Tuesday July 27 2010 – 1:44pm Eastern – Toronto, ON 

I’m kicking myself right now.

I’m about to break one of my biggest / most important rules; one that I’ve had in place for more than 10 years …

I’m going to mention a ‘fantasy trade’ that I’d support the Raptors inquiring about.

I will, however, say that the reason I bring up this ‘fantasy trade’ is because I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the player(s) I’m about to mention.  This isn’t an original idea on my part — so maybe I can’t be blamed for creating this ‘fantasy’ — I’m simply responding to what others are talking about.

Emeka Okafor.

Listen, Okafor is overpaid.  I’m not sure that there are many in NBA circles that could argue that he’s making too much money (not that it’s HIS fault though; the man simply signed a contract that he was offered).  Here’s what’s left on his deal:

2010/11 -$11.5 million
2011/12 – $12.5 million
2012/13 – $13.5 million
2013/14 – $14.5 million

The Raptors are in dire need of a starting center right now (or a legit back-up at the very least).  They thought they had that big man in the middle when they were close to pulling off a trade for Charlotte Bobcats big man, Tyson Chandler.  But when that deal fell through, Andrea Bargnani was penciled back in as the starting center for T.O. and Amir Johnson suddenly went back into the starting line up as well (at PF).  And now the Raps are left with Ed Davis and Reggie Evans coming off the bench with Solomon Alabi as the only other CENTER.  It’s not pretty at this point.

That’s where Okafor comes into the mix.

By acquiring the 6’10 product from Connecticut, Toronto would have that starting center they’re looking for and Bargnani could slide over to his more natural position at the 4.  The Raptors would be obtaining a durable player that has played all 82 games for 3 straight seasons; a big man that has averaged 13.3 PPG, 10.3 REB, and 1.8 BLK for his career.

Last season was the only year in Okafor’s career where he didn’t average a double-double and his scoring totals (10.1 PPG) were the lowest in his career as well.  That said, at 27 years old, I don’t think his skills are diminishing or his ‘game’ is on a down-turn.  On top of that, the New Orleans Hornets are hurting financially.  They’d probably WELCOME any opportunity they’d have to rid themselves of Okafor’s tab.  Heck, every rumour you’ve heard about Chris Paul being traded from New Orleans includes Paul’s new team picking up Okafor in the deal as well (with the thought being that the Hornets would say to “Team A” … ‘you want CP3?  Well, you’re taking Emeka then too’).  So if you’re the Raptors … when not swoop in and take Okafor anyway?  By doing so, Toronto could be scratching New Orleans’ back as well … in that the Hornets could now trade Paul and NOT have to unload Okafor in the same transaction; you would assume that that scenario would improve the offers for Paul from teams around the league.

(*And, no, Toronto is not getting Chris Paul; he’s not coming here).

The Raptors could make this deal as well without having to give up a player from their roster.  Toronto could use most/all of their trade exception from the Bosh-to-Miami deal and acquire Okafor for, essentially, nothing more than money.  In fact, if the Raps are still interested in dealing Jose Calderon, perhaps a potential deal with New Orleans could involve the Spanish guard … giving the Hornets an insurance plan for a potential Paul trade (with Calderon and Darren Collison now pairing the point in Louisiana).

Yes, it’s a lot of money.  But when I look around the league and check out centers that are available in free agency or MAY be available in trade … it’s slim pickings!  Thus, Okafor is worth the ‘risk’ for Toronto. 

Roll the dice.

E. Smith

27 Responses to “Roll The Dice”
  1. 1.

    If you are leaning to making this trade, why not include Collison in the deal for Calderon, and fill one of our needs in a point guard (starting or backup), by picking up this contract

    - Shane
  2. 2.

    Just wondering. IF, he is willing to come at a cheaper price tag (rumour that he’s still a free agent is because of his hefty price/years that he wants), but IF he is willing to come cheaper, why not get The Diesel as the back-up center.

    I know that he’s slow and really poor in terms of his offense compared to a few years back, BUT he is still a force in the middle and he’d help our two young draft-picks to learn a lot and grow immensely with hm in the fold. I think near the end of the summer, and with no teams picking him up, I’m sure he will eventually lower his price to play somewhere…

    - Julian
  3. 3.

    Hey Eric, I read this morning on ESPN that Louis Amundson might be getting some looks by BC? Any truth to that? He might be a good fit @ the 5 position. A guy who plays hard n runs the floor in that Phoenix run n gun style that the raps is trying to implement here..

    Thanks Safaaz

    - Safaaz Omar
  4. 4.

    If Okafor is being trade just for Caldron then, they have to HAVE TO! include Darren Collison.

    There is no flippen way I have taking that contract I rather wait next year when the Raps have a chance getting, Al Horford, Perkins, Nene, and many more.

    - Raps Fan
  5. 5.

    okafor would be a nice stop gap guy… but in a yr we will all be looking at him and his terrible contract no different then we look at calderon or hedo… the raptors need to just let things play out and ride the young players right now… and to get better we need to really BOTTOM out and get top draft picks

    - kieron
  6. 6.

