The Toronto Raptors have traded swingman Malachi Richardson along with Emir Preldzic and a 2022 second-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for cash considerations, the team confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
Richardson played 22 games for the Raptors this season, scoring 30 points and shooting 32 percent from three-point range on 25 attempts in 103 total minutes.
The 23-year-old was acquired by the Raptors just a season ago in the BRUNO trade and he spent the majority of his playing with the Raptors 905. Nick Nurse seemed to be high on Richardson’s shooting acumen, but things never quite fell into place.
Preldzic, 31, is a six-foot-nine forward who was acquired in the Cory Joseph – C.J. Miles sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers. He was selected 57th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2009 NBA Draft.
For Toronto, this move could signal one of two things. Masai Ujiri and the front office may be looking to lower their luxury tax bill, which will decrease by approximately $5 million as a result of this trade, but it also means there are now two open roster spots with 13 players now contracted to the senior club.
The luxury tax bill in Toronto will drop from $34.7M to $29.6M with the Malachi Richardson trade. Toronto is now down to 13 players and has 2 weeks to fill the roster spot. Expect the tax bill to increase slightly.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 6, 2019
Whether it be via trade or the buyout market, the Raptors can now look to fine tune their roster with the pieces they believe can put them in the best position to compete for a trip to the NBA Finals. Of note, this past Monday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that Toronto is one of several teams hoping Wesley Matthews makes the buyout market.
The Knicks are exploring the trade market for Wes Matthews before Thursday's 3 PM deadline, league sources say, but there are also several antsy suitors hoping Matthews makes it to the buyout market. Among them: Houston, Oklahoma City, Toronto, Philadelphia and, yes, Golden State
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 4, 2019
Matthews is earning $18.6 million this season, making it difficult for the New York Knicks to find a suitable trade before the deadline, after which they are expected to seek a buyout negotiation.
The 31-year-old fits the mould of a 3-and-D wing that could figure into the Raptors’ playoff rotation, especially when considering his playoff experience. For his career, Matthews is shooting 38.3 percent from three-point range, and 37.4 percent this season.
If he were to hit the buyout market, the Raptors would have a pro-rated amount of the tax-payer’s mid-level exception available to offer him or anyone else they may be interested in.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, have effectively paid cash for a second-round pick and will likely have to waive Richardson to create a roster spot for any buyout candidates they’re interested in.