If you’re among the Toronto Raptors fans who fawn over modern basketball with centres who can space the floor, this season has not been one too enjoyable for you. Toronto’s starting centre, Aron Baynes, is shooting a dim 23.1% from three-point range on the season, and because of his inability to space the floor, he’s hindered Pascal Siakam’s ability to thrive in the starting lineup as well. I elaborated more on the concept in my previous piece on how a starting calibre centre could turn the Raptors into contenders, but essentially Baynes and Siakam have a net rating of -5.9 per 100 possessions while sharing the floor together, meanwhile the frontcourt of Siakam and Boucher – who is shooting 43.2% from deep this season – share a net rating of +10.6.
News broke this morning via simultaneous tweets from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Andre Drummond could be making his way to Tampa sooner rather than later, and that the two sides were actively engaged in trade discussions.
Drummond is 27-years-old, is on the final year of his maximum level contract extension, and is due to hit unrestricted free agency this summer. The two-time All-Star has led the league in rebounds four times in his career, and is averaging 13.5 boards per game this season, along with 17.5 points. Surely, he’ll shore up some of the Raptors’ rebounding problems, as they currently rank 29th in the league in that category, but Toronto’s floor spacing incapability would only become exacerbated.
Given Drummond’s massive $28M salary, matching the books will be tough. The only feasible way for Toronto to take on Drummond’s deal would be to package Aron Baynes, Norman Powell, and a couple of Patrick McCaw, Stanley Johnson, Terence Davis, Matt Thomas, or DeAndre’ Bembry. Any ulterior package would need to be centered around Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, or Kyle Lowry, and if the goal is to compete, making that trade would be counterintuitive.
Further tweets from Wojnarowski would begin to contradict how imminent this trade might be. In one post, he says that Drummond will be held out of competing in any further games until a trade is found, making it seem like Cleveland wants to find a trade partner as soon as possible, while in another tweet, he says that the Cavaliers have no serious ongoing trade discussions with any team at the moment.
Hang tight Raptors fans, and stay glued to your phones. Toronto’s front office doesn’t leak anything until the details are printed and the signatures are inked, so this could be a long – or a short – month ahead until the March 25th trade deadline.