As Scott astutely covered earlier on Thursday, the Raptors have reportedly acquired point guard Kyle Lowry in exchange for Gary Forbes and a future lottery pick with limited protection.

The lottery pick is reportedly top-three protected in 2013, top-two protected in 2014 and 2015, and No. 1 overall protected in 2016 and 2017. If the Raptors end up losing a top-two or three pick in this deal, it becomes much, much tougher to swallow. But if the Rockets come out of this deal with only Gary Forbes and a late lottery pick, they will have sold embarrassingly low on a player that looks to be on the rise.

If you’re into patterns, the Raptors have never missed the playoffs in five straight seasons, and have qualified in stretches of two-year and three-year runs. If that pattern holds true, they are due for a post-season trip in the coming season and won’t have to worry about losing a lottery pick for at least a couple of years. On the other hand, the Raptors have never gone more than four consecutive seasons without finishing outside the bottom-five in the NBA standings, and if that ugly pattern holds true, then the Rockets will more than likely get a pretty good draft pick out of this deal.

Unfortunately, we can’t possibly begin judging this trade based on a patterned prediction of what the future holds. We can, however, look at and discuss where this trade leaves the Raptors.

For at least the next two years, the Raptors have addressed the “point guard of the future” position. In Lowry, Toronto gets a 26-year-old point guard who can score, attacks the basket, can pass, and can rebound and defend with the very best at the position. As Scott pointed out earlier, Lowry has the stuff to be in the top-10 point guard debate in the NBA.

If you assume that Jonas Valanciunas is virtually untouchable until he shows what he is (I doubt Dwight Howard has Toronto on his list of preferred teams), then he’s pegged in as the centre of the future for the Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross might have the potential to solidify one of the wing positions going forward. The combination of Andrea Bargnani plus one of Ed Davis or Amir Johnson probably have one more season to show us if they hold the key at the power forward position. Regardless of whether it’s from internal improvement or external upgrades, the Raptors will obviously need to get better at the wings and at the four-spot.

Other than that, a decision will need to be made at backup point guard and at centre, where the team will need a reliable yet inexpensive option to help smooth Valanciunas’ transition into a full time starter.

I’m as big a Jerryd Bayless supporter as you’ll find, and the presence of Bayless, who has put up very impressive numbers when given extended minutes, was the reason I thought it would be incredibly short-sighted to overpay for Goran Dragic or sell the farm for Lowry. Unfortunately for Jerryd, he and Lowry play similar styles at the point, and Jose Calderon’s game probably compliments Lowry’s much better than Bayless’ would. On that note, Bayless may be the odd man out, leaving a pretty good point guard combination of Lowry and Calderon for 2012-2013. Plus, Calderon has to have some value as a large expiring contract who can efficiently run an offence, so if anything, the Raptors can probably get something for him in the middle of next season.

If the Raptors brass believes Valanciunas can play 20-plus minutes per night immediately, then I would be more than open to the prospect of re-signing Aaron Gray to a team-friendly contract and having him fill in at centre, with one of Amir or Davis filling the extra minutes at the five-spot. If they don’t feel Valanciunas is ready for heavy minutes, it could be quite the scramble at centre.

With the expected additions of Lowry, Landry Fields, Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy, a total of roughly $18 million this season, added to the contracts already on the books, you’re looking at roughly $57 million committed to 12 players. The Raptors should still have a bit of wiggle room under the salary cap this season, and unless they make a trade that brings in a lot more committed money than it sends out, it should remain that way.

If they amnesty Calderon and keep Bayless or another cheaper point guard around, that instantly frees up millions. But if they make the smarter call, which is keep Calderon’s expiring contract around and amnesty one of Linas Kleiza or Amir, that’s about $14-16 million coming off the books next summer. Not to mention, amnestying Calderon is a short-term financial solution, where as Kleiza has two years left on his deal (second year is a player option) and Amir has two guaranteed years, plus a potential third season.

In any event, despite overpaying for Fields, the Raptors will still have financial flexibility over the next year or so to go along with an intriguing young core that has people talking. In fact, I’d say as presently constructed post-Lowry trade, this team could challenge for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference when healthy, and I doubt this roster won’t improve by the time the season opens in October.

It’s amazing how much can change in the span of 24 hours. This fan base went from hoping Steve Nash would be the saviour that returned us to respectability, to then overreacting that missing out on Nash meant the Raptors were headed towards extinction, to now realizing that a trade for Kyle Lowry gives us a young group to be excited about.

At this rate, imagine what tomorrow might bring…

Comments (33)

  1. My two bits. Keep Bayless and move Jose. I don’t care that Bayless and Lowry have similar styles. I DO care that Bayless is a higher PER player than Jose, and at only 23, probably has 4 more years of improving his game before he reaches his peak. For all we know, that peak will be much higher than Lowry’s. Lowry is already 26.

