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NBA Trade Grades: Raptors Deal Goran Dragić to Spurs for Thaddeus Young

Don't expect Dragić to remain in San Antonio.

Spurs receive: Goran Dragić, 2022 first-round pick (lottery protected)

Raptors receive: Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks, 2022 second-round pick via Pistons

Raptors: B+

Since they acquired Goran Dragić as part of the sign-and-trade that sent franchise icon Kyle Lowry down to the Heat, the Raptors have looked to move the 35-year-old Slovenian. What they got back is a 33-year-old Thaddeus Young who’s about nine months removed from a dark-horse Sixth Man of the Year campaign on the Bulls.

If that’s the player Toronto gets, Young makes a lot of sense there. He’s a smart, unselfish, versatile veteran who can play some backup five and even start against teams when the matchup calls for it, or the Raptors feel the need to rest one of their 19 forwards. Ideally, Young’s passing will loosen up an offense that ranks 29th in assist rate, and his knowledge/experience should be embraced by someone like Scottie Barnes.

But Young has also barely played in San Antonio and voiced frustration with his limited role back in early December. “Right now, this situation is not ideal for me,” he said. “I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to settle for four and six minutes a game. … It’s super tough. It’s very tough and frustrating at times. It’s just a matter of trusting in my faith and trusting in my craft, and trusting in the time that I put into the game each and every day. I’m a 15-year veteran, and I’m still one of the last to leave the gym, and I’m still showing up early, putting in a lot of time and a lot of work.”

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Furthermore, Drew Eubanks is the type of physical big this roster could use, and the deal also creates a $5.25 million trade exception while comfortably ducking the team a few million dollars below the tax (not a minor detail). But above everything, it’s fascinating to see the Raptors likely surrender a first-round pick for what may be a months-long rental on someone who’s logged only 43 total minutes in 2022. The Eastern Conference is basically wide open, and their self-belief as a threat to emerge as the last team standing should be growing by the day. If Young can carve out real minutes in their playoff rotation this trade will likely have been worth doing, though, that’s no guarantee.

Spurs: A-

Meanwhile, over in Texas, when the dust settles on this transaction (including Dragić’s looming buyout), the Spurs will have essentially purchased a mid-to-late first-round pick. (The Raptors have won seven games in a row and created a bit of distance between themselves and the lottery.) That’s … pretty great for a team that would like to rebuild on the fly around All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray. San Antonio has all of their own future firsts plus a 2025 pick from the Bulls, thanks to last summer’s DeMar DeRozan deal. Securing a pick this good for Young was never guaranteed. The Spurs should be happy with as many bites at the apple as they can get.

It’s simpler than the last trade these two organizations made.

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