2021 NBA Trade Deadline: 4 teams primed to make moves

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

1. Toronto Raptors

Though a 17-22 record has them 11th in the Eastern Conference, it’s difficult to determine whether the Toronto Raptors will opt to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. What we do know is that one player has a good chunk of power to make that decision for them.

The reality of the situation is that Kyle Lowry and the Raptors may be heading in opposite directions.

No longer a legitimate title contender, Toronto seems ready to transition into an era led by the trio of players who have inked long-term deals in the last two years — Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby. Lowry, who turns 35 next week, isn’t exactly blessed with the time needed for the Raptors to reinvent themselves.

Of course, should Lowry reaffirm his commitment to the Raptors, Masai Ujiri will abide by his wishes. That’s the type of control the greatest player in franchise history has earned. But if he has an inkling to spend the final years of his career competing at the highest level, Toronto would be foolish to let sentiment get in the way of a business decision that would have all signs point to the trading of the soon-to-be free agent.

Should Lowry be dealt, the Raptors might not be so inclined to seek out the type of win-now move that has had them linked to Tristan Thompson. They might be more willing to trade Norman Powell, who has a player option for next year he’ll almost certainly opt out of amidst a season that includes career-highs in scoring and efficiency.

Powell has been at the center of several inquiries made by other teams. Toronto might be willing to listen instead of giving him a raise over the $11.6 million he has on the table for 2021-22.

With a quality foundation of talent already in place, the Raptors will be content going in either direction of the competitive spectrum. They’ll get an indication soon enough.

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