Team No. 3 – Toronto Raptors
There has been a lot of talk regarding the Toronto Raptors as a team to watch for in terms of making a trade. There were rumors surrounding them at this season’s trade deadline and whether or not they’d trade away players, such as OG Anunoby, to retool.
Ultimately, they played it relatively safe in a deal with the San Antonio Spurs. The trade was the Raptors’ 2024 first-round pick, second-round picks in 2023 and 2025, and Khem Birch in exchange for Jakob Poeltl.
The Raptors finished the regular season at .500 with a 41-41 record and lost their first play in-game as the nine seed to the Bulls. On top of their disappointing season, the Raptors have some decisions to make concerning contracts this offseason.
Guards Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. have player options for around $23 million and $19 million, respectively. Poeltl is an unrestricted free agent.
Blazers’ options with Raptors
Given the contracts, there’s a realistic scenario in which Trent Jr. takes the player option but VanVleet decides to sign elsewhere for more money. VanVleet’s possible departure could leave Toronto vulnerable, as the Raptors aren’t a guard-heavy team.
The Blazers are an excellent trade partner match with Toronto because their team strength is guards, having Lillard, Simons, and Sharpe.
The Raptors could be interested in Simons or Sharpe because it would allow them to take a step back in their roster timeline and retool around 21-year-old Scottie Barnes.
Some possible players Portland could get back in return include star forward Pascal Siakam or Anunoby. Both have been involved in trade deadline rumors and would provide the Blazers with more length, physicality, defense, and scoring to complement Lillard.
Portland forward Jerami Grant is an unrestricted free agent, but if the Blazers can retain him, the lengthy combination of Grant plus Siakam or Anunoby at the forward positions is highly intriguing.