The Toronto Raptors are not exactly a model franchise for winning in the NBA. After all, up until the past few seasons, the Raptors have routinely been looked at as one of the worst franchises in the association. Luckily for the Raps, they were able to hire Masai Ujiri and he has taken them from the basement to one of the league's better franchises in the past few years.
Yes, that is right I said it, one of the better franchises in the league. The Raps have tons of assets such as their D-League team right down the street, and they also have several good young promising players that will help keep them at the top of the league standings for the next few seasons, at least.
Part of the Raps' recent success has been their willingness to be active on the trade market. Whether it was Glen Grunwald, Rob Babcock, Bryan Colangelo, or Masai Ujiri, it seems like there have been a lot of trades in the teams recent history. The 2016-17 NBA trade deadline was no different, as the Raptors made two pretty significant trades, while many other teams around the league remained idle. This made it interesting to go back and look at some of the recent trades in team history. There have been some very good trades and there definitely has been some bad ones.
This article will prove that there has been both good and bad trades in recent Raps history by focusing on the eight best and seven worst trades since 2000. Overall, I must say it was pretty surprising to see that the Raptors have made some really great trades over the years. With a franchise that has not experienced much success, you do not expect them to have a good trade history. As you will see, this is not the case with the Raptors.
I also must say that the recent trade for P.J. Tucker deserves an honourable mention, but I just could not put him on this list yet.
15 Best - Trading for T.J. Ford
At the time, trading Charlie Villaneuva for T.J. Ford looked like one of the silliest trades in Raptors history. Villanueva had just come off a very good rookie season and Ford had battled injuries throughout his career. Ford also was undersized and had a shaky jumpshot. This led to questions if Ford would ever be capable of being a starting point guard in the NBA.
14 Worst - Trading for Hakeem Olajuwon
There is no denying Hakeem Olajuwon was a great player. However, he came to the Raptors at the end of his career and was not effective. He also played through injury pretty much his whole Raptors career. In total, he only played in 61 games during his one season with the team and remember, to get him, the Raptors had to give up two draft picks, including a first rounder in a sign and trade.
13 Best - Acquiring a 1st Round Pick/Norman Powell for Grevis Vasquez
How Masai Ujiri managed to obtain a first round pick AND Norman Powell for unloading Grevis Vasquez is beyond me. I understand that Vasquez did show signs of being a clutch player in his time in Toronto, but still, this is a player with a lot of injury history that had never proven he could consistently start for a winning team. Yet, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to pull the trigger on the aforementioned trade and the Raptors have benefited greatly since.
12 Worst - Trading for Peja Stojakovic
The Raptors had signed Jarret Jack to a four year $20 million contract. Jack was playing very well for the Raptors, but they still decided to trade him along with David Anderson, and Marcus Banks for Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless. The Raptors wanted to rid themselves of a point guard controversy with Jack and Jose Calderon, but what is wrong with having two solid guards on your team?
11 Best - Trading for Lou Williams
The trade to acquire Lou Williams was another brilliant move by Masai Ujiri. The Raptors were able to acquire a sixth man of the year type player and an intriguing prospect in Lucas Noguiera for a player that was rarely used in John Salmons. Additionally, Salmons' best days as a player were clearly behind him at the time of this trade.
10 Worst - Chris Bosh Trade
There are two problems with the Raptors trading Chris Bosh: the timing and the return. It was obvious to people that follow basketball that Chris Bosh was going to leave the team when he was a free agent. Therefore, Colangelo should have traded him much earlier, instead of waiting for a sign and trade during free agency. Colangelo could have justified keeping Bosh if the team was a legitimate threat to win in the playoffs. However, they were a low seed playoff team, best case scenario.
9 Best - Trading for Amir Johnson
Every team could use a player like Amir Johnson. He has an incredibly high motor, puts the team first, and is an overall solid player. The Raptors were able to acquire Johnson (and Sonny Weems) from Milwaukee for a relatively small package. In all, the Raptors traded the rights of Carlos Defino, who was likely never going to play in a Raptors uniform again, and Roko Ukic.
