Did the Raptors already win the NBA trade deadline?

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The Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a low first for Serge Ibaka on Tuesday. This fulfills years of rumors that Toronto was after Ibaka ¡ª he fills a persistent need ¡ª and does so for a relatively low price, given how good Ibaka can be. (We were reminded of how good he can be in the Western Conference Finals last year, when his defense fully disrupted Golden State’s flow and his offense stretched the Warriors’ defense out.) The real cost here isn’t Ross or a pick: it’s salary. The Raptors are paying a price to challenge Cleveland.

Bill Simmons indicated that the Raptors taking their shot on Ibaka puts Boston in the NBA trade deadline driver’s seat now. I think that’s a hasty assessment for two reasons. The first is that with Paul Millsap off the market and essentially no All-Stars available, there is no obvious target asset for the Celtics. The teams actually in control of the deadline are those teams with very good players they need to decide whether to trade. The second point is that the Raptors still have several assets to swing another deal. Masai Ujiri might not be done. Given Danny Ainge’s hesitance to pull the trigger over the past year also factors in.

The other story here is the aimlessness of the Orlando Magic, but that is a story too sad for this early in the morning. Kristian Winfield explains how the Ibaka trades ended up shaking out for them.

The Cardinals will now turn their hopes for the back of the rotation to Michael Wacha or, as general manager John Mozeliak was quick to point out, perhaps Luke Weaver, the team’s second-best pitching prospect, the one whose high ranking didn’t prove as predictive in 2016 as Reyes’ did.

Austin Pasztor Jersey The team has better starting pitching depth than it did a year ago, but that’s not to say it has anyone with Reyes’ ability — or even close — ready to step in. Few teams do, which is why anybody who roots for those teams dreads news like what the Cardinals received Tuesday. Reyes didn’t even get a chance to put on his uniform before learning he might not have to bother with one this season.

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