Buy-out candidates: should Raptors be interested?

Philadelphia 76ers Trevor Booker (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers Trevor Booker (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the Raptors contemplate the final version of their roster for the playoff, players bought out by other teams are of interest. Here are thumbnail sketches of a few I like.

The often-visited Hoops Rumors site has a post up about (potential) buy-out candidates. You’re welcome to see the whole thing, but I’m going to concentrate on two players only, Arron Afflalo and Trevor Booker. [20-second timeout: the morning brings news of the Lakers’ pending buyout of Corey Brewer, who’s worth a few words.] The Toronto Raptors may be interested in these fellows should they reach agreement to leave their current squads.

Afflalo, a shooting guard and no more, currently warms the bench for the perpetually rebuilding Orlando Magic. He’s 32 years old, and will be out of the NBA before Orlando is on the plus side, if they ever are, so it’s easy to consider him being amendable to a buy-out. Unruffled by his relatively low draft selection (#27 in 2007-08), he’s enjoyed a solid career, and is shooting 38.6% from deep this season.

Corey Brewer battles Raptors’ C.J. Miles, Jakob Poeltl, and OG Anunoby at Staples Center in Los Angeles

Afflalo has started 536 regular-season and 19 playoff games, so he’s certainly not going to be troubled by post-season pressure. I haven’t seen much of him this year, as his minutes and points are at career lows, and the Raptors haven’t faced Orlando yet.

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While I certainly understand the interest in finding an extra gunner, I’m having trouble envisioning Afflalo being able to get his shot off against a fierce defender. And, apropos of that, the difficulty with Afflalo (or someone like him) is whether he can cover his position. If his opposite number blows by him at every opportunity, we haven’t gained much.

Trevor Booker looks more and more like he’ll be the loser of Musical Chairs (The Roster Edition) in Philadelphia should the 76ers finalize a deal with Ersan Ilyasova. Booker is a versatile power forward, perhaps most easily thought of as a very poor man’s Paul Millsap. He’s been a useful player throughout his career, and he’s only 30. I note with amusement his career PER of 15, meaning he’s the prototype of an average player.

Booker is the kind of player the Raptors would need if any front court man went down with an injury. Should he (or anyone else I’ve mentioned) be bought out before March 1, he’s eligible to join any team as long as he signs before season’s end. Assuming he hasn’t struck a deal, and Serge Ibaka twists an ankle, adding Booker would be a wise move.

A late entry to the race

Finally, Corey Brewer’s name is being bandied about. I’ve always liked him; high-energy guys are rare, and useful on both sides of the ball. He’s long and lean, also characteristics I favour. At 29 years old, he should still have some tread on his tires.

A career average of 28% from beyond the arc certainly doesn’t advance his cause. Like the other two candidates, he’s played so little this season that guessing what he can provide is difficult. Regardless, if I were Dwane Casey, I’d feel some degree of comfort knowing the defensive-minded Corey Brewer is on my bench.

Creating a roster spot for Brewer would require Alfonzo McKinnie to be waived. That’s a price I’d pay.

[Update: That was quick: Trevor Booker was indeed dropped by Philly and has already committed to Indiana. There had to be some backchannel contact already on the go; we’re talking mere hours between release and announcement.

Brewer was bought out by the Lakers, and is under serious consideration by  Oklahoma City. His former college coach, Billy Donovan, is the Thunder’s head man. The team has a significant defensive hole to fill, as Andre Roberson is gone for the season and playoffs.]