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Should The Raptors Pursue Nuggets Wilson Chandler?

The expected fire-sale in Denver is underway, just don’t expect the Nuggets to be giving away their players just yet.  They know there are teams in the East and the West that could use a versatile wing/forward like Wilson Chandler as an instant upgrade off the bench or in some cases in the starting lineup. So, should the Raptors take a shot?



Chandler is having a good season in Denver. For one thing, he hasn’t had a significant injury (dare we say yet?) He is averaging 14.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 31.6 minutes and hitting on better than 35 percent of his three-point attempts. At 27-years-old with 7 years of NBA experience under his belt, he has been around. Chandler is a young veteran player and Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey likes veterans – what coach doesn’t?

To help the sales process, Chandler put up 22 points on the Bulls New Year’s Day and a 20 point 10 rebound game on the Raptors a couple of days earlier.

The downside is Wilson hasn’t come close to playing in 82 games during the regular season since he was 21-years-old. He makes $6.8 million this year, $7.2 million next year and (unfortunately) next year’s salary became fully guaranteed on June 30, 2014 according to Sham Sports. So there is a real risk that whomever gets Chandler will not have a healthy version for the entire balance of his contract.

It is pretty obvious the Nuggets are looking to get out from under their commitment to Chandler while he is playing well and based on the Timofey Mosgov trade, they’d like a first round draft pick (or picks) and/or maybe a young controllable player back.

This isn’t an easy decision, but Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri knows Chandler as well or better than any other general manager that might consider picking this versatile player up. Ujiri was the GM in Denver before coming to Toronto.

The Raptors have the expiring deal belonging to Landry Fields that closely matches Chandler’s salary, so meeting the NBA’s requirement for getting a deal done shouldn’t be an issue. The real question is whether or not Ujiri believes Chandler is worth a first round draft pick in the 20s to make this deal happen or will Chandler’s injury risk scare off other teams and lower the price to a second round draft pick?

Or maybe Ujiri would rather take a run at Arron Afflalo.

The 29-year-old Afflalo makes $7.5 million this year with a player option for next season and has been playing very well in January.

It’s January and trade season is in full swing. The Raptors and every other team looking to lock up a top four playoff spot and get past the first round of the playoffs is looking. However, if the Raptors want to be more than just a 50 win team that takes a nice step this season, they need to be doing more than just looking at possible additions to their roster.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.




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