After winning 59 games and getting bounced in the second round of the playoffs again, the Toronto Raptors only more offseason move included firing their coach Dwayne Casey who won Coach of the Year honors. Outside of that, their roster is relatively the same. Could that change over the next offseason?
The Toronto Raptors may consider moving DeMar DeRozan if they want to mix up their roster. DeRozan could help them get a few pieces to re-tool and revamp their roster or they could use him as an asset to get pieces for a rebuild.
Either way, the Raptors are rumored to not have any player untouchable. Of course, that could mean they will deal Kyle Lowry or any number of their players. Still, nothing has as much value as DeRozan on the current roster. The four-time All-Star averages about 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game for his career.
What can the Raptors get or DeRozan?
First, let’s talk about what the Raptors should expect in a trade involving DeRozan.
Like most All-Star deals, Toronto will command one or two starting players in addition to one or two young players and some combination of draft picks and salary cap relief. We saw Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Blake Griffin all get traded for packages like that last season.
Teams to Rule out
Sorry, but you don’t want to read about these potential deals any more than I want to write them. Even if they’re your favorite teams some franchises just aren’t in the realistically offering anything valuable for All-Stars.
A team like the Mavericks, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Pistons or Nuggets might be desperate for some star power in the backcourt. Unfortunately, the talent and contracts on their roster don’t exactly scream enticing.
Charlotte might also come up due to their attempts to move Kemba Walker. Walker doesn’t make a lot of sense for Toronto especially while Kyle Lowry is still on the roster.
We can rule out the rebuilding teams like the Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, and Brooklyn Nets for obvious reasons too. Hopefully, the Raptors would have more respect for DeRozan than to trade him there. Even if they wanted to would any of those teams offer anything good?
Let’s rule out the teams already set at the two-guard as well. Phoenix has plenty of young assets but they already got Devin Booker. Utah already has Donovan Mitchell. Both will set their teams at the position for a while. The Pacers are probably cool at the position to thanks to Victor Oladipo. Oklahoma City is also out unless they’re willing to trade Paul George. That makes no sense since they just inked him long-term.
Here are some realistic trades the Raptors should consider. They are ranked in terms of sense for both parties.
5. Trade DeMar for Kevin Love
The Cleveland Cavaliers are transitioning out of the LeBron James era. That could mean more roster turnover including dealing Kevin Love. Although it would take a great deal for the Cavs to move Love, they should consider it for DeRozan. Of course, dealing DeRozan could mean a similar transition in Toronto.
Yes, Love has injury concerns but there are few big men that can pass, shoot and rebound like he can. With Valanciunas and Ibaka, perhaps Love can get some help on his defensive lapses.
On the other hand, the Cavaliers get a prolific scorer that might help them fill the void left by LeBron. The two All-Stars are only about a year apart in age and contract length.
Both teams could add some bad contracts if they really want to mix things up and create a blockbuster trade as well.
4. DeRozan to LA
Going to the Clippers would give DeRozan his homecoming. Sure, it wouldn’t be as spectacular as if the Compton native went to the Lakers. Nonetheless, DeRozan would be the Clippers best star and key player.
What could the L.A. offer for DeRozan?
The Clippers could send Tobias Harris to the Raptors, along with Lou Williams or Avery Bradley. Harris is a well-rounded forward under the age of thirty and his contract comes off the books after this season. Williams made a name for himself as the Six God during his time in Toronto. Otherwise, Bradley is another combo guard on a fair contract. Bradley has made himself a name as a defensive stopper.
Either of these combinations helps Toronto get talent for now and cap flexibility for the future. The deal couldn’t happen for a bit since Williams and Bradley both recently signed new deals with the Clippers.
L.A. would need to add some picks in this deal too (Possibly one of the two rookies they just drafted). DeRozan probably doesn’t make the Clippers a playoff team in the West but it gives them an All-Star to build around when they have a ton of cap in the 2019 offseason. Toronto, on the other hand, may find better deals elsewhere.
3. DeMar for Kawhi
Bobby Marks suggested this trade. Who would say no in a swap of DeRozan for Leonard?
It is no secret Leonard is the better shooter and defensive player. That is why DeMar’s new coach wants to stop hiding his All-Star on defense. Nonetheless, DeRozan He said Danny Green and Kawhi for DeMar DeRozan works. However, Green has one of the more moveable contracts on the Spurs rosters. I’d expect San Antonio to try and move an older player and worse contract with Kawhi.
Insert Pau Gasol. For the Raptors, Gasol gives them an international veteran and star. He’s had success in the Eastern Conference and the Playoffs, something the Raptors haven’t had recently. Gasol isn’t the same player he was but he still averaged 10 points, 8 rebounds and over three assists in about 23 minutes per game.
For the Spurs, they get to try the Rudy Gay and DeRozan experience again (The two played together in Toronto briefly). Seriously, DeRozan is someone who can get to the basket and carry his team offensively. Getting Jonas Valanciunas is a bonus. Valanciunas averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds per game and he would start in the frontcourt beside LaMarcus Aldridge.
This is a solid deal for both teams. Of course, it is a difficult deal to make since it is rumored that Kawhi Leonard only wants to play for the Sixers in the Eastern Conference.
2. Solving the Timberwolves’ problems
Speaking of disgruntled forwards in the Western Conference. The Raptors could give the Timberwolves a call for Jimmy Butler. Butler has made it known that he won’t sign an extension in Minnesota due to some of the other personalities on the team. Thus, Minnesota could send Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler for CJ Watson and DeRozan.
