The trade deadline was a doozy. Let’s chat about it.

     1. Taxes, Taxes, Taxes, and Thad

You never like to hear about a billion-dollar corporation making frugal business decisions. Then again, that’s how they become billion-dollar corporations – that, and many other, likely, unsightly stuff – in the first place. Fair point.

Still, when I hear Raptor fans and pundits rationalize yesterday’s San Antonio Spurs trade


as a great get-under-the-tax move, I wretch a bit. No one should give a shit about the bubkas MLSE saves ducking the tax bracket.

That said, we did get a little ahead of ourselves. We spiraled down our respective echo chambers bellowing names like Myles Turner or Eric Gordon or Danilo Gallinari thinking some sexy-ish trade was going to transform this team. In reality, this was always going to be the likeliest scenario. Teams were not willing to PAY for Goran when they could just wait until 3:01 pm today and BUY him. The opposite was, in fact, true. Toronto was the one that had to pay.

I know we wanted the big splash. We always do. We fiend for immediate gratification. You know who aren’t fiends? Bobby & Masai (can we get a nickname for this tandem?) and those they’re beholden to.

Pundits have said this wasn’t about hoarding cash. Technically, they’re right, this was about acquiring players AND saving money. The reality is there was no one out there the Raptors were willing to both pay a lot and go over the tax for. Bobby and Masai (B&M is too close to other acronyms, I can think of two in particular) were clearly given instructions to improve this team while saving cashola, and they did it as best they could.

Under that pretense, really, only Thaddeus Young fits that profile – it also helps he’s coming from a non-contending Western Conference team.

I know the bar’s low. Literally, anyone who plays a minute of meaningful basketball for the Toronto Raptors is a win, but Thad will help this team.

He’s not played much this year – only 4 times in his last 27 games – so it’s hard to predict his immediate impact. I think it’s more likely he does than not.

I wrote about Thad last year and how his game had evolved alongside the NBA. Early in his career, he was a gruff, brutish power forward that punished the paint with his diesel truck frame.

Now, he’s become a more dynamic playmaker adapting to the spacious, quicker-paced style of the Modern NBA as best he can. In the last two years, Thad’s assist percentage jumped from 11% to 27% and 25% respectively.

That’s what Thad brings to Toronto. He can shoot, a bit, and will bust his ass at both ends, but Thad’s best quality is his combination of size, athleticism, and vision enabling him to create space – particularly, in the post, out of dribble-hand-offs, and off screens – for himself and others:


On defence, he may have lost a step, we’ll soon find out. Regardless, Thad’ll make up for any lost quickness with his positional intelligence and length – unlike someone like Danillo Gallinari, for whom Toronto would have to compensate.

Thad’s also going to bring wisdom and tutelage to Toronto too. Precious, JC, and Scottie can all learn from a guy who’s been in the league since the oughts. He knows how to be a physical, reliable, versatile, passing power forward and will have much to share.

Toronto, generally, needed an older, sage mind to balance this precocious roster and Thad should fit that role well.

Bobby Webster said something similar about Thad yesterday:



As for Drew Eubanks…waived. Stay tuned for what that means (see below):


Our 2022 first-rounder for Detroit’s 2022 second-rounder is not an ideal swap. If Toronto tanks and Detroit surges, that’s a huge swing. That’s unlikely. Toronto’s trying to win and Detroit’s incentivized to keep losing for the sake of their own first-round pick. Hopefully, Toronto will only end up moving back from, like, a 20-23rd pick to a 32-34th pick.

     2. Contenders Galore

Man, it’s hard to celebrate your team’s additions-around-the-edges when most other contending Eastern Conference teams made big moves. Simply by remaining status quo, Toronto likely dropped down the hierarchy.

Brooklyn & Philly:


Brooklyn gets deeper, younger, more athletic, more shooting, and cuts out a huge, sickly flab of cancer all in one move. The question will be: when is Ben Simmons mentally healthy and physically ready to compete in the NBA again? If it’s sooner than later, and KD gets healthy again, and Kyrie plays more games than he misses, Brooklyn’s suddenly very versatile and dangerous.

