Wednesday July 15 2010 – 10:28am Eastern – Toronto, ON
So the Leandro Barbosa – Hedo Turkoglu swap has finally been made official and we can now dissect the trade and see what it means for the Raptors.
It’s honestly difficult to find any fault with this deal. Toronto acquired a younger player (27 vs 31) – a cheaper player ($14+ million vs $43+ million) – that should fit in well with the young, athletic bodies Bryan Colangelo has assembled for Jay Triano and his staff.
Whether Barbosa starts or not remains to be seen. But if he doesn’t, I don’t think it would be fair to look back on this trade and say: ‘We swapped a starter for a 6th man’. It’s more about the fit for this team, and Barbosa’s speed and versatility are better-suited for the Raps.
Turkoglu’s one-year saga in Toronto has been well-documented. He came to the Big Smoke with a ton of fanfare and optimism (and expectations) and didn’t really live up to any of it. Whether he was hurt, out of shape, uninterested or simply dealing with chemistry issues, there’s no other way to describe the last 12 months than: failure.
However, I don’t believe Turkoglu is a bad person and I do believe that he’s far from washed up (like some have suggested). In fact, he’ll probably flourish in Phoenix playing alongside a guy like Steve Nash. He’ll be asked to rebound more but he’ll also have the chance to handle the ball and make decisions in the Suns’ free-flowing offence. I wish Turk the best.
Barbosa had a disappointing 2009-10 season as well. He played in just over 40 games and was ineffective for good chunks of the year. But overcoming a wrist injury should not be a major concern for the Brazilian – or the Raptors. I’m confident he’ll be able to regain the form he once had in Phoenix and provide some serious punch to Toronto’s line-up. Let’s not kid ourselves, Barbosa is not an elite superstar in the NBA, but he’s a very good player that should be a wealth of experience and knowledge to the young core in T.O.
Dwayne Jones – who comes with Barbosa in the deal – is a mystery at this point. Reports originally suggested that Jones was going to be flipped to Charlotte (with Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans) in the now-dead trade for Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw. It remains to be seen if Jones truly has a future with the Raptors or not. If he is on the roster by the time Training Camp rolls around in October, I’d assume he’d fill the Patrick O’Bryant role of ‘depth guy on the bench that sees little-to-no-action’.
The financial ramifications of this deal – that I mentioned earlier – cannot be overlooked or underplayed. Turkoglu’s contract was considered by many to be immovable. Well, Colangelo got rid of that $43+ million, didn’t have to give up a draft pick or even cash considerations, and got a solid player (Barbosa) in return as well. But the savings Toronto will now reap should give them a ton of cash to play with in 2 seasons when Barbosa expires and the following year as well, when they would have still be paying Turk more than $12 million.
Holes still remain on the roster, so Colangelo can’t be done. There will be more trades (and signings?) coming. But this trade is certainly a step in the right direction for the Raptors.