This was a necessary move. Casey did a lot for this franchise but I felt like his time was up last year. The Cavs series this year just confirmed that. Kyle Lowry made a comment about the Raptors playing checkers while the Cavs played chess. Casey claimed OG and Siakam were supposed to trap LeBron on the game-winner in Game 3, yet both of them said no one told them about any trap. Poor CJ Miles was left alone to guard Kevin Love or LeBron James over and over again, only to get obliterated. Enough. Casey is a great regular season coach, and brought the Raptors to respectability, but this was the right decision.
That’s not to say that the humiliating sweep is all on the coach. The veteran leaders of this team failed to come through as well. Lowry, Ibaka, DeRozan and Valanciunas are all on the block. Here are some possible moves that could be made.
To Denver: Kyle Lowry
To Toronto: Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Trey Lyles and Denver’s lottery-protected 2019 1st round draft pick.
For Denver: They need a veteran point guard. Jamal Murray and Gary Harris are studs but neither is a real point guard. This gives them a solid 3-guard rotation with a complete skill set. They have been trying to dump Faried for years. They should be a playoff team next year with this trade.
For Toronto: Chandler is a 3+D wing when healthy, and they have shown interest in him and Faried in the past. With Faried they would finally be a good defensive rebounding team. Lyles is a Canadian stretch 4. All 3 guys are free agents after next season so it’s an audition year for both sides. If they all walk you still get the draft pick along with some salary relief.
To Memphis: DeMar DeRozan
To Toronto: Memphis’ 2018 lottery pick (#2 pre-lottery) and Chandler Parsons
For Memphis: If they aren’t going to trade Marc Gasol, they might as well trade this pick for a mid-career All-Star that can help them make a run now. DeRozan doesn’t have to be a leader on a team with Gasol and Conley, and can just help them by putting up points.
For Toronto: A high lottery pick is the ultimate asset when rebuilding. Acquiring one without having to tank is extremely valuable. Eating the Parsons contract (3 more years at 25 mill per) hurts but the pick will be high enough to justify it, and it makes the salaries match up for cap purposes. Better nail that pick though.
To Portland: Serge Ibaka
To Toronto: Mo Harkless, Meyers Leonard and Portland’s 2018 1st round pick (24th overall)
For Portland: Their frontcourt sucks, their starting center Jusuf Nurkic is a free agent and they have soured on Leonard, who has 3 years left on his deal. Ibaka gives them the rim protector they lack.
For Toronto: Harkless gives them another big wing defender, and Masai gets another swing in the draft in the same area he got Delon and Siakam (and Bruno). Eating Leonard’s contract is the cost of doing the deal.
Next season’s depth chart would look like this:
PG – Wright / VanVleet / Brown
SG – Chandler / Powell
SF – Anunoby / Miles / Harkless / Parsons
PF – Faried / Siakam / Lyles
C – JV / Poeltl / Leonard
Add in the 2 first-round draft picks acquired in the trades, and that’s a full roster. Nail that lottery pick and you’re still in the playoffs with a bright future ahead.