It’s NBA Trade Deadline Day and the Toronto Raptors have begun the day in earnest, with reports claiming a multi-asset deal has been agreed with the San Antonio Spurs.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Toronto Raptors have agreed a deal that sees Goran Dragić and the team’s 2022 first-round pick head to the Spurs in exchange for Thad Young, Drew Eubanks and a 2022 second-rounder (originally owned by the Detroit Pistons).
Per Charania, the Raptors’ first-rounder is 1-14 protected this year, 1-13 protected the following year, and would turn into future second-rounders should both of those scenarios see the team retain the picks.
The deal sees the Raptors offload a player that never wanted to be a part of the team and has only made five appearances all season, moving back to be with his family in Miami and regularly training at his former team’s facilities and attending games.
In return, the Raptors acquire a power forward in Young who has been a consistent player throughout his NBA career but has struggled mightily this season – making just two starts in 26 appearances, posting an average of just 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Given a larger role from the Raptors’ bench could see the team benefit from enhanced production from the 33-year-old New Orleans, Louisiana native and would provide some depth to a bench that has desperately needed it at times this season.
In addition, the trade sees the team acquire a centre in Eubanks that could also see improved production should he earn more minutes under Nick Nurse – with the position still a questionable one despite the improvements shown by Precious Achiuwa this season.
Having improved depth and players that will actually play games for the Toronto Raptors is a bonus, with the team sporting an impressive 30-23 record at the time of writing on the back of a seventh consecutive victory (117-98 vs the OKC Thunder) and an 8-2 record over their past ten games.
Nurse’s stars are performing at or above expectations in recent weeks, with Fred VanVleet earning NBA All-Star reserve honours and Gary Trent Jr posting five consecutive games with 30 points or more, so acquiring that much-needed depth was always going to be the route taken on deadline day.
With Dragić now out of the picture, the Toronto Raptors can move forward and focus on themselves and what they can now achieve together after exceeding expectations at this early stage of the post-Kyle Lowry era.
Sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference may have surprised many, after last season’s COVID-inflicted disappointment, but the core is young and hungry and has legitimate top-tier talent.
Now, it has some experienced depth that could play an important role down the stretch as the team looks to return to playoff regulars once again.