May 2, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Marcus Thornton (10) drives to the basket past Toronto Raptors power forward Amir Johnson (15) and power forward Patrick Patterson (54) during the second quarter of game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Nets defeated the Raptors 97-83. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How many big men is too many?

Mar 25, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) scores past Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson (13) during the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers won 102-100. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports


My trade proposal involving the acquisition of Power Forward Tristan Thompson from Cleveland elicited much response from readers, most of it negative. I’m happy to engage in dialogue with intelligent commenters (I’m not so crazy about those who begin with “You’re an idiot…”, but mercifully I don’t get many like that), whether they agree or disagree with my notions, so hattips to Jensan, Matteemo, and Outside the Crease. In the case of Thompson, I think there’s good reason to discuss the trade again, but from a larger perspective, namely roster composition.

Some of you feel Thompson is redundant when the Toronto Raptors already have Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson. While their continued employment on our team is very much up in the air, for our purposes we’ll assume they are both still in town. Certainly all three play PF, but not in the same way, and that’s key. Tristan is a traditional close-to-the-bucket type, who uses positioning and timing to grab a significant number of rebounds. Patrick seems more comfortable on the perimeter. He’s a mobile help-defender out there, and on offense shows signs of being a stretch-four. If his deep shooting continues to improve, the trade of Steve Novak won’t hurt much at all. Amir is an interesting mix of skills. He’s the best one-on-one defender of the trio, and the only one who can spell Jonas Valanciunas at Centre without harm.

If you believe a good team’s roster includes 3 solid players at each of the 5 positions, we’re set at PF once Tristan is a Rap. What’s more, we’ll have reasonable injury insurance at C, where we’re currently exposed, and even at Small Forward, if you put Patrick out there. I’ll cheerfully admit that’s a reach, but I’d still like to see the 3 of them on the floor at the same time. One purpose of pre-season games is experimentation. We all remember when Ed Davis was around; he and Amir often hooked up on interior passing plays with pleasing results.

Finally, let’s mention Tristan’s citizenship. Yes, he’s Canadian, and yes, to me that makes his acquisition more compelling. That mysterious catalyst, chemistry, has received a lot of credit for the Raps’ successful season, which I’m completely on board with (have you watched the Detroit Pistons lately? Like me in high school, they fail chemistry). The San Antonio Spurs are the un-Pistons. Run your eye down their roster, and you’re not dazzled beyond Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Watch them move the ball on offense, and you quickly change your mind. Tristan is a good guy by all accounts, and would surely be thrilled to come home. We want happy players, not boat-rockers or grumblers.

Have I made my case? Please let me know in the Comments.


Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Toronto Raptors

  • Jon Milks

    I agree with you Bryan I definitely think the Raptors need another rotation big. Waiving hansbrough would free up more room to add Tristan as you suggested or even possible the return of Ed Davis who is a free agent this summer. Both guys offer some more shot blocking and length to a front court of Amir, Jonas and Pattrick.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Jon:
      I always want to find players who are improving, compared to those who have plateaued. I like Hansbrough’s toughness, but I don’t think he’s ever going to be more than what we’ve seen. Tristan in a winning environment could be a big revelation.
      I’ll be taking a look at Ed Davis shortly.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Jensan

    Brian, we have discussed Gasol, David Lee with the strong side benefit being Harrison Barnes,. Based on trading chips we have Salmons and Hansborough which totals 10.3 million dollars and costs as a buyout (2 million dollars) If you want a high priced talent such as Luol Deng on a sign and trade (Tristan Thompson) than give the above players plus a Landry Fields totaling 16.5 million against a similar amount.

    You add Deng plus another Power Forward, and than allows your first round pick to be the best player available.

    My taste does not go in this direction, however, the basis of our trade -Salmons and Hansborough and one of the high priced vets let it be Johnson, Fields and /or Hayes, offers huge team salary benefits to the team who is giving TDot the player (s) that this team requires to take the next step forward.

    Personally, I would be surprised if Lee and Barnes were traded for Lowe, I really expect Chris Bosh to be traded to Minnesota, if he does not opt out for Kevin Lowe. Put that in your pipe and ruminate.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Jensan:
      If I get any more raw material for my rumination pipe, I’ll choke (:-)
      I love trading Landry Fields, but who would take him? Maybe we should spotlight the guy in pre-season, and hope someone bites.
      As always, Kyle Lowry’s $44M over 4 years weighs heavily on all decision-making. I hope the decision comes quickly, whatever it is.
      Back at you over the weekend.
      Cheers, Brian

      • Jensan

        The only way Fields is traded is packaging him with salmons , and maybe hansborough for a 15 million dollar player that a team wants to get rid of.
        Look if you want a player like Monroe , Lee , boozer who in the latter are a millstone on the salary cap

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Jensan:
          Boozer appears to be on his way out in Chicago. Is there a trade in which we package all our redundant assets for him? I’m going to take a further look at his situation. Carlos can still play.

