Portland, Oregon. — The Raptors are playing with urgency to begin their seven-game Western Conference road trip, and if they’ve been around all year, they’ll be in a very different position 10 days after the trade deadline. prize.
They’re not playing perfect basketball, but they have a level of energy and connectivity that would have overturned some results earlier in the season.
“It’s all about timing. It’s a team maturation process,” said Fred VanVleet, one of the few Raptors playing the best basketball of the season right now. “There’s definitely a lot of young players on this roster. For better or worse, you can’t set a timer for every time it happens, but over the last few weeks it’s come together and I think we’re growing and getting better. So, it’s never too late.”
It is debatable. With Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster watching, the Raptors have started the trip with his 2-1 record, with games remaining against the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. Not the most difficult schedule possible, but with a 23-28 record, the Raptors sit 12th in the Eastern Conference and boast the sixth-worst record in the league. (This is subject to change at short notice. Before Sunday’s play, 18 teams were behind him 23-28. The Raptors happened to be in last place.)
After the trip, the Raptors have one more game and more than three days before the deadline. Right now, he has four possible paths the Raptors can take. This is an attempt to outline them.
Note: You will see a lot of fake deals below. These are not source reports. They aren’t even rumors. They are semi-realistic deals meant to show where the Raptors are, depending on which path they take.
Other Raptor content within the trade deadline: Hollinger and Colleen | Trade Layers | The Fred VanVleet Conundrum | Sellers, Part 1 | Sellers, Part 2
To Toronto: Nobody, Nothing
To other teams: nobody, nothing
basis: VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. are all good players. This core shows signs that they can work together very well, even though it happened almost last year. I could believe that the torrent trade market isn’t good enough to do anything productive right now. Maybe the summer sign-and-trade market will yield similar returns, or at least we’ve signed by next year. Maybe move players (Chris Boucher, Kem Birch, Otto Porter Jr.) so they can re-sign both. This strategy is likely contingent on the Raptors going strong for the rest of the expedition. You can even add pieces.
What’s next: Monitor your results throughout the rest of the month. If they aren’t really pushing up the standings, let some players rest in a flash. We explore the trade market more thoroughly around current players and drafts, and are happy to partner with free agents in the summer.
Future Core: VanVleet, Siakam, Anunoby, Trent, Scotty Barnes, Precious Achiuwa, 2023 first-round pick
Traded out-of-contract players, put them on hold until summer
To Clippers: VanVleet, Kem Birch
To Raptors: Reggie Jackson, Robert Covington, Terrance Mann, 2025 second-round pick (Clippers)
basis: My bet here is that even though Trent may have more potential suitors due to his age, VanVleet has slightly more value in the trade market. VanVleet has proven himself to be a player for quite some time on multiple competing teams and should indeed prove to be a draw for any championship-seeking team. He also rolls into shapes. The Clippers’ point guard situation is terrifying, and VanVleet’s replacement for Jackson (or John Wall, or out-of-position Terrance Mann) is a huge improvement. The Raptors are probably looking to move Covington, who is 5th or lower on the Clippers’ depth chart as a big forward/not-center, to another spot. No, so I’m getting this player on a reasonable deal.
What’s next: The Raptors re-signed Trent in the offseason, explored the Covington market, and are actively trying to re-sign Siakam and Anunoby with the team when they learn of their draft positions.
Future Core: Siakam, Anunoby, Trent, Burns, Achiuwa, Mann, 2023 Lottery Winners
To Hawks: Anunoby, Thaddeus Young
To Raptors: John Collins, Frank Kaminski, 2023 1st round pick (Hawks), 2024 1st round pick Lotto Protect (via Kings, 2025, 2026 sliding protection)
To the Grizzlies: Torrent
To Raptors: Ziaile Williams, Danny Green
basis: Raptors dismantle trio of multi-skilled forwards, but keep best forward (Siakam) and best long-term forward (Barnes). Get Williams, a long, skinny winger with a wing. He’s a long term player.
Collins isn’t the edge-keeping force they crave, but a) he didn’t have to do it next to Clint Capela in Atlanta these days. b) The presence of Achiuwa means the need for the Raptors is not so obvious: Collins had a terrible shooting year, but in his career, from age 3 he was a 35.9% shooter. Yes, and a screen-and-roll threat. He’s the soul of the team he can keep VanVleet and try a few more things defensively. (He’s already traded a lot of picks for Dejounte Murray, so the Hawks may not want to trade Anunoby any more, but they always have the option to trade a lot of picks for Trae Young if it doesn’t work out.) .)
What’s next: The Raptors will need to re-sign VanVleet, or at least get something back for him in an offseason sign-and-trade. Both free agency and free agency are likely to look for shooters.
Future Core: VanVleet, Siacam, Collins, Williams, Barnes, Achiuwa, 2023 Lottery Winners
blow it away
To the Sands: Siakam
To Raptors: DeAndre Ayton, Tory Craig, 2023, 2025, 2027 first-round picks, 2026 pick swap rights (all Suns)
To Knicks: Anunoby
To Raptors: Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, two 2023 first-round picks (Knicks, Mavericks), 2025 first-round pick (Knicks)
To the Lakers: VanVleet
To Raptors: Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, Max Christie, 2027 first-round pick (Lakers)
basis: This is the ultimate retreat move. The Raptors gave up on this team idea and gave his three most valuable players (not the Barnes Division) as many draft picks as possible, compromising their chances of winning in the short and medium term in the process. It will be. In Ayton, Quickley and Christie, the Raptors have acquired players who could be part of their future. But really, the move is about his seven first round picks (and pick swaps) that Siakam, Anunoby and VanVleet get. On the court, Barnes and Achiuwa can do their job with little concern for the outcome.
What’s next: Send the best scouts to all the hottest international, college and G League Ignite games. Try to re-sign Trent in the off-season. Send more scouts to more games. I might check Ayton’s trading market in the summer, but don’t talk about it publicly. Hire more scouts and send them to more games.
Future Core: Barnes, Trent, Achiuwa, Ayton, 2023 Lotto Picks, and a Lot of Future First Round Picks
(Top photo of Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr.: Michael Reeves/Getty Images)