This is a very interesting post from Hoops World (Toronto Raptors Looking To Trade Draft Picks | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors) featuring some thoughts about the Toronto Raptors and what options GM Byran Colangelo might entertain. It’s no secret that Toronto Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo is targeting a return to the playoffs next season, but with last year’s draft pick Jonas Valanciunas expected to join the team and the potential to add up to three more rookies from this year’s draft, that isn’t a formula for a winning season. It’s very hard to imagine a team with four rookies that doesn’t earn a trip to the lottery. Playoff teams often have some young talent, but they rely on experienced players for the leadership and composure to get the job done. After the draft lottery, Colangelo talked about the Raptors’ plans heading toward next season. “We are obviously looking for a team next year to compete at a higher level,” Colangelo said. “We are looking to increase the level of competition. We are looking to increase the level of experience and thinking that you are going to get all of that at eight in this draft is probably not going to happen. “Anything we take at eight is not going to have NBA experience so we are going to be looking at that in various other ways. We have the trade opportunities before July 1, trade opportunities and free agent options after July 1, so we have a lot of different balls up in the air with respect to the options that are going to be there for us.” This is not a situation where the draft is weak and the Raptors do not believe there are players available who could help the team. On the contrary, Colangelo likes the talent available in this draft and that is why the Raptors will be able to use their lottery pick to acquire a player who can help them immediately. “In the eighth spot, we feel like we are going to get a very good player. There are a wide range of players that we are looking at. We feel that a player at eight will certainly add to our building process, or the value of the eighth pick will perhaps be something that is packaged with something else to create a trade asset. “We are obviously very young and we are looking to add as much talent as possible. We put ourselves in a position with the cap flexibility that we have pre-July 1 to acquire a player if that right player is available in a trade scenario. Whether or not the eighth pick is part of that process in terms of packaging enough assets to obtain the right type of player, we will have to consider all options, but when you talk about the eighth pick, anybody you take at eight is going to be somewhat disadvantaged in that they will lack any NBA experience.” Under the new collective bargaining agreement, first-round draft picks and the four years of cost certainty they provide have become even more highly valued assets. At the trade deadline, Cleveland took on the salaries of Jason Kapono and Luke Walton while giving up a quality backup point guard in Ramon Sessions in order the get the Lakers’ late first-round pick. Cleveland remains on the hook for Walton’s $5.8 million salary next season. Toronto should be able to find plenty of suitors willing to give high quality assets in return for their mid-lottery pick. “Every team in the league is looking to avoid the luxury tax in the future, not only today but in the future, because it will become more onerous and the implications of being a tax team will increase dramatically on a negative level,” Colangelo said. Toronto’s two second-round draft picks represent a different kind of opportunity and provide a team many more options than players taken in the first round as contracts are typically smaller and not guaranteed. Colangelo believes he can acquire a good prospect early in the second round and the later pick can be traded or stashed in Europe. “Take two second round picks, 37 and 56 and move them, maybe package two picks to move up, sell one pick or move a pick in a transaction that nets you a future asset like a second-round pick or where you are swapping something for future considerations, we will look at that because it’s probably not the best scenario to add three players. You might also find yourself in a situation where you select a player, not necessarily an international player, could be an international player or a college player that you are looking at playing Europe for a couple of years. Not all second-round picks are signed immediately, sometimes they go to Europe and play. “Thirty-seven, however, is a pick that we feel might net us a player that could add something to this roster and we are looking at various players who might be available at 37.” While it remains possible that the Toronto Raptors keep all three of their draft picks, this is the least likely scenario and runs contrary to Colangelo’s goals next season. As things stand today, Colangelo will be using his lottery pick to acquire the young veteran who can help assure the Raptors return to the playoffs next season, keeping one second-round draft choice and either trading or stashing their late second rounder.