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NBA Trade Rumour: Raptors reportedly looking into trading Jonas Valanciunas and the 23rd pick

Michael Grange has your first bit of Raptors intrigue of the evening.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Draft night might not be as quiet in Toronto as we once expected.

Per Sportsnet’s Michael Grange, Jonas Valanciunas and the 23rd-overall pick might be the topic of some trade conversations this evening.

That the Raptors would look into off-loading Valanciunas isn’t terribly surprising. Serge Ibaka’s play from the All-Star break on provided plenty of evidence that he is a better centre than power forward at the stage in his career. Re-signing Ibaka will almost certainly bring the Raptors into the luxury tax if Kyle Lowry ends up returning to Toronto as well. Valanciunas might be the second-most effective centre on the team now, and with a roughly $17 million price tag for three more seasons, dealing him would be the quickest way to shed some money in hopes of ducking out of the luxury tax.

As far as what the return might be for Valanciunas if he were to be paired with the 23rd pick, it’s anybody’s guess. The centre market is not exactly robust as the league embraces a more smaller and athletic motif. Pairing Valanciunas and the pick could theoretically fetch anything from a higher pick to another flawed centre to next to nothing at all. Valanciunas is a more valuable asset on paper than Dwight Howard or Brook Lopez were when they were moved earlier this week, but predicting the price tag for old-school bigs is a tricky proposition.

If this rumour picks up any traction, we’ll update you here.