We're back from the holidays with more Tweet Bag action! This week it's all about trades; trades that didn't happen, trades that could happen and what it would cost Toronto to make a trade happen. So, happy new year and enjoy this week's questions. As always if you have a question, tweet me @timpchisholm
Were the Raps ever in on Harden? Pre-Lowry trade?
Obviously no Raptor official has gone in the record about this, but back in October the rumour was that Oklahoma City was interested in dealing with the Raptors (and a small handful of other teams) but it would have cost the Raptors Jonas Valanciunas, which would have put a quick end to the conversation.
It's an interesting nugget to look back on, though, and it strikes at the heart of what makes rebuilding so difficult. The Raptors - in theory - passed on a legit All-Star-calibre wing, a known commodity, in favour of a potential All-Star big man that remains an unknown commodity. The risk you run in making such a decision is that the potential may never be capitalized on and you'll have to look back knowing you passed on the known for the unknown and lost-out a result.
Of course, the Raptors are of the very well-reasoned belief that Valanciunas is not a player to trade away. First of all, his four-year rookie-scale contract makes roster maneuvering around him a lot easier than Harden's maximum-level contract. Secondly, he projects to be a very high-end option at a rare NBA position, the true centre, and his style of play perfectly fits in with how Dwane Casey wants this team to play.
Lastly, who knows what else, on top of Valanciunas, the Thunder would have demanded. Calderon? Davis? Ross? Suffice it to say the Raptors and Thunder did not consummate a deal and we'll have to wait a few years to see if Toronto made the right call.
Gotta give talent to get it back. Would Ross or ED be available in a package for a Rudy Gay type?
If Toronto wants a Rudy Gay-type, then they'll have to make Ross and/or Davis available whether they want to or not. The fact is that Toronto's high-salary options aren't highly-coveted pieces, at least when it comes to making a trade for guys like Gay or Pau Gasol, so Toronto will have to sweeten the pot to acquire such an asset.
Plus, when teams trade away All-Star-level talent they almost always want picks and young assets in return. Well, Toronto can't offer picks thanks to the Kyle Lowry deal, so young assets would have to be included. One could make the argument that if you are getting Gay or Gasol back in a trade then you can afford the loss of Ross or Davis because their minutes will be eaten up by the new guy, anyway.
However, Bryan Colangelo has been known to be hesitant to trade away his former lottery picks, so we'll see if that winds up quashing any potential deals over the next few weeks.
With Jazz losing PG, maybe try for Millsap?
Try? Sure. Succeed? Unlikely. Mo Williams is only slated to be on the shelf for six weeks after thumb surgery, not the rest of the season, so would Utah really want to part with their most productive player to cover such a short chunk of time?
Yes, Millsap is a free agent at the end of the season and yes, there is a chance that Utah deals him to avoid losing him for nothing. However, I don't think Jose Calderon holds so much appeal that he alone would be enough to get Millsap to Toronto. In fact, you'd almost certainly have to include Terrence Ross since Utah's own attempts to stock their wings through the draft have so far failed to pan out.
So, that raises the question: how much do you offer for a player that will be in a position to leave you at the end of the season? Millsap may fit Toronto's style to a tee, but that doesn't mean that Toronto necessarily fits what Millsap wants equally well. It's also worth remembering that Millsap will be in line for a major pay increase from his current $8.6-million salary when free agency hits this summer, so Toronto would have to factor that expenditure into their plans, as well.
That's not to say the Raptors should avoid making inquiries into Millsap. In a way he's like the frontcourt version of Kyle Lowry and he would be ideally suited to Toronto's roster, but the team would have to be sure that Millsap would be open to re-signing before sweetening to pot too much in anticipation of a deal.
That said, of all of the names that are reported to be available right now, Millsap suits Toronto best, but the Raptors would have to be clear on a lot of the particulars before going too hard after a trade that, in all honesty, looks like a long shot considering what Toronto has to offer.