DeMarre Carroll moves from Raptors to Nets in odd deal

TORONTO, ON - MAY 21: General manager Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 21: General manager Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Raptors have moved DeMarre Carroll and picks to the Nets in return for not much. What’s happened, and why?

Various reports have been published indicating a trade has been consummated between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets. While the deal isn’t official yet (due to the Nets’ timing issues with the salary cap), we’ll assume it’s proceeding.

The Raptors have moved swingman DeMarre Carroll and the team’s 2018 first- and second-round draft picks to the Nets in exchange for center Justin Hamilton.

TORONTO, ON – MAY 07: Kyle Korver
TORONTO, ON – MAY 07: Kyle Korver /

My initial reaction to this trade was severe disbelief. Several hours later, I’m still scratching my head, as I don’t understand the deal from either side.

Did Masai “lose” a trade?

We’re Raptors people here, so let’s first mull over what Masai Ujiri is trying to do. Superficially, this trade is little more than a salary dump of the remaining two years of Carroll’s contract. His time in Toronto has been a huge disappointment, so moving him doesn’t bother me. What I can’t fathom is why we had to pony up the picks.

Masai’s tenure as GM/President of both the Denver Nuggets and the Raptors has been characterized by surprising moves, the vast majority of which have worked out well. Carroll was hampered by injuries and never discovered his form after his high-profile signing in Toronto. Oh well. But even if you’re determined to get rid of the guy, what’s the hurry?

If Carroll had returned to training camp in full health, he could have been spotlighted in pre-season games. That way he could be dealt for maximum value. There was much talk among the NBA chattering classes that Masai would need to throw in draft picks to sweeten any dump-Carroll trade. I thought “Nah – our man will find a way to keep those picks.” Wrong…

What is Brooklyn doing?

Nets coach David Atkinson has a bond with Carroll forged when both were with the Atlanta Hawks. I can only assume that Brooklyn boss Sean Marks decided to throw his bench boss a bone by bringing in a favorite veteran. It’s the Nets’ money, not mine, so I don’t care, but picking up Carroll’s remaining $30 million over two years seems like a hefty fee for keeping the coach happy. I’m aware the Nets are under the cap, but geez – is getting the possibly washed-up Carroll how you rebuild? Not in my world.

If the Raptors have another strong season, the surrendered selections are likely to be in the twenties and fifties. Admittedly, those choices aren’t terribly valuable, but Masai has managed to find late gems recently. Pascal Siakam, the #27 pick in 2016, looks ready for a larger role. OG Anunoby has been described by several commentators as the steal of last month’s draft at #23.

Can Hamilton help the Raptors?

I suppose for the sake of completeness we need to look at Justin Hamilton. He’s a 27-year-old “stretch-5” (I guess) with 3 years under his NBA belt. Prior to breaking through, he had spent years overseas and in the D-League. He has one season left on his contract at $3 million.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 30: Marcus Thornton
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 30: Marcus Thornton /

Hamilton isn’t the league’s worst player, although the Raptors are his fifth team in his 113-game NBA tenure. He can score a little against other rotation players, but has little to no chance of cracking the starting lineup. Justin can provide competition and injury insurance in the front court.

I don’t believe Hamilton will join the Raptors’ Summer League squad in Las Vegas. The deal won’t be finalized in time for him to get there and acclimated. Maybe he’ll join Anunoby on the sidelines.

Who’s next for the Raptors at the small forward position – Bruno Caboclo? We’ll have to give that matter some consideration for our next post.

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