In what will go down as one of the most uneventful trade deadlines ever, the Toronto Raptors opted to keep their team as is. Masai Ujiri was expected to pursue a power forward to bolster the roster. Given the Raptors win-now mentality along with the huge asset base of picks and young talent, it was expected that something would happen.
There has been varying reports on the Raptors pursuing deals for players such as Thaddeus Young, Markieff Morris, and Ryan Anderson. In the end, nothing happened. That may not be a bad thing in the end – here’s why.
It’s easy to blast Masai on Twitter when you have absolutely no idea what kind of deals were on the table. The Raps were looking to package Patrick Patterson and the Knicks/Denver first round pick (plus more potentially) for a long term solution at the power forward. From what it seemed. players such as Anderson, Young, and Morris were the caliber of players available on the market. These guys aren’t going to take the Raptors to the next level – so what is the value of trading assets for a short-term patch up? There is no rush in the search for a power forward – realistically, this team isn’t going to beat Cleveland with the addition of one of the aforementioned. Yet, they are still good enough to get to Cleveland without the addition of one of the aforementioned.
There were also rumblings of Al Horford being available, but given the fact that he is an unrestricted free agent he isn’t exactly a long term fix either. It is highly likely that the asking price did not make sense for the Raptors – if Masai did not like the value on the market, we simply have to trust him.
DeMarre Carroll and chemistry
DeMarre Carroll will make his long awaited return sometime in March – hopefully at full strength. Adding Carroll is ultimately just as good as acquiring a player, if not better. He is the team’s best perimeter defender, and fits in quite will on both ends. The Raptors crunch time line-up will likely evolve into Lowry-Ross/Joseph-DeRozan-Carroll-Valanciunas, which is a good workaround the power forward weakness, and a potent small ball lineup.
Adding anyone new to the rotation certainly affects the chemistry of the team. Thus, with Carroll basically being a fresh addition, it would make sense for the Raptors to minimize tinkering with the rotation.
Players are going to be bought out for various reasons – likely by rebuilding teams. A few names that have appeared include Ersan Ilyasova, Anderson Varejao, Joe Johnson, and Andrea Bargnani (imagine that). The Raps can get their temporary solution for a very cheap price simply by playing the waiver wire, while retaining all of their assets.