The Raptors were repeatedly tied to big-name trade candidates this offseason, rumored to be possible suitors for Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Kevin Durant. Toronto ended up having a relatively quiet summer, making only minor tweaks to its roster, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who says the club is counting on internal growth from its own players, including Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.
Still, while the Raptors didn’t take a big swing in the last few months, that doesn’t mean they’re not willing to make a major trade at some point to move closer to title contention. A league source tells Lewenberg that one situation the Raptors are “closely monitoring” is in Oklahoma City, in case Thunder star and Toronto native Shai Gilgeous-Alexander eventually seeks a change of scenery.
The Thunder have only won a total of 46 games in the last two seasons and appear headed for another lottery finish in 2022/23, but there’s no indication Gilgeous-Alexander is seeking an exit ramp out of town. He said this week that he knew what he was getting into when he signed a five-year extension with OKC a year ago and that he doesn’t think the team will keep losing for much longer.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- When he became a free agent and was weighing his options this summer, Otto Porter Jr. got in touch with forward Thaddeus Young to seek his opinion on Toronto, tweets Lewenberg. Young helped convince his former Bulls teammate to sign with the Raptors. “He’s one of my better friends in the league,” Young said. “He asked me questions and I said, ‘Come on through, sign the deal and let’s go.'”
- Head coach Doc Rivers is pleased with the moves the Sixers‘ front office made this offseason, telling reporters this week that the team addressed the holes it was hoping to fill. “We had a targeted summer, and we hit pretty much what we’re looking for,” Rivers said, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “… We have to learn how to become a team first, and if we do that, I love who we are.”
- Center Isaiah Hartenstein explained on Tuesday that he signed with the Knicks as a free agent this summer because they made him feel “wanted” and because he believes his ability to shoot and make plays from the center position will add a new dimension to the team. “I felt like I can bring something that they didn’t have, to help them win,” Hartenstein said, according to Zach Braziller of The New York Post.