In addition to P.J. Tucker, Toronto has also pursued Wilson Chandler, league sources say. Denver, like Phoenix, wants a first-rounder back.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
First off, it’s important to be wary of the wording of Stein’s tweet. “Toronto has also pursued Wilson Chandler” is a lot different than “The Raptors are actively pursuing Wilson Chandler.” As is the case with 99 percent of rumours you hear around this time of year, it’s unlikely it germinates into an actual trade.
Chandler is a fascinating name to speculate about, though. There’s a reason he wasn’t included in this wish list post that went up earlier this morning. The Nuggets’ forward is owed substantial salary through the 2018-19 season (roughly $12 million next year, $12.8 million in his walk year). With three soon-to-be pricey pending free agents on the roster, Toronto is already staring down a complicated summer which could require the offloading of multiple contracts. Adding Chandler into the mix would be yet another obstacle for the front office to navigate.
In addition to the first-rounder Stein suggests the Nuggets would want, Toronto would have to send out Jared Sullinger and another middling salary to match Chandler’s incoming cap hit. Among the team’s prospects, only Jakob Poeltl’s rookie scale deal is substantial enough to line up a valid deal. Lucas Nogueira would be a fit as well (from the Raptors’ perspective, this might be desirable due to the three-years of cost-control Poeltl represents)**. Because Chandler has term left on his deal, maybe the future trade-off would be a little easier to stomach than sending a first-rounder for a mediocre rental player. It would serve as a second “win now” move from Masai Ujiri and solidify the Raptors as the second-most talented team in the Eastern Conference. This would be a formidable depth chart:
PG: Lowry - Joseph - Wright - VanVleet
SG: DeRozan - Powell
SF: Carroll - Chandler - Caboclo
PF: Ibaka - Patterson - Siakam
C: Valanciunas - Nogueira/Poeltl
Having Chandler on deck would also give the Raptors some flexibility when it comes to DeMarre Carroll this summer. Chandler’s a tad cheaper, and might be more productive at this point in their respective careers. Offloading Carroll’s contract for a hit in value might be made more palatable if Chandler’s on the roster.
Chandler doesn’t solve the Raptors’ weaknesses completely, however. As a career 34 percent three-point shooter, he wouldn’t make up for the spacing Terrence Ross once provided. He is productive though, posting 15.6 points, 6.7 boards and 2.1 assists a game in an inconsistent role on a crowded Denver team this year. He’d offer added small-ball flexibility and a real talent boost for a stretch run.
To reiterate, it’s unlikely that a deal for a pricey piece like Chandler will materialize. It’s interesting that the Raptors are sniffing around him, nonetheless.
**Shout out to Daniel Hackett (Raptors HQ) and Tim Chisholm (Raptors Republic) for bringing the Bebe aspect to my attention.
The Raptors at the Trade Deadline: What's the move?Posted by Raptors HQ on Thursday, January 12, 2017