Just two years ago, the Philadelphia 76ers were a playoff team. Granted, they just squeaked into the playoffs, but they were a playoff team nonetheless and had youth on their side. As a front office, they needed to do something drastic in order to try to contend. They shipped Andre Iquodala to Denver in a four team trade that brought Andrew Bynum back to Philadelphia.
Flash forward a year, and everything had gone wrong. Andrew Bynum never suited up for the 76ers and the franchise was in desperate need of a new direction. They found it on draft night, by shipping Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Now, for the Toronto Raptors, the circumstances can’t be much more similar. A young playoff team, built on a foundation of their dynamic backcourt, and with offseason uncertainty over Kyle Lowry‘s contract situation. Masai Ujiri finds himself with some very interesting possibilities this summer. Ultimately, all of his decisions must come down to one question: What is the ceiling of this current roster? If Ujiri can’t see ways to build upon the current foundation and make a contender, then a change of direction will need to take place. And the most viable option to do so might just be to trade DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan has been a work horse for the Raptors, as only four players have played more minutes them him this season (Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Monta Ellis, and John Wall). Not only is he putting up career numbers, but he has helped lead the resurgent Raptors to their first playoff appearance in 6 years and the potential to win their division.
When looking at the numbers, it’s shocking how similar of a situation DeMar is in compared to Holiday. Both recently signed extensions and made their first All-Star appearance. Comparing Holiday’s last season in Philadelphia to DeMar’s current season in Toronto, you begin to wonder how good of a trade asset the Raptors have on their hands.
What could make DeMar even more valuable than Holiday, may be the position he plays. The current depth of starting point guards across the league is deeper than it may have ever been, but shooting guard is a different story. There are few top-tier shooting guards in the league today, as there has been a gravitation towards 3-and-D type players. Based on the numbers, is it unreasonable for DeMar to be viewed as a top five player for his position?
Ujiri has always said that his only goal for the Raptors is to bring an NBA Championship to the City of Toronto. If he believes that trading DeRozan could bring him closer to that goal, then Raptor fans can only hope that he can bring back the type of trade that Philadelphia got for Holiday.