Raptors Notes: Claxton, Young, VanVleet, Offense

Reports last week indicated that the Nets were exploring possible Nic Claxton trades right up until Thursday’s trade deadline, and the young center later said he thought he might be on the move. We don’t know all the teams Brooklyn might have talked to about Claxton, but ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his Lowe Post podcast that he believes the Raptors were one of the Nets’ potential trade partners.

“I think one thing that happened at the trade deadline that I heard was that (the Nets) were very close to a deal with Toronto that would have sent Claxton to Toronto for a first round pick and some protections on it,” Lowe said, per RealGM. “I think their intention was to sort of refit the roster by maybe flipping that pick for another wing, another shooter – (Clippers forward) Robert Covington‘s name was mentioned – and sort of balance it out. That trade fell apart and Toronto went in another direction.”

The Raptors ultimately sent their lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick and Goran Dragic‘s expiring contract to San Antonio in exchange for Thaddeus Young and Detroit’s ’22 second-round selection, while Claxton remained with the Nets.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Head coach Nick Nurse is impressed by how quickly the newly-acquired Young has been learning the intricacies of the Raptors’ offensive and defensive systems despite not going through any live practices yet, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “He looked like he’s going to be able to help us out there, like just his movement with the ball, shot creation, pass creation, those kinds of things,” Nurse said of Young, who made his Raptors debut on Monday.
  • Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet underwent an MRI on his sore right knee and it came back clean, tweets Smith. VanVleet is listed as questionable for the team’s last game before the All-Star break on Wednesday — if he doesn’t play tonight, it’s unclear whether he’ll still suit up for Sunday’s All-Star Game.
  • Although Young should be a solid role player for the Raptors, he’s unlikely to address the team’s biggest issue, its half-court offense, says Eric Koreen of The Athletic. As Koreen writes, Toronto didn’t make a move at the deadline to upgrade that area and will likely feel the effects of that decision the rest of the way.
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