In one of the quietest trade deadlines in recent memory, the Raptors were unable to unload Andrea Bargnani, but the team did complete a trade for backup point guard Sebastian Telfair that sends Hamed Haddadi and a conditional second round pick to Phoenix.
If you’ve been reading RaptorBlog lately, then you know that both Oliver and I have been harping on the fact that the Raptors need a true backup point guard who can act as a distributor for the second unit. Telfair isn’t a game changer by any means, but he’ll give the team that much needed ball handler off of the bench.
As well as John Lucas III has been shooting the ball lately, there’s simply no way it’s sustainable (Over his last nine games, Lucas is shooting 51.7% from the field and a ludicrous 62.1% from deep), and when his shot stops falling, Lucas’ playing style can kill the flow of an offence. I have no problem with JL3 continuing to log minutes while he remains hot, but with Telfair in the fold, Lucas can play off the ball in the second unit. At the very least, if John does find a way to continue shooting the lights out while running the bench’s offence, Telfair would simply provide depth at the point and emergency ball handling, though he is a defensive downgrade.
While Telfair can tend to look for his own shot sometimes too, he takes the same amount of field goal attempts per game as Lucas (5.4) in about five more minutes of court time, so his shots are a little more spread out over the course of his playing time. This season, the 27-year-old nine year veteran has averaged 6.0 points, 2.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 turnovers in over 17 minutes per game for the Suns. The interesting thing with Telfair in 2012-13 is that he’s shooting a career low 38.1 per cent from the field, but he’s also shooting a career high 38.1 per cent from behind the arc.
As for what was shipped out, no one expected Haddadi to play anyway, so it’s really like Telfair for a conditional second round pick. The only initial downside to this minor move was that the Raptors wouldn’t have their own second rounder this year (Rudy Gay trade) or next year (while second rounders don’t usually amount to much on the court, stockpiling picks in general can help trade packages later), but they do have Sacramento’s second round pick in 2014 from the James Johnson trade, so this is about as low risk a deal as you can make at the deadline considering that Telfair’s $1,567,500 contract expires at the end of this season.
As for the conditions of the second round pick included in the trade, the Suns will receive the worse pick between Sacramento’s and Toronto’s in 2014, as long as Toronto’s pick doesn’t land in the top-36. In other words, the Raptors will keep the better 2014 second round pick of the two they previously owned, and if both the Kings and Raptors are bad enough, the Raps could actually keep both. If everything falls into place, however, the Raptors will probably end up keeping Sacramento’s second round pick next year while forfeiting their own to the Suns.