The Trade Piece that the Raptors Media Somehow Forgot About

By Aaron

I left off from last week critiquing Jeff Blair’s article on Sportsnet on what his definition of going “all-in” meant for these Toronto Raptors. Now that the hoopla of All-Star weekend is over and the trade deadline is almost here we can re-focus on the Toronto Raptors media coverage and, oddly enough, the trade piece they all seem to be missing.

In my last column I teased a possible trade piece that would define going “all-in” and become serious contenders in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. His name is Dwight Howard. Let me be absolutely clear, I am not the biggest Dwight Howard fan. He’s slightly past his athletic prime, he has subpar winning intangibles and he can be a bit of a primadonna. However, as a third option he would put us on par with the other serious Eastern Conference contenders when it comes to star power. Although Dwight’s star has somewhat faded, he’s still considered one of the elite centres in the league when he’s on his game. His averages of 15 points 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks are still relatively impressive. Let’s not forget, he’s a 4x defensive player of the year and was the second best player on a Western Conference finalist last year.

As opposed to the Toronto Maple Leafs who never even attempt to go for a marquee star (unless you can consider management as stars), I think it’s time the Raptors take a page out of the Toronto Blue Jays playbook and try and get that Troy Tulowitzki or David Price, even if it’s for only 1 year (Howard has a player option next year which he may or may not exercise). For whatever reason, the Toronto Sports Media conveniently leaves his name out when discussing trade possibilities, despite the fact that the Houston Rockets are actively shopping him.

Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun writes

“The truth of the matter is anything Ujiri might want to do between now and 3 p.m. Thursday when the trade deadline expires is extremely limited.
Short of parting with any of his core pieces, bringing in any one of the rumoured available players is going to be very tough”.

I’m sorry Mr. Ganter, but Masai’s options are not limited when you accept the fact that the only “core” pieces on the Raptors are Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. My trade by the way would look like this. In less than a minute I came up with a trade that works for both teams while giving away no more than a couple role players and a prospect. Whether the Houston Rockets would accept this deal is a real possibility, in my opinion.

Doug Smith of writes.

“It’s far easier to say that Masai Ujiri should go get some upper tier power forward but if he has to send out so much salary it guts the team somewhere else, it’s not worth it”

As I stressed in my previous article, Lowry and DeRozan are the team. The rest of the guys are interchangeable role players. Both writers mention the names Thadeus Young, Markieff Morris, Al Horford, Ryan Anderson, Kenneth Faried etc, but they forget to mention the biggest fish of them all – Dwight Howard. The one guy who is actually being publicly being shopped, is a future hall of famer and who is still only 30 years old!

I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again, you won’t be a real contender in these playoffs without at least 3 star caliber players. You aren’t gutting the team by sending glorified role players for Dwight Howard.  I’m shocked that Mike Ganter or Doug Smith can’t see this. Instead they entertain deals that will either bring back marginally upgradable talent to fill a “need”, players barely rumoured to be shopped, or to stand pat entirely.

It’s just remarkable that one of the most dominant defensive forces of our generation is not being mentioned. It says a lot about the conservatism of the Toronto Raptors sports media – to essentially think small once again. This is a win now league and he gives us the best shot for a deep playoff run. The numbers work, its time to roll the dice and take our shot.

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Rob J
Rob J
February 17, 2016 9:37 am

The Leafs never go for marquee stars? Hope Eric Lindros and Owen Nolan don’t read this.

February 17, 2016 9:42 am

So, you’d trade away 2 starters and a rookie to rent a declining, injury-prone centre? Oh wait, you’re throwing in Jason Terry. What is he? 50? Let’s not overlook the fact that once you’re done, the Raps will STILL have a major gap at PF, except now we won’t have the return of a fresh Carroll to look forward to, either.

You want to know why neither Ganter or Smith discuss trading for Howard? Simple. Because Toronto DOES NOT NEED A CENTER! As a rule, trades are supposed to make a team better…. not worse.

