08-17-2009, 12:12 PM
Raptors, Bucks trade (Delfino, Ukic for Johnson)
Just when you thought it was safe to think the Raptors were done, they’re not.
Details are a bit sketchy at the moment, but according to league sources, they are about to finalize a trade that could send swingman Carlos Delfino and point guard Roko Ukic in a two-for-two deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Young big man Amir Johnson is headed to Toronto but the other component of the deal remains unknown. It's unclear when the deal will be official but it could be done as early as today or tomorrow.
The financial aspect of the deal will be felt at the end of next season.
Johnson has just one year and $3,666,667 left on his contract while Ukic had an option for $1,450,000 in the 2010-11 season.
And with the expectations that the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds will drop next season, any long-term savings will help keep some kind of financial flexibility for president and general manager Bryan Colangelo.
But giving up on Ukic is a gamble, even for a Toronto team with a surfeit of point guards.
The 24-year-old struggled at times in his rookie season but at 6-foot-5 and with the ability to break down defences, his skillset could see him eventually thrive in the NBA.
However, with Jose Calderon and the recently-acquired Jarrett Jack cemented as the top two point guards on the roster and Quincy Douby seemingly able to handle third string duties if necessary, Ukic did become expendable.
Delfino spent last season with Khimki in the Russian league after a year with Toronto and three with the Detroit Pistons.
The Raptors originally had major interest in bringing him back but the acquisition of free agent Hedo Turkoglu, the drafting of DeMar DeRozan, the acquisition of Marco Belinelli and the arrival of Jack made Delfino redundant.
Johnson? Well, he’s big, 6-9 and 210 pounds; raw and really hasn’t done much in the four years he’s kicked around the league. But with some playing time available on a front court rotation that will be dominated by Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Rasho Nesterovic and Reggie Evans, he might get a chance to contribute – or at least push Patrick O’Bryant for those five-big minutes.
What else does it mean?
Well, Toronto now has two roster spots to fill and who knows if they’ll come to terms with fan favourite Pops Mensah-Bonsu. But, it can be said that Johnson will be the fifth big and is at least as good, if not better, that Pops so Bryan could very well go looking for another backup small forward – still a hole in the roster that has to be filled – with someone who can shoot from range.