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Trade Ideas To Fix Raptors Biggest Issues as Desperation Grows in Toronto

The Toronto Raptors have dropped seven of their last 10 games and continue to draw increased trade interest with each loss. Are there any players they could acquire to help both now and later?

It might finally be time for the Toronto Raptors to pick a new path at the proverbial fork in the road.

Masai Ujiri and the Raptors brass have maintained unwavering confidence in recent seasons, stressing patience and trying to alleviate any negative limelight surrounding a developing young roster. At this point, it simply hasn’t translated to on-court success.

The trick is finding a trade partner. While several teams have shown interest in players like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, for example, the trade deadline is still two months away. Recent history would indicate the Raptors are likely to wait for the market to further develop as well.

Conversely, Toronto is also in a position to lead the charge. After all, the timing of the trade is irrelevant so long as it comes before the deadline and fetches a reasonable return. If that trade domino fell, the reverberation would be felt league wide.

For such a deal to come to fruition, the Raptors would need to secure assets that address some of the team’s greatest needs including defense and three-point shooting.

More specifically, they need both shot creators and movement shooters who can open up space on the floor for Scottie Barnes and others. If it’s a point guard, even better.

Most teams are naturally looking to acquire either Siakam or Anunoby, meaning potential suitors are predominantly contenders without much cap flexibility.

Pascal Siakam to the Atlanta Hawks

That said, there are a couple of exceptions. The Atlanta Hawks are right beside the Raptors in the standings, albeit with different needs. Atlanta’s interest in Siakam has been well-documented, with many hypothetical returns including some variation of De’Andre Hunter coupled with other young players and draft picks.

Siakam’s fit alongside Trae Young and Dejounte Murray is obvious, but what about some type of Murray-for-Siakam swap like the one recently mused by veteran NBA writer John Hollinger of The Athletic?

Hollinger went on to say that the trade would be difficult from a salary match standpoint, but the interest is clearly there and would solve a few problems for both teams. There’s always the possibility of adding a third team to the mix to help things along as well.

Murray would undoubtedly change the entire complexion of the Raptors offense. He’s a natural point guard who excels as a shot-creator, can contribute at the rim, and provides steady defense. In short, he’s exactly the kind of player Toronto has been coveting.

The positional versatility Murray brings is appealing as well, seeing as he’s mostly been used at shooting guard since joining Atlanta. The Hawks gave up a lot to acquire Murray, but his fit alongside Young hasn't gone as expected.

The main caveat to acquiring Murray stems from his offseason contract extension, which doesn’t allow him to be dealt until January 6, 2024. Still, he should be on the Raptors' radar if a Hawks deal involving Hunter, or any other Siakam deal, can’t be reached before the new year.

OG Anunoby to the Indiana Pacers

Another team in a unique position to buy is the Indiana Pacers. A surprisingly strong start to the season combined with a great salary cap situation could see them emerge as buyers.

In this case, Anunoby may draw more interest than Siakam. At 29 years old, Siakam doesn’t fit the Pacers' timeline as naturally as the 26-year-old Anunoby. Indiana also knows that Siakam would cost more and be less likely to stay, although there are no guarantees with Anunoby either.

On his own, Anunoby could likely net a return package featuring some combination of players and draft picks. Buddy Hield would be a natural fit, as his salary would make the money work and his outside shooting is something the Raptors would covet. Now 31 years old, Toronto would be unlikely to extend Hield, but he could help in the interim and be flipped in another deal closer to the deadline.

If the Raptors really wanted to make a trade addressing the future, they could take a run at Montreal-born Bennedict Mathurin. The 21-year-old is a high-end prospect but hasn’t been able to solidify himself as a starter. Spending time at both shooting guard and small forward, his ball-handling abilities would be useful. Mathurin’s been productive off the bench as well and seems to be hitting his stride as of late.

In short, he’s the kind of player worth gambling on before he becomes too expensive or untouchable. His price would still currently be high, as he would likely have to come back with Hield for the salaries to work.

The Raptors are hurting when it comes to draft picks, but that can always be addressed by flipping Hield and other roster players for those kinds of assets.

A trade like this would send a clear message – Toronto has an eye on the future. It may be a tough thing for management to admit, but the writing on the wall only becomes clearer with each passing loss.