While I can’t find confirmation, the latest news I have on Hasheem Thabeet is that he was traded by Oklahoma City to Philly, then immediately waived. The only reason I even bring such a small-print transaction (it’s too insignificant to call it a trade) to your attention is my hope that the Toronto Raptors will extend Thabeet a training-camp invitation.
No, I haven’t recently lost my mind – hear me out please, then you can toss all the rotten tomatoes you like. Our team needs injury protection at the centre position. Jonas Valanciunas is busting his hump for Lithuania at the World Championships in Spain as I write. We cross our fingers and hope he can get through the demanding tournament injury-free; likewise the upcoming NBA season. With apologies to Chuck Hayes, we have no “true” centre on the current roster to back up JV. The team is also capped out, so anyone who joins will have to come at minimum salary. Bringing in Thabeet would cost practically nothing, both financially and in terms of roster composition.
One would need a massive leap of faith to believe that the Raptors can turn Thabeet into a NBA player when 4 teams (5 if you count the 76ers, for whom he’ll never suit up) have tried and failed. Thabeet, selected #2 in 2009 by Memphis, has been a famous professional bust, in the same conversation as massive disappointments like Adam Morrison, Joe Alexander and Rafael Araujo. His rookie season, in which he averaged a miserable 3.1 points PG, is his best to date. One couldn’t find a redder flag than that. Yet Thabeet wouldn’t be a gamble. Assuming he has in fact been waived, and is a free agent, inviting him to camp doesn’t cost so much as a second-round draft pick.
Thabeet can’t hold his own against the NBA’s starting centres, but he wouldn’t have to in Toronto. We’d need him to spell JV for perhaps 5 minutes a game, when our opponents have their second unit on the floor. Provide some rim protection, clog up the paint while grabbing a few boards, and pick and pass on offense – that’s it. He’s as likely as anyone else we can find to do that kind of grunt work successfully, and for a lot less money or assets.
What do you think, Rapture Nation? Comments welcome, and responded to.