Talking Toronto Raptor Trade Talk

Some humdingers went down Tuesday. Let's take a look at those trades, the rumours, and what it all means for the Raps.

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Wonderful image done by Zach; Instagram: zach_nph

Whole lot of Toronto trade hubbub going around. For a while, it was turmoil: sell or buy. Two months of winning put that debate to rest. Bobby Webster said as much:

“It’s the question of the moment,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said on Tuesday, when asked about how the team’s recent play would impact what they do in the next two days. “Two, three weeks ago, before we came together, I think we might have had a different conversation. But I think we’re cognizant of what the team looks like now. But we also realize it could go the other way, so there’s a sense of optimism, but also what’s the overall timeline for this team and what were the expectations coming in. … Are we ahead of schedule, behind schedule or kind of right on schedule?” (Quote from Eric Koreen, The Athletic)

That’s a lot of word salad. My vague-baloney-PR-talk translator says: we’re not selling. Buyers supporters rejoice. Still, two schools of thought persist:

  1. Acquire a real “5”
  2. Acqure a bonafide scoring guard

Regardless of which occurs, each answers Raptor fans’ resounding plea: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD EXTEND THIS ROTATION TO 8 PEOPLE.

There have been rumours aplenty in the last few weeks and four major trades to date. Let’s review most and discuss what it means for Toronto coming into Thursday.

The Rumours

January 13th:

February 5th:

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported Saturday the Raptors are firmly in the market for a center, and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic, San Antonio Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl, Boston Celtics’ Robert Williams III and Brooklyn Nets’ Nicolas Claxton are among those they’ve expressed interest in.

February 8th:
Jake Fischer | Bleacher Report


  • Lots to break down here. I don’t take any managements’ word at face value. Everything can change on a dime, just ask DeMar DeRozan. You’d be disappointed in your team’s orchestrators if they weren’t prone to changing tunes or false flagging. IT’S WAR OUT THERE.
  • That said, Bobby’s confirming most of what any sane fan has contemplated: the core is staying put and they’re adding around the edges.
  • That means Chris Boucher’s likely here 3:01 pm Thursday – unless something monstrous arises – and that makes total sense. He’s playing outstanding basketball right now and enables the Raptors to shapeshift quarter-to-quarter, lineup-to-lineup. He’s Evan Mobleyesque (I said -esque, dude, chill out) in that he can shift down to a 3 without giving up too much quickness. His offensive rebounding is top and his defence is back.
  • That means, Goran, and only Goran, plus the cardboard cutouts that fill Toronto’s bench, are on the table. It’s interesting to me that Bobby talked about not being “set in stone” with their “wing-sized players”. That translates to: if a big is available they’ll grab him. We’lll talk about bigs below.
  • Orlando has been quiet thus far. If they hold onto Terrence Ross for another year, there’s seriously something wrong with John Hammond’s brain. That said, I DO NOT want him in Toronto. He’s not shooting well this year, he lacks an attention span for defence, and I don’t trust him in the Playoffs. His contract does extend to 2022/23, enabling the Raptors to roll it into next year’s trade deadline, but I’m only giving a 2nd rounder.
  • As of Tuesday morning, I hated the Gallinari idea. Then I was on the Rap Up yesterday and viewers and Kyle and Oren convinced me that it’s not the worst play. He also has one more year left and he does make our roster a bit more dynamic. He can shoot the 3 consistently and has the ability to attack in the mid-range and post mano e mano. They can, perhaps, run some second unit stuff through him; he extends opposing defences further than Khem or Precious with his outside shooting. On D, it’s an issue, and that’s kind of where I don’t see this deal happening. He’s exploitable at all levels. If Gallo is all Goran gets us, so be it. I just don’t see why Atlanta does this unless they’ve got other stuff abrewin’.
  • More on the “bigs” rumours and PJ Washington below.

The Trades

  • Keep in mind in all this, if Toronto stays under the tax, they have access to the pool of cash teams over the tax must pay. That’s a lot of moolah incentivizing Toronto to duck it. It’s gotta be really worth it to forgo a cool 15ish million.
  • Also, this is a sellers’ market. There are few teams going full Saturday yard sale. I thought the Clippers might be one, they just reupped, so did the Kings and Pelicans. That leaves Washington, [kinda] Indiana, Detroit, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Portland, and Houston. Such a low supply makes it tough for a stingy team like Toronto to pull the trigger. There may just be too many bidders. We all know Masai won’t chop it up with riff-raff unless it’s a total victory.


  • There are three names that seem to be popping up over and over again: Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, and Jakob Pöltl. The former two’s teams were involved in fairly large trades yesterday.
  • Indiana is obviously in a retool, if not, complete rebuild. The Caris LeVert trade could, in and of itself, just be Indiana maximizing value on a player they didn’t see as a part of their future. Also trading Sabonis is a much deeper uprooting. My initial reaction was: Myles Turner’s next to go. Then, it dawned on me: this trade was Indiana choosing between its two centres, not necessarily a complete toppling of their twin-tower frontcourt.

