As expected, the Raptors did not do anything at the trade deadline yesterday. Meanwhile, the rest of the league went absolutely crazy, as a record number of players were moved at the deadline. You can find all the trades that happened here. Even though Toronto didn't make any moves, here's how they were impacted by the deadline deals:
1. There's another first round opponent they may want to avoid now.
It's getting to a point where no easy first round matchup exists, a strange thing to say given that we're in the Eastern Conference. Yesterday, the Miami Heat upgraded their point guard position by acquiring Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns (and brother Zoran!) without giving up anyone from their core group.
So now, the Heat, who are 22-30 and in a tie for eight place with the Charlotte Hornets, suddenly look like a potentially scary first round opponent, and can roll out a fourth quarter lineup of Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside.
Unless the Bucks collapse in the second half, Miami is likely to finish seventh, which means they'll draw the second seed in the first round, which would be the Raptors right now.
Many people seem to want to see Cleveland-Miami in the first round for obvious reasons, and you know what, I'm all for it! We'll happily take the Bucks on NBA TV. Let's dooo thissssssss!
2. The draft pick acquired in the Andrea Bargnani trade looks even better now.
In 2016, the Raptors will get the lesser of the Knicks or Nuggets first round pick, which means they'll get the lower pick of the two. New York -- one of the teams Dragic was said to have been interested in going to -- did not make any impact moves at the trade deadline, and unless they strike rich this off-season, are slated to go through another rebuilding year in 2015-16.
As for the Nuggets, they traded away JaVale McGee and Arron Afflalo, and might continue unloading their assets during the summer and next season (Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler would be the next to go).
So, both teams are slated to be in the lottery for 2016, which means the Raptors will have a chance at a relatively high pick.
3. Internally, the Raptors didn't get caught up with making a win now move.
I asked Masai about the expirings (Hayes, Fields) specifically He said "we had a couple of things going in that regard" opted for chemistry— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) February 19, 2015
Also, read the quotes from this post-trade deadline article from Eric Koreen. Dwane Casey and Masai Ujiri are managing expectations here, to treat the second half as an evaluation process instead of a championship run, which was never a realistic goal, and still isn't even with the team at 36-17. I know, I must be really fun at parties, to be the guy who keeps reminding people this team isn't winning it all while they're having a franchise best first half start, but Ujiri wasn't going to get caught up with making a win now move and sacrifice a valuable asset (like Ross or Valanciunas), draft picks, or flexibility.
I'd say that's a good thing.
What does everybody think?