Korver to Cavs puts Raptors under pressure

The Hawks begin their rebuilding by dumping Kyle Korver on the Cavaliers, who need more shooters like Trump needs more orange hair. Should the Raptors make a splashy move to match?

The rich get richer. The Cleveland Cavaliers decided there’s no such thing as too much shooting, so acquired veteran long-distance gunner Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks. The price has not been finalized, though chatter seems to have Mike Dunleavy and a first-round pick going the other way.

Apr 7, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) passes the ball under the leg of Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver (26) during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In other words, Cleveland gave up virtually nothing for a guy who can burn the twine. One assumes they are concerned with the loss of gunner J.R. Smith, who’s out for some time with a serious thumb injury.

Now what, Raptors management?

The Toronto Raptors are now under even more scrutiny. Atlanta is expected to continue its roster dismantling by moving Paul Millsap, their veteran power forward. Should Toronto make an offer for him? After all, Cleveland, which wasn’t exactly short of shooting (Kevin Love, LeBron, Kyrie Irving, Channing Frye…all can bury three-balls with regularity), now has added a starter-grade swingman who can be plugged right in to their schemes.

The scuttlebutt says Atlanta wants a pair of Raptors assets for Millsap: Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross. I’m sure the Hawks would be quite happy with those guys moving to Georgia. (The Trade works, BTW, not that I’m advocating it)

The Hawks want to get younger and more flexible, which dumping Millsap in favour of 2-Pat and TRoss will certainly achieve. And are the Raptors somehow better equipped to wend their way to the Eastern Conference finals once again, but with a happier result? I can’t see it.

The departure of Patterson and Ross would blow a giant hole in our second unit. Our floor-spacers would be gone, replaced by hopefuls like Norman Powell. Even assuming our 3-point shooting would not take a beating, who’s left to defend the opponents’ long-range bombers?

Ben Golliver at Sports Illustrated seems to think GM Masai Ujiri (and Boston top man Danny Ainge) would be demonstrating defective testosterone should they fail to make an aggressive move to land Millsap. Golliver suggests the championship window can open, then close, more quickly than is often recognized, and the Raps and Celts need to make their Cavaliers-beating moves now.

I won’t speak about Boston, but for Toronto, I’m going to respectfully disagree with Golliver. His point about a short window is valid, but one can also be deceived into thinking the window is open when it really isn’t. That’s where the Raptors find themselves today.

Stay the course, Masai

Can you truly look in the mirror and say to your image “If Millsap were a Raptor, our team would be a championship contender.”? I can’t, because a team with Millsap, but not 2-Pat and TRoss, isn’t in the mix. Nor do I see some sort of a deal where one of our first-round picks was a sweetner. The Raptors’ pick is likely to be in the mid-twenties, as is the Clippers pick coming our way via the Bucks from the Greivis Vasquez trade…yawn. Even if one of those did interest the Hawks, it’s moot, as we have to send out money to match. In short, a deal involving Ross and a pick fails.

Toronto’s management has been patiently building a winning organization, one designed to contend for many years. Let’s not short-circuit those efforts in a vain attempt to play catch up. It’s not our year – but the next one might be.

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