Adrian Wojnarowski reported that PJ Tucker has been traded to the Toronto Raptors! For what, I'm not sure. More to come!
UPDATE 3:05 pm
The Raptors will send Jared Sullinger and two future 2nd Round Picks for Tucker.
More to come...
UPDATE 3:18 pm
Sources: Toronto is sending Phoenix its 2017 and 2018 second-round picks in the Tucker trade.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 23, 2017
According to Wojnarowski, the Raptors will be trading their 2017 & 2018 2nd round picks to Phoenix.
More to come...
UPDATE 4:38 pm
OK, now that I'm finally home, I am able to give a proper write up regarding the move that the Raptors made at the deadline (no need to rehash).
First off, HUGE shoutout to Masai Ujiri for pulling this off. For what little the Raptors were able to trade to Phoenix compared to what was reportedly demanded in a trade for Tucker to three other teams, it's pretty remarkable. Consider the fact that the Raptors traded away two future 2nd Round Draft Picks (2017 & 2018) along with a player that, quite literally, had one good game with the Raptors against Boston. Just one. Also, let us not forget what the Raptors didn't give up; their other 1st Round Pick as well as any of their future talent, such as Norman Powell, Delon Wright, Lucas Nogueira, and Bruno Caboclo. When it comes down to it, the only two things of great value (at the present) that the Raptors traded away were Terrence Ross and the lesser of their two 1st Round Picks for Serge Ibaka. Seeing as though that's a different deal, entirely, it's pretty hard for me to find reasons to not like the Tucker trade and not not have complete confidence in the Raptors' ability to attain the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference again. Gee-Zuss!
Now, I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't at least talk about the kind of player the Raptors are getting in Tucker. The main thing to keep in mind is: Defense. Defense. Defense! Tucker is a 6'6" 31 year-old small forward/shooting guard that's able to defend at the 3 and 4 spots. What makes Tucker valuable for the Raptors, however, is his aggressiveness and toughness against the bigger guards that are inclined to drive in the lane. With his primary role to serve as the backup to DeMarre Carroll, his numbers are satisfying. This year with the Suns, he's played 57 games, averaging 28.5 minutes primarily off the bench, 2.6 buckets a game with a FG% of 41.6% on the floor, and shooting 33.8% from deep. Not incredible at standalone value, but to have as insurance for Carroll and/or to alleviate the pressure on the rookies who, for the most part, aren't tested or ready in big-game situations, it fits the need that the Raptors have. Lastly, and not be overlooked (my friend, Jimmy, pointed this out), let's not ignore Tucker's shoe-game. Straight fire! This was by no means a splashy trade, whatsoever. However, I do believe (call it a hunch) that the reason it took to the very last minute of the 3PM deadline was because the Raptors wanted to see what Boston was doing, if anything. Which leads me to...
The Celtics did absolutely jack-shit!
So, remember when Isaiah Thomas tweeted out this -
👀— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) February 21, 2017
And ALL these Green-Teamers went absolutely ape-shit, assuming that it meant the Celtics were ready to make a big splashy deal? Yeah, about that.
First of all, the reason these people went nuts over a simple emoji is because Thomas tweeted the same thing out right before the Celtics signed Al Horford. Therefore, according to those that just assume things, the Celtics were about to do something similar - as if the GM keeps in constant contact with his players as to what he's about to do (yeah, ok!).
Moreover, I suppose Andre Drummond was in the trolling mood because, not too long after Thomas tweeted that out, Drummond tweeted the exact same thing -
👀— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummond) February 21, 2017
So, ya know, obviously it means that they're both heavily involved in their respective GM's jobs and know exactly what they're doing and when they're doing it. YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP!
On a more serious note, there's no way of knowing if there legitimately was anything in the works between the Celtics and Pistons regarding Drummond. Honestly, this type of information is rarely let out. Not to mention, Thomas did a little bit of back-tracking as to the "real" meaning of his tweet. Which.... sure. But as I mentioned in last weekend's pod, if the past is any indicator of the future, the Celtics weren't going to move the Brooklyn pick that they have for 2017 (and 2018), and for any of the players they were looking to attain, chances are they weren't going to give up what was needed to supplement the pick. Whether it was Paul George, Jimmy Butler, or Andre Drummond, the Celtics would have to give up a considerable amount. Being from the area and being surrounded by New England sports news, there was just no way Danny Ainge was going to pull that trigger.
Thus, with the Celtics standing pat, they obviously didn't get any better, while the Raptors obviously did. Whether or not the Raptors improved enough to overtake the 2nd place spot in the Eastern Conference has yet to be seen. But with the inclusion of Ibaka and Tucker, it's hard to not be encouraged. Of course, "on-paper" doesn't mean jack shit. The players have to go out and play to the ability that I'm confident that they can.
It's important to be reminded to not expect All-Star like results immediately from Ibaka and/or Tucker (or really at all). It takes time to adjust and to be familiarized with the playbook, as well as time to get familiar with their new teammates. Losing tomorrow night against Boston isn't a huge deal, so try not to overreact if they do. However, with Patterson reportedly set to return, and the fact the game is on primetime on ESPN, the stars seemed to be aligned to make this for an exciting game to watch.
The biggest takeaway is that this may be the best all-around Raptors team in franchise history. Enjoy it!