Houston Rockets -Team #5: Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors should be one of the busiest teams on the trade market this season. The franchise has endured a rough start to the season but still retains a core that secured the Eastern Conference’s two seed in last year’s playoffs.
The Raptors are a playoff team but if they don’t make upgrades soon they could see themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. Even if they play .600 basketball over the remaining 60 games of the season they’ll still only end the season at 40-32.
The Raptors need to take a big swing and trading for Victor Oladipo is a move that raises their ceiling this season without mortgaging their future. Giving up Norman Powell, Patrick McCaw, Terrence Davis, Matt Thomas, and a first-round pick sounds like a lot but is a pittance for a player of Oladipo’s quality.
Powell is a good bench player but he is nowhere near as good as Oladipo who offers an immediate offensive and defensive upgrade. Not to mention, he has a player option for next season, so the Raptors are trading a player who will either be a free agent this offseason or has seen their play decline to the degree that opting in becomes the best course of action.
Patrick McCaw hasn’t played this season and his return is unknown and Terrence Davis has played all of 85 minutes this season with both of their inclusions more about salary and not talent. However, Matt Thomas is an interesting player in that he is very cheap the next two seasons and he can really hit threes.
He hasn’t played much, only a total of 49 minutes, but when he has he has converted 53.8-percent of his 3-pointers. Thomas hasn’t featured much due to his defensive limitations, but Houston seems like the perfect home for three-point specialists with spotty defensive ability.
The main hook for the Rockets is that they will get a first-round pick and a pick swap for sending Oladipo to Toronto. Since Oladipo is a rental, the protections on the pick will likely prevent the pick from becoming anything better than a late first-rounder, but that’s not bad for a player who doesn’t even want to play for you.
This deal benefits the Raptors in terms of talent and helps the Rockets continue to add to their war chest of picks while giving them more financial flexibility this season and next. The Rockets can do better in terms of value for Oladipo but the market for a rental is never that strong.
Next: Team 4