It’s February, the NBA trade deadline is coming up soon, and the Raptors are 2nd in the Eastern Conference with a 33-16 record.
The deadline is on February 18th, 2 weeks away, so naturally the rumors are just starting to fly around. We’ve heard that Boston might want to get Dwight Howard from Houston, and that Boston will be looking to trade David Lee. But now the Raptors have been involved in several rumors involving Phoenix Suns players, mainly Markieff Morris and PJ Tucker.
In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the Raptors and who they should be their top targets, as well as potential trade packages for each.
If you’d like to take a look at more trade targets that don’t involve the Raptors, check out my article for Last Word On Sports.
Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns): ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Tuesday that after the Raptors most recent game against the Phoenix Suns, are now taking interest in the embattled forward from Kansas. In that game, Morris went off for 30 points 11 rebounds and 6 assists. I think getting Morris would be a great pickup for the Raptors. He’s a decent enough outside threat where he could immediately slide into the starting lineup next to Jonas Valanciunas and space the floor, he’s a mismatch for most defenses, and could help the Raptors play better against small-ball lineups. Morris has also been itching for a trade all season, ever since they traded his brother Marcus to Detroit last summer.
Potential Trade: Patrick Patterson, Delon Wright, future 2nd for Markieff Morris
PJ Tucker (Phoenix Suns): Tucker was the first name on Tuesday that ESPN’s Marc Stein revealed the Raptors had some interest in. Tucker was a former 2nd round pick of the Raptors back in 2006, but has grown into a really solid wing defender and decent 3 point threat. Tucker is at a team friendly $5M per season deal for this season and next, and would be an upgrade for the backup small forward spot in replace of James Johnson. Johnson has been solid in relief of the injured DeMarre Carroll, but his over aggressiveness on both ends of the floor and lack of 3 point shooting would make Tucker an upgrade. This would be the alternative to Morris and would likely be at a much lower price tag, only much more difficult to add up salaries. I also wouldn’t put past a trade package that nets the Raptors both PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris.
Potential Trade: Patrick Patterson, James Johnson, Delon Wright, 2016 TOR 1st round pick for Markieff Morris and PJ Tucker.
Thaddeus Young (Brooklyn Nets): Thad Young is an interesting trade prospect for the Raptors. There hasn’t been much news involving any Brooklyn players, but if they do hire a new GM before the trade deadline, he could be in the mindset that they need to start getting 1st rounders back into their stockpile (Boston has involvement in all their first rounders until 2019). Young would once again be a good fit next to Jonas (similar theme), he’s a good strong forward, and like Morris not a dynamite 3 point shooter, but provides enough to give the Raptors good spacing in the starting lineup. Another plus for the Raptors, he recently signed to a team friendly 4 year deal last summer.
Potential Trade: Patrick Patterson, Lucas Noguiera, 2017 LAC 1st round pick for Thad Young and a future protected 2nd.
Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls): Pau Gasol has shown all indications that he’s going to enter free agency this summer, but the injury that has lost Joakim Noah for the season has slowed down all potential trade talks involving Gasol. Still, reports say rival executives don’t believe this will slow the trade talks one bit, and I think the Raptors should be one of those teams trying to get him. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are both in their primes playing the best ball of their careers, and this year they’ve shown that they’re the clear #2 in the East behind Cleveland. If they want to try and take advantage of the window right now, they should try for Gasol. He’s a perfect fit and potential mentor for Valanciunas, and his knowledge of how to play in the playoffs and win championships would help this group greatly.
Potential Trade: Patrick Patterson, Delon Wright, NYK/DEN 2016 first round pick, 2016 TOR 1st round pick for Pau Gasol.
Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks): His name has been flown around into the trade winds recently, I think it’s because the Hawks are starting to figure out that, even though they can win games in the regular season, they can’t win a title with this core group. Pair that with the fact Horford is going to be a free agent this summer, the Hawks should most definitely be looking at what they could get back. As for how he’d fit into the Raptors, he’s always viewed himself as a power forward, which he would be in this lineup. He’s great in the mid-range area of the court, which would help immensely with JV, and he’s a great rebounder. This would be the package where the Raptors would have to give up the most, but that’s because Horford is only 29. I believe Horford would be the best trade target for the Raptors.
Potential Trade: Patrick Patterson, Lucas Nogeuira, NYK/DEN 2016 1st round pick, 2017 LAC 1st round pick for Al Horford and a future protected 2nd round pick.
*Note: These trades all involve Patrick Patterson because that’s the power forward that has the most trade value (Luis Scola has almost 0).
Article by Thomas Mooney