February 17, 2016 9:42 am

Masai will stay put and pray they can win even just one round.
However on the Toronto sports media landscape rather than the sporting one, a quick elimination will make it quite entertaining since losing gets the best out of the media. T.O is def the most entertaining sports media market!

February 17, 2016 10:14 am

Rob, in this generation, I think he means for the Leafs. 🙂

Aaron, good read. The only problem I see is that it seems like Masai is in on this kumbaya thing of camaraderie. It’s not invalid, sure, but it seems like a trend that he can build consistently good teams, but not a team with the killer instinct that can go to the next level. I think using one of the first round picks on him is a no-brainer, as more guys with playoff experience can’t possibly do any harm.

Rob J
Rob J
February 17, 2016 10:19 am

Haha, I know…couldn’t resist a shot at an era when every washed up player in the league would end up in Tor anointed as ‘the one missing piece’ from a Leaf Cup….ah, good times.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
February 17, 2016 10:36 am

Howard is only averaging 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes while Biyombo is averaging 2.5 per 36 minutes. Howard is shooting a ridiculous 61.2% field goal %, but only shoots free throws at 53%. Biyombo has really improved shooting at the line, now at a career best 67.4%.

Also keep in mind chemistry, where BB has it in spades on this team. Howard would eat up his minutes, so BB would be going the other way or elsewhere, and what about JV and how he is affected by this, as he is not going anywhere. His minutes are affected. Howard averages 32 minutes per game and JV averages 26, so slide Howard to the power forward position and have them both play together? I can’t see this happening.

Far greater needs and players than getting Howard, not to mention his attitude which I don’t see meshing well with Casey and the team.

Aaron, the rumours on where Howard is going range from Charlotte, Miami, New Jersey, but nothing on the Raptors. Can’t say I am surprised.

February 17, 2016 10:44 am

Very good article. Lowry and demar needs a third star and they are in their prime right now. Raptors should go for it right now while the east and cavs not too strong. I hope Masai don’t wait and build the team slowly up, that can back fire.

February 17, 2016 10:49 am

This is a joke, right?

Dwight is a rental. He is a FA after the season, and you are proposing giving away JV, who is locked in for 5 more years, and Carroll, who is locked in for 4? And a prospect in Bruno?
For the record, I wouldn’t do it even if Howard had 3 more years on his deal. He is a 30 year old Center, who has been in the NBA since he was 18 or 19, and has already shown a big decline from his mid-20’s.
There is no reason for this team to mess up their chemistry and depth, and deal big parts of their future for a mediocre, declining big man…

aaron Nemtean
aaron Nemtean
February 17, 2016 11:11 am

In my fake trade, JV would be gone so Howard would be the primary center…
Let’s not forget he was a second option on a Conference Finalist last year. He is still a better all around center than JV or Biz when healthy (mind and body) and he would be an upgrade over both of them.

aaron Nemtean
aaron Nemtean
February 17, 2016 11:16 am
Reply to  Geoff

Firstly, Terry was a throw in to make the contracts work. Plus he has a certain veteran swagger from his abundance of playoff appearances.
You are right we do have a center. An average to below average center that will be exposed when the games matter, like always. Howard is a semi-major upgrade and Carroll is not a game changer. We need another star calibre talent to truly be feared come playoff time, even if his skills have somewhat diminished.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
February 17, 2016 12:10 pm

From all I have spoken to, Howard is not a good solution for this team. Certainly not beyond this year. So he’s not being forgotten about, he’s being ignored – by real knowledgeable basketball people….(Who I don’t need to remind everyone, has forgotten more about the game than any fan knows)…so I say “no” to Howard

February 17, 2016 12:28 pm

The main reasons I visit this website is to get a feel for what other people are thinking about the performance of the sports media personalities in Toronto, and to also get some inside information on what is happening to people in the industry – schedule changes, layoffs, etc.

I think this website spends too much time worrying about the radio wars – 590 vs. 1050 – but that’s my opinion and I come back to this website despite not agreeing with everything written (I like Wilner!) because I’m open to other people’s opinion, and the website stays on point – reviewing media coverage of the local teams.

