Title: What can the Raptors do at the trade deadline? A primer on their assets, tax bill and more
Date: January 21, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote a Raptors trade deadline primer covering all the rules and wrinkles that govern trades under the CBA.
It feels a little early, yet the NBA trade deadline is just under three weeks away. Teams have until 3 p.m. on Feb. 7 to fortify their rosters via the trade market. That includes the Raptors, who own the second-best record in the league despite plenty of quality time lost to rest and injury but should still be looking to fortify wherever possible.
You don’t swap franchise players, land Kawhi Leonard with a one-year window to contend and convince him to stay and then get passive improving from there. If there’s a window to be aggressive, the Raptors should jump. Whether that window presents itself remains unclear. Team president Masai Ujiri has historically preferred to do his work in the offseason rather than the trade deadline with 2017 standing out as an exception. The Raptors are also a little light on assets.
Perhaps more importantly, teams around the league have been slow to reveal themselves as buyers or sellers owing in part to the parity of the Western Conference and the new lottery odds shifting the thinking on acceptable losing at different leverage points in the standings. There was an early start to this year’s transaction frenzy and things have since quieted to their normal levels. Whether this is the calm before the storm or a sign of a hushed marketplace this year is unclear and may depend on how the next fortnight plays out. As of this writing, 23 teams are still within four games of a playoff spot, at least a handful of which could be convinced to shift their eyes toward future seasons if a losing streak or a strong trade offer comes along.
The unofficial start of trade season means it’s time for a tradition I’m carrying over to The Athletic this year: The annual “why all your trade ideas are bad” mailbag. That’s coming later this week, though. (I will put out a tweet calling for suggestions/scenarios on Monday afternoon. Please respond there rather than in the comments here for ease of organization on my part.)