft.

Trade the number 1 pick, Alvin Williams, Morris Peterson and Pape Sow for Paul Pierce and Dan Dickau

Why would Toronto do it?

Ok, so this is definitely a blockbuster and the Raps would fall completely out of the draft after making it. That being said, adding a guy like Paul Pierce is not something that you can simply blow off. Pierce had his best year as a pro last season (26.8, 6.7, 4.7) and adding him to this team would automatically make the Raps a player in the East. A line-up of Pierce, CV Smooth and Bosh would fill up the scoreboard and the team would have its BIG THREE. Dickau has no place in Boston and although he's barely a "good" PG, he and Calderon would simply have to get the ball down the floor to the other players. Although he played well with the Hornets a season ago, Boston would deal Dickau in a second. Is this too much to give up for the Raps? Well if you consider that the team would still have a ton of cap room and could add some parts via free agency to increase its depth, the Raptors would probably make the deal in a flash.

Why would Boston do it?

How serious is Danny Ainge about rebuilding? The Paul Pierce trade rumors aren’t going away and even with Pierce, the Celtics simply aren’t going forward or backward. A trade like this for the Celtics would give them a lot in return including two picks in the top seven. The Celtics could look to move the 7th pick to secure the services of a veteran and would be able to add another young stud to their front-court or add the so called "next Larry Bird" in Morrison. They would replace Pierce with Mr. Raptor (Mo P) and watch Alvin's contract expire. Would this get it done though? Would they ask for more, maybe 35 as well?

Verdict: Admittedly this trade looks highly unlikely on paper as soon as you hear or see the name Paul Pierce involved. Everyone saw the Raps and Lakers get taken on the Vince and Shaq deals so there’s no way Danny Ainge pulls the trigger on this right? Well the difference here is that Boston would be getting the number one pick in the draft back. Moving Pierce helps long-term cap-wise for Boston and could be a pre-emptive strike against any flare-ups between him and management should the Celtics struggle again next season. With the top pick, Ainge takes some of the pressure off his team to win now, and keeps building towards the future. Toronto would probably make this deal in a flash even though it means losing Morris Peterson, a sentimental and fan favourite but the whole thing really hinges on what direction Ainge wants to go. Are the Celts a team that wants to add another veteran or do they want to keep rebuilding and add another top flight youngster?

Trade the number 1 pick, Morris Peterson and Matt Bonner to Golden State for the number 9 pick, Jason Richardson and Andris Biedrins

Why would Toronto do it?

Falling this far in the draft is a risky proposition. The big six will easily be gone. That being said it is possible that a player like Marcus Williams could be on the board, or a Patrick O'Bryant. Bringing in Jason Richardson would add a tremendous amount of excitement and a player that is becoming a huge weapon for the Warriors. J-Rich is no longer just a dunker and is a guy who is committed to winning. When thinking about this trade scenario Ike Diogu could take the place of Biedrins but considering the Warriors would not give him up for Ron Artest, it is skeptical they would move him now. Biedrins is an "upside" player who has not gotten an enormous amount of time in GS but has the talent and size to play the five...at least better than Hoffa. He can block shots and bang and would be a good backup to a Patrick O’Bryant or Shelden Williams.

Why would Golden State do it?

Golden State has been looking for a serviceable 5 for a long time. Adding a player like Aldridge alongside Troy Murphy would be a huge upgrade to the front-court and would quickly put Foyle where he belongs...on the bench. Golden State is also cash-strapped thanks to some bad signings (we’re talking about you Jr. Dunleavy)and knowing Mo P and Bonner come off the books after one year would have some value. Golden State also has a swingman waiting in the wings to replace J-Rich in the long term in Mickael Pietrus. Mo P would actually be a defensive upgrade at that position as well. Bonner would not add huge value other than the little cap space it would create next season but everyone loves a shooter.

Verdict: Moving J Rich would be tough. He’s a fan favourite, one of the league’s most exciting players, and has improved his all-around game year after year despite Golden State’s poor showings. Really for Golden State this deal, like so many proposed here, depends on how bad Golden State desires one of the top players in the draft. An athletic big like Aldridge might be a great fit to play with Baron Davis but who knows what direction GS is looking to go.

Trade the number 1 pick to Seattle for the 10th pick and Luke Ridnour.

Why would Toronto do it?

This is a trade that many of our readers have been in favour of for a while. Obviously the trade would address Toronto’s needs at point and still give them a shot at a big like Patrick O’Bryant , Shelden Williams or Cedric Simmons with the 10th pick. It would also mean having more room salary wise as instead of paying first-overall money, you’re paying for 10th.

Why would Seattle do it?

If Seattle is not sold on the platoon of Ridnour and Watson at point, and want a shot at an Aldridge or even Adam Morrison, then this deal makes sense for them. Putting Aldridge up front with scorers like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in the backcourt really makes this an interesting team and one that could challenge again for the playoffs in the West.

