From the Toronto Star
Raptors might dangle top picks
Club could use No.1s for trades
Sixers have made some inquiries
Dec. 13, 2005. 10:35 AM
Rob Babcock admits he has been in "meaningful" trade discussions with other NBA general managers in the last few weeks as the league braces for a wave of speculation and perhaps some deals later this week.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, any player who signed as a free agent before the season began can't be traded until Thursday, but once that moratorium is lifted and about 100 players flood the market, there might be some movement.
And the Raptors could be involved.
"I don't know if we're that close in any of our talks, but we have had some very meaningful discussions," the Raptors' general manager said in a telephone interview yesterday. "We're always looking."
For the first time, Babcock said the team's future first-round draft picks could be moved in the right package.
"Nothing's untouchable," he said. "We could move one of those picks if we need it to facilitate a very good trade for our team."
As Babcock sees it, the fact there are so many more players on the market isn't the sole reason for making trades later this week because teams aren't likely to have already completely soured on free agents they signed just over two months ago.
However, having those contracts to throw into a mix — and financial concerns drive every trade made in the NBA these days — makes doing a deal much easier.
"Generally, it's only going to happen to balance a trade out; if you've been talking to a team about a certain player and you need someone involved who's been playing under the Dec.15 rule," Babcock said.
The Raptors have only three players who will be eligible to be traded Thursday — free-agent signees Jose Calderon, Matt Bonner and Pape Sow. Rookies Charlie Villanueva and Joey Graham have been tradable for more than a month.
And while it's inconceivable Babcock would deal Calderon, Sow might fetch something because he's leading the D-League in rebounding. And Bonner has a manageable contract that might be attractive as cap ballast in a multi-player deal.
As for other Raptors who might be shopped, it's no secret that Eric Williams is attractive — Philadelphia called early in the season but there was no equitable arrangement — and the Raptors could easily be persuaded to part with Jalen Rose if any team wanted to take on his substantial contract (this year and next at more than $32 million U.S. dollars) along with his diminishing scoring skills.
Williams could hold the key. He isn't being used now — coach Sam Mitchell is loath to take him off the inactive list and steal minutes from Morris Peterson and Graham — but he is coveted by some teams.
A veteran who can defend and make shots is a commodity in high demand and his contract — this year and next at a total of less than $8 million (U.S.) — makes him even more attractive.
But, if Babcock gets an offer for Peterson or Bonner that he can't refuse, Williams is more than capable of filling that void on the Raptors. His health is not an issue. He has fully recovered from pre-season knee woes, so there is no worry that he'd break down playing extended minutes.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the 4-17 Raptors need help at nearly every position.
But Babcock's desire to add someone won't mean anything if he doesn't have anything substantial to offer and that's where one of those future first-round picks might come in to play.
Toronto gives us next years 1st....Ron goes up there and absolutely destroys their season....we get 1st pick in draft and take guess who (lessee...he's from LN)