Saturday, November 20, 2010

Potential Raptor trade?

New readers, please check out the basics before leaving any comments.

According to ESPN, the Raptors and Hornets have agreed to a five player swap. Leaving Toronto are Jarrett Jack, David Andersen, and Marcus Banks. Arriving are Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless.

Now, this is merely a reported deal - nothing has been finalized. I'll provide my intial reactions now, and if the deal changes between now and when it becomes finalized, I'll change my analysis accordingly.

This trade would accomplish two major things for the Raptors: first of all, it clears salary. Peja has one year remaining on his contract, which is somewhere north of $14.25 million. The second thing it does is create a roster space, which the Raptors will presumably use to obtain a centre (hopefully Erick Dampier), given that there is only one "centre" on the roster at the moment (because Andersen will be traded away and Solomon Alabi has been assigned to the D-League). It also nets the Raps a young, cheap player in Jerryd Bayless.

But I'm not really impressed with this deal. If the Raptors are interested in shedding salary, Jack, Andersen, and Banks are not the best players to get rid of. Banks's deal is expiring at the end of this season, so including him doesn't really accomplish anything. Jack's deal is very reasonable - $4.86 million this season, $5.22 million next season, and $5.58 million the season after that - given that he produced 6.9 wins last year (second most on the team behind Chris Bosh). Even though he's been injured, he hasn't been playing as well this season - which isn't entirely surprising (last year was a career year for Jack). But even if Jack goes back to being as productive as he was in 2008-09, he'd still be worth the money. Andersen didn't play well at all during his rookie season last year, but through preseason and the season so far he's been far more productive than Andrea Bargnani, who the Raptors are paying $50 million over the next five years. Andersen is getting $2.5 million this year, with a team option for $2.7 million next year, which is relatively cheap. No, if the Raptors were interested in shedding salary, they would've been better to trade away Bargnani, Calderon, or Barbosa.

And what about the players they will be getting back, Jerryd Bayless and the corpse formerly known as Peja? These days, the only thing attractive about Peja as a player is the fact that his massive contract is expiring at the end of the season. The last time Peja produced at an above average level (WP48 of 0.100 or above) was the 2007-08 season, when he had a WP48 of 0.102 and 5.8 wins in 2711 minutes. In 2006-07, his WP48 was negative, and in 2005-06, his WP48 was 0.148. So really, we're not talking about someone who should be expected to make any sort of difference on the court...although, after 76 minutes this season, his WP48 is 0.184 :)

The allure of Jerryd Bayless is probably what sold this deal for the Raptors. Bayless is a young player who was taken by Indiana with the 11th pick of the 2008 draft, and then, along with Ike Diogu, traded to the Trailblazers for Josh McRoberts, Brandon Rush, and...Jarrett Jack. That's good, right? The Raptors are stockpiling cheap young players like I suggested! Well yes, except that, when you go after cheap young players, you are still supposed to go after good cheap young players. In his rookie season, Bayless had a WP48 of  -0.099. In his second season, Bayless posted a WP48 of 0.025. This year, his WP48 is only -0.149 after 133 minutes of playing time. So, in 1959 career minutes, he has produced -1.1 wins with a WP48 of -0.027.

Jerryd Bayless can't be included in a multi-player deal because he was just traded to the Hornets; the two teams will actually have to make two separate trades in order for this transaction to adhere to league rules. To top it all off, rumour has it that the Raptors might even be using part of the Chris Bosh trade exception in this deal. If so, that just makes it that much worse. I'm sure the Raptors could've done better than this trade. Even if this trade opens up a roster spot for Erick Dampier and they pair Stojakovic's expiring deal with the Bosh trade exception to land a big-name player, they could've done better than this.

For the Hornets, this deal was a no-brainer. They get a very useful player in Jack, an okay (for now) backup big man (with what amounts to an expiring deal) in Andersen, and an expiring contract in Banks. All they had to do was give up Peja's contract and Bayless?!?!?!? This trade makes them even better in the short term, and doesn't have much of an impact on the books (short term or long term). The only negative thing about it is that perhaps they could have nabbed a big-name player with Peja's contract, but that's only a hypothetical.

If this trade becomes official, I'll put up a new post with lots of fancy tables and the final analysis. Stay tuned.

 - Devin

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