Another year has gone by, and another trade deadline has come where the Raptors find themselves facing the same old question: add to the current core, sell off for future assets, or ride the season out and tinker with the roster in the summer? This season more than ever though, things seem to get a little bit more complicated. The Raptors haven’t found themselves this low in the standings since the days when Kyle Lowry first arrived in Toronto. Whether that’s attributable to a slow start to the season, the team being temporarily re-located to Florida, or simply that their star player, Kyle Lowry, is finally beginning to show signs of his age is all debatable. One question that needs definitive answers immediately however, is what Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster should do with the roster in these next seven days. Below, Jaden Pelayo, Jeremy Wilson, Fernando Garcia, and Neeraj Varma all give their thoughts.
The only definitive stance that I have going into this deadline is that the Raptors should sell high on Norm. The team’s outlook really depends on when the core guys come back from being sidelined due to health & safety protocols, because this team with those guys are too good to miss the playoffs. If worse comes to worst, sell Lowry for assets along with Norm, and do right by Lowry by sending him to a contender.
The Raptors have shown that they can compete. After a rough start to the season, they put together a good stretch until losing three starters to COVID-19 protocols. Like Nick Nurse said, give Lowry another chance to compete here.
Fernando: Staying pat
There is a lot of controversy surrounding what the Raptors should do. The problem is that there aren’t many teams who have pieces that Toronto wants, or players whose salaries the Raptors could easily match. If the Raptors do get rid of Norm, who is on fire right now, who replaces his production? Who fills in with bench units? Even with Siakam and Fred on the floor, Norm still gives you about 17 points per game, and some okay defence. There is no one out there right now who can match Norm’s production. Unless Toronto were to receive a ton of future picks, I can’t see the current value of trading Norm or Lowry
I’ll cheer for the Raptors until the day I die, but realistically, this team as currently constructed can’t compete for a championship. There don’t seem to be any blockbuster moves that the Raptors can make as buyers this deadline to bring in a superstar and become contenders, so it makes the most sense to acquire some value for expiring contracts. I know that there is a lot of emotion tied to trading away Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell, since they were both such instrumental members in bringing the Raptors a championship, however there is no doubt that Lowry will retire as a Raptor: “even if it’s on a one-day contract,” as he says. If you don’t trade them, you risk Kyle walking in free agency, and face the decision of whether you want to pay Norm north of $18M per season, or let him do the same. Losing both for nothing would set the franchise back several years.