ALL EYES ON TORONTO

2023-01-23 · 1 min read · NBA/Basketball
Toronto Raptors Fred VanVleet and Khem Birch

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching, which means the vultures are officially circling around potential NBA sellers. No team is much closer than the Toronto Raptors.
What began as a year filled with optimism has quickly descended into nightmare territory. Toronto is 21-27, currently outside even a play-in tournament berth let alone the playoffs.
What’s most troubling though, is how they’ve looked on the court. A team that once was known for defensive tenacity and malleability, suddenly can’t guard anyone. The stats speak for themselves as well: Toronto is 19th in defensive rating this year.
All that’s to say, many believe it’s time to move on from the core of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr.
Here’s where it gets a bit complicated though, because which of those 4 players will (and should) ultimately be moved is currently up for debate in Raptor land. The most obvious players to move would be Anunoby and Trent.
A package of those two players could bring back a solid return of draft picks and prospects.
The most unlikely of the bunch to be moved is Fred VanVleet, only because of his contract situation. He has an option to become a free agent at the end of this season, which could scare teams off from mortgaging their assets for a player who could walk in the summertime.
Then there’s Siakam, who’s been brilliant this season from a statistical standpoint. The general consensus is that what’s transpired this season is no Siakam’s fault. While this may be true, he’s 28 years old, and has by far the most value of anyone on the roster.
In other words, trading him could bring back a king's ransom of assets similar to what Utah got back for Donovan Mitchell. As good as he is, he’s in his prime and doesn’t really fit the trajectory of a rebuilding team.
Regardless of what moves they make, it’s pretty clear that the Raptors will be big time sellers. It’s not a matter of “if” at this point, it’s a matter of “when”.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Eddie Huband

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