A real opportunity on this website is a comparison of radio/TV coverage (Rogers v. Bell) of the Raptors as they make a playoff run – pre-game, in-game production, post game, and next day analysis. Who has the personalities, who has the inside analysis, who do people enjoy, who is full of hot air? You can’t make that comparison with the Blue Jays because Rogers has a monopoly on the in-game production, and who wants to make that comparison with the Leafs these days? So let’s really analyze the sports media brands on equal footing with a local team that has the potential for real success.

This article, while I don’t necessarily agree with it, doesn’t really belong on this website. Aaron isn’t analyzing the coverage of the Raptors, he is simply disagreeing with two local writers w/r/t trade options. There is a difference between analyzing the opinion of author – which is done on other websites and forums – and analyzing or critiquing the actual coverage itself – the quality and entertainment value of the coverage/writing, insider knowledge.

I truly hope there is an increased discussion of the media coverage of the Raptors on this website (including how the Raptors treat the media).

aaron Nemtean
aaron Nemtean
February 17, 2016 2:18 pm
Reply to  Rob in Aurora

I don’t care what “real” knowledgeable basketball people say and neither should you. These same experts praised draft picks like Andrea Bargnani and Rafael Arujo. They are the same people that are constantly wrong all the time. I trust my own instincts.
To take this to another sphere for a second, every intelligent, knowledgeable political pundit said Donald Trump had zero chance of winning the Republican nomination and he’s the front runner by far. So trust your instincts instead of listening to so-called experts.

February 17, 2016 2:52 pm

So what you’re saying is I should ignore all sports commentary – including articles on websites devoted to analyzing the sports media landscape – and only trust my – admittedly ill informed – opinion?


aaron Nemtean
aaron Nemtean
February 17, 2016 3:16 pm

No, what I’m saying is that the so called “experts” are wrong all the time so I wouldn’t dismiss a dissenting opinion because it doesn’t line up with every other sports writer’s views.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
February 17, 2016 3:25 pm

I agree with Derrick, Aaron, you should be focusing on the media angle, I get what I need from a basketball standpoint from RR & HQ.

February 17, 2016 3:40 pm

I am not surprised Ganter and Smith don’t want to gut the roster…they are surrounded by the players, coaches and management all day every day so saying trade this guy and that guy off means they have to answer to those guys after the deadline when they don’t get traded. Baseball is different in that you usually are not trading guys off of the big league roster to go “all in”

I’ve followed Doug Smith pretty much since day one and he has always been conservative in regards to roster movement and is loather to entertain speculation about trades. Hence, he is not going to advocate for them.

I am not sure getting Dwight Howard makes you that much better considering you have jettison 22 million in salary, draft picks, prospects to get him and there is a good chance he leaves over the summer. I think you overvalue what he is now (not what he was) vs. what you are giving up. I’d argue Patterson, JV and Bismack are better collectively than Howard by himself right now. The fact he was a star once upon a time doesn’t mean is one now.

This is why I think the media are ignoring Howard as a potential get. I agree, to win a championship you need 3 elite players…i am not sure getting Howard gets you any closer to that.

February 17, 2016 3:53 pm

About your trade Aaron…so if the Raps make this trade and face Cleveland in the playoffs they almost literally have nobody to guard LeBron since you are getting rid of Carroll. Also, Cleveland will foul the hell out of Dwight down the stretch making him unplayable. I think the Cavs beat this Raps team in 4 which is probably what they’d do against the current pre-trade team.

Please don’t take this personally as I am not attacking your notion that the Raps should try to get better and “gutting” the team is not a good enough reason to not make moves. It’s just that I don’t think Howard puts them in a better situation than they are in now…it’s like the shuffling the deck chairs analogy everyone is using to describe the changes at TSN 1050

February 17, 2016 5:33 pm


I think you are going to have people going at you if you continue to write and frame your columns the way you are.