  • Woj confirmed as much:

  • It makes sense he would stay. Turner is only 26 at the end of this season, he, Chris Duarte, Haliburton, Isaiah Jackson, Keifer Sykes, Goga Bitadze, Oshae Brissett, Duane Washington Jr., and Terry Taylor, make for a very incomplete, but intriguing young core. If anything, it’s TJ Warren and Malcolm Brogdon getting traded in the offseason. They’re 28 and 30 at the start of 2022/23.
  • On the other hand, I am sure there are a number of suitors for Turner. Golden State and Charlotte come to mind. Watching Mason Plumlee the other night says enough. You know MJ is going to push GM Mitch Kupchak to make a centre splash. In fact, Charlotte is likely Toronto’s major competitor in the market. The Hornets have more to offer and, I think, are more willing to go for it. Rumours suggest PJ Washington’s on the block. He and Kelly Oubre make an easy $16 million package and PJ would be a nice addition to that young Pacers core. The Raptors are on the PJ list too. The price for either feels a bit steep. JC>PJ anyway. You can’t have both. Pick a side. Besides, what are we sending to Charlotte, our Eastern nemesis, in return? A Trojan Svi?
  • That leaves Holmes and Pöltl. I love Pöltl as a player and human. I don’t see it. Apparently, the Bulls offered Colby White and a first and the Spurs said nuh uh.

  • We offering Boucher, Banton and a first? Nuh uh. He is a wicked, hardworking defender; he hasn’t shot a 3 this year and is 46% from the free-throw line…
  • Richaun Holmes is the final C of the trio. With Saboner arriving in Sac Town, Holmes may be expendable. We saw, in Indiana, how Turner, a 3-point shooting C, and Sabonis didn’t work out. Hard to think Holmes and Sabonis would fit any better. I could be wrong. It all depends on the guys surrounding them. I am not sure Sac has anything better than what Indiana had shooting wise. Makes a bit more sense to me to go Sabonis 5, Barnes 4, Holiday 3, Davis/Mitchell 2, Fox 1. Run it small and fast and fun. Or, maybe, they keep Holmes, and buh bye Bagley. All the same, again, I think Toronto runs into the Charlotte quandary. If Holmes is available, Charlotte has more and is willing to offer more.
  • Who does that leave? Apparently, not Mitchell Robinson:

  • Fischer also mentioned that Robert Williams, AKA Timelord’s, name was being thrown around. I have no idea why Boston would (A) trade Timelord, a young, effective, athletic big (B) why they would trade Timelord to an Eastern Conference competitor, and (C) what Toronto would be willing to give up. Same, same with Nicolas Claxton rumours.
  • Jusuf Nurkić is another name floating in the trade ether. I’ve proposed it before and dig it for the right price. I know he changes the complexion of the team, but he’d play backup minutes as a playmaking hub and serve as a Gasol type when bigger bodies are required. The more I think about it, the more I feel this one manifesting…
  • If my sixth sense is actually gut rot, maybe the Raps just grab a big on a veteran minimum and hold on to their draft capital. Maybe keep an eye on these names in either small trades or buyouts: Willy Hernangomez, Robin Lopez, Daniel Theis, Tristan Thompson, Naz Reid, Dwight Howard (a guy can dream), and Thaddeus Young.


  • I, and my RR compatriots, discussed many of these trades already in a Trade Roundtable column and on the Rap Up Trade Deadline Preview. So, I won’t yammer too long. I’m also just throwing names out, I’m not saying they’re all good ideas, so lay off.
  • I am in the “get a good guard camp”. I want Toronto to fill out its bench with capable, dynamic guards/wings. Easier said than done, I know.
  • Caris LeVert is off the table. I don’t think he was ever a likely candidate.
  • Buddy Hield may not unpack his bags just yet with Indiana’s youth movement.
  • Derrick White and Eric Gordon are expendable seniors amongst their teams’ respective youth movements.
  • We discussed Terrence Ross already, I’d rather go with Gary Harris who is expiring. He may cost more upfront, but could be the type of guy we resign in the offseason for a lesser amount and roll the dice on him like Gary Trent Jr. That said, Harris is already 27, he may have already bumped his head on the proverbial ceiling.
  • With Bradley Beal having season-ending surgery, Washington’s donezo. I am sure Washington’s proferring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Spencer Dinwiddie to any willing bidders. KCP is not all that dynamic, but he’s 6’6″, shoot 37% from 3 on 5 attempts, and can reliably defend – very 2019 Danny Greeny. To get to KCP, you’d need to add Montresz in the deal…hmm. Dinwiddie has been playing exactly like this:

and is on a fairly large, long-term contract. He fits the mould of exactly what I think Toronto should acquire: a bigger, dynamic, veteran, scoring guard. I just think he’s too risky. Raul Neto anyone?

  • I am into Minnesota’s Jaylen Nowell, another scoring dyanmo, but I think he’d cost Boucher or a pick. If you can turn Chris into Nowell and another, maybe it’s worth it.
  • Not sure what Memphis’ plans are, if any. Should they want to upgrade their frontcourt depth, would they trade Brandon Clarke and DeAnthony Melton for Chris Boucher? We might have to sweeten the pot. Or downgrade Clarke to Xavier Tillman to avoid pot sweetening. Just a thought…
  • My homerun shot is Montrealer, Luguentz Dort. There’s a Canadian movement within the Raptors – 2/3 are Montrealers. Oklahoma City continues to sputter towards sucking for infinity. Dort is on a minimum with a team option next year. If OKC doesn’t want to pay him, would they take a first-rounder straight up for him? Probably not enough…do we do two and extend him? I’m obsessed with getting Dort now. His shooting numbers aren’t the best, but he’s the 2nd(?) option on the Thunder. He’ll be the 6th in Toronto; he’ll have plenty of space to be a complementary scorer. Close your eyes and imagine a Gary/Fred/Dort/OG/Boucher full-court press. Hooooooo mommma.
  • Around the edge options: Armoni Brooks, Hamidou Diallo, Rodney McGruder, Ty Jerome, Josh Jackson, Kenrich Williams, Ben McLemore, Justice Winslow (please, Lord, please).


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