Several reports indicate Goran Dragic will be moved before the trade deadline, but what sort of return package should the Toronto Raptors expect?
If the latest news regarding Goran Dragic is true, it is likely he will be moved by the Feb. 10 trade deadline. This would certainly be beneficial to the Toronto Raptors, with Dragic on leave for personal reasons since the end of November.
The Toronto Star‘s Doug Smith has reported there is great interest in Dragic from around the NBA. Smith goes on to write the point guard will almost certainly be traded before the upcoming deadline passes.
This theoretically puts the Raptors in the driving seat with other teams, with a trade preferred to buying out Dragic’s contract. The Toronto Star advised the interest has come in a variety of differently structured deals.
The opportunity to get rid of the 2018 NBA All-Star and his expiring salary cap hit of $19.44 million will be a welcome one for the Raptors. He made it clear after being traded to Toronto that this was not his preferred destination.
The Raptors certainly could have used Dragic, especially with the increasing reliance on the starting five of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. and Scottie Barnes. Instead, his tenure in Southern Ontario will end having played just five regular season games for the team.
In this respect, Toronto may well be in the market for a player capable of coming in and easing the workload a la Chris Boucher, who averages 20 minutes per night. If it is someone who can also become part of their long-term plans, even better.
One such player the Raptors are apparently interested in is Jaokb Poeltl, who they previously drafted. He has developed into a consistent starter and would help a team looking to improve their talent and strength in the frontcourt.
However, would the struggling San Antonio Spurs actually be prepared to give up one of their best players? Even if they are one of the teams interested in Dragic, it doesn’t mean they will let Poeltl leave.
In truth, it wouldn’t make sense to trade an improving, 26-year-old player in return for someone a decade older and on an expiring deal. Unless the Spurs — or whoever — are looking for draft capital.
The Raptors are in position to include one — or two if warranted — of their future first round draft picks with Dragic, if it helps them acquire an accomplished player or promising/rising talent. However, even this may not be quite so straight forward.
As Aaron Rose of Sports Illustrated writes, it’s difficult to find a team which wants both a veteran player on an expiring contract, as well as draft capital. It’s entirely possible of course, but Rose believes it’s usually just one or the other.
If another team is just looking for players rather than draft picks, it may well be a case of Toronto having to offer more than Dragic. Potential options could include Precious Achiuwa or Malachi Flynn.
Another possibility is just a straight-up swap of expiring contracts. This scenario would probably mean the Raptors acquiring someone who can play the remainder of this season, unlike Dragic (at this stage).
While a solid/promising long-term depth player for the rotation or starting big man would be an excellent outcome for the Raptors, it isn’t a necessity this season. The reality is that while securing a playoff spot is a very strong possibility, they aren’t a genuine championship contender at this stage.
The main thing right now is the Toronto Raptors are in position to get rid of a significant salary cap hit for someone who isn’t enthused about playing for them. Just the apparent fact there is so much interest in Dragic means they are essentially in a no-lose situation.
Are you convinced by all the reports and speculation advising that Dragic will be moved by the Toronto Raptors prior to the deadline? If so, what kind of trade deal do you predict? Let us know in the comments section below.