Toronto Raptors clear roster spot for potential trade

President Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
President Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have made a move to clear a roster spot, but will their aggressive approach result in the major trade they are looking for?

The Toronto Raptors may or may not find the player they’re looking for, prior to Thursday’s 3 pm ET trade deadline. However, at least they’re doing everything possible to put themselves in position to make it happen.

As reported by Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Raptors have sent Malachi Richardson, their 2022 second-round pick and the draft rights to Emir Preldzic to the Philadelphia 76ers. In return, Toronto acquired cash considerations.

Essentially, this was a salary-shedding move by the Raptors, which opened up an extra roster spot. (The team now has 13 players under contract.) Whatever they’re planning to do, the stage has now been set.

The question is, what do the Raptors have planned? There has been a lot of talk around the league that they are taking an aggressive approach as we move ever closer towards the trade deadline.

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In this respect, you imagine it involves making an offer for Anthony Davis. As much as some people may scoff at this, Masai Ujiri and company have already proved they can shock people.

The Raptors somehow managed to persuade other teams to take Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay. Of course, these moves paled in comparison to acquiring Kawhi Leonard last summer.

However, even taking all of this into account, it still seems the odds are stacked against the Raptors actually securing Davis’ services. The New Orleans Pelicans are under no pressure to move their superstar at this stage.

Assuming Davis is out of the running, the Raptors will still look elsewhere to strengthen their team. However, don’t expect Pascal Siakam to be part of any potential package unless, as reported by TSN‘s Josh Lewenberg, it is in exchange for a superstar-level return.

Similarly, as much as there has been speculation about Kyle Lowry‘s future, he is also unlikely to be moved on Thursday. So with all this in mind, where does it actually leave the Raptors?

We know the Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas package in exchange for Marc Gasol and Mike Conley is a non-starter. And just to reiterate, it was reportedly the Memphis Grizzlies who approached the Raptors about the potential trade, as opposed to the other way around.

In all honesty, most signs seem to point towards the Raptors making a minor roster move, as opposed to a major trade. Again, this doesn’t they aren’t trying to acquire that big name; it’s just unlikely.

One possibility for a less significant roster move we’ve previously mentioned, is Wes Matthews. The sentiment is Matthews would provide some depth scoring for the Raptors.

Other than that, it’s all up in the air right now for Ujiri and the Raptors, apart from knowing they’re trying to get something done. With this in mind, it should make for an interesting Thursday in the Southern Ontario area, as fans eagerly wait to hear any news about a trade.

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How do you think this is all going to play out for the Toronto Raptors? Will they trade for a big name, a depth player, or miss out altogether? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.