Friday, December 20, 2013

Could Andrew Wiggins force his way to Toronto?

It’s no secret that freshman phenom, Andrew Wiggins loves the Toronto Raptors and would love nothing more than to play before his fellow Canadians. Wiggins grew up watching the Raptors as a kid and even mentioned his dream of playing for the Raptors in an interview with the Toronto Sun.

But how far is Wiggins willing to go to make this dream a reality? Wiggins is projected to be a top-three pick in the 2014 draft and the Raptors don’t look to be picking that high. At least not at the moment.

Currently there are nine teams in the league with worse winning percentages than the Toronto Raptors. 

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri seems to be doing his part to increase their draft standing though by trading away the team’s best player, Rudy Gay.Rumors are he is also looking to trade point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard DeMar DeRozen.

If the Raptors can drop lower in the standings and the lottery ping-pong balls fall their way, then Wiggins would be the obvious choice to help this moribund franchise move forward. And Wiggins would be happy of course because all he would have to do is stand pat and wait on his name to be called.

The more likely scenario though is that the Raptors won’t have the first overall pick this June. For Wiggins dream to come true at that point would require some major wheeling and dealing by Ujiri, and a firm commitment by Wiggins himself.

Now we know Ujirii is one of the best at “the art of the deal.” So good in fact that he could probably replace William Shatner in those Priceline commercials.

But Wiggins is projected to be a super-star in the league, a franchise-type player which makes him virtually untradeable. Only a moron would trade a player of Wiggins’s caliber unless they received a Carmelo Anthony-sized boost.

And Ujiri knows this scenario only too well from his time as GM of the Denver Nuggets. Anthony forced his way out of Denver by saying that he only wanted to play for his home town team, the New York Knicks.

Anthony was in the last year of his contract with the Nuggets and was not going to resign with any team but the Knicks which discouraged other teams from trading for him and left Denver with only two options: trade him to New York or risk losing him for nothing in free agency.

Wiggins can put similar pressure on teams looking to draft him next summer. Well I say similar but not really. 

Whoever drafts Wiggins would still have him for the duration of his rookie contract which is at least four years.

But he can let teams know that as soon as he can become a free agent he will be looking to sign with the Raptors. It may possibly discourage a few teams from drafting him knowing that he is not in it for the long run.

Or at least give Ujiri an opening to start up trade talks for the young Canadian and possibly get him in a Raptors’s jersey sooner rather than later.

 Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He can be contacted and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.

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