    Assuming of course that Bayless wants to come back. But BC can match whatever deal he is offered, so he wouldn’t have much choice in the matter. But you never want an unhappy player on the team… right?

    • Agree, Bayless still is young and has more ‘career’ left, gotta keep him!! but keep Jose too.. if you want to win a championship I think Calderon possesses leadership/veteran qualities that could prove so valuable in the playoffs

  2. I should add, when Rondo was playing the full 48 nightly in the playoffs, were you complaining that he didn’t have differing styles in the first half and the second half? Hell no.

    Differing styles. Pffth. Just keep the two best players! Even better that one will cost you half as much!

    • While I fear that he is the odd man out, I would be thrilled if the Raptors kept Bayless around. Scott and I are among his biggest supporters. I just hope that if that’s the case, Calderon is traded and not amnestied. It’s probably in the team’s best interest long-term to save the amnesty for one of Kleiza/Amir if necessary.

  3. Jonas played a day ago
    23 minutes he scored 10 points on 5/6 shooting
    5 rebs

  4. While my preference is that we amnesty Kleiza I think he’ll be kept around as Jonas’ roommate (teammates on Lithuanian team) to ease the transition to life in a new country. Which is a damn shame if it ends up costing us Bayless or Calderon.

  5. Why not keep all 3. Inevitably there will be injuries during the season and having 3 quality PG’s would make a lot more sense than another journey man big or whatever… worst case is you get all 3 under contract and then trade one when another team is looking for help. Maybe calderon to miami for lebron. Who knows!! ;-)

    • They are all starter quality (perhaps low to mid league starters in the case of Bayless and Jose) so all will want starter minutes. If you keep all three, all three will be unhappy. You have to move 1 of them before the season starts.

      I agree that for the next season, Jose is the better player to keep, as him on the backup squad with JV would be excellent for JV’s development. But beyond a year from now, I’d be wishing we’d have kept Bayless, so that it probably the way to go. Y

      You then need some total rookie who won’t demand any minutes to be the third string backup – the insurance policy in case one of the two top dogs goes down for a while. In my book, Scott Machado would be perfect in this role. Bring him to TO BC.

  6. I really, really hope Bayless is on this team next year.

  7. My plan to get raps into playoffs next year.
    1) Amnesty Amir. Use freed up money to sign ilyasova.
    2) Package calderon and derozan in a trade for one of iggy/gay/granger/deng.

    I hope they would have enough money to sign ilyasova if amir is amnestied. I know some people might not like trading derozan but do you really see him becoming an all star? I dont. He has weak handles and does nothing but score(inefficiently I might add). With those 2 additions the raps are easily a 5-6 seed in the east.

    • If DeRozen is as bad as you say he is why would any team be willing to give up any of the players you mentioned in order to get him?

    • Why not shed more salary and trade his teammate Bargnani instead?

  8. I think keeping bayless would be in the teams’ best interest because calderon and his large expiring can be used effectively as a trade chip. As some of you have already stated, Bayless’s ceiling has not been reached and it is hard to find players that actually like to stay in Toronto. We have a young core of guys that enjoy playing with each other, and enjoy the city. That is always a good platform to start on.

  9. Joseph, I completely agree with you on your thinking on amnesty clause usage.

    Calderon will (or at least should) have a ton of value as an expiring contract especially heading into the super duper luxury tax that kicks in for the 2013-2014 season so teams will be looking to shed a lot of salary over the next year and I think we can definitely parlay Calderon into a solid wing player. Amnestying Calderon should really be a last resort if they need the room to make an addition that they feel they have to make but Kleiza and A. Johnson should definitely be higher on the list as you pointed out.

    Also, I understand that the team still has some financial flexibility and still has no big contracts signed past the 2015 season even with Fields, Lowry, Val but they’re still going to have to make decisions on DeRozan, J. Johnson and Bayless and I’d prefer to do it this offseason.

  10. Calderon needs to go, I don’t care if his game compliments Lowrys. 8-9 mill a year is too much for a guy who is a very stellar backup PG, which is all he ever should have been.

    Good, not great. Lowry is great.

    Amnesty Calderon or use him with a couple other pieces in a trade for an All-Star wing.

    • Calderon is in the last year of his contract, therefore amnestying him would be a waste. Better to deal him as a salary dump.

  11. Bayless is a good player with a lot of potential and he loves Toronto. Lowry and Bayless would make a great 1-2 punch at PG. Plus Bayless’ ability to play a combo guard is very intriguing. Hopefully BC will elect to keep Bayless.

