Toronto Raptors: Pass or pursue on 3 rumored NBA trade deadline targets

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Toronto Raptors, NBA trade deadline Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Raptors, NBA trade deadline Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Should the Raptors trade for Tristan Thompson?

The Raptors should be looking to upgrade their center position at the deadline. One target I’ve already written about is JaVale McGee, but recently Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Raptors have shown interest in Tristian Thompson.

The Canadian center has been playing with the Boston Celtics and seems to be an expendable piece for the Celtics going into the deadline. CelticsBlog’s Adam Taylor said this of Thompson’s status with the team:

"“Starting the season with a slight injury, Thompson took a while to get to grips with the Celtics defensive system. While the big-mans improvements have improved (he’s a nightly double-double threat) there’s certainly questions surrounding his fit with the current Celtics roster”"

Thompson does a lot of things the Raptors could use, they could use his rebounding, switchability and rim protection – at only $18 Million on a two-year deal.

This move isn’t a game-changer but Thompson is a veteran and a proven winner. Nick Nurse has experimented (when he and the full team have been on the court) with a small-ball line-up with Anunoby as the five.

The lineup numbers have been outstanding with Lowry, VanVleet, Powell, Siakam and Anunoby a +11.3 in 106 possessions per Cleaning the Glass. And when the Raptors tried it out on Joel Embiid they held him to 9-33 from the field in the two-game series in late February.

In a 48-minute game, the Raptors center rotation currently consists of 19.7 minutes per game of Aron Baynes, 24.1 minutes per game of Chris Boucher and Anunoby (when the matchup permits).

Upgrading at least one of those two centers would significantly help the Raptors in the East trying to match up against Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Vucevic, Bam Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis.

The Raptors have the salary to make it work, Baynes and Patrick McCaw match the salary but it’s a question of what else the Celtics would want in return.

Throwing a second-round pick in would likely be worth it but it all depends on the market value of Thompson, or if the Celtics would just rather have Thompson over Baynes (unless they waive Baynes to sign a buy-out player).