Now that Masai Ujiri is the GM of the Toronto Raptors, the question becomes: what part, if any, does the June 27 NBA Draft play? With no clear number one pick and a weak-looking draft, you do have to wonder if the draft is part of the immediate future. I hope Masai realizes having zero picks in this draft is a positive and focuses on the free agent market and any off-season trading he may wish to undertake. Alas I fear that I will be wrong. I can’t escape the feeling that Masai might want to put an immediate stamp on his new tenure by doing something that would signify a change from the Bryan Colangelo era. That may very well be trading into this year’s Draft to grab a valuable talent, presumably one he scouted while heading up the Denver Nuggets.
With Andrea Bargnani on the trading block, it is quite possible Ujiri may bundle anyone else on the roster to get a trade achieved, and maybe that trade’s purpose is to move into the draft. One possibility: if Ujiri is sold on the number one pick, a trade of Bargnani and Valanciunas for Anderson Varejao, C.J. Miles and Cleveland’s pick (#1) could be on his mind. Cleveland have shopped Varejao and may want to dump salary by the end of next season to pursue LeBron James. With Bargnani’s contract expiring after next year it very well might be worth the risk to Cleveland. This is strictly conjecture on my part at this point, there are no whispers to back up this mock trade, however I truly believe that nothing is off limits when it comes to moving Bargnani! Although this move would be aggressive and risky, a look at Ujiri’s history reveals it to be a move he is capable of, but which I hope never happens! I used Valanciunas with Bargnani in my mock trade above, but let’s face it, DeRozan, Lowry and maybe even Gay could be added to any potential deal for Bargnani.
Ujiri is likely to try anything he can to move AB out of town. I believe a bold move into this year’s Draft would be a disaster and I hope Masai will wait until free agency or pre-season before he begins retooling the roster.