Raptors Notes: Porzingis, Trade Talks, Young, Ujiri

Before Dallas agreed to trade Kristaps Porzingis to Washington last Thursday, one report suggested that the Mavericks and Raptors may be having discussions about the big man.

Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) and Marc Stein (Substack link) have since confirmed that Toronto had some interest in Porzingis. However, Grange says the Raptors never got close to making a deal for the former lottery pick, while league sources tell Stein that Toronto “stepped away” from those discussions due to concerns about Porzingis’ long-term health.

Porzingis was eventually traded to the Wizards along with a protected second-round pick in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Grange adds (via Twitter) that last week’s three-team trade talks involving the Raptors, Lakers, and Knicks reached an impasse in part due to L.A.’s luxury tax concerns. Presumably, the framework that was discussed would’ve required the Lakers to take on extra salary, increasing the projected luxury tax bill for a team that doesn’t currently hold a top-eight spot in the West.
  • Discussing the Raptors’ decision to acquire Thaddeus Young at the trade deadline, president Masai Ujiri explained that the forward checked multiple boxes for the team: “We wanted a veteran-type player, a Bird rights-type player, that came and bridged (a gap) helping our young guys both in the locker room and on the court” (link via Mike Ganter of The Toronto Sun). For his part, Young told reporters he’s excited to be in Toronto because the team’s energy and style matches how he plays (Twitter link via Eric Koreen of The Athletic).
  • Ujiri admitted during his post-deadline press conference that he doesn’t love the trade deadline, since he views the offseason as a better time to make moves that reshape the roster (Twitter link via Koreen).
  • The Raptors’ roster – which is heavy on length and 6’8″ forwards – reflects Ujiri’s refusal to subscribe to team-building orthodoxy, Koreen writes in a story for The Athletic. “We’re in a copycat league. Everybody wants to do what another person is doing,” Ujiri said. “‘Go play like Golden State.’ Well, we don’t have those types of players. You know, it’s hard to find those types of players. So, for me, we have to create ways where we think we’re going to win in this league, because it’s about winning. And I feel strongly that we can create our own style of play and bring these types of players and figure out a way to do it. Look, will it succeed? I pray it does. I’m hoping it does. And I think it will.”
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