By Patrick Flynn
(ISN) – With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching, it’s time for the Raptors to go big or go home. A lot of people will tell you that the Raptors should make a small deal at the trade deadline and not move any big parts.
The Raptors haven’t won a playoff series for 14 years and the fan base thinks this could be the year. The players do too. Masai Ujiri has to make a move that tells everyone the Raptors are in and this is really is their year.
I think of this Raptors team like the Blue Jays last season. Both teams had a great start and looked consistent. The Jays looked like they could possibly win the AL East, but they just needed one more piece. Unfortunately, at the trade deadline they did nothing because they were afraid to trade prospects. Players where upset and so were the fans.
This is where the Raptors need to do something different. They can’t be afraid of trading young players like Terrence Ross or Jonas Valenciunas. If it gives the team a chance to win a title this year, then they have to take the chance and not let the team be mediocre the rest of the season and lose in the first round again.
People think that if they trade a young guy, it will mess up the future for the Raptors. I don’t think the Raptors have any young players who will improve this team good in the future. Who do they have? They aren’t trading Derozan. Maybe Ross or Valenciunas. I’d be fine with trading either one of them. Terrence Ross is still young and I get that but he’s not going to be a star player. He’ll be a starter on a middle of the pack team or a bench player on a good team. The Raptors should trade him while his values still high. As for Valenciunes, I don’t see him being any better than he is right now and he’s not that young any more. With the way this team plays, with their guards dominating most of the game, I just don’t see the Raptors needing him that much either.
With that being said, the Raptors need a well-established shooting guard to take Terrence Ross’s spot in the starting line up. They also need another forward. Maybe they can trade Amir Johnson to get one. Amir Johnson has struggled lately with injures. I don’t think the Raptors can have a player who struggles to run in their lineup if they want to be a competitive team. They really need to focus on mature players who can win to compensate for the young inexperienced players on their team right now.
If the Raptors do nothing or a lot at the trade deadline, people will be shaking their heads. They can’t let this year slip by and then go into mediocrity for 20 years like the Leafs. They have to think about this year and not the future. This is the best team the Raptors have had since 2001. They can’t let it slip a way. They have to make this a special season in Raptors history.