It’s easy to look at a file wild birds’ Position in the standings, competitors counted around the league and concluded that the Raptors would be a better bet on this season. From the value proposition, this is probably true. More teams than usual can make legitimate cases so they can make deep playoff runs this year, and it’s clear that the Raptors, 11th in the East going into the second half, are just below the top five teams in the conference, let alone anything. of the five additional teams between these competitors and the Raptors. Until the second half of 26-15 they still have the potential to cruise the Play-In tournament.
If they decide to supply some of their best players, they will have some coveted targets in what is increasingly looking like a sellers’ market. The Play-In Tournament has made it difficult for teams to put together by February, while the four truly awful teams in the League – HoustonAnd San AntonioAnd Detroit And Charlotte – Not overflowing with talented players looking to be traded who could play big roles in good teams. If made raptors Pascal Siakam Available, he’ll be the best player in the market, depending on how you feel about Bradley Beal and DeMar DeRozan. OG Anunoby will be the best 3D suite. Fred VanVleet And Gary Trent Jr Both can start or play huge roles as third guard for a competitor. No other team that is potentially a salesman can do so much for a good team.
What would the seller look like, though? Whether it’s a deliberate one-year step back (not unlike the Tampa Tank) or an overhaul (trading Siakam and two or all three of the other players mentioned) resulting in a multi-year rebuild Scotty Barnes And for future lottery picks, it pays to know what coins you might be able to get to speed up either process.
I don’t expect the Raptors to trade any of the four players until January is over. In saying that, I thought it would be a useful exercise in understanding what the market can achieve.
Note: This is not all the trades I would take if I were in charge of the Raptors. I’ve tried to err on the side of asking for more versus asking for less in hypothetical deals, but the idea is to give you an idea of what potential returns for the Raptors’ staples could look like. (More importantly, these should help project what it is unreasonable to expect.) Likewise, my colleagues who helped me here think about these trades in a bit of a vacuum rather than judging them based on the entire market.
We’ll start today with VanVleet and Trent, because they’re in similar contractual situations. (Unlike Trent, VanVleet could still sign an extension with the Raptors before this offseason.) We’ll get to Anunoby and Siakam tomorrow, a trade that requires a philosophical shift from the Raptors (and getting them more in return).
(VanVleet makes $21.25 million this season, and has a player option for $22.82 million for 2023-24.)
VanVleet means a ton to the Raptors, on the field and culturally. It’s important to try to separate yourself from the second part somewhat, but not completely: leadership is important to any team, and VanVleet carries a lot of weight within the organization.
If you’re a Raptors, look forward to his free agency, and know what you’re willing to invest in VanVleet’s early 30s. Lost birds of prey Kawhi Leonard And Danny Green In free agency 2019 as they were trying to keep a championship team together, they lost to Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka Partly because they were trying to conserve cover space for the chase Giannis Antikonmo in free agency in 2021. (Antetokounmpo signed an extension with dollars almost.)
There is no such concern with this team. They’re not championship contenders, and the front office isn’t trying to create a lot of space right now. While not having VanVleet in the books could help create a lot of space in the long term, moving him wouldn’t help them add players in free agency in the short term — not on his own, at least. Prior to this run, Masai Ujiri had been known to stick with his players, even at a sub-optimal salary, so as not to lose them for nothing.
Even in a bad shooting year, VanVleet can still be a positive influence on the Raptors. In order to trade him, the Raptors will probably want several cost-manageable high-quality assets (young players or picks), or one premium.
to Charm: VanVleet f Khem Birch (2 years, $13.65 million remaining)
To the Raptors: Cole Anthony (2 years, $9.15 million remaining, RFA likely in 2024), Mo Bamba (2 years, $20.6 million), Terence Ross (1 year, $11.5 million) and a 2023 Best 8 Reserve first-round pick
Magic view: This must be a no-brainer. Orlando is not a free agent destination, and the way the Magic will break through this rebuild is through good drafts and trading to a prime free agent under contract. VanVleet is a boss, but he will certainly exercise this player’s option. Magic cannot risk choosing, even protected, when the commodity they are trading for is uncertain. – Joe Vardon
to Lakers: Fanfleet
To the Raptors: Patrick Beverly (1 year, $13 million), Kendrick Nunn (1 year, $5.25 million), Max Christie (2 years, $2.74 million, RFA in 2024) and a 2027 first-round pick
Lakers opinion: yes. I think VanVleet’s (relatively) low season, particularly as a 3-point shooter, will give the Lakers some pause. They need shooting and volume / length on the perimeter and in the frontal area. VanVleet clearly falls short of the latter need, but he could handle the former if he returns to the shooting standards of his career. Regardless, he still scores well on all-in-one metrics, and I think the talent upgrade — in terms of actual turning pieces, is basically Beverley for VanVleet — is important enough for the Lakers to say yes to the show. – Jovan Poha
to Mavericks: Fanfleet
To the Raptors: Josh Green (2 years, $7.86 million), Davis Bertans (Three years, $49 million, including a 2024-25 player option) and a 2025 first-round pick
Dissident opinion: Dallas is not expected to trade first-round picks or a young player like Green in any situation this season; The front office understands that its ammunition needs to be saved for a major move in the next year or two. This is not a deal that might tempt them. VanVleet will help the Mavericks, but he doesn’t fit into their schedule and doesn’t offer the defensive upgrade they want for their No. 23 defense, according to NBA.com. – Tim Cato
Gary Trent Jr
(Trent makes $17.51 million this year, and has a player option for $18.56 million for 2023-24.)
