Is it Plan A or Plan B?

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

There's nothing wrong with Plan A.

The Raptors should keep that clear in their minds as they head into the NBA draft tonight.

Plan A is as follows:

You have four picks, two in the first round (Nos. 7 and 16) and two in the second round (Nos. 41 and 58).

You're a non-playoff team that needs help everywhere. You're not close to winning anything. And one of the biggest weaknesses on your roster is a glaring lack of athleticism.

So just take four athletes. Jump-out-of-the-gym guys. The four best young athletes available when your various turns come up.

That's Plan A, and it's not a bad one, folks. If the Raptors come out of the first round with, say, high school swingman Martell Webster and Oklahoma State small forward Joey Graham, they're laughing.

Raptors general manager Rob Babcock will be smothered by countless trade scenarios today. There will be opportunities to move up, or move down, or trade for a veteran such as Toronto native Jamaal Magloire.

There has been significant talk in the past week between the Raptors and Magloire's current employer, the New Orleans Hornets. But when asked about trade rumours in general yesterday, Babcock said some of them are "outrageous," while others are "semi-outrageous."

We take that to mean this: Trading two first-round draft picks in a Magloire deal is "outrageous." Trading one pick in a Magloire deal, with the Raptors throwing in Morris Peterson and Aaron Williams, is only "semi-outrageous."

While not ruling anything out, Babcock said it was "highly unlikely" he would trade both first-round picks. The Hornets definitely are pushing a Magloire deal, though, and they also have approached the Charlotte Bobcats, who have the No. 5 and No. 13 picks.

"I think Toronto is like we are," Bobcats general manager and coach Bernie Bickerstaff said yesterday. "They'd rather have the two picks.

"Now, the kid from New Orleans (Magloire) is being offered for the two picks. But I think everybody is of the opinion that you'd rather have two picks. Magloire was an all-star, but he was an all-star in the East."

True enough, but the last time we checked, the Raptors still were in the East. The Bobcats, too, for that matter.

Would we give up No. 7 and No. 16 to get Magloire? No.

Would we give up the No. 16 pick, Morris Peterson and Aaron Williams to get Magloire? Yes. In a heartbeat.

Would we give up the No. 7 pick, Peterson and Williams for Magloire? Hmmm, that's a close call.

Another thing to consider is the presence of a bruiser like Magloire in a Raptors uniform might make it easier to hang on to Chris Bosh.

The Raptors yesterday announced they have exercised their option and extended Bosh's contract through the 2006-07 season. It was a simple bookkeeping move. But next summer is when things will get interesting, since it's the first time the Raptors will be allowed to negotiate a long-term extension with the solid and promising 21-year-old forward.

The Raptors need to show Bosh something soon. Otherwise, why would he stay here? If the Raptors are smart, someone in the organization has called Bosh this week and asked him what he thinks of Magloire.

It's not a matter of getting Bosh's permission -- no one wants to fall into the Vince Carter trap again. But if the Raptors run it past Bosh, and he responds with a "love it" or a "hate it," at least the team will be aware of the parameters.

Getting Magloire would provide a huge public relations boost, but the Raptors don't want to overpay. Remember, he'll be a free agent in two years and the Raptors will have a decent shot at securing him then.

So, overall, we urge Babcock to adopt this approach tonight:

Unless there's a mind-blowing trade on the table, keep the picks and take four athletes. There's no need to outsmart everyone.


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