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Raptors trade ‘as much about right now’

After weeks of speculation, the Raptors and Miami Heat pulled thetrigger on a trade Friday that sent Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon toMiami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

After weeks of speculation, the Raptors and Miami Heat pulled the trigger on a trade Friday that sent Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

“We obviously have time to make a run for the playoff position we’re seeking,” Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo said Friday.

“This transaction makes us better and more competitive. This is as much about right now as it is about the future.” Marion is a free agent after the season, giving Toronto some flexibility with his $17.8-million US contract able to come off the books. It also allows the Raptors to part ways with O’Neal’s contract, which has one year left on it.

“In retrospect I don’t want to say the Jermaine O’Neal deal was a complete failure,” Colangelo said. “But I think our team has not performed at the level this year it could have and should have.”

The Raptors, five games behind Milwaukee for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, also gave up a conditional draft pick, and received cash in return.

Marion and Banks are expected to make their Raptors debut Wednesday against Cleveland.

 
 
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