Raptors' players reportedly drawing interest from long list of teams
It's no secret the Toronto Raptors have been struggling of late, currently riding a three-game losing streak. Those defeats haven't come against the NBA's heavy hitters, either. Two were at the hands of the 9-20 Orlando Magic, while the third was against the Sacramento Kings.
The offence has been hard to watch for most of the season as the team has rarely been healthy enough to roll out its optimal rotation. The Raptors rank 27th in field-goal percentage and 28th in three-point percentage, which has their record at 13-15 — good for 10th in the Eastern Conference.
While the Raptors are very much still alive in the playoff race, they must use the coming weeks to do an honest assessment of the roster and its trajectory to decide the best course of action at the Feb. 9 trade deadline. Other franchises are reportedly hoping Toronto continues to struggle and decides to enter sell mode, per Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus.
"Rival teams are hopeful the Raptors will fall off and focus on building a new core around second-year forward Scottie Barnes," Pincus wrote. "The number of teams interested in their players is too long to list."
If the Raptors do decide to start stripping down the roster, they have players that can fit any team's needs. The biggest prize would be Pascal Siakam, who has taken yet another step forward in 2022-23. He's averaging 24.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists and could be the perfect finishing piece for a win-now club. The 28-year-old hits free agency after next season, so he wouldn't be strictly a rental, either.
Guards Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. are both likely to opt out of their contracts after this season, so the Raptors would risk losing them for nothing if they don't move. VanVleet is an All-Star point guard with championship pedigree while Trent Jr. could provide a contender with an offensive spark off the bench.
O.G. Anunoby is another piece who would garner a lot of interest as he has improved offensively while remaining an elite defender. He can opt out of his contract and test the free-agent market after the 2023-24 campaign.
Pincus believes the more realistic option is for the Raptors to keep fighting to climb up the standings and avoid a major overhaul, but pegs Trent Jr. as the likeliest to move ahead of the deadline.
There's a long way to go in the season, but if the Raptors can't make up ground in the Eastern Conference, we all know how Masai Ujiri feels about the play-in tournament.
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