The Toronto Raptors believe with a serious upgrade at power forward they can challenge Cleveland atop the East. The Chicago Bulls need to start reshaping their roster, especially in the frontcourt.
That had the two sides considering a trade, reported by Zach Lowe of ESPN, but those talks stalled. He goes on to discuss the challenges Toronto faces in making that upgrade they want to see at the four.
Chicago and Toronto had initial discussions on a Taj Gibson–Patrick Patterson swap that would give Chicago yet another stretch power forward and trim its tax bill, but those discussions appear to have led nowhere so far….
You can understand why (Raptors GM Masai) Ujiri might be wary of trading a first-round pick for Ryan Anderson, Thaddeus Young, Gibson, Kenneth Faried or Markieff Morris. None of those guys changes your life as a franchise…. Horford is a different story. It would take almost everything in the Toronto’s arsenal to get him, but if they manage it, the Raps would have a good chance of re-signing him, sources say. Still, such a bold move is unlikely.
But even those non-Horford guys are better than what Toronto has, and that incremental improvement might be the difference in a quarter, a game, or a series for a team with ugly postseason demons.
The fan base in Toronto wants a move — and it is time. This is a team that, with an All-Star level four can push Cleveland. With a lesser upgrade at the four Toronto should see the Conference Finals (although an Anderson trade creates the same defensive questions that the Luis Scola/Jonas Valanciunas has now). They are not going after Morris, but any of those other guys is an improvement.
I think Toronto makes a deadline move, and Gibson would be a rock-solid upgrade for them. He defends, he boards, he scores efficiently, and he plays hard every time out. To use a baseball analogy, Gibson is not a home run, but he’s a solid single they could stretch into a double. Having Scola is more like hoping for a walk. That’s not going to do it for a team that needs a playoff series win or two.