Should the Raptors trade for Paul Millsap?

Amongst the latest rumors involving Paul Millsap being shopped in Atlanta reports have emerged of two deals that were set in place for either the Denver Nuggets at the trade deadline or the Toronto Raptors to acquire the 6’8” PF (had Al Horford resigned with the Hawks).

However, with Horford signing with the Celtics no deal was made for the Raptors to acquire Millsap. This scenario is different now with the Hawks willing to part with Millsap but the question is for how much? With the Nuggets and the Raptors still in play it seems that the Raptors would be the perfect fit for the star PF.

Some questions however remain regarding this potential deal to the Raptors.

Who to deal?

If there was a deal set in place it most likely included Terrence Ross and either the Raptors or Clippers 2017 first round pick. But this is not enough to let the Hawks part with Millsap. So the question becomes do the Raptors have enough assets to obtain the stretch four while maintaining their depth? The simple answer is yes and given GM Masai Ujiri’s track record, he’s not one to make a deal unless it’s fair or he has outright won the trade. Assets the Raptors can part with include one of either Patrick Patterson, Norman Powell, Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam or Cory Joseph.

The most valuable pieces including Patrick Patterson and Cory Joseph. Patterson is a stretch 4 that virtually every team is looking to acquire however his expiring contract could be a deal breaker unless it is sure he is to resign with the Hawks, as well Cory Joseph maintains large value as the 6th man for Toronto and has a close relationship with Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer who coached Joseph back in San Antonio.

As well the promising pieces in Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell could be enticing enough for the Hawks to receive due to their endless potential in the future. Regardless, if a deal with the Hawks falls through expect one or more of these pieces to be in play.

In an recent ESPN TrueHoop Podcast, Brian Windhorst stated: “I was talking to an executive just yesterday about a potential Toronto-Atlanta trade and he was like, ‘If they can get two assets out of it, then Atlanta would have done a good job.’ The two assets are Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross.”

Is there a fit?

The next question becomes whether there is a fit with the Raptors. On paper this looks like the perfect fit for a much-needed power forward in Millsap however on the court it’s a different story (i.e. Dwight Howard with the Lakers). Many questions can be asked regarding any trade including; Will Millsap get the touches he wants on the team? Will joining the team mess with the strong chemistry?

These questions cannot be answered with 100% accuracy however it’s safe to say when you make a trade you take the chance in hopes for the best. I believe that Millsap will fit right in. He will be no stranger in the locker room with friend DeMarre Carroll by his side as well as familiar All-Star teammates in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to make the transition easier.

DeRozan and Lowry have been willing to share the workload and I believe that providing Millsap with more touches will not be a problem. The Raptors will be given that star power forward and third player the raptors can rely on if Lowry and DeRozan are having off nights. Millsap can stretch the floor, post up, rebound and pass which are most needed at the PF position. Overall, I believe this is a perfect fit for the Raptors.

Will the Raptors pass the Cavaliers with the addition of Millsap?

The biggest question from this entire article would be if this deal makes sense. Additionally, the biggest challenge for the Raptors this season are the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors are 0-3 against the Cavs this season losing by an average of 3.67 points however throughout the game there are glaring weaknesses mainly at the frontcourt. Millsap will help with matchups and provide that additional go to guy when Lowry and DeRozan are constantly double teamed. But can Millsap allow the Raptors to overcome the Cavs? I believe that it provides the Cavs a greater challenge and that with some luck the Raptors could beat the Cavs in a 7-game series. No one believed the Raptors would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals and take the Cavs to 6 games however that happened and shocked everyone! So, whose to say the Raptors cannot overcome the Cavs. By the famous words of Kevin Garnett, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!

Should the Raptors make this trade?

Overall, I believe that if Raptors want a chance at the NBA finals they should strongly consider trading for Millsap. For one Lowry, 30, and Millsap, 31, are not getting any younger however they can remain productive for another 5 years. Trading for that much-needed PF position helps. They’re able to obtain Millsap’s Bird Rights and gives them the chance to make a run at the finals for a good 3-5 years. Yes, resigning both Lowry and Millsap would take a hit to Raptors cap but that’s what needs to be done to win. However, if other trade scenarios present itself Raptors shouldn’t pull the trigger just yet. Other possible trade candidates include, Wilson Chandler, and Nerlens Noel. In a perfect world, I believe that aside from Millsap, Serge Ibaka would be the perfect fit who is about 4 years younger! If the Raptors can’t obtain Millsap I say go all in for Ibaka.

The NBA Trade Deadline is less than 2 months away. Let’s see what the Raptors have in store for us!

Piece by Chris Hu – Twitter:@OhYouKnowHu

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