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Old 04-05-2012, 01:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Koreen: Raptors need to deal to improve

The trade avenue might be the most important for Colangelo and the Raptors, although it must be stated that making trades is a lot easier to do in baseball than in basketball thanks to the absence of a salary cap. The Raptors are poised to have four young front-court players — age 27 or under — locked into contracts: Andrea Bargnani, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson and the incoming Jonas Valanciunas. Davis, because of his rookie contract, would be the easiest to move. However, it is easy to see a scenario where any of those players, save for Valanciunas, gets moved.

The nature of this draft increases the likelihood that Colangelo will have to be active on the phones. There are no upper-echelon point-guard prospects, a select few potential swingmen, and a whole lot of big men at or near the top of most draft boards: Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond, Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones, to start. Colangelo has said that this roster is still not good enough to draft for need over talent, so Colangelo selecting a forward is very possible.

Colangelo also is due to make a splashy trade. The last time he made a trade was last month, when he dealt Leandro Barbosa for a second-round pick at the trade deadline. The last time he swapped a rotation player for a rotation player was November 2010, when he moved Jarrett Jack for Jerryd Bayless. His biggest deal, or near deal, in the last two years — Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans to Charlotte for Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw — was vetoed by Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.

If you want to go back to the last time Colangelo moved a starter for a starter — not including sign-and-trade moves caused by free agency, such as the move that sent Shawn Marion to Dallas and brought Hedo Turkoglu from Orlando to Toronto — you have to go back to February 2009, when Colangelo acquired Marion for Jermaine O’Neal.

The prolonged absence of a meaningful trade is funny, considering Colangelo’s first big move as the Raptors’ general manager was acquiring T.J. Ford from Milwaukee for Charlie Villanueva, a move made easier because the Raptors had just won the draft lottery. Colangelo selected Andrea Bargnani with that No. 1 pick, allowing him to move Villanueva. The Raptors needed a point guard, and used a surplus at another spot to address that. It was the type of need-for-need deal that has not happened in a while here. You can see it happening in the near future, though.

Since Chris Bosh left in free agency in July 2010, Colangelo, as he says, has been collecting assets. This summer, he gets to switch from that to team-building mode, something that requires a much defter touch. If you think that will be done entirely through the draft and free agency, prepare to be mistaken.
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