The trade deadline is approaching fast, and every team is examining their strengths and weaknesses, their long-term outlook, and which players are more expendable than others.
As such, NBA Genius has come up with one trade for every team that improves their long-term outlook, or short-term realistic championship aspirations. Here is the trade:
Toronto Receives: Ian Mahinmi, 2018 2nd Round Pick, 2021 2nd Round Pick
Washington Receives: Jonas Valanciunas
This trade represents the passing of the torch for two different teams in two different ways.
For Toronto, it is the passing of starting and featured center from Jonas Valanciunas, who has been the team’s center since 2012, to Jakob Poeltl, the Raptors’ 2016 lottery pick. Valanciunas is a great player, but Poeltl has the upside to be even better. Despite being the reserve, Poeltl has almost as many win shares (2.8) as the starter Valanciunas (3.2) this season. Poeltl’s offensive and defensive rating (125 and 105) are better than Valanciunas’ 119 and 104. Getting Ian Mahinmi also nets the Raptors, a team notorious with playoff struggles, a big with championship experience on the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, and two second round picks.
For Washington, it is the passing of the torch from Marcin Gortat to Valanciunas. The “Polish Hammer”, Gortat, is still a nightmare to try to defend against on the classic Wall-Gortat pick and roll/pop, but his general effectiveness has gone way down since his arrival in the nation’s capital. Whereas Valanciunas’ per 36 minute stats include 19.2 points and 13.7 rebounds per game, Gortat’s 12.3 points and 10.9 rebounds pale in comparison. Featured players like John Wall (27), Bradley Beal (24), Otto Porter (24), Markieff Morris (28), and even Kelly Oubre (22) make the 25 year-old Valanciunas a better fit with the team’s time-line than the 34-days-away from being 34 Gortat.