Here are my thoughts, take them, throw them away, whatever you want with them.

This article has the bones of something that fits on this website. The way you frame it makes it not fit.

IF you look at the S&H Column you can see a good skeleton of how to frame things.

You are arguing that Dwight Howard is a fit for the Raptors and no one is talking about it – which is a valid media based storyline. The issue is you present it as you are the smartest man alive and should be an NBA GM because of your personal genius.

IMO, the story needs to be WHY is no one talking about it?
Does Doug Smith know something we don’t? Is the cost so high? Is Dwight Howards personality turned off the Raptors brass?

It is possible that all those writers who are down with the team know that the Raptors higher ups hate Dwight Howard….hate his agents…something.

So instead of saying they are “forgetting” Dwight Howard maybe give the writers some credit and ask….WHY aren’t they writing about him.

I could be wrong but that seems like it would fit into this site and it is the same content…….

Claire A Fye
Claire A Fye
February 17, 2016 5:37 pm

What’s the old saying? Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Aaron do yourself a favour. Don’t defend yourself by constantly posting rebuttals to criticism. Write your piece and then leave it alone. So far you come across as a knowledgable fan with a thin skin and nothing more. I appreciate your passion but I agree with several others here: stick to the media angle.

Peter Ballantine
Peter Ballantine
February 18, 2016 2:44 am

Who is this idiot Aaron? Yes, the Leafs don’t go for any big names! If only they had listened to you they would have signed Crosby, Malkin, Towes and Kane!! Oh man this is the most idiotic statement I’ve ever heard LOL!

What star players didn’t the Leafs go for? Brad Richards? They were there and look how he turned out. In hockey players sign with the team that drafted, developed and paid thing for the get go. Way to be dumb though.

BTW, there’s this star player you might have heard of called Stamkos. BUT THE LEAFS DEFINITELY WON’T GO AFTER HIM!! No they’ll just sit on their hands.

Also to the dummies at the top, where did Mogilny choose to sign when the Leafs were cup contenders? Oh right. All morons here LOL!

February 18, 2016 9:59 am

I agree that the content of this post is not really appropriate for the theme of this site. I am sure the writer will adjust as he goes forward. I appreciate that there is a third voice on this site. That’ said…..and in the spirit of the article – the notion that we trade for Howard is crazy – never mind the players the writer proposes to give up. Howard is an expensive rental who is deteriorating in skill and health and who is a malcontent. I would never make this trade. Now watch Masai make me eat my words!

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
February 18, 2016 10:23 am

Never thought I would be commenting ona Raptors article. Not much of a fan. But really, people, get a life. The guy is writing what he believes is relevant content. If you don’t like it don’t read it. To say he needs to do something different or to say he doesn’t belong on the site is ludicrous.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
February 18, 2016 10:36 am

This site last time I checked is called Toronto Sports Media, and I come here and want to comment on the media aspect, although I have no problem mixing it up with Aaron on the basketball front too, but why would I be so limited to do that here when Raptors Republic and Raptors HQ do it a lot better and have the content hardcore Raptor fans want there.

When Aaron who used to write at Raptors Republic came here to contribute I did not expect to see real basketball talk like this post. The reality is the content is not relevant to this site. If you, or TSM or Toronto Mike do not recognize this, then this site has jumped the shark, as it will be diluted with pure Raptor content or even if the lead-in is media related, it still ends up reading as pure basketball content.

Some suggestions for Aaron to get it back on shape:

1. Talk about and research how TSN and Sportsbet each cover the sport, i.e. resources put in, the personalities themselves and how they are perceived by this readership. One example would be how TSN uses MoPete and how Sportsnet uses Alvin Williams, both popular former Raptors, but how are they making out with the mike?

2. Raptors broadcasters seem to have the job security of government workers. Is this healthy? Why are we stuck with the same interminable voices, some of which should have been long gone. I do not need to throw names out here, but one in particular I have tuned out and hit the mute button when he is on.

