The 2023 NBA Playoffs start this weekend, with teams battling for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. While there are still some playoff spots remaining, the Toronto Raptors are officially out of contention. Without a postseason bid, the organization might already be thinking about the 2023 offseason.
Toronto’s season was cut short after the team lost to the Chicago Bulls 109-105 at home in the Play-In Tournament. Notably, the Raptors had a 19-point lead in the second half but allowed a comeback by the Bulls.
The Raptors finished the regular season with a 41-41 record and the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference. That was seven fewer wins than the team had in the 2021-22 season.
With hopes of better times ahead, the front office should be very active this summer. The problem is that Toronto will have many key players likely testing the market. Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. have player options while Jakob Poeltl is an unrestricted free agent.
One path that the team could take is being active on the trade market. With that being said, here are three early trade targets for the Toronto Raptors in the 2023 NBA offseason.
3. Doug McDermott, F – San Antonio Spurs
If there is one area the Raptors should focus on upgrading in the summer it is 3-point shooting. As a team, Toronto hit 33.5% of its shots from beyond the arc this season, which was the third-lowest mark in the league. The Raptors also finished in the bottom-three in triples made per game.
Pascal Siakam made 32.4% of his attempts, and VanVleet hit 34.2%, the lowest of his career. Second-year player Scottie Barnes failed to reach 30% on 2.9 attempts per game.
Because of that, the Raptors should consider getting a 3-point specialist. One intriguing name that has been in trade talks recently is Doug McDermott of the San Antonio Spurs. The forward is one of the oldest players on a rebuilding San Antonio squad, so he could be hoping for a change of scenery.
McDermott scored 10.2 points and hit 41.3% of his 3-pointers this seasn. Should he join the Raptors, they would instantly improve one of their main weaknesses. Since Toronto and San Antonio have made multiple trades in the past, they could potentially work something out here.
2. Tyus Jones, PG – Memphis Grizzlies
The Raptors backcourt could be left barren if incumbents head elsewhere in free agency. VanVleet averaged 19.3 points with 7.2 assists this season and was the second-leading on the team behind Siakam. With the real possibility he leaves, Toronto should consider some replacements.
A name that could be a realistic target is Tyus Jones of the Memphis Grizzlies. The point guard is coming off the best year of his career, which means his trade value is at its highest.
In the regular season, Jones averaged 10.3 points, 5.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds, all career-highs, plus a steal a night. He shot 43.8% from the field, 37.1% from the 3-point line and 80% from the charity stripe.
Jones played an important role off the bench, but also started 22 games. When Ja Morant was away from the team, Jones took over the starting role, recording 16.4 points, 8.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds in that span.
The Raptors and Grizzlies could work on a trade involving Jones and O.G. Anunoby. That way, Toronto would likely get Jones plus other assets in the deal.
1. Jaylen Brown, G/F – Boston Celtics
No doubt the most difficult name from this list to acquire, Jaylen Brown could be one player the Raptors consider if they are planning to remain competitive in the next few seasons. Since the Kevin Durant trade rumors first started, Brown’s name popped up in conversations involving the Celtics.
Since then, he has been linked to multiple teams in potential trades. Should Boston really consider trading him, Toronto should at least start negotiations to bring him in.
This past season, Brown averaged a career-best 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists. His shooting splits were 49.1% from the field, 33.5% from 3-point land and 76.5% from the foul line.
For his performances, Brown earned his second All-Star selection and could make an All-NBA team for the first time in his seven-year career.
That means his trade value should be very high. A deal to bring him in would likely be very complicated to complete, so the chances of him joining the Raptors are slim. Still, Toronto should at least begin a conversation with Boston regarding a trade.
If the Celtics are open to talk, the Raptors could offer Anunoby and multiple first-round picks. If necessary, they could involve VanVleet, