Thank goodness we have more usable photos of Masai Ujiri these days.
This is an indirect way of saying: welcome to NBA Trade Deadline Day! It’s that special time when we all wonder what Raptors President Masai Ujiri is thinking about, talking about, and doing about Toronto’s fortunes. Some years — like 2017 — Ujiri has pulled off deals that saved the season. Other times (most times, in fact), he’s been quiet, waiting in the shadows for some other team to make a mistake on which he could pounce in the off-season. It’s true.
But the Raptors aren’t the only team involved today. For all the information you need about NBA trade rumours and deals, check out SB Nation’s handy tracker.
For Raptors specific coverage, we’ve got that covered too. Check out:
Daniel Hackett has a look at whether or not the Raptors can even make a deal.
Then Hackett unpacks the possible trades that could be out there for Toronto.
I’m jump in with an assessment of the Raptors’ players relative trade value.
Here are some player or situation-specific posts we’ve put up already:
Simon Broder has a look at Marco Belinelli as a possible trade target.
Gabe Nisker reflects on the impact of the Blake Griffin to Detroit trade.
And way back when, we ruminated on the idea of Marc Gasol in Toronto.
I’m going to try to update this post throughout the day. In the meantime, enjoy the spectacle in the comments.
11:10am - Our first deal of the day! Detroit trades for Jameer Nelson, with the 1 vs. 8 match-up against the Raptors just sitting there. I consider this move extremely rude.
Sources: Detroit is sending center Willie Reed to the Bulls for Jameer Nelson, who shores up Pistons' PG rotation.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2018
Cleveland is sending Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Lakers for Clarkson and Nance, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Cavaliers also sending its 2018 first-round pick in deal to Lakers, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Source: The Cavaliers 2018 first-round pick is protected.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
I’m squinting extremely hard right now, and I can kind of see how this deal helps the Cavaliers. Larry Nance is a decent power forward, the kind of springy guy you’d want to help boost a moribund defense; meanwhile Jordan Clarkson is at least young and healthy, which is not nothing. Should the Raptors worry about this trade? I say it’s good to have a healthy fear of LeBron James, but don’t let this keep you up at night.
And hoo boy, Isaiah Thomas is officially a problem. Good luck to both squads.
12:25pm - Detroit is doing what it can to shore up its roster and improve the chances of the team’s playoff push: they just traded Brice Johnson for James Ennis. A small deal, sure, but one that gives them another modestly useable player.
Memphis has traded James Ennis to Detroit for Brice Johnson and a second-round pick, league sources tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
For the record, Ennis is averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 36 percent from three. It doesn’t jump off the page, but to be honest: the Pistons need all the backcourt help they can get.
The Hawks are sending forward Luke Babbitt to the Heat for forward Omari White sources said.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) February 8, 2018
Obviously, this isn’t a huge deal — but Babbitt was a player the Raptors could have conceivably gone after in an effort to shore up the back half of their rotation.
1:00pm - Man, forgive my language here, but: Cleveland Cavaliers, fuck off.
Utah has traded Rodney Hood to Cleveland, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Utah will also send Joe Johnson to Sacramento, and Cleveland will send Jae Crowder and Derek Rose to Utah, league sources tell ESPN. Sacramento sends George Hill to the Cavs.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Cleveland sends Iman Shumpert to Kings in deal, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
This series of moves totally remakes the Cavaliers roster, giving them some good guard depth, clearing out the malcontents and under-performers on the squad, and likely re-energizing LeBron James. I want to die.
Here’s a handy full summary of the day’s moves for Cleveland so far:
So in summary:— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownRadio) February 8, 2018
Cavs today get:
Larry Nance Jr.
1:10pm - More Cavaliers moves! They just dumped Dwyane Wade for.... nothing???
Miami will send a heavily protected second-round pick to Cleveland for Wade, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
This is now perhaps the most delirious trade spree we’ve ever seen at the deadline. The Cavaliers have totally rebuilt the core of their roster in the space of, like, 30 minutes. For the Raptors, I won’t lie: this feels like bad news.
1:50pm - Pour one out: it’s the end of the Bruno Caboclo era in Toronto.
Toronto is finalizing deal to send Bruno Caboclo to Sacramento for Malachi Richardson, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2018
2:10pm - It would be impossible to top the one-two punch of Cleveland’s moves and then the dispatch of Bruno, but the NBA is going to try. Here’s the latest deal, involving the Knicks, Mavericks, and Nuggets.
Denver, New York and Dallas agreed on a three-way deal, league sources tell ESPN. Mudiay to Knicks; Devin Harris to Denver and Doug McDermott to Dallas.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Allow me to give this deal a hearty: whatever.
2:20pm - Now we’re really in the dead zone. Peep this:
Portland has traded Noah Vonleh and cash to Chicago for the rights to Milocan Rakovic, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
2:26pm - Another little deal from our friends in Brooklyn and New Orleans. Thanks Shams:
New Orleans is trading forward Dante Cunningham to Brooklyn for guard Rashad Vaughn, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2018
3:10pm- [emerges from bunker] Is... is it safe to come out now? Let’s ring up the last couple of deals of the day.
First, a real small one involving a spare part on the Wizards:
Washington is trading guard Sheldon Mac to Atlanta, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2018
Second, Orlando is still a mess:
Orlando has traded Elfrid Payton to Phoenix for a second-round pick, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Somewhat amazingly, there were no deals for Marco Belinelli, Tyreke Evans, or DeAndre Jordan, despite all the chatter. The former two could have been guys to help the Raptors — and with Belinelli there’s still a chance he’ll be bought out and available.
As this thread indicates, the Cavaliers definitely improved. The Celtics stood pat. And the rest of the conference, save Detroit, is in roughly the same spot. That’s not the best outcome for Toronto, but it’s not the worst either.
And if it wasn’t clear already: Toronto should go for the number one seed, let Boston and Cleveland continue their blood feud, and then hopefully get another shot at the King.
The buyout market, with names like Joe Johnson and maybe Belinelli (or Vince Carter???), could also be interesting.