The only issue with this is that Toronto is swapping three more years of DeRozan for the one-guaranteed year of Butler. Butler has injury concerns too.
On the other hand, Toronto could request Andrew Wiggins. Sure, Wiggins hasn’t been the same player as DeRozan. DeRozan has averaged over 20 points the past five seasons. Wiggins has only done that two of his four seasons.
The Timberwolves wing seemed to regress with Jimmy Butler in the lineup last season too.
Nonetheless, Wiggins is only 22-years-old (five years younger than DeMar), Wiggins is under contract for two more seasons than DeRozan and Wiggins is Canadian. Those are all reasons why the Raptors may embrace a rebuild around Wiggins.
Not only could playing in his home country inspire Wiggins, but he is a very similar player to DeRozan so the transition should be seamless for both teams.
For Minnesota, perhaps DeRozan is enough to make Butler want to stay with his coach Tom Thibodeau as well as DeRozan. Maybe this deal is even enough for Butler to squash the beef with Karl Anthony-Towns, or at the very least it might be enough to force KAT to grow up with Wiggins shipped out of town.
Either way, the Timberwolves, and Raptors have a few reasons to explore a variety of trade options.
1. DeRozan plays with LeBron
Listen, the Lakers are going to be connected to every star while they have LeBron James. That is just part of James’ effect on a franchise.
No matter how much DeRozan shoots down recruitment to the Lakers, he will be connected to them while LeBron is in town. Plus, the Lakers have plenty of young talent to offer the Raptors. Let’s assume the Lakers package for DeRozan is similar to the rumored package for Kawhi.
The difference is that the Lakers might get DeRozan by only moving one of their key young players versus Kawhi might demand more. DeRozan is a hometown kid as well. His deal also has a few more years as is than Leonard.
Even that might be asking too much for DeRozan. Brandon Ingram is 20-years-old and just averaged 16 points per game while shooting nearly forty percent from downtown. The Raptors should be ecstatic to get Ingram.
Of course, they’ll have to take Luol Deng’s contract in the process. Who knows, maybe Deng still has something to offer an NBA team? We haven’t seen him play in two seasons so who knows.
Still, this trade would help the Lakers move Deng, get LeBron an All-Star and start a homecoming for DeRozan without sacrificing their entire future. The Lakers might hesitate due to Ingram’s future but remember he was drafted by the previous regime.
It also doesn’t make a lot of sense considering the Lakers need shooting around LeBron. Regardless, they’ve elected to put playmakers around LeBron and DeRozan would be a roster upgrade in that category.
For Toronto, they get a player who helps them immediately and the long-term. The Raptors can probably ask for a draft pick or two here as well.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics can’t be left out of consideration either. Both teams have positioned themselves to be in every trade rumor due to their slew of young starters, prospects and draft selections.
However, neither team really needs what DeRozan brings. His ball-heavy style and lack of a perimeter shot might not be worth whatever the Raptors would want. Don’t forget both teams play in the same Eastern Conference as the Raptors which kind of defeats the purpose of the Raptors using DeRozan to get assets that put them over the hump.
Moreover, perhaps a team with another All-Star shooting guard is willing to gamble on DeRozan in a seemingly lateral move. Could Washington offer Bradley Beal? Would Portland offer C.J. McCollum? The Blazers and Wizards both seem stuck not advancing deep into the playoffs despite their strong backcourts. DeRozan has a similar but better history in Toronto. All three guards are under contract for the same length.
DeRozan is also two years older than McCollum and three years older than Beal. He also shoots 28 percent from three-point range for his career. McCollum and Beal are both closer to forty percent. Hence, neither team may really want to deal their guards for DeRozan unless they can get a draft pick or two out of it.
Not to mention, there is no telling if McCollum or Beal would make Toronto much better than they are.
Otherwise, the Warriors can’t have everyone but if they wanted DeRozan they could probably offer Klay Thompson. They would only do that if they knew Thompson was leaving in free agency but even then they would miss his shooting. DeRozan doesn’t have the same range or defense as Klay.
If trade rumors get serious, expect the usual suspects to make a call about DeRozan too. That includes teams like the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. You know teams who really want an All-Star like DeRozan but don’t have that assets to get one.
Unless the Raptors really want to tank for young players that the Knicks are having trouble developing, they shouldn’t come into the picture. Otherwise, does any team really want whatever the Heat are shopping? Tyler Johnson, Hassan Whiteside, and Dion Waters are solid players but no one is dying to get their contract.
The Milwaukee Bucks are also kind of in that category. Would the Raptors value some combination Tony Snell, John Henson and Kris Middleton with a young player like Malcolm Brogdon or Donte DiVincenzo? They would probably have to really struggle to hand Milwaukee an All-Star at that price.
Lastly, the Sacramento Kings could offer a combination of expiring contracts and young players. Again, Toronto will probably only take that deal if they’re desperate and struggling to move DeRozan at the deadline.
What is the best spot for DeRozan?
Ultimately, the Raptors will find themselves plenty of suitors if they try and trade DeRozan. It is impossible to tell if they can get equal value for the player that has been the face of their franchise for nine seasons.
Nonetheless, the Raptors are probably best keeping DeRozan and seeing what the Raptors can do in an Eastern Conference that doesn’t have LeBron James. There are no excuses for regular season success and postseason mediocrity if the team doesn’t have to face the King next postseason.
Otherwise, Toronto may move DeRozan next offseason if they have another premature postseason exit. Moreover, that rebuild or retool of the roster might come faster if they don’t dominate the regular season once again. For the mean time, the Raptors are probably best to just let DeRozan play the season out before they move him.