After acquiring Serge Ibaka, the Toronto Raptors are “seriously pursuing” a swingman, according to reports, and P.J. Tucker is once again being linked to the Dinos.
Buckle up, Toronto Raptors fans. We’re just under three days away from the NBA Trade Deadline and the rumours are starting to heat up. With Serge Ibaka in and Terrence Ross out, the Raptors are said to be “seriously pursuing” a swingman, according to Gery Woeful of the Racine Journal Times.
Woelfel didn’t specify who the Raptors are targeting, but there is speculation linking Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker to Toronto. ESPN’s Zach Lowe said the Suns are taking calls on Tucker and cited the Raptors and Clippers as teams to watch for in a potential deal.
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Lowe also said he would be “surprised — and impressed — if Phoenix got a first-rounder” for Tucker, which is interesting when you consider that the Suns were adamant about receiving “a nice pick” for Tucker at last year’s deadline.
The Suns desire to fetch a first-round pick for Tucker is no secret. At a Hoop Talks event in Toronto last year, the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith shared with fans that the Suns were seeking a first-round pick for Tucker and that the Raptors balked at a potential deal because of their request.
With Lowe saying he would be “surprised and impressed” if the Suns were able to land a first-rounder for Tucker, perhaps Toronto could acquire the one-time Raptor for a feasible package like Jared Sullinger and a second-round pick.
Since the salaries match (Tucker makes $5.3 million and Sullinger makes $5.628 million), this seems like the ideal starting point for any trade sending Tucker to the Raptors. As for other assets and scenarios such as releasing Sullinger, Lowe touched on that in his article, too.
"Toronto and Washington are both eager to add another rotation player, per several league sources. The Raps roster is a little heavy on bigs after the Ibaka deal, and they still have trade chips — all their own picks, and some interesting young guys. They have the maximum 15 players under contract, but if necessary, they could waive Jared Sullinger to clear a roster spot.Any deal involving an expensive Drakes veteran will probably wait until the summer, when the team faces a severe luxury tax crunch.– Zach Lowe, ESPN.com — February 20th, 2017"
The problem with the Raptors “interesting young guys” is their salary. Jakob Poeltl makes just over $2.7 million, but every other prospect makes under $2 million, which doesn’t help a financially strapped team like the Raptors unless they’re trying to include one of those players in a package.
Waiting until the offseason, like Lowe suggested, makes a lot more sense for the Raptors, but since the salaries matchup and the cost doesn’t sound too high, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the Raptors complete a deal like Sullinger and a second-rounder for Tucker.