Grade the Trade: Raptors pull off blockbuster with Nuggets in latest proposal

The defending champions lost early, so they may be open to a deal. Should the Toronto Raptors consider this trade proposal?
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves and Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves and Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages
3 of 3

Grading the Trade for the Raptors

The primary value of Bruce Brown to the Raptors is as a trade piece, a player who fits better on other teams and is proven as a playoff performer. This is the kind of deal that Brown helps to unlock, trading for an expensive player on a team that could use two players more than just one.

Michael Porter Jr. is one of the better shooters in the league, especially at his size, a 6'10" gunner who can pull up from anywhere on the court and thrives in catch-and-shoot situations. He is a career 41 percent shooter from long-range and an 80.7 percent free-throw shooter. He is a good rebounder and...that's about where the positive scouting report ends for Porter.

Defensively he has significantly regressed, becoming the human equivalent of a sieve this past season as teams relentlessly attacked him. Despite being 6'10" he is not much of a rim protector, collecting blocks more as a function of Denver's scheme than his instincts or timing in challenging shots. On offense, he doesn't operate much inside the arc, although that could be a function of Denver's scheme more than anything, and his passing is essentially nonexistent. He is essentially a glorified shooting specialist who collects rebounds and has a target painted on his back defensively.

In some ways, the ideal situation for Porter would be a team with an athletic do-it-all defender at the other forward position and a backline rim protector. That's exactly the situation he would enter into in Toronto, allowing him to best survive on defense in order to flex his offensive muscles as a shooter and a scorer. Would the Raptors offer him more of an opportunity to expand his offensive game? Or would he continue to be a play finisher, instead catching passes from Scottie Barnes rather than Jokic?

It's a valid question to answer before you come to the details of the situation. Michael Porter Jr. has three years and $115 million remaining on his contract, an average of $38.33 million per season. That's a lot of money to commit to a player who isn't a top-two option on the team and offers such a defensive liability. Add in Porter's injury history and you get a talented player who is clearly overpaid on his current deal.

That's why the trade as proposed by Bleacher Report is absolutely untenable. If the Toronto Raptors made this trade without any draft compensation whatsoever it would be a gamble on their parts, committing long-term money to a player who doesn't seem worth it. To do so while also trading a pair of picks back to the Nuggets? For doing them a solid in getting off of Porter's contract? Positively insane from a value standpoint.

The Raptors could benefit from having a player like Porter Jr. on the roster. Perhaps Gradey Dick can become something similar. To pay in draft picks and salary to add Porter in this deal is a complete non-starter.

Grade: D

Grade the Trade: Raptors flip big man for Top 10 draft pick. dark. Next. Grade the Trade: Raptors flip big man for Top 10 draft pick