    Come Eric, Okafor straight up? His offence is negligible, his defence way overrated. There is a reason New Orleans had the highest opponent field goal percentage at the rim last year. Big centres overpower him, mobile ones abuse Okafor because he can’t cover the pick and roll.

    And the contract is an abomination. You would expect to be well compensated in prospects and picks for taking it on. Straight up? Not a concept.

    - David
  7. 7.

    Louis Amundson is a 6’9(at best) forward. He’s no 5 and only adds to the rest of the 4′s on the roster. And with Paul getting move, there is no way the Hornets move Collison.

    - Hasan
  8. 8.

    We can’t package the exception and players. So its either/or. If we’re trading Calderon wouldn’t we have to bundle Reggie and/or Banks and/or Belinelli and/or Dwayne Jones? I wouldn’t mind getting rid of those expiring contracts. It only makes sense to make this move. But then again the Hornets would have to agree. What do you think Eric?

    - Buruzoth
  9. 9.

    Find a way to get Tayshaun in a 3 way deal and now you’re on the right track.

    - Mark
  10. 10.

    Love Shaq as much as any player in the league, but it’s over. And, he’s obviously a terrible fit for the “run and gun” this team, APPARENTLY, is after.

    Then again — much to the shagrin of most of you Raps’ fans — don’t think this team will at all resemble a “running” team.


    It’s easy. They can’t rebound and they don’t have a proper point guard who can push the ball up the court, game after game. Keep in mind that Sam Mitchell, two years ago, said the exact same thing that everyone is saying now — “we’ll run with the best of ‘em. We’ll shoot the ball 100 darn times a game!”.

    What happened? No one rebounded, Calderon was always hurt, and the run and gun was dead in it’s tracks.

    Yes, Amir Johnson can run. But, he’s a backup (for now, anyways). Bargnani is useless when it comes to consistent hustle. He’ll tease you for a game…or half a game. And, then stand there for the next ten, looking as though he had just undergone a full frontal lobotomy. Forget about him leading the charges to the rim.

    I know fans love the idea of Superman Bryan Colangelo taking the Raps to the promised land via the run and gun — but, I don’t suggest waiting up for it.

    The players just aren’t there.

    As usual.

    As for Emeka Okafor, he’s not the answer for this team. Rebuilding is. And, acquiring Okafor is the opposite of rebuilding. In fact, it reeks of the typical Toronto Maple Leafs deal…which seems to be a trend throughout all of MLSE.

    He’s not a bad player. But, he’s wildly overpaid. And, in a league where the best teams find the best ways to ride the cap to the title, overpaying players will get you nowhere.

    As it is, we’ve already got two players (Calderon and Bargnani) who are paid double their worth.

    - brento.
  11. 11.

    its so nice to hear a refreshing non cheerleader view and some one who covers the “raps” who gets it,,not afraid to say a few things outside of the box,,thanks E for having jack on,

    - lemongellofan
  12. 12.

    If the Raps are going to take on Okafor then they should get Collison in the package as well for Calderon or Jack. Wasting the TPE on Okafor would be a terrible move since he is not an impact/all star player. The Raps dont need mor mediocre players on the roster. The TPE should be saved for all star calibre players.

    - ad
  13. 13.

    The idea that you can make up for a starting frontcourt player’s bad rebounding and defense by adding a great frontcourt defender doesn’t work.

    - Arsenalist
  14. 14.

    Eric, Eric, Eric… why or why would you suggest that, we do need a Center but not Okafor, we need deals that last 3 years max, nothing against Okafor, but we will be stuck with this dude making a ton of money, I’d much rather see Andres Biedrins from GSW or even Marcin Gortat from Orlando and I’m sure BC already has some center already in his plans. I’m pretty sure the fans will be on you for this one.

    - rapluva
  15. 15.

    Here’s something I would consider, Jose Calderon for Dahntay Jones and Jeff Foster.

    Indiana gets their point guard of the future and we end up with both the holes BC is trying to fill…

    - rapluva
  16. 16.

    Eric, the trade doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sure this team could use another big man preferably a vet. But they need a number 1 option more. While I could see the dump from the Hornets side taking back a backup like Calderon for 8 million a year is not what they are looking for.

    Right now no other changes this is a 15-20 team. Unless they add an effective #1 option, Bargnani’s numbers will drop. Especially if he plays the 4.

    - DH
  17. 17.

    for the love of everything that is holy! this team is getting softer by the second!!! andris biedrins???? marcin gortat???? i’ll be honest, i’m pretty sick of this euro ball that people are trying force down this city’s throat!!! THE TEAM IS SOFT!!! and bringing those guys in makes this team SOFTER!!!! okafor, i could stomach, a little… but these other guys???? you have to be kidding… jeff foster, i like him… he’s tough as nails, doesn’t want the ball, just to rebound, and he’s tough… i’d try to acquire him, but none of the others… dahntay jones though? geez

    this city’s fans have officially gone crazy…

    - chefdiz
  18. 18.