Trent will be 24 this season compared to VanVleet’s 29, which should theoretically make him more attractive to the free agent market — and more attractive to the Raptors. However, he is not a complete player like VanVleet, and has a less impressive resume.
Given the oddities of the Raptors’ last three seasons, it’s still difficult to judge whether Trent would do better as a starter or as a sixth man on a good team. He has a limited track record as a productive starter on a good team, but clearly has the skill to be a good goalkeeper with an interest in scoring goals in NBA. He has already proven it.
The league craves a little more size and defensive flexibility from its starting wingers. However, Trent has improved since his early days with the Raptors, especially for teams that value creating great turnover, and he has room to grow. Trent can help some under-scoring contenders, and as with VanVleet, any team that acquires him also gets Bird’s rights to help keep him in free agency.
to Nix: Trent
To the Raptors: Derek rose (1 year, $14.52 million, plus 2023-24 team option), Emmanuel Quickly (2 years, $6.49 million, RFA in 2024), worst Mavericks/Knicks 2023 first-round draft pick
Nix Show: I just don’t see the Knicks doing this, especially with the way Quickley started running him. He became the best defender of the New York team on the perimeter. Trent is a quality marksman and shooter. It can get hot. But I’m not sure that’s what the Knicks need, especially given that there’s a chance he could end up being hired if he chooses not to pick his player this summer. Quickley, on the other hand, is still on a rookie contract for the next year and a half. – Fred Katz
to clippers: Trent
To the Raptors: Terrence Man (three years, $23.9 million), Luke Kennard (2 years, $28.51 million, plus 2024-25 team option), 2028 first-round pick
Clippers opinion: Trent coming to LA would be funny after he was traded to the Raptors for the 2019 NBA Champion and current Clipper Norman Powell. At 6-foot-5, Trent would give Los Angeles the type of defenseman who forces a live ball turnover, twice the Clippers’ solid defense. Trent is a good 3-point shooter and solid final maker. But that’s way too much to give up for a player who could become a free agent in 2023. Mann is a valuable all-around player who just became the starting point guard who’s been extended into next year, while Kennard is the MVP. in the team. Clippers also shouldn’t be throwing first-round picks when they’re already pushing Oklahoma City to Paul George trade. – Lou Murray
To the Lakers: Trent and Juancho Hernangomez (1 year, $1.84 million)
To the Raptors: Beverley, Nunn, Christie, and their 2027 Top 8 first-round draftees
Lakers opinion: Could. I think the Lakers probably do, depending on what’s out there. But I bet they’d refuse to include Christie’s, who hold high ground for the long haul, or fight to make 2027 protected by the lottery. Trent Jr. will boost his three-point shooting, perimeter defense and all-around attacking power, but is still on the smaller side among the wingers. They need a larger person in the range of 6-foot-7 to 6-foot-9. (Author’s note: It’s too bad the Birds of Prey don’t have any of these guys.) I think they’d prefer VanVleet alone, given the All-Star pedigree, or a bigger deal like the next trade. – Poha
Let’s go wild
To the Lakers: VanVleet, Trent W Chris Boucher (three years, $35.25 million)
To the Raptors: Russell Westbrook (1 year, $47.06 million), Christie’s, 2027 and 2029 first-round picks
Lakers opinion: yes. I think this trade checks multiple boxes for the Lakers, bringing talent of All-Star caliber (VanVleet) while adding three-point shooting (Trent Jr.) and size/length in the frontcourt (Boucher). They turn Westbrook into a couple of good starters and a great solid bench. Obviously, two first-round picks is a steep price, but if they enjoy this package Miles Turner And Friends Hield, I think this deal has the same effect. – Poha
(Top photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)