The Toronto Raptors opted not to buy or trade into the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Unless there’s a deal still in the works that will see draft rights to a player traded at a later date – entirely possible given the cap complexities sometimes involved with trades and the options that open up July 6 – any Raptors’ rookies for 2018-19 will come via the undrafted free agent market.
It will be interesting to hear if the Raptors explain this as an unwillingness to pay for a pick in a draft where they felt names they liked would slide or whether the teams dangling second-round picks were demanding too much in terms of future assets to move in. They’ll surely say they like the young core they have and believe in their ability to land and develop undrafted talent, which is justified. Finding out just how much money changed hands on some of the other second-round pick deals will be interesting, given the Raptors had the full $5.1-million allotment to use here.
It’s notable that most of the second round picks that were dealt on Thursday came at the cost of a pair of second-round picks, which would have further stripped out the Raptors’ draft (and asset) chest. And whether it’s a good or a bad thing (likely neutral given the difficulty of arranging workouts without a pick), only one of the players the Raptors brought in for workouts was selected (Kostas Antetokounmpo), so there should be a number of undrafted names they’re interested in – if they can snag one or two undrafted players that they had on their internal draft board, that might be as good to them as surrendering assets to move in (although, again, that cash expires, and so it may have been worthwhile to be sure). It was also just a weirdly quiet night, with no roster players being traded for the first time in recent memory (there were 49 in total over the last four drafts).
It should be an interesting couple of days as Summer League rosters begin to get filled out and two-way deals and Exhibit 10s and NBA contracts for undrafted players start getting signed.