After a crazy couple of months of Raptors-related trade rumours in January and February and an actual blockbuster in the process, I didn’t think we’d be talking about potential moves again until at least April.
So much for that, as Marc Spears reported in his weekly power rankings (where the Raptors held firm at No. 20) that according to a source, “the Raptors are looking for a veteran power forward and could make a run at Golden State’s Carl Landry if he opts out of his deal this summer.”
For what it’s worth, it was also Spears last week who revealed reports of Bryan Colangelo “likely” making an extension offer to Rudy Gay this summer.
When you look at how the Raptors’ roster is shaping up, barring a significant change over the final quarter of the season, it looks like Kyle Lowry will start at the point next season with DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay manning the two and three spots, Terrence Ross logging minutes behind Gay and DeRozan and then Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson slotted in as Toronto’s primary bigs. Looking at that setup, the most glaring needs to me are a backup point guard and a veteran power forward to start alongside one of Amir or Jonas or to at least provide some stability behind those two younger bigs, with the assumption being that Andrea Bargnani will be plying his trade elsewhere.
Carl Landry would obviously fill the second part of that equation, as a veteran four to play alongside Valanciunas and Johnson. Landry’s been a pretty consistent and dependable option throughout his six-year NBA career, with the former second pound pick averaging about 11 points and five rebounds in nearly 25 minutes per game during that time but posting impressive per-36 minute career averages of about 17 points and eight rebounds. In addition, Landry has a career field goal percentage over 53, a career true shooting percentage of .595, a 2012-13 true shooting percentage of .602 and he’s posted a well above average PER of at least 17.5 in five of his six seasons in the Association.
Landry’s a very good offensive big man with defensive liabilities, but his defence has improved in the last couple of years and him logging the minutes next season that Andrea Bargnani and Aaron Gray have logged this season would be a significant basketball upgrade for the Raptors. He’s got a $4 million player option for 2013-14 and is expected to opt out after an impressive season off of the bench for the playoff-bound Warriors, but he won’t cost a team an outrageous amount of money and probably won’t get very long-term offers given his age (he’ll be 30 at the start of next season).
As for Bargnani, if Spears’ source is right about the Raptors’ interest in Landry, they’d obviously ship Andrea out of town. The question is, will the Raptors simply take a low-ball offer for the enigmatic big man with Bargnani’s trade value at an all-time low, or will they actually consider amnestying him if it meant clearing the requisite space for a player like Landry? I still have my doubts about Colangelo’s and MLSE’s willingness to amnesty a contract that large.
There are obviously better free agents and trade options out there, but the Raptors’ cap situation will likely limit them from making a run at those players, so “settling” for a cheaper, dependable veteran like Landry while potentially ridding themselves of Bargnani as a result would be a step forward given the current scenario.