Since hearing about Hedo Turkoglu’s intention to play for the Raptors this upcoming season, Toronto fans (myself included) have been worried about what the move would mean for their team’s chances of improving their depth this off-season. Now, it seems Bryan Colangelo has pulled off a four-team deal that will allow Shawn Marion to be paid more than an average salary in Dallas and give the Toronto Raptors the ability to inject some more talent into a roster that, as presently constructed, is very thin.
Some of us doubted that this would be possible, as multi-team trades are very difficult to pull off in the NBA and it seemed that there was no reason for the Orlando Magic to help the Raptors out by including Turkoglu a sign-and-trade scenario. However, after hours of number crunching and phone calls, the Raptors and Mavericks, with the help of the Memphis Grizzlies, have facilitated a deal that Orlando couldn’t turn down. When this trade is officially completed, the Magic will receive a trade exception worth an estimated $7 million that will allow for them to acquire additional talent. This is exactly how GM Otis Smith was able to land Rafer Alston for virtually nothing at last season’s trade deadline, a move that opened the door for them to make the NBA Finals with their all-star point guard Jameer Nelson unavailable.
Where does this leave the Raptors? Well, firstly, they have acquired Devean George and Antoine Wright in this deal, players who address their shallow wing depth and whose contracts come off the books at the end of the upcoming season. Additionally, they have the mid-level exception. Some players that have been signed at MLE-value this summer include Ron Artest, Trevor Ariza, and Marcin Gortat. The Raptors can use this to sign a player who can come in and contribute right away. They also have the bi-annual exception, which many people believe will be used on serviceable center Rasho Nesterovic. There are rumblings that this puts the team in a position to bring back guard Carlos Delfino even before delving into either of those two exceptions. I’m not sure the truth of that last point, but, regardless, the opportunity exists to add some key pieces to the rotation before the start of the season.
Whilst I still quite strongly disagree with the idea that Hedo Turkoglu is worth his enormous multi-year deal, Bryan Colangelo has given his franchise more options than it seemed to have yesterday. The team is not limited to filling out the roster with minimum-salary level players. Essentially, this means the Raptors might have more than four good players on the team next season. This is what we were hoping for in Toronto, and for this, Mr. Colangelo should be applauded.
-Vittorio De Zen