Teams across the NBA are keeping an eye on the Toronto Raptors to see how the team fares this season. The Raptors have a lot of solid players on their roster, and if the team is underperforming, some of those players could become available on the trade market.
During a recent appearance on “Run It Back,” NBA insider Shams Charania discussed Toronto’s outlook and why the Raptors could be busy around the trade deadline.
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“Teams are keeping a close eye as this year goes on on this roster because whether it’s [Pascal] Siakam, O.G. Anunoby, both guys, they’re on expiring contracts,” Charania said. “So, they’re going to be free agents, expected to be free agents this summer. And so on paper, we’ve been waiting for this Raptors team to start jelling. It just hasn’t happened. This year they’re hovering again around .500. … I think as we get closer to the trade deadline, I think Masai Ujiri likes to wait until closer to the trade deadline. He’ll evaluate his team, and we’ll see if any of these guys finally do get traded.”
Things haven’t gone especially well for Toronto so far this season. Through 19 games of action, the Raptors sit at just 9-10, which is good for 10th in the Eastern Conference. They have gone just 5-9 against other teams in the East, and though there’s still a whole lot of basketball left to be played this season, they haven’t really looked like a team poised to make any sort of a deep playoff run.
The Raptors missed the playoffs entirely last season, and they haven’t advanced past the first round since the 2019-20 season. Eventually, they might have to shake things up, and this could be the season that happens, which is seemingly why other teams are monitoring the situation in Toronto closely.
Guys like Siakam and Anunoby would make ideal additions to contending teams, and as a result, both players would likely have plenty of suitors if they’re ultimately made available by Toronto.
It makes sense for Toronto to consider moving both players prior to the deadline and getting some value in return, as it would run the risk of losing them both in free agency next summer. Siakam is set for unrestricted free agency, and as a result, he’ll be free to sign wherever he wants. Anunoby has a player option in his contract for next season, but he could opt to turn that down in order to secure a longer, more lucrative deal as an unrestricted free agent.
If Toronto’s front office doesn’t view those players as long-term pieces, trading both in order to get value in return would be the prudent thing to do. It will be very interesting to see if that is the route that the Raptors ultimately opt to take.