In a trade season on simmer (at best), the eyes of the league are on the Toronto Raptors — they can turn the market to a boil with just a couple of moves. Will a team currently stuck in the middle — somewhere Masai Ujiri will not let the team live — will make a dramatic move to pivot at the trade deadline?
Probably not, but nothing is off the table. Here is the latest on where things stand with them, according to a report from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
• Fred VanVleet is a name that interests other teams, but the Raptors are likelier to reach an extension with the 29-year-old point guard after the season than to move him.
Fred VanVleet’s apparent trade candidacy seems far more rooted in his down performance this season, as the smaller guard approaches his 29th birthday, than the front office’s willingness to part with such a central team leader.
Both VanVleet and the Raptors agreed to shelve extension talks until after the season. Fischer estimates something in the Kyle Lowry extension range — three years, $100 million — although that may be a bit high after a down season (18.2 points per game, but more disturbingly on 37.6% shooting overall). Then again, a Tyler Herro contract (four years, $130 million) could come together. If the Raptors and VanVleet cannot reach a deal before July 1, expect the Suns and Magic to be among the teams interested in the free agent.
• The guy other teams hope will become available is OG Anunoby. Don’t bet on it. He has been maybe the best perimeter defender in the league and the Raptors see him as a core part of the future.
Meanwhile, Raptors officials have left rival front offices with the impression, sources said, it would take a haul at least in the ballpark of Atlanta’s offseason price for Dejounte Murray — multiple unprotected first round picks — for Toronto to even consider parting with OG Anunoby, a known favorite of Ujiri.
• Pascal Siakam — an All-NBA player — would shake up the market but it seems unlikely to be available. If he is, this would require a near Harden-level haul to get a deal done (more of a summer move than a deadline one).
• The Raptor most likely to be traded: Gary Trent Jr.
Trent appears to be the most likely Raptor to be traded, and by a wide margin. Various rival executives are under the impression Toronto will even search to move Trent before the deadline, as Trent is positioned to decline next season’s $18.5 million player option and test free agency. Early indications are that Trent will be seeking upward of $25 million in average annual value before the 2023-24 campaign begins.
Trent is the kind of player in demand around the league — a wing who can both defend and knock down 3s — but whoever trades for him has to know they can re-sign and keep him this summer.
Much like the Bulls, a lot of teams are watching to see if the Raptors’ front office decides to do something bold at the trade deadline. The smart money is on the smaller, Trent move only, but teams are watching and will make calls.
LeBron, Durant remain on top of NBA All-Star fan voting NBA Power Rankings: Nuggets move into No.1 spot, Boston second Raptors’ Otto Porter out for season following surgery on left foot
Raptors trade rumors: Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., but likely not OG Anunoby originally appeared on NBCSports.com