The Raptors, who traditionally started the NBA trade season early in late December, continued to do so through deadline day.
First, the Raptors traded Pascal Siakam and the worst of the three first-round picks they acquired in Indiana’s deal for Canadian big man Kelly Olynyk and a 2022 draft prospect, No. 14. They got Ochai Agbaji (somewhere now). Between the 26th and 28th picks in the 2024 draft (projected to be one of the weakest picks in years), Otto Porter Jr., and Kira Lewis.
They then acquired point guard Dennis Schroder and veteran big man Thad Young in place of guard Spencer Dinwiddie, with Schroder’s $13.025 million guaranteed money on the books from 2023 to 2024, according to ESPN. Acquired outside (Dinwiddie and Young are on expiring contracts). Dinwiddie was immediately released by the Raptors.
Olynyk, who turns 33 in April, has been coveted by the Raptors for years and will retain his bird rights even if he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
He was born in Toronto before moving to Kamloops, British Columbia, where his parents worked for the Raptors at one point. His father, Ken, worked as an assistant coach and his mother, Arlene, as a scorekeeper.
Olynyk captained Canada’s bronze medal-winning team at last summer’s FIBA World Cup and is close with Raptors swingman RJ Barrett.
Agbaji, who turns 24 in April, played at the University of Kansas before becoming a lottery pick, like Raptors prospect Grady Dick. He shows a lot of defensive ability, has good shooting form, and has shot a high percentage from the corners in the NBA, but not from beyond the arc.
Agbaji has a lot of work to do as both a ball handler and a creator, but the shooting guard fits the mold of a potential “3-and-D” player. He led the University of Kansas to the NCAA title and was named Final Four MVP as a senior.
Porter, signed as a free agent before last season, had been out of coach Darko Lajakovic’s plans for some time and was expected to re-enter free agency. Lewis was acquired in the Siakam deal and is now on the move again.
Toronto, somewhat surprisingly, held on to coveted swingman Bruce Brown and also retained Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher.
The team has a player option on Brown for next season and can either keep him or trade him. The Raptors general manager discussed Brown’s situation at the team’s practice facility shortly after the deadline.
Raptors GM Bobby Webster said after the deadline, “If Bruce had gotten the offer he wanted, we would have done something.” “At the same time, Bruce is 27 years old and has a very interesting contract. He offers the professionalism and toughness that we value and he also has an option with Bruce this summer.”
Trent will be an unrestricted free agent, but Toronto has Bird Rights, while Boucher has one year left on his contract and teams are adjusting to punitive changes to the league’s collective bargaining agreement. This made the transfer difficult.
“On the surface, Gary is 25 years old and a 40 percent 3-point shooter, right? So that’s where you start,” Webster said. “Maybe he will even admit that he didn’t get off to as good a start as he would have liked, but he has calmed down to some extent now and we are seeing that.”
“So I think it’s still up in the air with Gary, but I think we’ll be watching him grow with this group. We’ll see him pick his position offensively. I think we’re seeing him become a little more aggressive defensively, like we’ve seen over the years. So this is a big no-no for him. So I think it’s very unreasonable for us to rate him.”
The Raptors will continue to evaluate the rest of the team, with a focus on young players, with Olynyk, Brown, Garrett Temple and Boucher bringing veteran presence to a developing group.
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