Basically, Toronto trades Kyle Lowry and Steve Novak for Bonner, Green and Mills (and potentially rights to an overseas player or two, maybe a pick, etc.)
Like others, I've spent an unhealthy amount of time looking at potential trade scenarios around the league that could benefit my fave team, and there just isn't that mobile, athletic 3-4 defender/shotblocker out there that is both good enough to help in the playoffs (has to provide something on offense too to really help) and seems gettable with our trade chips (Thaddeus Young is intriguing if he could be acquired for Diaw/Bonner but why would the Sixers do that?).
If we could get one, great, but can we? If not, does that mean PATFO just gives up? I think they will, per usual, look far and wide at scenarios that might help the team, and I think this trade could potentially benefit both teams. Here's why:
Why it makes since for the Spurs
No, point guard isn't really a need. We have Parker and Mills, who has played excellent this season as a backup point guard, but Mills isn't playoff tested and his game is somewhat limited on both sides of the ball. I love the hustle on defense, but he is undersized. I love the 3-point shooting on offense, but he isn't a terrific playmaker (or even a good playmaker really). Lowry is bigger, more skilled and more experienced, and having a borderline All-Star season. He's probably the biggest reason the Raptors are a surprise 3-seed in the East thus far. Here's a guy that can make a difference in the playoffs, that defenses have to account for, that can spread the floor off the ball if playing with Parker or provide instant offense off the bench, which could be especially crucial in a series where small ball prevails, Tiago is rendered useless and Manu perhaps has to be inserted into the starting lineup (such a scenario might sound vaguely familiar). Put it this way, would you rather have Lowry to counter a Reggie Jackson type in the playoffs, or Mills? Novak could fill the minutes behind Kawhi in the regular season, albeit terribly, but he does have a familiarity with the system that I suppose is a plus. Losing Green hurts, but he is expendable with two other quality two guards on the roster in Manu & Marco.
Why it makes since for the Raptors
The Raptors have reportedly said they no longer want to move Lowry and are hoping to host a playoff series this season. Assuming that isn't typical front office bluster to boost trade leverage, that's an admirable goal. But winning a series and then getting destroyed in the second round by the vastly superior Heat or Pacers isn't going to help them much in the long run, and wasn't part of the original plan in Toronto anyway. It's not too late to tank yet, and this is still a team that knows the future isn't now. They are still looking to acquire assets and could get some in Green and a pick(s) and/or rights to overseas players. The Spurs first rounder is not likely going to be a very good pick anytime soon, but could be decent in the 2016 draft. The main attraction for the Raptors here though would be shedding Novak's horrendous contract, which pays him nearly $4 mil/year and has 3 seasons left (two after this one). This contract was originally inked by the Knicks, so you just know it's monumentally awful. Sure, losing Lowry this season hurts, but they may not be able to resign him after the season anyway and he may not be in their plans even if they could. Moving Novak gives them the cap flexibility in the future that they covet as they rebuild, and should take some of the sting out of losing a potential 3-seed this season.
Anyway, I've read a lot of trade proposals in the comments, on the home page here and even in the Express News coverage, but they all seemed pretty farfetched to me. This one seems a bit more realistic with both teams gaining something out of it, at least imo, and while I know this will never happen I'd be interested in hearing some feedback. Do I have a future working for RC Buford, or am I more James Dolan material? haha