DeMar DeRozan was one of the two main reasons, the other was Kyle Lowry, that the Toronto Raptors broke their franchise winning record (48) and reached playoffs after 7 years.
He improved, for another season (22.7 ppg from 18.1, 4.3 rpg from 3.9, 4 apg from 2.5), and showed leadership skills. These numbers and performance earned him an invitation to the 2014 All Star Game, his first one. DeMar is becoming the face of the franchise, even if he cannot be considered as “franchise player”. And he loves the city of Toronto.
Masai Ujiri is at a crucial crossroads. He must improve this team, because one good season is nothing, two is something, and many playoff or even contending ones is a success story.
So, what should our General Manager do with his All-Star player? Build around him (and probably lose him after two years if the Raptors cannot achieve his expectations), or trade him and bring younger and/or more talented assets? If Masai wants to get the best exchange value of DeMar, now is the time. He shone this season, had a very efficient playoff appearance too, he’s an All Star and he has a fair contract ($9,500,000 per year for the next 2 years) for his performance. But, is this DeMar’s highest ceiling? Or he has more to give and show us, and he may become a new Paul George?
A trade of DeMar has pros and cons. Let’s talk about them.
Pros: He could be used as a very strong trade chip for a high draft pick, or a current NBA player. We all know that this draft is one of the deepest since many years. We could use him, along with our 2nd round picks or 2016 NYK/Denver pick and get a higher-rated college player. This draft has a lot of SF and PG, so we could get a potential All Star on the 26th of June, if we get a high pick, and help him evaluate for a couple of years. If for example the draftee is a PG like Zach LaVine or Marcus Smart or even Dante Exum, and we keep Kyle Lowry, we can have two very strong players at this position, and the younger one will learn a lot from our star floor general. My dream, of course, would be to trade him, along with picks (or whatever is necessary) for Andrew Wiggins, but this is almost impossible to happen.
He could be used in order to attract potential trade partners. For example, according to CBS Sports, the Phoenix Suns are considering of trading Dragic, Bledsoe and picks for Kevin Love. If Love wants to play for the Suns, why doesn’t he want to play for the Raptors? Toronto is the 5th largest city in North America, the Raptors don’t need to trade 2 of their best players and picks for Love, they also have a good bench depth which helped them earn a playoff spot after many years and win their division. From the other hand, Phoenix isn’t picking Wiggins or Parker, in order to attract Love. They currently own the 14th and 27th 2014 Draft picks.
So why don’t we (the Toronto Raptors) try to trade DeMar plus Hansbrough or Patterson (or picks) for Kevin Love? I’ve checked this trade on the NBA ESPN trade Machine and it’s a successful one.
Love is only an example. There are many players who will be available for a trade after July 1st, when the free agents can sign contracts with their new teams, or resign with their current ones.
Another positive from such potential trade would be the evolution of Terrence Ross. In my eyes, Ross has a higher ceiling than DeMar. He’s athletic, but he has a better jump shot technique and he can shoot the 3. This year he improved his perimeter defense too. He’s still inconsistent, but the solution for that is found by training. This is the key for success, and DeMar knows that and utilizes that as much as he can. I don’t know if Ross can be the same “gym-rat” as DeMar, and this is a concern. DeMar from the other hand, he developed his jump shoot, but he’s not as good as Terrence. Half of his points come from the “charity line” of free throws, and he’s much worse from beyond the arc. And I don’t believe that he could improve his defensive skills more. Terrence has more lateral quickness which can help him improve offensively and defensively. So, given DeMar’s minutes, Terrence would improve and become the “face of the franchise”.
Cons: A potential trade of DeRozan, can damage the chemistry and bonding inside the team. DeMar acted as the leader of this team, especially after Rudy Gay departure, even if I believe that the true leader is Kyle Lowry. We’ve read and listened to many players telling about how good the chemistry of the team is, and how much DeMar (and Kyle) help to remain this positive atmosphere inside the locker rooms. So, a potential trade of such a piece could risk more than 22 points per game. And this is the worst part. Because, Rudy Gay departure helped the team to build this camaraderie and mutual respect, DeMar’s could destroy it.
That was the worst part? No…The worst part is the following: Kyle Lowry said that he loved his teammates and DeMar DeRozan, so one of his thoughts of re-signing is DeMar. So, a potential trade of DeRozan could create a departure domino from the team, and if this domino includes Kyle Lowry, then things may get even worse…
So, what is your opinion about a potential trade of Mr Derozan, Raptors fans?
Did the player reach his ceiling and the trade time is now? Or must he stay and the team has to build around him?