Here’s the Power Forward trade Raptors need


Editor’s Note: We have asked our colleagues at FanSided’s Memphis Grizzlies site to post this trade proposal for their readers to consider. Further, their Editor, Nathan Grubel, plans a Grizzlies-favourable response to our Raptors-centric proposal, which we will publish.

The Memphis Grizzlies have recently removed Zach Randolph from the starting lineup, where he had become practically an institution. Memphis has not enjoyed the kind of success expected with their Twin Towers offense (Marc Gasol has been Randolph’s running mate). Their brains trust is probably wondering if their concept of how to create an NBA-championship calibre team is out of step with current thinking. One would be hard-pressed to come up with two more different styles of play than that of NBA champion Golden State and its lineup of small shooters, and Memphis’ dump the ball into the post game.

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If Randolph on the trading block, should the Toronto Raptors make a pitch for him? Let’s give the matter some thought.

Who we’re getting

Zach Randolph is a throwback player. Before the advent of the stretch-4 (or -5…rarer, but there’s a few), every team either had a Randolph type or wanted one. He’s a gritty, take no prisoners type of player; he’ll battle for optimal positioning under the rim, grab a bunch of rebounds, back down his man and score in close. I’d call him an amalgam of David West and Bismack Biyombo, with the edginess of Charles Oakley.

Jan 21, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) shoots over Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the game at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Randolph has spent 14 seasons in the NBA, making up with effort and savvy what he lacks in elegance. His career stats, available here, demonstrate remarkably consistent production. He’s been a double-double machine almost without exception. The Grizzlies are his fourth team, but he’s ring-free, which I suspect bothers him greatly as he approaches his thirty-fiftieth birthday.

He has a salary cap-friendly contract which has this season and next to run at $9.6 million.

Who we’re giving up

Let’s move Patrick Patterson, James Johnson and a draft pick.

In order to forestall “you’re crazy” Comments, I’m going to tell you in advance that I wouldn’t do this deal today if I were Memphis’ leaders. [20-second timeout: The Grizzlies’ executive suite is difficult to understand. They have three veteran NBA men, Chris Wallace, Ed Stefanski and Mr. PER creator himself, John Hollinger. Their titles are too nebulous to be given much credence, so I would assume they all have to agree on the particulars of a trade.]

In fact, I wouldn’t do the deal if I were Masai Ujiri, at least not until very close to the trade deadline of February 18. The Raptors are finally healthy, and need a dozen games for Dwane Casey to utilize his entire roster. During that time, 2-Pat will hopefully re-establish himself as a contributor. While he’s mired in his dreadful shooting slump, he’s of no value, particularly considering his contract has another year to run at $ 6.2M large. And, no, his defense doesn’t somehow compensate for his brick-throwing.

JJ is rotting on the bench, for reason(s) coach Dwane Casey doesn’t seem interested in enlightening us about. We might as well move him. Disgruntled players are not helpful.

The Grizz brass must decide (or may already have decided, in camera) that their current roster has gone as far as it’s going to, and needs to be broken up. That could spur their interest in Patterson, a stretch-4 (though not much of one this season), and Johnson, a defensive-minded small forward who can score. But why should the Raptors add a first-rounder?

The ESPN Trade Machine says the money works, but the deal is heavily weighted in the Raptors’ favour. We “gain” 4 wins, while Memphis loses 3. I happen to agree with the software’s conclusion, so I wouldn’t be averse to throwing in our 2016 first-round draft pick. At current course and speed, that pick will be around #20. We’ve got a higher one coming from the Knicks, so we won’t be on the sidelines in June. The Grizz receive another chance to upgrade their roster, presumably with a swingman if they are going to become a pace & space team.

Next: Valanciunas returns

OK, Rapture Nation and our friends in Grizzlies-land. What do you think? Is this the near-mythical “trade that helps both teams” or a travesty? Comments welcome.