  • Jack Kirchhoff

    Either Tristan Thompson or Ed Davis would be helpful, though I do like that under-the-basket toughness the Raptors get from Tyler Hansbrough. Would hate to see him lost for nothing.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Jack:
      The Raps have some tough decisions upcoming, and I fear losing Tyler for nothing is going to be one of them. I hope I’m wrong, but there’s only so much money.
      Watch for Ed Davis analysis soon.
      I thought I was going to have a quiet off-season – NOT!
      Thanks for commenting.

  • cd hall

    Let’s look at the roster first. The raps have 3 draft choices but no current roster space! SO I think Buycks and Stone will be gone.(now 2 open spots).Salmons will be bought out (or if Masai is creative TRADED—low chance).Now 3 open spots!! Assuming Lowry is resigned, the Raps still have a need for a SF,backup Centre and a low post PF. The Raps are probably stuck with Hayes and Landry till at least the trade deadline in Feb.Let us assume that Masai Qualifies 2 Pat and GV. and picks up Hansbough option. Now the Raps have to decide what to do with De Colo. He can probably be retained at a reasonable price as a 3rd PG.Now who become the moving parts???





    and maybe Amir plus any of the 2014 draft choices and 1 of the 2016 draft choices!!

    The above TRADE BAIT are the assets that Masai has to offer to fill in the above mentioned needs as I see it.Tristan is only 1 piece. Who else does Masai get to fill in the SF and backup Centre spots??? AND who does he DRAFT!!!!?

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi cd:
      I see no flaws in your reasoning.
      Dumping Salmons has got to be close to a certainty, re-signing Lowry less so. As I’ve tried to stress during this quiet time, so much hinges on Lowry’s decision. If he goes, we’ve got too much money, and too few point guards.
      I still would rather trade out of the #20 slot, in favour of more late picks.
      I suspect we’re due for a flurry of activity soon, or perhaps we can expect some surprise trades on draft night, something like drafting Kyle Anderson or Payne, then immediately packaging them along with Novak(?) to a team which dictated our selection. I’m just spitballin’ here, I admit.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Harun Said

        I feel like if Masai had the slightest feeling that Kyle would leave he would have traded him for a player like Jeff Teague, and Demars body language during the interview after game 7 tell me that KLow will be staying.

        I also feel like that 20th pick in this draft could give Toronto a really good NBA player. look at Cleanthony Early and his scoring ability (also has a great frame) SF
        Kyle Anderson great ball handling at his height (lets the game come to him) SF/PG
        K.J McDaniels great defensive instinct great frame and potential on the offensive side SF
        Jerami Grant good defender great length and speed and has potential offensively and has had a great coach in Jim Boeheim
        so i feel like trading the pick wouldnt be a great decision if all or any of these player are still on the board

        • Newmarket_Brian

          Hi Harun:
          I certainly hope your optimism is rewarded; one thing we all agree on is the need to re-sign Kyle for at least 3 years. I’ve written before about what a great teammate DeMar has been over the years. Hopefully his closeness with KL is one more reason for our point guard to return.
          At the 20th pick, the talent pool has been drained considerably. I’d look for a specialist, like a lockdown wing defender or a deadly shooter from deep. Masai could also have a little-known player, perhaps from another continent, in mind.
          There’s a long way to go, and we’ve barely started.
          Thanks for commenting.

  • cd hall

    In almost all Mock Drafts for 2014, Aaron Craft and Patric Young go undrafted. Can you see any reason why the Raps should not invite them to training camp?

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi cd:
      I’ve made no secret of the fact I’m in favour of “cattle calls” (the live-theatre term), in which overlooked players like Craft and Young get their shot. It’s the same reasoning for my liking an accumulation of second-round picks, and a D-League team. Sometimes you find a diamond hidden in the tall grass.
      In short, I’m with you.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Jensan

    Boozer plus Second 1st Round Pick in 2014 draft for Salmons, Hansborough and Fields.

    Otherwise Boozer will be amnestied and end up in Miami for veterans minimum and play the post position like Oden was suppose to..
    As well Bosh will be traded for Kevin Love, than after the season the two can decide where they want to play.

    But I reiterate David Lee + Harrison Barnes- is the deal that I want Toronto to do….

  • Jensan

    If you really wish to take Tristan Thomspon and Dion (the guy Tyrie hates) for Salmons+ Hansborough+ your 20th pick in the draft. Therefore, it costs Cleveland, 1 million for Salmons and receives Hansborough as back up plus a 1st round pick.
    Thompson for Hansborough plus Novak is another trade you can make for Thompson alone.