NBA / Jun 15, 2010 / 9:45 am

Raptors & Thunder: A Match Made In Heaven

Chris Bosh, Dime #33

The Raptors and Thunder are two teams heading in starkly different directions. The Thunder were one of the feel good stories of the NBA this past season. They have one of the best young cores in the League, and a team chemistry that is not often seen. On the other hand, Toronto struggled this past season with chemistry issues, underachievement, and now faces the likely loss of star forward Chris Bosh. While these two teams are going in opposite directions, they can both help each other greatly.

Read what ESPN’s Chad Ford is reporting:

The Raptors appear to be closing in on a trade for an additional first-round pick. Colangelo has called every team with multiple picks looking for something in the 20s, according to sources. He’s offering cash (the team can pay up to $3 million for a pick) to any team that doesn’t want to make a three-year commitment to a late first rounder. A few teams, including the Thunder and Nets, have said no. But teams with multiple first-round picks (like the Grizzlies) or teams trying to save cash or a luxury tax hit (see the Orlando Magic) are in Colangelo’s sights.

It appears that the Thunder have already turned down Colangelo’s overtures about buying one of their late first rounders (21 and 26), but Sam Presti and his staff should rethink their decision. Presti has done a remarkable job building up the Thunder through the Draft, acquiring multiple first-round picks over the years that have produced the likes of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden. Those five guys are going to be the core in Oklahoma City for the next ten years (assuming they stay together), and adding a player at No. 27 who won’t contribute right away is not the right move.

In addition to the five players mentioned above, the Thunder also have D.J. White, Eric Maynor, Kyle Weaver and B.J. Mullens on their rookie contracts. These guys still need to develop, and will most likely be ahead on the depth chart of anyone OKC picks up in the late 20’s. Presti needs to sell their pick for cash to the Raptors. The Raptors can pay up to $3 million for the pick, and Presti can use that money to sign a mid-level free agent who can come in and play right away, opposed to a guy who will likely be brought along slowly like Maynor, Mullens and White.

The Thunder don’t have the cap space to sign a marquee free agent, but that does not mean they can’t find another piece to their roster. If John Salmons opts out of his contract with Milwaukee, he would most likely be outside the Thunder’s price range. But if they can afford him, he would be a great complement as a creative wing scorer to KD. Also, Al Harrington could be a cheaper alternative to Salmons to provide the same skill-set for Presti.

Another guy Presti could use the Raptors’ money to sign is Kyle Korver. Korver shot an NBA record 53.6% from three, and with the Thunder desperately in need of a three-point threat, Korver would be the perfect guy for the job (with Mike Miller as a solid back-up plan). These guys can all help the Thunder now and later. The Thunder are ready to take the next step, and signing a free agent, as opposed keeping the 27th pick, allows them to do that.

While the Thunder don’t need another Draft pick, if any team ever needed to stockpile young talent like Presti has done, it is the Toronto Raptors. Chris Bosh has one foot out the door, and without him, the Raptors’ roster is a bunch of overpaid, defensively challenged players. Colangelo is actively shopping three of those highly paid, defensively deficient players in Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon.

It’s time for a full-scale rebuilding effort in Toronto behind Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. Colangelo needs to acquire as many Draft picks as he can to help rebuild a team that was one of the worst underachievers in the League last season; and luckily for Toronto, he realizes changes need to be made. He is not sitting idly by hoping his mess of a roster works itself out, but actively seeking to change the culture. If he can get rid of at least one of the Turkoglu/Jack/Calderon trio, then he will offset the money he spends buying a late first-rounder, and maybe even sign a young, cheap free-agent like Hakim Warrick, Dorrell Wright or Travis Outlaw.

The moral of this post is that the Thunder and Raptors need each other. The Thunder need money to sign a free-agent to contribute right away, and the Raptors need to kick-start their rebuilding process. Presti and Colangelo: a match made in heaven.

What do you think?

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  • The Journeyman

    I like the concept…

    I found myself definitely rooting for the Thunder when they played against LA

    Go Thunder BOOOO Toronto

  • Brown

    If you’re a team starving for talent, buying draft picks is always a good idea, especially when you’ve traded them away numerous times and ended up with nothing. The Raps are in desperate need of an influx of talent and the only way that’s going to happen for the next few years is through the draft. There’s a lot of dead weight on their roster that’s preventing them from moving forward. Colangelo has his work cut out for him.

