Stein’s Latest: Raptors, Siakam Trade, Brown, Knicks Targets, More

The Raptors don’t regret not moving Fred VanVleet last trade deadline before he departed that summer in free agency, Marc Stein details in his latest Substack post. Raptors president Masai Ujiri conveyed a similar sentiment earlier on Thursday. As Stein writes, the offers for VanVleet were lackluster and Toronto brass preferred to give the core of Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes and VanVleet one more shot at it, adding Jakob Poeltl to the equation.

Stein suggests that the Raptors could have traded VanVleet to the Clippers last year in exchange for Luke Kennard and modest draft capital, but instead opted to run it back with their team. However, VanVleet leaving Toronto in the offseason for Houston had an impact on their willingness to trade Siakam and Anunoby this season, according to Stein.

Though there’s an outside perception the Raptors could have gotten more for Siakam had they traded him earlier, Toronto is pleased with the package it received from the Pacers, according to Stein. As Stein explains, the Hawks offered De’Andre Hunter, AJ Griffin and a first-round pick over the summer, but the Raptors feel Indiana’s offer was better, even without Bennedict Mathurin, Jarace Walker, Andrew Nembhard or Jalen Smith, all of whom Toronto coveted. I recommend checking out the article in full if you are subscribed to Stein’s Substack page.

There are more notes from Marc Stein:

  • There’s a growing belief leaguewide that the Raptors will move recently acquired Bruce Brown in another trade. The Knicks have Evan Fournier‘s $18.9MM salary to help match Brown’s $22MM, Stein observes. An earlier report Thursday indicated Quentin Grimes ($2.4MM in 2023/24) was on the trade block, so perhaps the Knicks kick the tires on packaging Fournier and Grimes together for Brown. We wrote more on New York’s interest in Brown here. The Nuggets would undoubtedly be interested in Brown after he helped lift the franchise to their first NBA title in 2022/23, but they lack feasible ways of acquiring him, Stein adds.
  • Stein expresses skepticism that Brown is the type of scoring guard New York wants to bring in after moving away from Immanuel Quickley. The Knicks have “a level of interest” in Utah’s Jordan Clarkson, Charlotte’s Terry Rozier, Detroit’s Alec Burks and Portland’s Malcolm Brogdon, he adds.
  • Rival teams hold the belief that Siakam is a “lock” to re-sign with the Pacers after his current contract expires this summer, Stein writes. The Pacers can only offer Siakam a two-year, $81.5MM extension during the season, but they acquired his Bird rights in the trade, which was a motivating factor in getting him now. Acquiring Siakam’s Bird rights allows the Pacers to go over the salary cap to keep him giving them increased flexibility this summer.
  • After Siakam was traded, attention on the trade market turned to the HawksDejounte Murray, according to Stein, who says the going price for Murray starts at two first-round picks. We took a look earlier today at Murray’s market.
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