Last week, the Toronto Raptors completed a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, where they acquired Rudy Gay. Gay is an All-Star caliber player and immediately became Toronto’s best player and go-to scorer. He has been fantastic so far with the Raptors, averaging 23.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, in 6 games and the Raptors are 4-2 since the trade. If these six games are any indication, the Toronto Raptors have received the go-to player on offense they have needed since Chris Bosh left for Miami. The only problem is that the team’s previous leading scorer, DeMar DeRozan is very similar to Gay, although nowhere near as talented. This problem gets worse, as Toronto signed DeRozan to a 4 year, 38 million dollar deal before the season started. Both players are elite athletes, but neither player is a good 3-point shooter, or passer and when two players play on the perimeter together, their talents are supposed to complement each other, not be replicas of each other. The Raptors will struggle from long-distance and with their ball-movement, as both players are adept at creating shots for themselves, but not for others. It just so happens that the Raptors actually already have the perfect player to partner with Gay, rookie Terrence Ross. Ross, the 8th overall pick in last summer’s NBA Draft, is also an elite athlete, but an elite shooter as well. So the Raptors would be wise to trade DeRozan, to create cap space and gain future assets and make their lineup as versatile as possible. A lineup with Gay and Derozan, simply will not work out long-term. Many believe Demar Derozan would be difficult to move, but there are plenty of teams willing to trade for a 23 year old, 6-7 guard, who is an elite athlete, has yet to hit his prime, has gotten better each year in the NBA, has averaged over 16 points per game the last two seasons and is signed through 2016-17. The Raptors, in order to shed his long-term contract, would probably be willing to sell DeRozan for simple cap space, a solid young talent and a high draft pick. Here are some trade scenarios for the Raptors, so they can move on from Derozan, save 38 million dollars in long-term money and go forward with Ross and their new franchise player, Rudy Gay out on the wing. Now if only they could trade forward, Andrea Bargnani…
Detroit Pistons Trade
Detroit Receives: DeMar DeRozan
Raptors Receive: Corey Maggette and 2013 First Round Pick
Analysis: The Pistons would get a needed scorer on the perimeter and someone who can create for themselves and would add another excellent young piece to their already promising core, consisting of Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and rookie, Andre Drummond. Losing the first round pick would hurt, but they would not find anyone better than DeRozan, where they will be drafting. Using some of their massive cap space on a potential All-Star would be a fantastic move for their franchise. The Raptors would clear cap space with Maggette’ s large expiring contract and would receive a lottery pick to draft a much needed power forward. They may not get immediate talent, but they would receive solid assets to continue to build their roster.
Minnesota Timberwolves Trade
Timberwolves Receive: DeMar DeRozan
Raptors Receive: Derrick Williams and JJ Barea
Analysis: The Timberwolves need a shooting guard in the worst way and someone who can create his own shot and score the basketball on the perimeter, which is exactly what DeRozan does well. They also have the cap space to spend and since no free agent will sign in Minnesota, it would be money well spent. DeRozan would be another incredible pierce to their under 27 core, which includes Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic , who are all signed long-term. That is a playoff team with incredible long-term potential. The Raptors would get the scoring power forward they need in their lineup and although Williams prefers to play on the perimeter, he is best suited as a power forward. He would add another scorer into the mix and someone with incredible athleticism along with Gay. He is still immensely talented despite his struggles in Minnesota, but the 2011 second overall pick. could make a big difference in Toronto, even if it is as a combo forward off the bench, like Thaddeus Young in years past. The Raptors would have to take back another contract to make the salaries match and Barea would be a solid fit, as he would be the scoring sparkplug off the bench that they currently lack and an immediate upgrade over John Lucas.
Phoenix Suns Trade
Suns Receive: DeMar DeRozan
Raptors Receive: Kendall Marshall, Wesley Johnson and 2014 First Round Pick
Analysis: The Suns would finally get the go-to player on the perimeter that they are so desperate for, if they traded for DeMar DeRozan. Whenever a star caliber perimeter player is named as a trade possibility, the Suns name comes up, as they have nothing on the perimeter. The Raptors would get a pass first point guard in Marshall to replace some of what Jose Calderon gave them and he could be a fantastic backup to Lowry and play next to him at times, as Lowry can play off of the ball as well. Wes Johnson is simply an expiring contract and the Raptors could probably get the Suns’ 2014 first round pick, however not this year’s first round pick, as they have a solid chance to get the number one pick. Yet again, no premier player for Toronto would be added, but they would gain needed cap space, a promising player at a position of need and a future pick. This is the best of the three moves for the Raptors.