Raptors Notes: Trade Deadline, Siakam, Ujiri, Tanking

The Raptors have received phone calls about their core players, multiple sources tell Josh Lewenberg of TSN. And while the front office has been listening to all the trade offers, no deals are close right now.

Rival teams are paying close attention to Toronto, which had lost six straight games before winning in New York tonight. Lewenberg considers everyone except Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes to be available, although it would take a significant offer to land some of the other players. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are both All-Stars who are still in their prime, Lewenberg points out, while OG Anunoby is even younger and has become an accomplished two-way player.

Even if the Raptors decide to become sellers, Lewenberg doesn’t expect them to bottom out completely. He notes that the organization has worked hard to build a winning culture and isn’t likely to jeopardize that for a small chance to get one of the top picks in the lottery.

There’s more on the Raptors:

  • Siakam, who scored 52 points tonight against the Knicks, may be the only thing preventing Toronto from being a definite lottery team, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen considers a Siakam deal to be a sign that the Raptors are “blowing it up,” while a trade of VanVleet or Anunoby wouldn’t be on that level. Siakam understands that the best way to quiet the trade talk is to start winning. “At the end of the day, I don’t care about the schemes or this or that,” he said after Monday’s game. “We’ve just got to win. That’s the only thing. I don’t know the difference compared to (past) groups. I just know this group right now, we’re struggling. It’s really bad. We have to get out of it.”
  • Team president Masai Ujiri has built a reputation for patience since he took over the Raptors, but that might be tested heading into this season’s trade deadline, suggests Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Grange points out that Ujiri had a two-year plan — last season and this one — to evaluate the players and decide who to build around.
  • Tanking should be on the table, argues Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star, because the Raptors don’t have enough talent on their roster to rise above the middle in the East. The primary need, according to Feschuk, is to find someone who can penetrate into the paint and either score or create an open shot for a teammate.
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