3. Press Credentials – How does Jim decide who gets access these days between the MSM and the bloggers. How many are issued, who has access now. Be great to have an interview one on one with Jim and cover this angle and how he has lasted so long, as I have heard nothing buy good things on him as the PR Director, which may or may not be his title but you get my drift.

I can rhyme off more, but this is just to get the focus back where it belongs.

February 18, 2016 10:53 am

@Peter Ballantine… can disagree without being disagreeable. The guy wrote a piece with his opinion and it apparently worked because it got you to respond. No need to call him dumb.

In terms of whether this article is apropos for this site; I must admit that I too find it confusing for a media related site. If it is going to be hard core trade discussions/team news, well, this isn’t why I come here.

February 18, 2016 11:33 am

Brian Gerstein – those are great potential topics! I’d also add something along the lines of is the media still pandering to the notion that Canadians are not sophisticated basketball fans. I’d argue that the dissatisfaction towards Leo and/or Jack is that those two broadcasters are still working on the premise that we need to be told that putting the ball in the basket is what you are trying to do. The Blue Jays are not broadcast in this manner (although they could stand to be improved as well)not sure why 20 years after the creation of the team basketball has to be any different.

Additionally, I know that I am gravitating more and more to Raptors Republic and Raptors HQ for analysis and information and relying less and less on Doug Smith and the rest of the MSM as, again, I think they operate on the assumption that we know nothing about the game.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
February 18, 2016 11:46 am

Sperk, love your suggestions as well. Post All-Star game tons of angles for storylines there alone on how Toronto media handled the weekend and how the US Media treated our city and as a future destination point for potential free agents. I don’t know about you, but I was sick and tired of the reference to the sub-zero temperatures coming out every second sentence. It is not like we can control the weather!

How about TBJ (The Basketball Jones) now the Starters making a triumphant comeback to the 6ix?

Like I said I can go on and on, but please, no pure basketball talk here.

February 18, 2016 12:11 pm

Yeah, every US piece I’ve read made sure to mention the cold…it’s a low-hanging stereotype come true unfortunately. I know the Super Bowl is now rarely located in a cold weather city (New York excepted) because the sponsors, media etc. treat it like a vacation. I wonder if the NBA All-Star game is viewed the same way so when it is cold everyone complains.

There are a lot of Canadians now in the US covering hoops…TBJ, Shulman, Mark Jones to name a very small sample. Americans think we know about basketball, the people covering Canada’s only NBA team do not.

I really hope the Raps make a trade for a stretch four today…oops, now basketball talk LOL

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
February 21, 2016 11:33 am

Sounds to me like some people should be developing their own site. I guess it’s easier to sit back and complain they don’t like what’s on this site. As for so called off topic content hurting the site, I don’t think so. There’s lots of interest in the core.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
February 22, 2016 9:12 am

Steve, you are missing my point. I said that I am more than prepared to comment, which I have, on basketball content, as I love my hoops, and am happy to do so on TSM’s site or elsewhere.

My point was that Aaron would be better served IMO due to the focus of this site to research and write articles more in sync with why this site was created in the first place.

I do have to say I am disappointed that neither TSM or Aaron have responded to my post, and some others on this.

I went out of my way to suggest several topics that could be covered related to basketball media coverage, and crickets in reply from the people who are in charge.

I date back to the very beginning of this site and have been a major contributor, and I am at a loss as to why there has been no dialogue on this from the powers at be.

I do not feel at all that I am out of line on this. I just want to see this site be the best it can be, as healthy debate on making it that way is a good thing IMO.

I have no interest in making up my own site on this. This is a passion of mine to follow, not to run, and I appreciate all the efforts that TSM and Mike in Boston have done to keep it going to where it is today.

Rob J
Rob J
February 22, 2016 10:19 pm

Guess the media weren’t the only people that forgot about this trade piece. Too bad Raptors’ management didn’t read this blog!
@Brian: I’m not a Raps fan but you gave several interesting media-related topics which would be of interest. Hopefully some are explored in an upcoming column, or this whole endeavour will peter-out fast

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