Have we seen Bruce Brown, Gary Trent Jr., and Chris Boucher’s last game as Toronto Raptors? What about Dennis Schroder? Could he possibly be on the move too?
The JJJs are back for a quick Raptors trade deadline roundtable — and no, it’s not Jaren Jackson Jr. Sadly, it’s Raptors HQ’s Josh Kern, JD Quirante, and Jay Rosales.
The trio looked into some burning topics surrounding the Raptors and their potential trade deadline activity. Will the Raptors continue to be sellers now that they have unloaded Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby? What about Gary Trent Jr.? His contract situation hasn’t been resolved yet, and there’s a chance that the Raptors could lose him for nothing this summer. At the same time, he’s playing much better — should Masai and Bobby hold on to him? Shooting, after all, is a premium and rare skill set in the NBA nowadays.
Let’s hear what these three have to say.
A mystery team has reportedly offered the Toronto Raptors a first-round draft pick for Bruce Brown, per @michaelgrange— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) February 7, 2024
“According to a league source, the Raptors are asking for and have been offered a first-round pick for Brown, who is earning $22.5 million this season and has… pic.twitter.com/ydQlOPksfZ
Are you expecting (any more) fireworks from the Raptors before the trade deadline?
Jay: You know how the big booming fireworks are saved for the grand finale of a show? Yeah, that’s not happening here. In fact, the front office has done the exact opposite. Kicking off trade season with the OG Anunoby trade, then following that with the Pascal Siakam swap, Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster lit the loudest fireworks at the start! Having said that, Masai’s recent comments about the newly acquired picks and openness to more trades (not to mention all the tradeable assets at his disposal), the Raptors are definitely lining up some fireworks. Just not as loud as the first couple!
JD: Blow it up! Trade Bruce, Otto, Dennis, Chris, Thad, Jak, etc. Heck, if you can trade Jalen McDaniels for a new air fryer, do it! Let’s clear the deck and start building around the Scottie/RJ/Barnes/IQ/Gradey.
Josh: Agreed that anyone outside of “BBQ” is available — maybe not Jakob, as trading him now would be an admission that that trade and subsequent signing would be a bust — but other than Brown, I’m not sure we’ll see any more moves; the Raps may have shot their shot already, and so far at least, this seems like it’s going to be a quiet deadline.
Do we still want to trade Gary Trent Jr.? He’s playing well as a starter and provides the floor spacing that Scottie Barnes and RJ Barrett need to operate inside. Thoughts?
JD: If we can keep him for a good value, why not? However, as I mentioned above, I’d rather us continue with the “blow it up” approach and get younger guys and picks to audition for that role. The season’s getting flushed down the toilet anyway, so we can live with a mediocre GTJ replacement for the rest of the season.
Josh: Even though the team desperately needs his skillset, I think it would be best to trade Gary; with the team as bad as it is, I don’t think it makes sense to lock up long-term cap space for him (unless it’s at a REALLY good price), and I’d rather get something for him than let him walk for nothing. The team will 712% less stylish without him, though.
Jay: Gary’s bet on himself has not turned out as he hoped. Thankfully, his recent string of hot-shooting should help in multiple ways. I agree that he provides floor spacing the team sorely needs. However, he’s also boosted his trade value (after it plummeted to start the season). I lean more towards the team keeping him, especially if his market hasn’t produced a favourable trade package. Toronto can still re-sign him in the offseason (at a better price than originally thought) or do a sign-and-trade.
If you can keep up to two players, who would you want to be part of next year’s team — Bruce Brown, Dennis Schroder, Gary Trent Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and Chris Boucher?
JD: Geez, this is tough. I like Gary; as mentioned above, his spacing is valuable to the team’s key players. However, I’m unsure if I want to be that team paying him north of $20m since his utility is very limited, and his defense leaves much to be desired. If anything, I’d rather keep Chris Boucher. Despite the benching, he’s been a consummate pro, and we know that he will always bring his best effort every time he gets off the bench. Given his story and mentality, I would love to keep him with the team to set a great example for the younger players on this team (and upcoming ones). Just compare Boucher’s demeanour with when Jalen McDaniels checked in the other night.
Jay: Bruce and Gary (which sounds eerily close to Ace & Gary IYKYK). Brown’s lackadaisical effort has dampened my enthusiasm for his fit on the roster. However, his contract is still tradeable in the offseason or at next year’s deadline (albeit an expiring one) for any contenders who don’t offer an enticing enough package this week. I still believe that Brown can fit into whatever this roster looks like next season.
We've got a new team to monitor for Bruce Brown Jr. Utah and Toronto have discussed a deal for Brown, league sources told @YahooSports, and more trade deadline notes following today's action thus far: https://t.co/hD9MBwPvTE— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) February 8, 2024
As for Gary, he’s still young enough to ride with the core (born the same year as Immanuel Quickley AND Markquis Nowell), plus there hasn’t been enough in the rumour mill to get excited about. Hopefully, his hot shooting of late continues post-All-Star break.
Josh: OK I rewrote this three times because I really can’t decide. The fact is, on paper, the Raps need all the skills these guys bring to the table (shooting, bench energy, utility defender, backup PG), but none of them seem to play up their highest level consistently. I guess Boucher and Schroeder would be my choices, but Coach Rajakovic doesn’t have much trust in the former and too much trust in the latter, so… ♂️
What’s your favourite Raptor-related trade deadline hypothetical move (no, we’re not trading for Lebron James)?
Jay: In last week’s Rap-Up, I proposed a deal that had Bruce Brown going to OKC for Davis Bertans and Cason Wallace. Keep Bertans in the deal for salary-matching and replace Wallace with any other prospect and/or draft picks.
That should be the framework in every deal with the Thunder: Player-who-improves-title-chances for Bertans-plus-prospect-and-or-picks
JD: since we’re blowing the team up, let’s go crazy and go for a TOR/GSW trade.
TOR -> GSW
Gary Trent Jr.
Otto Porter Jr.
GSW -> TOR
Gary Payton II
2 lotto protected 1st rd picks
Jay: LOL. While the financials work out, this leaves Toronto with Jontay Porter as the only Center? ESPN’s trade machine predicts both teams lose at least SEVEN wins each. Remarkable stuff!
JD: Jay, to be fair, we’re not even guaranteed seven more wins for the rest of the season, even with the current roster lmao
Jay: JD, to be fair…..damn, you got me
Josh: Whatever gets them a lot of picks, which they can then trade to OKC, when Shai issues his “trade me to Toronto” trade demand (coming any day now, I’m sure)
I’ll be surprised if ____________ is still a Raptor after the trade deadline.
JD: Bruce Brown. He’s probably the best piece that can fetch more assets for the Raptors, and he doesn’t want to play here, so let’s get him out of here. Actually, it’s not “I’ll be surprised,” but I’ll be peeved if he’s a Raptor after the deadline.
Jay: Chris Boucher. He’s fallen out of the rotation - none of which are injury (or fake-injury) related - and has a sizable enough contract to garner a decent return. It’ll be sad to see him go - the actual final roster piece from the championship team - but the writing is on the wall.
Josh: I gotta go with Brown also; his name has been the one most bandied about, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire etc. And I agree with JD that it would be frustrating to see him still on the team — I consider whatever they get for him to be part of the Siakam deal, and the return there has been underwhelming so far. Getting nothing for Brown will make that trade even worse.