In Zach Lowe's latest mega-predictions column on Grantland he tosses the Raptors into the mix as a potential suitor for Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green.
After rhyming off a few other teams and trade options, Lowe says:
The Raptors have bad memories of Joe Johnson bulldozing them in the post, and they have all their own picks, plus the midsize expiring deals linked to Landry Fields and Chuck Hayes.
It got me thinking.
Jeff Green is a 6'9'', 235 pound forward that plays in between the small and power forward spot. Lowe is not wrong in identifying the Raps' need for stronger wing defense. The team did go through the trouble of signing James Johnson, who is physically almost identical to Green (6'9'', 245 pounds), to a two-year, five million dollar deal after all. That said, Johnson doesn't have nearly the same offensive skills that Green, as a spot up shooter and complementary player, has developed over his seven year career. Of course, Green is no defensive force of nature like Johnson can be.
Since the Raptors seem well-stocked on offense, the stout Johnson appears to win out for now. But then...
Amir Johnson and his below market contract will be done at the end of the season. After anchoring the team for the better part of five years and developing into a quality two-way player, Amir is due for a sizable pay day. This is before taking into account the current expensive market for big men in the NBA.
I know it is heresy to suggest this but: could the Raptors look to let Johnson, and his admittedly balky ankles, walk away by trading at some point for Green and expanding the role of Patrick Patterson? Is there faith to be placed in that combination - assuming Jonas Valanciunas continues his steady march towards all-world rim protector and offensive tidal wave?
Tell me I'm crazy in the comments.