Today was a busy trade-deadline-eve-eve which saw two of this year’s biggest dominoes fall. Alas, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard have been separated, as have Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Several new reports and rumours were leaked – for reason of truth or for reason of manipulation – and a few of them have material impacts on the Toronto Raptors plans. The General Manager of the North also took to the stand to field the questions of the media, and surprisingly, he threw a couple of significant bones for fans to chew on over the next 42 hours. As promised, here are some minute notes on how today’s events will affect the Raptors trade deadline plans.
Blazers might not be done
The Portland Trail Blazers continue to sell off their assets. Today they dealt CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., and Tony Snell to the New Orleans Pelicans for Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, and a future first-round pick. Currently, of the 15 players under contract in Portland, nine are guards, signifying that they may not be finished making moves just yet. With $10M remaining on his deal this season, Satoransky seems like a prime target to be re-routed, and if the Raptors are in search of guard-depth, he could be a player to target with Goran Dragic and a second round pick.
Contrary to earlier reports that he could be the next big name to leave Portland, Jusuf Nurkic is apparently not being shopped anymore. The Trail Blazers and the Bosnian big man have mutual interest in signing a new deal this summer, per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.
Myles Turner could be off the table
Although it has not been officially reported yet, and while a Turner trade could still be in the cards if a godfather package comes along, it seems unlikely that the Pacers will move him after clearing room in their frontcourt via a Sabonis trade. Turner could never be maximized offensively because Sabonis – a two-time All-Star – operates best in the paint and the Pacers schemes favoured Sabonis’ production over Turner’s. More importantly, since this trade allows Turner to play the center position on both ends of the floor, there is no pressing need to trade him anymore.
Richaun Holmes appears to be available
After trading some guard depth for Sabonis, the Sacramento Kings could look to reverse their roster imbalance with a Richaun Holmes trade. It’s hard to imagine that Holmes and Sabonis could play alongside each other – offering an exacerbated model of the Turner-Sabonis conundrum – and spending $35M on a backup center over the next three years is an evident overpay. If the Raptors are still in the market for a big man, Holmes could be a target. They had interest in him last summer before he ultimately agreed to re-sign with the Kings, and the Raptors inked a new deal with Khem Birch.
Spurs upping the asking price for Poeltl
It was previously reported that the San Antonio Spurs were seeking a first round pick in return for Jakob Poeltl, however according to Marc Stein, this asking price was met by the Bulls and the offer was eventually declined by the Spurs. Poeltl is likely a target that the Raptors maintain interest in, but it appears as though they will need to pay a high price if they want a reunion with the Austrian Hammer.
The Rubio trade and its benefit to the Raptors
Ricky Rubio and Goran Dragic’s contracts were two peas in a pod following Rubio’s season ending injury: two large expiring contracts that could be used to match salary in a trade, but didn’t provide any on-court value. It remains the expectation that wherever Dragic is dealt, he will be bought out, and have the freedom to sign where he pleases. As Sportsnet’s Michael Grange points out, by Cleveland making the first move and dealing Rubio, the Raptors are the only such team remaining who is willing to attach draft compensation to a large expiring contract if they can yield a valuable player in return. One name to watch is Houston’s Eric Gordon.
Bobby Webster speaks (and tells)
In a pre-trade deadline press conference from Webster, one would be in line to expect no content of significance. Rather, the Hawaii native offered several tidbits of juicy information. He noted that none of the core pieces were likely to be traded (although things can always change between now and Thursday); that they were open to taking on long-term money (presumably by matching salary with Dragic); and that they were looking to add a long-term piece (which is obvious, and which may come during the summer rather than this week, but is a note of optimism to excite fans for the next couple days).
Names to keep an eye on
Some of these names have been previously reported, and some are based off my hunch of who could be involved in trade talks. Some names to keep an eye on ahead of Thursday include Nicolas Claxton, Jakob Poeltl, Tomas Satoransky, Eric Gordon, Danilo Gallinari, Richaun Holmes, and P.J. Washington.