Philly, on the other hand, goes from 1 superstar to 2. That’s all Darryl Morey wanted, and he finally got it. James Harden and Joel Embiid could be otherworldly together. Thing is, James Harden has not been himself this year and it remains to be seen if he can return to his superstardom of a year ago. Knowing how he can disappear on a team and just not give a shit until he needs to give a shit, he could very easily reverse his current less-than-dominant performances.

If so, and Joel keeps playing at an MVP level, this combo is very scary. Their top 8 are good enough to beat anyone now.




Derrick White cost Boston a pretty penny (a first-rounder and a pick swap were included). He’s exactly what both Boston – and Toronto – needed. Derrick can create for himself or sit off-ball and wait his turn. He’s a reliable defender and makes for a nasty small-ball lineup of White, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Timelord. There’s still not much of a bench in Boston – they lost Josh Richardson and Dennis Schröder – but buyout market looms.



I discussed this earlier this week. Caris LeVert gives Cleveland a much-needed scoring punch in the backcourt. If he can wisen his shot selection and increase his passing, he’s going to be a great compliment to Darius Garland and co.



Whatever. Montrezl is better than Mason Plumlee, but at least they didn’t grab Richaun Holmes or Myles Turner.



I think this is a win for Toronto. Serge Ibaka is no threat to the Raptors. A larger guard like Donte, to me, is a bigger issue. So, good for Serge, no big deal for us.

     3. Buy-Out Buddies


The trouble with the trade today, at the time, was that it locked Toronto’s roster at 15. Now, with the withDrewal, the Raps have options.

Likeliest is converting Justin Champagnie’s contract:


Of course, there’s also the buyout market.

Last year, Toronto struck it rich with Khem Birch post deadline. That was a perfect match. Khem wanted Toronto, Toronto needed a large man with hands for hands. Voilà.

This year, there may not be such an ideal fit. Toronto’s low on desired locations and many a contender are in search:

Michael Carter-Williams and E’twuan Moore were both just bought out by Orlando. Yahoo listed a number of other potential guys:

  • Gary Harris and Robin Lopez may also jailbreak Orlando;
  • Houston is reportedly waiving DJ Augustin; Dennis Schröder could follow;
  • Portland will likely drop all or some of Tomáš Satoransky, Ben McLemore, and Eric Bledsoe;

     4. An Ode to Goran


I vouched for you last summer. You burned me like a drunken day on the playa. The Hell, man!?

I sooo thought you’d fit this team. You, the grizzled, wise Veteran, who once warred with Steve Nash, Dwayne Wade, and Jimmy Butler, and who could have shared passed the same wisdom once imparted upon him.

If you – us Goddamn Millennials and our lack of patience – had waited just THREE MONTHS, the roster of young point guards woulda shook out and you’d be playing 14 minutes a game, contributing to a winning team, receiving all kinds of Canadian love, and, perhaps, made yourself more worthwhile in the trade market (IE: not lose money in a buy-out).

Instead, you abandoned a team that needed you and a fan base ready to accept you. Instead, you’ll just be remembered as one of the many “Raptors” to think they’re too good for us:


Only to be proven wrong.

Good riddance.

     5. Fragmented Reporting

I really need to see under the hood of all this rumour mongering and trade announcing. Cause it’s a shitshow.

For example, first, Shams announces this:


We all know that’s not the complete trade because DW is magnitudes better than J-Rich. So, we wait.

2 minutes later: Chris Haynes jumps aboard:


1 minute after that: Woj, with his stoat tail between his legs, gives us, totally redundant and useless information:


k….thanks, Woj.

2 minutes later: Haynes:


It was like this all day. Reporters give you 1/5th of a trade. And then you gotta go search the other 4/5ths across the Metaverse. Piecing it together professional tweet by professional tweet. Aggregator by aggregator.

Just give me all the fucking trades. I’ll dole’em out 15 minutes at a time until they’re all announced. Everyone gets their 15 minutes to text their friends OH MY GODDDDD and then on with the next trade. Boom. Cut and dry. Like an NBA newsie.

Instead, I’m playing fucking detective in Saw IIX: NBA trade DEADline trying to solve what should be the easiest piece of information to distribute of all time.

It doesn’t help that I keep getting tricked by fake Woj and Haynes accounts along the way.

A goddamn mess.