Verdict: We just don’t see this trade happening for many reasons. First of all, we're not convinced that Seattle would be willing to let Ridnour go anywhere, even with Watson coming on board. Secondly, we're not sure Seattle craves any of the top few players enough to deal up that far as Aldridge would be fighting for time with their other developing “bigs” Robert Swift and Johan Petro. And if Seattle is serious about re-signing Chris Wilcox, taking on a first-overall contract probably isn’t something they’d even consider.

Trade the number 1 pick to Orlando for the rights to Fran Vazquez and the 11th pick.

Why would Toronto do it?

Vazquez would obviously address the Raptors needs at center and may be more willing to play for Toronto than Orlando based on Bryan Colangelo’s rep with developing international talent. This could mean him actually coming over to the NBA before 2008, something it doesn’t look like Vazquez will do right now with Orlando. And once again, Toronto would be saving some loot by acquiring the 11th pick instead of paying for the 1st and could choose one of the athletic swingmen like Rodney Carney expected to fall in that range.

Why would Orlando do it?

Another deal proposed by readers, if Orlando decides its time to cut its losses regarding Vazquez and move on, this trade makes sense. With the top pick they could choose a La Marcus Aldridge (who would make a great yin to the yang power of Dwight Howard up front) or even a Brandon Roy (someone the Magic reportedly covet) to a core of Jameer Nelson, Howard and Darko Milicic making this immediately a dangerous team in the East.

Verdict: Like the deal with Seattle, we don’t see this happening either. If Orlando wants to move up (and is sounds like they do) they probably would prefer to fall in that 3-5 range and therefore are more likely to engage in talks with teams like Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta. In addition, from a Toronto perspective I’m not sure Colangelo would want to take on a risk like Vazquez who may decide he never wants to play in the NBA. Toronto needs to show some improvement this year from its top pick and trading for a player who may never show up just doesn’t make much sense.

Trade the first pick to New Orleans for the 12th and 15th picks.

Why would Toronto do it?

If the Raptors are looking for depth, or an opportunity to get two picks for the price of one to facilitate further deals, this trade makes sense. By dealing the first overall pick they rid themselves of the salary attachments that go with it and still land two quality players to keep or deal.

Why would New Orleans do it?

With Chris Paul cemented in the backcourt, a talent like La Marcus Aldridge or local sensation Tyrus Thomas upfront makes for a great young nucleus. New Orleans needs to fill in some veteran help thus probably doesn’t have the need for two first round picks and has money to spend so probably doesn’t mind paying the first pick salary.

Verdict: Another unlikely deal. Toronto needs veteran help and unless they have a deal in place for one of the picks in exchange for such veteran assistance, adding two more young guns doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps a permutation of the deal whereby we would acquire a Desmond Mason or a JR Smith is much more likely but so far there haven’t been any rumors concerning either player coming to Toronto.

Trade the first pick to Indiana for Jermaine O'Neal.

Why would Toronto do it?

We're not sure. In fact the only reason we're mentioning this deal is because of various media reports yesterday including this one from the Boston Herald reporting that the Raptors are in talks about acquiring Jermaine for a package including the first pick in the draft. Anyone else find this deal a real head scratcher? If there's one player I would say Chris Bosh closely resembles in terms of athletic ability and "take the ball to the basket" game, it would be Jermaine O'Neal. Jermaine could play the 5 we suppose but just like having two Jason Kidds on the court at the same time, we're just not sure how this makes much sense and would probably reduce the effectiveness of both players. Secondly, we're not sure financially how this would work. O'Neal is still owed almost $75 million on his contract making a straight-up deal impossible. To take on Jermaine, the Raptors would have to give up Alvin Williams and probably another cheaper player to get under the salary cap. And even then, how would Toronto acquire any other free agent help? No, unless someone gives us some more concrete information and the other pieces of such a deal, we'll chalk this one up to rumors, rumors and more rumors.

So after reading these scenarios, what can one conclude? Well for starters, at this point there are still way too many rumors flying around to knock down which ones are fact and which ones are fiction. And that's fine because the draft is still over two weeks away. Take for example a few of the teams we neglected to discuss in this piece. Would Philly consider trading Allen Iverson to Toronto for a shot at the number one pick? Would Toronto want him? What about Utah or Houston? Would either of these teams covet the top pick enough to throw something enticing Bryan Colangelo's way? See, you can manufacture deals with almost any team!

I guess the point of this really was to get the discussion going concerning the team and some of the options that it may have, however realistic they may be. Sure Paul Pierce or Jermaine O'Neal may never end up in a Raps uniform...but the fact that the team is in a position to even speculate on these situations beats the last two offseasons bar-none.

FRANCHISE AND HOWLAND