NBA trade rumours: Raptors are sitting on a gold mine, but will they cash in?

Thursday morning, a report from SNY’s Ian Begley revealed that in December, the Knicks offered the Raptors two first-round picks for OG Anunoby. This comes after it was reported earlier this week, by Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star, that the Raptors had received an offer from an unnamed team of three first-round picks for Anunoby.

So far, Masai Ujiri is deadpan.

But how long will this remain the case?

It’s not just Anunoby that Toronto is sitting on as a potential high-value trading coin. Pascal Siakam is an All-NBA player. Fred VanVleet is an All-Star. Gary Trent Jr. would be a coveted shooter/defender for just about any competitor.

If the Raptors wanted to concede this season’s struggles and put a cap on this current core of players, they would be able to take Oklahoma City’s path to rebuilding. Scottie Barnes becomes your Shai Gilgeous-Alexander building block, and everyone is dumped for a truckload of project capital.

Let’s say Siakam is worth three first-round picks. Anunoby three more. VanVleet potentially two. Another for Trent. That makes nine first-round picks, and Toronto controls all of its own picks going forward. It’s a big blow, but if you’re the Raptors, are you ready to do it again? The reason these players are worth so much is that they are very good. Difficult to replace.

Maybe the Raptors choose to trade a few guys, but keep a core intact. If so, chances are VanVleet and/or Trent will ship. Assuming Trent declines his player option for next season, they will both be unrestricted free agents this summer.

Earlier this month, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported that Toronto had offered VanVleet the maximum allowed extension of $114 million over four years. VanVleet refused. From ESPN:

But one thing is clear: VanVleet thinks he’s worth more than Toronto can give him right now.

«Without going too far… [I’m] I’m just trying to put myself in a good trading position and not extend a deal I made three or four years ago,» VanVleet told ESPN.

«I felt like I’ve outdone that contract so far. So I’m just trying to put myself in a position to put the cards in their hands. They have to make a decision from an organizational perspective. .

«I love being here. I love being a Raptor. I have a great relationship with Masai and Bobby, so I’m sure we could find [a deal]. It’s a great partnership that we have, so going forward I’m not going to make it easy for them and they’re not going to make it for me either, and that’s how it goes.»

At the 2021 trade deadline, the Raptors traded Norman Powell to the Blazers for the same reason they could end up dealing VanVleet in the next few weeks. They didn’t want to pay Powell what it would have taken to keep him, and they didn’t want to lose him for nothing in free agency.

If you’re Ujiri, that’s a good problem to have. A bunch of good players that the other teams really want, and that would probably be good to keep too. At that same 2021 deadline, it felt like a near-formality for the Raptors to move Kyle Lowry. But they didn’t.

Ujiri is not going to compromise. We know a lot. We also know that «good problems» are problems nonetheless. It’s not an easy decision. I would certainly trust Ujiri to muster a contender if he suddenly finds himself armed with an OKC-like barrel of choice, but there are no guarantees. And it can be a long process. The Thunder have been there since 2020 and only become a .500 team now because SGA became an MVP-level player.

Does Barnes really have that kind of advantage? I would say no, categorically. I think it’s a guy you build with, not around. Same for Anunoby. Siakam is the star, but he turns 29 in April. His schedule would not fit into a Barnes/draft capital plan project.

I don’t know the right answer. It’s not my job. I guess VanVleet and Trent will be moved, and Siakam and Anunoby will stay. That would give Toronto at least two more first-round picks to add to its own coffers, which would be a pretty good package to market with an attempt to bring in a star alongside Siakam and Anunoby. This would apparently be the shortest route to challenge.

But which star will become available? And would the Raptors be able to outbid an OKC or Houston or New York — all of whom are equally armed to the teeth with a capital draft? Would they give up a group of very good players for a chance to make it big, to end up in the same place or maybe even worse than where they started? Go ask a Blazers fan about it.

These are all moot questions, but you can bet Ujiri is considering. These are the decisions that CEOs get paid to make big money on. They are not easy. The one thing we know for sure is that if Ujuri decides to trade any of these guys, there will be no shortage of suitors.

Deja un comentario

error: Content is protected !!