Finally a big trade I can dissect! Can I just say I called this trade in my last trade breakdown. I just didn’t think the Raptors would move Terrence Ross. He’s a good young player who’s averaging over 10 points in just over 20 minutes a game and he shoots 37% from 3. He’s a flat out scorer who has scored 50 points in a game and has one or two 40 point games. I remember some playoff games last year when he game through for the Raptors.
(Maybe that had something to do with the fact that he was smashing Amber Rose at the time). Let’s get into it
The Raptors get Ibaka from the Magic. This is obviously an upgrade on their existing situation. They have stared a mixture of Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl at Power Forward. You can’t make it far in the post season if either of those guys are your starting power forward. Ibaka gives them a legit floor spacer and he upgrades them defensively. He opens things up for Lowry and DeRozan to do their business. He also gives them some post scoring. People seem to think he can fit in well as a third option kind of like how he was in OKC. He got tired of being 3rd fiddle in OKC, wanted to be a top dog then found out things weren’t so easy as the top dog so he might be content knowing his limitations. I also understand he is willing to sign as a free agent in Toronto. Only slight downside is that they have to give up a first round pick.
Toronto have been in free fall sort of. they started the season on a tear and sat comfortably in the 2 seed. I just checked and they have dropped to the 5th seed and have lost something like 17 of their last 27 games. That’s alarming. They obviously had to make a trade. Remember they got to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. The question is does Ibaka push them past Cleveland? The answer is probably not but he makes them a better team. I guess that’s reason enough to make the trade. I think this probably makes them the third best team in the East (Boston is Second).
On to Orlando. Where do we start? They made the trade because Ibaka apparently wasn’t getting along with Frank Vogel and wasn’t going to stick around after the summer. In that sense, flipping him for a good young player and a first round pick makes sense. Beyond that, it has been nothing short of shocking the way they have spun around with no direction. At this time last season they had Oladipo, Ilyasova and a lottery pick (Sabonis). They turned that into Ibaka (which they don’t have anymore). Now they have Terrence Ross and another first round pick. Add to that the fact that they signed Jeff Green, gave Biyombo $70 Million and traded Tobias Harris, succeeded in marginalising Vucevic, failed to develop Hezonja and Aaron Gordon (to a lesser extent). They need someone in there that knows how to run a basketball team. Rob Hennigan’s job might not be safe.
Having said that, where does that leave things in the East? Love is out for 6 weeks with a knee injury. That sees him return at some point at the end of March. Playoffs start on the 15th of April. That leaves 2 weeks to shake up rust. I have seen this happen before and I don’t think that is enough time for Love to find his form. The playoffs are played at an incredible pace and take their toll on your body. Love will probably have a minuted restriction when he first comes back. I think this affects the cavs a lot but they should be able to squeeze out of the east. They have no chance with Golden State if Love is not 100% though. No chance. Boston might even take them in 7 depending on how the cards stack up.