    And, while I’m here…

    as if we needed more proof that Bryan Colangelo is a failing and flailing, p

    His rant on the FAN was nothing but immature garbage.

    If, during Bosh’s last season in TO, he had told Colangelo he wanted to sign a max contract extension to stay in TO, I am nearly certain BC would have had the contract drawn up in 30 seconds.

    And, now that Bosh is gone, after Colangelo failed to provide anything even remotely close to a successful supporting cast for the multi-time allstar, Colangelo rips into his franchise player.

    Seriously, folks. This stiff of a GM is not only incapable of building a successful franchise, he’s also a thankless bully.

    Why didn’t he say that to the Bobcat while Bosh was still employed by the team?

    - brento.
  19. 19.

    I think a good trade can involve Knicks too
    They told “ayone but Stoudemie is available”
    Ok, they have a great expiring (Curry) but they must pay something, they can’t simple take alla advantages (CP3) and giving a bust
    SO they must sacrifice a piece
    We need a C and Okafor is a good fit
    And we can give Jose.
    But what about a trade like this?
    Okafor-Gallinari to Toronto
    Curry+Jose+Reggie +NY first pick to Hornets
    CP3 to New York

    - Appel
  20. 20.

    YouTube has Bosh’s appearance on Fallon’s TV show .
    Also Bosh rang bell at NYSE .
    Did he ever do that at TSX?

    - Chas
  21. 21.

    Geez, guys! Give the damn Chris Bosh rant a flippin’ rest!!!!

    I think you asked that question about the TSX as a joke, but come on, Chas!! Anyways, folks are INVITED to ring the bell…perhaps you should be ringing the board at the exchange to rail them for not having Chris start off the biz day at King and Bay.

    Who freakin’ cares what Bosh does or doesn’t do in his spare time. This obsession with celebrity and athletes is nearing a cracking point – how about looking at Bosh’s ON COURT performance over his seven year tenure in TO, and evaluating that?!?!?!

    Then, take a look at the utter garbage Bryan Colangelo fitted the team with, to build around it’s franchise player.

    Nothin’ but a huge pile of dung. If I was Bosh, I would have been outta here the second my free agency period commenced. Anything to get away from a franchise that has absolutely zero clue as to how to build a winner.

    - brento.
  22. 22.

    Appel, I think you can get more for CP3.

    - Raps Fan
  23. 23.

    Okafor?????Guy hasnt done anything much since he was the SECOND PICK in the 04 draft?? with his HUGE contract, this would be a dumb trade for toronto. yeah he’s a center but come on, even if we get him, this team will be lucky to win 25 games!

    and why do you all think NOH would take back calderon?? he has $9 million for this year, close to $10mil next, and over $10mil after that?? i doubt dell demps is dumb enough to take him…scratch that any gm in the nba would be dumb to take his contract.

    and another thing why would the Hornets trade away Collison?? hes shown to be an amazing PG in the league last season. he is the replacement for when CP3 leaves…

    most raps fans dont seem to make much sense nowadays..

    i do agree that Colangelo is not doing well, failing infact, and he should be on the hot seat, should have understood that CB4 was gone from the start of the season….

    save the money, let the young guys play… we can develop these guys into good players cause they all have potential like Demar and Davis, give them the chance and keep low contracts on the roster so that they dont walk first chance that they get…..

    - Rasheed
  24. 24.

    this team is officially, pathetic… david andersen??? who??? this team has turned into a joke…

    - chefdiz
  25. 25.

    Emeka would be a disastor for us, he will take minnutes from ED and Amir limit our prospects going forward and quite frankly he is not that good (on both ends of the floor).
    Our solution to the centre position will have to come from the draft, for now (and since we will be a lottery team) I’d settle for expirings centers like foster or take a flyer on some of the FAs.

    - thomas1
  26. 26.

    For the first time ever, Eric recommends Raps trade for Okafor, and almost instantly Colangelo, at his peril, ignores Eric’s advice, and trades for Aussie Anderson instead.

    I think you could use some of the medication my therapist prescribes for me.
    Bosh was here 7 yrs, so maybe fans like to discuss him , on and off the court ?

    We’re still discussing Vince Carter after several yrs .

    At one point last season , Raps were 31-24 with Bosh and his surrounding cast . I don’t see that Bosh’s teammates were “garbage” as one post suggested.

    I like the moves Colangelo is making , and he’s probably not done .

    - Chas
  27. 27.

    I don’t care that the Raptors were 31-24 at one point last season. Another perfect example of a Raps fan glorifying something absolutely not worth glorifying.

    Bottom line is playoff series wins…unless, of course, you’re a franchise just starting out, at which point a steady improvement in wins totals is, obviously, important.

    Given this team has been around for 15 years, had top ten draft picks many, many times and been in the top 5-10 in attendance in the entire league for almost it’s entire life — celebrating a 31-24 start is rather sad.

    - brento.
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