  12. Rumors have Calderon and derozan going to philly for iggy. If true gonna have two solid defender with iggy and lowry

  13. I would have like to see a lottery protected pick for the trade, but I still think the Raptors got Lowry at a good deal. He is the type of PG we have been waiting to see in Toronto for quite some time. It’s unfortunate for Bayless (as I was a supporter of him starting), but I’m content with a rotation of Lowry and Bayless for now.

    The Raptors could definitely be in the playoffs next year, which means at the very worst, they just miss out and probably gave up a pick in the 12-14 range.

    But they still need other upgrades before I can see them making it past the first round. There’s still a huge hole at the 4 defensively that they need to take care of.

    Also, how funny is it going to be when Lowry (6’0) averages the same, if not more rebounds per game than Bargnani (7’0) next year?

    • “But they still need other upgrades before I can see them making it past the first round. There’s still a huge hole at the 4 defensively that they need to take care of.
      Also, how funny is it going to be when Lowry (6’0) averages the same, if not more rebounds per game than Bargnani (7’0) next year?”

      Simple solution, trade Bargnani for picks, players, or a pack of Skittles if you have to. It’s not like he imposes his size on anyone or is efficient enough offensively to compensate for his obvious defensive/rebounding deficiencies.

  14. Also, has anyone heard anything about Ben Uzoh? Is he signed for next year? He would be the perfect 3rd point guard.

  15. Bayless and Lowry in the locker room?!

    Thats the combo you guys want during a playoff run?

    That might be too much swager for a young team to handle.

    • Nothing wrong with a little bit of confidence. I do agree with you though. Calderon is very humble and can serve as a teacher to Lowry allowing him to become a much more well rounded player. With that being said Bayless obviously wants to be here in T.Dot seeing as he just bought a house here. It’s a tough decision if they are able to move Jose and whoever minus Demar/ Bargs/Jonas in exchange for an all star/near all star SF pull the trigger. I don’t feel like Iggy has a place on this team because then this team will really struggle offensively as it did last year. I also feel like Iggy really doesn’t address any problems with DD that cant be addressed through the summer with development (USA Basketball Select camps or what ever.) Only way to get who they need (rudy gay) is through trading DD and Jose and most likely others as well considering the lack of a pick. I like Gay but we still need to fill the bench and as much as we are a crappy – middle of the road team I don’t feel like its in our best interest. I don’t see why we don’t try to retain them both until we can trade Jose for something that makes sense. Worst case you amnesty Amir and you wait until the following summer when you have more possibilities. This is a game of chess gentleman and as such there is no need to make moves just for the sake of making moves. Some times its easier to just wait until an oppurtunity really presents it’s self.

  16. Question about the protected lottery pick. How is it decided what year the Rockets get the pick? “The lottery pick is reportedly top-three protected in 2013, top-two protected in 2014 and 2015, and No. 1 overall protected in 2016 and 2017″ Do the Rockets chose what year they get the pick after the draft lottery?

    • My understanding is that the Rockets will get the pick the first year they qualify for it. So for example, if the Raptors land a pick between No. 4-14 next season, Houston gets it. If not, it rolls over to the next season until the draft pick Toronto lands matches the terms of the deal.

  17. This is so depressing, im about winning rings not saving gm’s jobs. This saves BC’s job it doesn’t bring the raptors closer to a ring.

  18. As mentioned, in a season where huge tax penalties are on the horizon, several teams are still without a decent point guard (Dallas), and his deal is expiring, it makes ZERO sense to amnesty a guy and pay him to play somewhere else, when you can get an asset or at least avoid paying out the deal by trading him instead.

  19. Amnesty Amir. If Bargs is going to be getting minutes at the 4, there’s no reason to keep him around any more and that’s a lengthy savings amount.

    Calderon’s eminently tradeable, especially since he’ll probably look better in shorter minutes. We might be back to the halcyon days of T.Jose Caldeford.

  20. Anyone see this yet? Bayless reportedly an UFA now. Looks like the Raptors chose to keep Calderon instead.

    • They might still move calderon but I don’t get this. There’s some teams desperate for a PG, why just put one out on the market for nothing?

  21. I think that having similar style PGs would benefit the raptors. I would think that having a consistent style of play between the two would make for a better sense of familiarity regardless of which one is on the court and other players wouldn’t need to try to adapt their play midgame when the PGs are switched. I’ve watched Calderon long enough to feel comfortable saying that he isn’t going to get much better in Toronto, so we should trade him while he’s still worth something.

  22. Wow what a wild 24 hours in raptor land … Now that the Nash hang over has past this move for Lowry looks like another step in the evolution of the team into decent defensive minded group of players for Dwane Casey.

    I hope the next move is acquiring a veteran with playoff/championship experience.

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