Toronto Raptors: Grading the Marc Gasol trade

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Trade Motivations

The Raptors needed to keep pace with other top teams in the East. The Milwaukee Bucks added Nikola Mirotic who will improve their rotation and give the team a trusted pick and pop player. The 76ers made a big move as well bringing in Tobias Harris, which will make their offense even more lethal. If that were not enough, they also added James Ennis to help their long-range shooting.

With the other teams making their intentions clear that they wanted to own the conference, the Raptors could not be left behind. They were already going to be in a tough matchup by the second round of the playoffs and beyond. The last thing that the team wanted was to make the blockbuster move to bring Kawhi Leonard to Toronto meaningless, which is what it would be if they have an early exit from the playoffs.

Ujiri and Webster’s backs were against the wall. They needed a player who could make an impact. Luckily, they found him in Gasol.

In Gasol, they have a clear upgrade at the five. If he can perform the way he has thus far, the team will be better on both ends of the floor. It may even demonstrate to Leonard that the team is serious about success, which they could use as a pitch in the offseason to him remaining up north on a contract extension.

The trade did more than just move people around. There were cap implications as well. JV is earning $16.5M this season and $17.6M next year. Miles is getting $8.3M and $8.7M over this and next season. Over the next two years, Wright is slated for $2.5M and is eligible for a qualifying $3.6M.

This is a lot of money to free up, especially with the Raptors already into the luxury tax. Even though Gasol makes a big chunk of that, it does still give Toronto some financial relief.

In making the deals they did, The Raptors now have only 10 occupied roster spots. They are allowed a maximum 15 spots for the playoffs, including two players who remain inactive per game.

This means that they are very likely eyeing buyouts who can step in and give the team a new look without much of a risk. There are a number of viable options rumoured to be negotiating their release, which may mean that the Raptors add even more experience for the remainder of the year.