Storyline: DeMar DeRozan Trade

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Alex Kennedy: Fred VanVleet texted me this quote in response to the Spurs-Raptors trade. I added it to our recent Q&A, which was a wide-ranging conversation covering a ton of topics.

3 months ago via ESPN

Bobby Marks, ESPN: Here are the financial implications for Toronto by acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green: The Raptors now have a payroll of $139.1M and a current tax bill of $29.8M. Danny Green is in the last year of his contract with a cap hit of $10M. Leonard will have a cap hit of $23.1M (including the trade bonus) and has a $21.3M player option for 2019-20. If Leonard elects to leave as a free agent in 2019, Toronto will have $101.6M in guaranteed salary and will be over the salary cap based on the team options of Pascal Siakam ($2.4M), Malachi Richardson ($2.6M), OG Anunoby ($2.3M) and $7.6M free agent hold of Delon Wright. The Raptors could create some flexibility if Jonas Valanciunas ($17.6M) and CJ Miles ($8.7M) opt-out of their contract. If Leonard returns, the first year cap hit projects to be $32.7M. In 2020-21, Toronto only has the $10.9M Norman Powell salary and $3.9M OG Anunoby team option counting against the cap.

MARC STEIN: The Spurs’ asking price for a player regarded as the league’s most menacing two-way force when healthy, for the moment, is thus still said to be rather high. But I have little doubt Ujiri is willing to trade any Raptor on the roster if he finds a deal he likes — even after LeBron James’ departure to the Western Conference. The Raptors, I’m told, held exploratory discussions in the summer of 2017 with Minnesota on a deal that would have been headlined by DeRozan and the Timberwolves’ Canadian swingman Andrew Wiggins. No trade materialized, but it reaffirms the notion that not even DeRozan, at the peak of his career, is untouchable in Toronto.
4 months ago via ESPN

I know this might sound like a roll of the dice, but if I’m the Raptors, I would pick up the phone and tell Spurs GM R.C. Buford that he can choose a package featuring DeMar DeRozan. Yes, I get that you’d be giving up three years of DeRozan for Leonard’s expiring contract. But let’s face it: Toronto is third in the East pecking order behind Boston and Philadelphia. With LeBron out West, I would take a chance on Leonard if he looks healthy. Add Danny Green’s $10 million contract to Leonard, and a deal for DeRozan works.

Q: Who is more likely to be traded: Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan? — Mike (Cambridge, Ontario) Marc STEIN: I reported before the recent N.B.A. draft that the Raptors’ roster featured no untouchables, amid a growing buzz that Toronto was trying to trade its way into the top 10. Now? After LeBron James announced that he’s leaving the Eastern Conference after eight straight trips to the N.B.A. finals? I’m inclined to believe that both of Toronto’s cornerstone guards will start the season right where we last saw them.
4 months ago via TSN

Of the two, moving DeRozan seems more conceivable. At 28, turning 29 in August, he’s younger than Lowry (32), makes less annually and plays a position that’s of greater need to most teams – meaning his market value is likely higher. He may also be more expendable. Although DeRozan proved adaptable last season, at least more so than many expected, Lowry still projects as being a better fit in Nurse’s system – predicated on three-point shooting and positional versatility on the defensive end. Still, factoring in everything that would need to fall into place to make a blockbuster, franchise-altering type of deal work, the safe bet is on both DeRozan and Lowry remaining with the Raptors.

Exec weighs in: “Three years, that’s the big number. They’re going to want a draft pick in a package for him, and there aren’t a lot of teams that are going to include possibly good picks or young players for a guy who is kind of a square peg in today’s league. It’s not saying DeRozan doesn’t have value, it’s just that you’d have to adjust your whole offense for him. You can’t just stick him on the Pelicans, for example, because he wouldn’t pair up with Anthony Davis well. There’s too many obstacles.”

One name brought up often in recent days has been Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who could become available should the Raptors look to make wholesale changes following a third straight loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Wiggins’ Canadian roots could make him an attractive option for the Raptors and good reason to hope that they could get the best out of him while playing in his backyard. In some ways, DeRozan could provide a good blueprint for Wiggins to follow. DeRozan didn’t become a real star in the league until his fifth year and has proven to be effective even though he isn’t a knockdown three-point shooter. But his game is also similar to Butler’s, so it is hard to see how a swap like that would give the Wolves what they are looking for in terms of a different look aside their leader.
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October 18, 2018 | 8:33 pm EDT Update
Just days before the start of the season, Pat Riley addressed the Jimmy Butler trade rumors with Heat players in a team meeting. According to a team spokesman, Riley acknowledged the trade discussions and apologized for players’ names surfacing in rumors. The message was, “I’m pulling the plug,” after talks continued for too long, but there was no guarantee that a trade will not happen down the road.
Storyline: Jimmy Butler to Heat?
“It calms you down, for sure, a little bit,” point guard Goran Dragic said of the meeting. “Of course, everybody is talking, including me. I just want to focus on my job. But deep down, it affects you a little bit. I want to stay here. I like it, really. So when Pat came after practice and sat us down and we had a small meeting, he told us that and you can feel a little bit of relief. But that doesn’t mean, in the near future it can’t happen. So we still need to do our job. We still need to be professionals.”
Given what you just said, does it bother you when you hear people say the Blazers should split Dame and CJ up? Jusuf Nurkic: Look, what do you get when you split up Dame and CJ? You get a lottery team, 20 wins probably in a year. That’s not the goal. For a small-market team, I think that Portland is not appreciating what Dame really is. You’re not going to get anytime some player like Dame here. Everybody knows that. The way he treats the city, the way he treats the people, the way he treats the guys around him. Even a person he just met, any day, he treats every person the same. That’s what’s amazing for me to see.
Storyline: CJ McCollum Trade?
“It was an amazing experience, man,” Nurkic told CBS Sports. “They gave me the role I always wanted. Coming from Denver, I didn’t know what’s going on, and I came in here and they were just like, ‘Go hoop. Have fun.’ That was probably the best experience for me and the city and the organization. We had that run and made the playoffs and then you come into the year and you have a lot of expectations from myself, from the fans, from the league, whatever.”
What should people expect from your new 3-point range? Jusuf Nurkic: I’m comfortable doing that. But I feel like, the way the league is going, everybody is expecting the big man to play every position, I guess, and to try to be able to guard anywhere on the court because there’s going to be a lot of switching and mismatches. So, I feel the way I was playing the last couple years, I was shooting the long 2s anyway. So, one step back and I’ll shoot the 3s and nothing is going to change.