8 Worst - Trading for Rudy Gay
I understand the thinking of Bryan Colangelo when trading for Rudy Gay. Colangelo wanted to acquire a dynamic player that would generate buzz in the city of Toronto and to be fair, the Raptors did not have to give up anything out of this world to acquire him. Overall, Gay had the potential to be a star and Toronto was desperate after losing Chris Bosh so this trade did make some sense at the time.
7 Best - Trading for Serge Ibaka
This a relatively new trade in Raptors history, but there is no denying it was a great move by Jeff Weltman and Masai Ujiri. The Raptors have lacked a dynamic power forward for a long time and players such as Pascal Siakam and Patrick Patterson just were not getting the job done as starting fours.
6 Worst - Trading for Jermaine O'Neal
Trading for Jermaine O'Neal was the ultimate gamble by Bryan Colangelo. Colangelo needed to make a big move to show Chris Bosh that the organization was serious about winning. The idea was that O'Neal and Bosh could form a twin tower and be unstoppable on both offense and defense.
Well, that did not exactly work out. For starters, O'Neal's best years were clearly behind him and his knees were damaged goods. Did the Raptors think he was going to be more durable with age or something?
5 Best - Trading Away Andrea Bargnani
My first thought when Andrea Bargnani was traded: Finally, I will not have to watch those Primo Pasta commercials anymore.
Sometimes the best move you can make is an addition by subtraction. That is exactly what happened when Masai Ujiri pulled off a remarkable trade to get rid of Bargnani. Even better is that Bargnani was traded to a division rival in the New York Knicks. Therefore, the Knicks had to fall in love with Bargnani's potential, only to be heartbroken in the end. To make matters even better for the Raps, they were somehow able to get a first round pick from the Knicks when dumping Bargnani.
4 Worst - The Sign and Trade for Hedo Turkoglu
This trade is a hindsight situation. At the time, many people praised the trade the Raptors made to get Hedo Turkoglu. However, he just never panned out in Toronto. Turkoglu showed he could be a very clutch player after coming off a NBA Finals run with the Orlando Magic.. However, with the Raptors he proved to be anything but clutch. From day one, Turkoglu complained that he did not have the ball enough and had a poor attitude. Luckily, the Raptors were able to trade him and his terrible contract away.
3 Best - Trading Away Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay has had a solid career and this is by no means a shot at him. However, the Raptors had a younger and similar player in DeMar DeRozan. Gay and DeRozan's game did not mesh well together, as they were much too similar. Thus, the Raptors had to move on from one of the players.
2 Worst - Trading Away Vince Carter
The reason basketball is popular in Toronto is because of Vince Carter. To this day, he is still probably the best player in franchise history.
Yes, Carter wanted out of Toronto, but that did not mean the Raptors had to give him away for basically nothing. In total, the Raptors traded Carter away for Aaron Williams, Eric Williams, Alonzo Mourning, and two first round picks. Alonzo Mourning never played a game for the Raptors and Aaron and Eric Williams were average players at best. The two draft picks did not turn out to be anything great either.
1 Best - Trading for Kyle Lowry
It is undeniable that Kyle Lowry has become one of the top players in Raptors history. With Lowry as the starting point guard, the Raptors have set multiple franchise records, including victories in a regular season, and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. Lowry has also set the record for most three pointers made by a Raptor.
Remember, the best part about this trade was that Lowry was a "Plan B." The Raptors were unable to sign Steve Nash, so the Raptors traded for Lowry instead. Nash went on to struggled before retiring, while Lowry has been an All-Star nearly every season. Add in the fact that the Raptors only gave up a heavily protected first round pick and rarely used Gary Forbes and this was a great deal by Bryan Colangelo.
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