Crazy NBA trades & how they affect Raptors

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 03: Jimmy Butler
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 03: Jimmy Butler /

NBA trades are occurring thick and fast, with star players the ones being moved. What effect will these deals have on the Raptors?

The first day of free agency has been characterized by little action on that front, but several significant trades. As news of each deal has come in, my immediate reaction has been: “That’s all you got for [traded player]?”

With the competitive landscape shifting around the Toronto RaptorsI want to consider what it means for our team to see, for instance, Paul George and Jimmy Butler move West.

Pacers fans – to arms!

ITEM: The Indiana Pacers move Paul George to the OKC Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

MY REACTION: Holy one-sided deal, Batman! You can’t possibly convince me that getting those two was the best offer Indiana’s Kevin Pritchard had on the table. George is a tremendous two-player. Oladipo is on his third team since being drafted second overall in 2014. I’m sure Sabonis is nice to his mother.

And Pritchard, you couldn’t get a draft pick or three throw in? If I were the Pacers owner, I’d had considered firing the man for even proposing such a trade.

For us Raptors fans, it’s unalloyed goodness. Getting George out of the Eastern Conference brings a huge sigh of relief. That’s particularly true since he didn’t get moved to Boston, which has been lusting after him for months. Lots of reports had them preparing a juicy offer to include some of their excellent journeymen like Jae Crowder and others, plus a few of their lengthy list of future picks.

TORONTO, ON – MAY 01: Kyle Lowry
TORONTO, ON – MAY 01: Kyle Lowry /

Butler moves on

ITEM: Ricky Rubio moves from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Utah Jazz in exchange for a 2018 draft pick.

MY REACTION: That’s not much payback for a talented and experienced point guard like Rubio, but I understand why the T’Wolves made the move. Having just acquired Jimmy Butler (more on him soon), they needed to make clear that he, not Rubio, is their starter. Minnesota also needed to find some cap space, so the deal allows them to shed Rubio’s $14 million salary without taking dollars back. Utah is under the salary cap.

The deal is not important to the Raptors. But this one is:

ITEM: Jimmy Butler is traded to the Minnesota T’Wolves for Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine and draftee stretch-4 Lauri Markkanen.

MY REACTION: Yay, another Raptors killer departs the East! Jimmy Butler has been integral to the pesky Chicago Bulls teams which have owned Toronto over the past few years.

I don’t know why Chicago management has been vilified for this deal. If all of these kids work out (and that’s a big IF, I’ll grant you), the Bulls will have started their rebuild in a positive fashion.

The West gets stronger. That’s desirable from our perspective. Now let’s sign our free agents and get this party started.

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