Monday , Aug , 17 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Spare parts for promise: Toronto trades Delfino and Ukic for Johnson

Toronto’s off-season makeover continues with executive Bryant Colangelo trading Delfino and Ukic, two players with uncertain futures in Raptor-ville, to Milwaukee for a promising and explosive big in Johnson. Delfino, after a season abroad in Europe, couldn’t come to terms on a new contract with the club, while Ukic had an up-and-down rookie year. Both would have had limited roles on a revamped Raptor squad …


Spare parts for promise: Toronto trades Delfino and Ukic for JohnsonBreaking NBA news mixed with analysis …

Their News:
"The National Post has learned that the Raptors have agreed to trade point guard Roko Ukic and swingman Carlos Delfino, a restricted free agent, to the Milwaukee Bucks, in exchange for forward Amir Johnson." (Eric Koreen, National Post)

My Quick Reaction: Call it spare parts for an intriguing asset.

Toronto’s off-season makeover continues with executive Bryant Colangelo trading Delfino and Ukic, two players with uncertain futures in Raptor-ville, to Milwaukee for a promising and explosive big in Johnson.

Delfino, after a season abroad in Europe, couldn’t come to terms on a new contract with the club, while Ukic had an up-and-down rookie year. Both would have had limited roles on a revamped Raptor squad.

So why not get a blue-chip post, Johnson, with loads of potential for Delfino’s rights and Ukic?

Johnson isn’t a typical back-up. At 22, he has already spent parts of four seasons in the NBA because he skipped college and attempted to go straight from high school to the pros.

His draft plans didn’t pan-out and Johnson, after getting tagged with the raw label by scouts, was selected by Detroit 56th overall in the second round. But his athleticism made such an impression in the D-League and during initial auditions with the Pistons that executive Joe Dumars eventually signed him to a multi-year, $11 million contract.     

In fact, in March of 2008 via email, I discussed Johnson with Natalie Sitto of NeedforSheed.com fame. Sitto is a fine writer, the star of a top NBA blog, and an expert on all things to do with her beloved Detroit Pistons. Here are her thoughts:

“All things are true of Amir Johnson … he is the kid we signed through three years after really not having any playing time in his first two years. If he had went to college and played a year you can bet he would have been a lottery pick, so Detroit got a steal.

He’s athletic, young and willing to do whatever it takes no matter what the score is. Detroit is very high on him and I am sure you will see him have a solid spot in the rotation next season.” Sitto, NeedforSheed.com, March 24, 2008)

Johnson never got that much-anticipated opportunity with the Pistons and was dealt to the Bucks this summer. However, a change of scenery and weight program (Johnson is listed at a slight 210 pounds) will help him become a solid, defensive back-up with the Raptors.

Best of all, Johnson’s modest deal expires in July of 2010. If things don’t work out, Toronto walks at the end of the season and the four-man can test the competitive free agent market.

Dealing spare parts, Delfino and Ukic, for an intriguing asset, Johnson, was a no-brainer for the Toronto Raptors.

Got thoughts on Delfino and Ukic for Johnson? Get at us in the comment box below and follow Oly at HoopsVibe the Blog and Twitter. Photo courtesy of mjpotter1982 .