The Toronto Raptors have accumulated enough assets to acquire some big names on the trade market should they seek this desire. Early season trade talks have begun and two key names have been thrown around in DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson. The Raptors have the chips to trade for either one of these All-Stars and as the rumours continue the question is… should they?
How much difference would they make?
In terms of overall improvement it is not a lot but that is because this team is already well rounded and even expected to make the Conference finals. That being said a player like Cousins would give the Raptors the edge against the Cleveland Cavaliers and potentially gain the spot in the NBA finals. Cousins is an elite centre; his acquisition would instantly form a three headed monster with fellow Olympians DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. If not lost in the trade, throw in the junk yard dog DeMarre Carroll for good measure and the Raptors are a real force to be reckoned with.
The Toronto Raptors would have a “super team” for the first time in franchise history. If for some absurd reason Jonas Valanciunas was able to be retained in this deal, the Raptors would be near unbeatable. Either when Cousins rests in comes Valanciunas or both play at the same time with Cousins in the Power Forward position giving other teams match-up nightmares.
What to Offer?
For DeMarcus Cousins the Sacramento Kings are unlikely to be willing to let Cousins go without a big man in exchange, either directly or through draft picks.The Raptors could look to give up Patrick Patterson, Terrence Ross possibly another young prospect (Lucas Nogueira or Jakob Poeltl) and the 2017 first round draft pick. The Kings (who are unlikely to feature in the playoffs) would be without their key centre but would gain a strong rebounding forward in Patterson (who used to play for the Kings). The addition of Terrence Ross could give them another scorer which they desperately lack. While the addition of either Bebe or Poeltl would fill a positional need for Sacramento as they transition. As it currently stands Sacramento has no first round pick on the 2017 draft so they could use this as either a chip to immediately negotiate with other teams or find another piece to the puzzle in the draft.
Cousins is 26 and still has years left in his prime which could still get better. In this scenario the Raptors have retained Jonas Valanciunas which would potentially mean having two of the NBA’s best big men allowing them to share the rebounding load and rim protection duties. Patterson would be a loss but the acquisition of Cousins is well worth the trade.
While Ross is an important player on this roster the team could live without him if it meant the arrival of Cousins. The Raptors already have a solid young roster so losing that first round pick would not make too much of a difference.
The other option is to go direct and give up Jonas Valanciunas and the 2017 draft pick for Cousins. As good as Jonas Valanciunas is DeMarcus Cousins is arguably the best big man in the NBA right now and despite a few years age difference the Raptors get back more than what they give up whilst the Kings can take a younger Valanciunas and a draft pick into the future.
For Klay Thompson the Raptors could go direct or give the Golden State Warriors what they need..,a big man. A direct trade would see the team trade someone like Ross, DeMarre Carroll, Norman Powell or DeMar DeRozan (just due to position not suggesting it). From that list DeRozan is the only one who is in the same playing category as Thompson. Both have featured for the USA and both are all-star calibre. That being said it would be foolish to give up the loyal, Canada loving, MVP candidate DeRozan for the lesser Splash brother. It is clear that the Warriors get the better deal in that scenario.
The likes of Powell, Ross and Carroll does not give much to either team. The Raptors lose a larger chunk of the main roster while Golden State get 3 players who would give back about as much as Thompson does by himself. Carroll would help Golden State defensively but what they need is rim protection. From a Raptors perspective it would be foolish to give up Valanciunas for a smaller player. We lose our main Centre to gain a lesser DeRozan who we retain in this scenario. Toronto could put up Patrick Patterson and some picks as an option but the Warriors would not be wise to accept considering they already have the likes of Draymond Green and Andre Igoudala.
Should it be?
If the Raptors were to land Cousins I dare say they would be favourites to win the East. As for Klay Thompson I feel he makes a difference but not enough. As mentioned earlier there is no benefit to giving up DeRozan for Thompson meaning the Raptors would have to use both which does provide an interesting line up and an extra scoring option however the depth (except for the shooting Guard position) would be reduced due to who goes in the trade. The team may at times struggle to get going when needed through the bench. All in all Thompson would not give enough to allow the Raptors to contend further considering what DeRozan already provides.
So somehow, someway the acquisition of Cousins could be the possible move that gets the Toronto Raptors over the line. As far as the case for Thompson goes, he’s the type of player the Raptors simply don’t need.