The Raptors hired four broadly defined point guards last year: Fred VanVleet, Malachi Flynn, Jeff Doughtin Jr. and Darano Banton. Only one of them is currently signed with the Raptors.
It will be Flynn, whose role will always be contentious in the Raptors’ cinematic universe. Most notably, VanVleet heads to Houston as an unrestricted free agent. Banton goes to Boston. Doughtin remains a question mark as a restricted free agent, as the Raptors made him a qualifying offer to remain a two-way player. He can 1) accept the offer, stay in the same position he was in last year, and start the countdown anew. 2) He signs an offer sheet with another team and gives the Raptors the option to match it to keep him. 3) He agrees to another deal with the Raptors. This will likely be a minimum value deal with partial guarantees and the ability to fight for a roster spot. Or he 4) signs abroad.
A lot has been said about Jeff Doughtin Jr., but hey, why stop being good? Shortly after VanVleet’s news broke, the Raptors replaced some of those statements as they agreed to sign Dennis Schroeder. The Raptors handed the keys to playmaking to Scotty Barnes and Pascal Siakam, and it’s entirely possible that Schroder, Flynn, and possibly Doughtin will play supporting roles and start there. He also signed future Raptors cult hero 5-foot-8 Markkiss Nowell on a two-way deal.
Alternatively, you could try to address the balance by looking at a roster that has 10 of the 14 full-time slots assigned to centers or forwards, leaning more towards frontcourt players than swingmen. This can be done with a large trade featuring one of the two most accomplished veterans in Siakam and OG Anunoby, or it can be done with a smaller trade.
Larger trades are likely to involve future rewards as much as current roster building. Here are some names that might make sense for smaller deals.
Malcolm Brogdon, Boston ($22.5 million, contract 2024-25): Brogdon is probably the best player the Raptors have acquired in a trade that doesn’t include one of their three forwards, and also the most complicated. He played with a partially torn tendon in his right elbow late in the playoffs and has a history of injuries to his legs and knees.
Great when healthy. He averaged 14.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in just 26 minutes, becoming just the sixth man of the year. With a 38-plus percent success rate in five of his seven trades, he could quickly become the Raptors’ best shooter. He is also 30 and has health problems.
Potential deal: Brogdon by Gary Trent Jr.
Deron Wright, Washington ($8.2 million, UFA in 2024): Replaces the Bench Mob Guard with another Bench Mob Guard. The Wizards have cleared the point guard blockage by trading Monte Morris to Detroit, but it’s safe to assume that few are tightly tied in Washington. Wright is no stranger to playing off-the-ball, providing above-average point-of-attack defense, which helps ease Anunoby’s defensive burden.
The problem with Washington’s trade is that they’re in pure rebuilding mode, so they’re always looking for additional draft value.
Potential deal: Otto Porter Jr., Joe Wieskamp and Wright for a 2026 second-round pick
Ricky Rubio, Cleveland ($6.1 million, UFA in 2025): Just for vibes, baby. Want good mojo? Make a contract with Rubio. The Cavaliers just added Ty Jerome as a cheap backup to Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, and Caris Levert gives them more playmaking flair.
They probably want an additional veteran, but perhaps they want a lower salary in the future and a player who helped the team win a championship when they were last healthy. (Probably not.)
Potential deal: Rubio as Porter
Devonte Graham, San Antonio ($12.1 million, UFA 2025): What’s the biggest reason for making this deal? Perhaps the Raptors could get back the remaining second-round pick they owe to the Spurs in the Jakob Poeltl trade. As a shoot-first guard, he’s not the ideal player to place next to Victor Wenbanyama.
Graham could spend a few minutes in Toronto, or worse, get bought out at some point. He was averaging nearly 15 points per game just two seasons ago, so he may still be a valuable asset. He had a 36.7 percent catch-and-shoot 3-point shooting percentage last year, which would not go against the Raptors’ needs.
Potential deal: Graham and Lamar Stevens replacing Porter and Thaddeus Young (trade can only be completed after late August)
2020 Class Re-Draft
Peyton Pritchard, Boston ($4 million, RFA in 2024): Frankly, Pritchard seems more likely to stay in Boston than Brogdon. Given that the team will control him through restricted free agency next offseason, the Celtics likely see him as a more reliable long-term backup for Derrick White than Brogdon.
Given the Celtics have too many playmakers, Pritchard functioned more as an off-ball threat than a lead guard during his first three years in the league. He’s good at it, making 40 percent of his career 647 3-point shots.
Potential deal: Pritchard Dedicated to Precious Achiuwa
Cillian Hayes, Detroit ($7.4 million, RFA in 2024): A good defensive player who hasn’t shown consistent shooting ability in the first three years of his career (27.4 out of three)? The joke is too easy to end.
Hayes is good enough to be in the lottery in 2020 and has played on under-talented rosters throughout his career. Detroit has a lot of young guard/playmakers like Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Orser Thompson and Marcus Susser. His first three of these players have been named in the top five in the last three years. Hayes doesn’t seem to be a priority in Detroit.
Potential deal: Hayes on behalf of Chris Boucher
Cole Anthony, Orlando ($5.5 million, RFA in 2024): The deal below is probably my favourite. Anthony is in a similar position to Hayes in Detroit. Magic has future playmakers in Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Jalen Suggs, and Anthony Black. It’s hard to imagine them trying to keep Anthony long term.
Unlike Hayes, Anthony is more of a scoring player than a defensively focused player, but adding a sixth-man type to complement Barnes or back up Gary Trent Jr. makes some sense. there is The Raptors will have a year to determine the suitability of two former first-rounders the Magic probably won’t keep in Orlando.
Potential deal: Boucher’s Anthony and Chuuma Okeke
Kira Lewis Jr., New Orleans ($5.7 million, RFA in 2024): Lewis’ career was hit hard in December 2021 when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Denver. After returning from injury last year, he played just 235 minutes in the regular season and wasn’t regularly in the rotation.
It definitely has to be low-risk flyer territory for the Raptors to make a move. Last year’s G League 13 games were not able to leave a big number.
Potential deal: porter louis
(Top Photo: Maddie Mayer/Getty Images)
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