  • http://www.hypebball.com Sam Raphael Chadwick

    I agree these seem like pretty solid ideas, I especially like the Thunder pick of of Kyle Korver as he can help develop James Harden into one of the leagues best 3 point shooters but with more of a complete all-around game. at the forward I think the Thunder should pick up Al Harrington as he could be a good fit…. as for the Raptors the building blocks are the with Derozan and Bargnani but they need some more solid peices like some defence.

  • johnson

    raptors fan here, i agree we need some more picks. i wouldnt say jack is defensively deficient. calderon, bargnani, and turkoglu are for sure tho.

  • Disgruntled Raptor Fan

    Yes Please! Take our $$, we need as many young ballers willing to work hard and play defense.
    Time to change the culture of the team.

  • Coop

    Rebuilding? Toronto is perpetually rebuilding!

  • Soopa

    Wouldnt call it reboulding in Toronto. Theres never been anything built, so how can they REbuild? lol

    The Raptors are still building their franchiese so stacking picks in a nice idea but they never seem to get anything out of the talent they produce. Stoudamire, T-Mac, Vince and now Bosh all early playoff exits/missing they playoffs…

  • Soopa

    But on topic:

    Its not totally farfetched that the Thunder would have beaten the Lakers if theyd had Bosh. Other then Boston OKC have given LA the hardest series and with an answer for Pau or Bynum i wouldnt count out LA. Its a good match indeed.

  • Buddahfan

    I think that there is a bit too much kool aid in this article.

  • AL

    The Thunder could use Korver, but they really need someone with some beef inside. They could take the cash from T-Dot, but couldn’t they flip something to Orlando for Brandon Bass to come in and bang for them?

  • http://www.raptordigest.com Raptors Digest

    Nice piece.

    Not sure the Raps are ideally looking for a pick as late as #26, they will probably try to pry #25 from the Grizzlies 1st before they ask for #26……we called about #21 where we could likely land a player we covet

  • mess

    What was this article about? Completely random thoughts -didn’t really flow all that well. How is this exactly a match made in heaven? I thought the Thunder only have about $40+mil under contract for next season. So, why would/do the Thunder need Toronto’s money? Sounds like an article from an optimistic Raptors fan to me. Thunder could sign any of those players mentioned without Toronto’s help.

  • Captain Obvious

    Hey Raptors Digest… why are you stealing my job?? I’m Captain Obvious!! Stop doing my work.
    Allow me to add, the Raps will probably try to acquire the #23 or #24 pick before they ask for #25.
    Furthermore, i think they might look to acquire #19 before the ask for #20.

  • s.bucketz

    …..no one needs Al Harrington

  • Celts Fan

    I disagree with a lot of stuff. Move Calderon, but I like Jarret Jack a lot. He may be better suited as a Nate Robinson type sparkplug off the bench, but that’s a role he can fill well. Also, if OKC doesn’t wanna take on another salary/developmental guy, just draft the best International guy available, stash him overseas, and hope he develops over there. If he does, then great, if not, you don’t ever have to bring him over. I’m never in favor of selling off a pick a single second before you’re on the clock. Who knows. Someone you’d really like may slip further than anyone thought and now you don’t have your pick anymore. You can’t assume anything…

  • http://www.haywoodplanning.com D.H.

    The Thunder do not need another scoring winger. They need a decent big. Hell, they need two decent bigs. Think Ben Wallace, Nazr Mohammed, Brendan Haywood, Drew Gooden, or someone along those lines.

  • gorg

    some of your points i’d say are very wrong, like alot of them. lol but I agree with the end result 3mill for the thunders late pick makes sense for both teams. also I dont think REBUILD is a word Bryan Colangelo will or has ever been familiar with.

  • Daniel Marks

    I think the Raptors just need to clean house, it clearly wasn’t working around Bosh and they need a new identity. Colangelo should build the team the way Presti has because signing guys to big free agent contracts like Hedo and Jarrett Jack didn’t pay off. I also think Jay Triano may need to go, I don’t think he gets the most out of his players for the Raptors.

  • http://www.raptordigest.com Raptors Digest

    Captain Obvious,

    I think you are right!

    Just pointing out we called on #21 and not on #26

  • What?

    Only teams with financial trouble sell picks. The Thunder had 3 home playoff games and many sell-out crowds all year. Unlike many NBA teams in this recession the Thunder made a net profit of $10 to $20 million last year. They’re not selling valuable basketball assets for a relatively small amount of cash.

    Get your facts straight the Thunder have the cap space to sign a MAX free agent. Why sign mediocrities like Al Harrington or John Salmans? If we decide to enter the free agent market we’ll sign Bosh, Boozer or Amare.

    Toronto can have OKC’s 26th pick but it’ll cost them next year’s unprotected #1 pick.