As we inch closer to the season, we’ll begin to see the faces and hear the voices of Raptors players, coaches and management more often, and on Tuesday morning, President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo was on TSN Radio in Toronto.
There was the usual banter about the improved roster, Dwane Casey, Jonas Valanciunas, Jose Calderon and more, but the juicy tidbit to come out of Mike Richards’ interview was Colangelo’s admission that the Raptors “had a chance to jump in” on Andre Iguodala talks this summer.
Here’s the quote from Bryan:
“We passed on a few deals this summer, because we felt that the assets that were going out were too much to risk, especially for a short term contract. And you might read into that a guy named Andre Iguodala. Had a chance to jump in there, but it wasn’t the right fit for our team given the circumstances and the pieces that needed to go in and out. And in terms of his contract, with one year of permanency and then one year where he could opt out, it was too much risk given that we were unloading several current and future assets.”
Iguodala was one of a few small forwards linked to the Raptors in minor rumours this off-season, but no one was really sure just how serious any of those discussions were.
It will be interesting to see how Raptors fans react to this bit of news. Some will probably be temporarily infuriated that Colangelo and co. let a chance to grab a star pass them by, while others, especially those who have asked for management to take a patient approach in this rebuild, might see Colangelo’s decision to not make a risky trade for Iguodala as a good sign that the Raptors aren’t prepared to mortgage the future for some short-term gains.
In reality, we can’t truly begin to have a solid discussion or debate about this unless we know what was on the table (and we likely never will). If all it took was Calderon’s expiring contract this season and DeMar DeRozan, I’d make that deal in a heartbeat, since Iggy might represent DeRozan’s ceiling, at best. If all it took was Calderon plus one of DeRozan, Amir Johnson or Ed Davis (unlikely), or if a straight Andrea Bargnani one-for-one deal was possible, then I say Colangelo should have pulled the trigger.
But assuming Colangelo isn’t exaggerating the “several current and future assets” part and given the fact that the 76ers likely wanted a pretty hefty package if they were going to trade their All Star to a division rival (this all had to have transpired before Philadelphia’s Bynum acquisition, so I would imagine Jonas Valanciunas’ name came up), passing on the chance to acquire Iguodala might have been a wise long-term decision, despite how tantalizing the addition of such a versatile wing talent would have been.
I consider Iguodala to be one of the more underrated players in the game, and would have been happy to acquire him for any player on this roster not named Valanciunas, Lowry, or maybe Ross, but once you start talking about packages that involve trading multiple young assets and taking on other less desirable players all for a guy who isn’t locked up long term, it gets dicey.
Heck, there were enough people that thought trading a lottery pick for two years of Kyle Lowry wasn’t worth it, so I can’t imagine too many people would have been okay with trading multiple prospects/assets for one-to-two years of Andre Iguodala.
UPDATE: Citing “an NBA source,” TSN’s James Cybulski says the Sixers were looking at Jose Calderon, Ed Davis, Toronto’s 2012 first round pick (which turned into Terrence Ross) and another first round pick (which was later used by the Raps to acquire Kyle Lowry). Obviously, this is merely one report from one NBA source, but if we assume for a moment that Cybulski’s source is correct, then Colangelo did well to walk away. The Raptors have Kyle Lowry for at least two years, still have Calderon’s expiring contract to dangle, still have Ed Davis and drafted an intriguing wing player in Terrence Ross. Had this speculative deal gone through, the Raptors would have had Iguodala for 1-2 years and none of the above assets. The team still wouldn’t have been good enough in the short term, and would have been devoid of any young assets outside of Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan.