Imagine if the Maple Leafs were second in the conference and did nothing at the NHL trade deadline. Toronto hockey fans would be clamoring to have GM Lou Lamoriello exiled to Baffin Island.
For the second straight year, the Raptors did just that. With his team second in the East and on pace for its best record ever, GM Masai Ujiri let Thursday’s deadline pass without making a move.
The Raptors were expected to be active. They’re weak at power forward and were linked to the likes of Al Horford, Kenneth Faried and Thaddeus Young. Regier, er, Ujiri, said people wanted too much. He wouldn’t mortgage the future for immediate reward. Like most NBA teams, he’s inclined to wait until the summer, when the cap is expected to skyrocket.
The Raptors haven’t won a playoff series since 2001; they’re in striking distance of Cleveland. Shouldn’t there be more urgency to win now?
So who got help at the deadline? The Cavs, who added forward Channing Frye. Frye isn’t a big name, but a useful big man. Ujiri better hope he doesn’t haunt him in the East finals – assuming Toronto gets there.