Toronto was mostly quiet on July 1 aside from some semi-frequent rumblings about Kyle Lowry’s contract negotiations. Based on the latest report from Michael Scotto Basketball Insiders, July 2 at least has some potential for some intrigue.
Toronto Raptors have discussed a trade that would send point guard Cory Joseph to the Indiana Pacers league sources told Basketball Insiders— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) July 2, 2017
It’s far too early to speculate on what the goal of a Joseph trade might be for the Raptors. There are plenty explanations that could make sense, though. With Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet on the roster, and USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt reporting last night that the Raptors and Lowry might be getting close to an agreement, Joseph and his $7.7 million salary for next year may be the Raptors’ most attractive and available trade chip at the moment.
P.J. Tucker is heading to Houston, so perhaps Joseph could be used to balance out the roster somewhat and net a combo forward to replicate Tucker’s contributions. Indiana doesn’t really have anyone who fits that bill at the right salary, though.
Offloading Joseph would probably be more of a pure cost-cutting move. DeMarre Carroll is suddenly going to be counted on again with Tucker out the door, so dumping his contract might not make sense anymore. If the Raptors have shifted their focus from Tucker to retaining Patrick Patterson, shaving Joseph’s salary from the books could help facilitate all three of Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Patterson returning, while helping the Raptors to duck underneath the tax, depending on how much those three were to make collectively.
Again, it’s probably pretty useless to guess what a Joseph trade might mean in the grander scheme of the Raptors’ off-season, so it’s probably smarter to just let it play out before contorting our brains too much.