So, fellow Raptor fans, I’m curious as to what everyone else on here would do with the team in its current situation.
For whatever reason, Bryan Colangelo has been fired (hold your applause) and I am somehow the GM of the Raptors. Assuming that I have full control over what the Raptors do with Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry, here’s what I would do in this situation.
Long story short, I’d trade both. But here’s why:
Well, to be honest, you can’t really keep both. Neither wants to be coming off the bench, so scratch that idea. Regardless of what the players say, I’m confident that neither player truly wants a bench role. So, obviously keeping both isn’t an option, and you have to get rid of one.
But, that said, if you keep Calderon, he may leave this offseason. If you keep Lowry, he’ll want a big payday, or simply want to go to a better team. So, it looks to me like it’s a lose-lose situation right there which further complicates the situation.
In addition, both players have trade value. So, potentially having either one walk away as a free agent in the next couple of years would be a terrible idea, and the team should at least try and get some assets in return.
Lastly, it all comes down to what I think the team can do as constructed right now. They have some nice young players, but clearly lack a franchise player and elite talent right now. Even with Calderon or Lowry locked up, the team’s ceiling is the second round of the playoffs, and that’s only if they get extremely lucky in the first round. But let’s be realistic, they would never get past that with this roster.
So, looking at the big picture here, trading both would be step one in a complete overhaul of the roster in order to rebuild the team correctly.
Reasons to trade Jose Calderon:
1. He’s 31 years old, so clearly he isn’t the long-term solution at PG anyways.
2. He has an expiring contract. So, not only does it hold some value to team looking to reduce their salary for next season, but there’s also no gaurantee that he even comes back as an UFA.
3. His value is at an all-time high. Partly because of the expiring contract, but also because of how he’s played with Lowry out. So, potentially letting him go for nothing would be a huge mistake IMO.
4. He’s unhappy. Technically, he’s already been traded once, and he had been replaced in the starting lineup at least three times that I can think of (Ford, Jack, Lowry). So, of course he would be upset that the team doesn’t believe in him. Do I buy his statements that he’s happy with the Raptors? Not at all.
5. Proper Rebuild. Here is where picks could be useful. I don’t expect any lottery picks for Calderon, but I’d be happy to get a late first round pick even if it means taking back a bad contract. If the Raptors want to rebuild the right way, they need as many picks as possible, and need to make sure they get good ones, and not mid-lottery picks like last season. Getting as high a pick as possible for 2014 should be the goal of this team.
Reasons to trade Kyle Lowry:
1. Low ceiling. Even with Lowry locked up, the team is still heading towards the mediocrity treadmill. I liked the addition of Lowry, just as most others did. Not that I agree at all with the direction of the team and it’s “win-now” approach, but if the goal of the team was to make the playoffs this season, adding Lowry was a good decision for that specifically, and a much better decision for the team than going all-in for a 38 year old.
2. He’s not going to change. Casey wants Lowry to be more like Calderon, and Colangelo wants Lowry to be like Kyle Lowry. If a guy doesn’t fit in your team, part of being a good GM is knowing this, and fixing it instead of forcing them to become something they are not (Andrea Bargnani). So, that said, it would be easier to simply trade him than to build your entire team around him.
3. He’s a free agent next season. Again, there is no certainty that Lowry will even come back to the Raptors because he will be an UFA after next year. So, considering my two points above, why pay a high price for mediocrity, or for something that may not even work? Which brings me into my next point.
4. Salary expectations. All you have to do is look at the contract that DeRozan got. If he’s supposidly worth $10M per season (he’s not), than you have to think that Lowry will at least demand close to the same. Especially considering that he’s the better player. It’s a pretty steep price to pay for mediocrity.
5. Proper rebuild. Basically the same reasons as Calderon. It could be pretty hard to land a good pick if Lowry is your starting point guard. Plus, Lowry could potentially bring back a better pick in return than Calderon would. As stated before, getting as many picks as possible, and even more importantly, as high a pick as possible for 2014 should be the goal of this team.
So, there you have it. That’s what I would do.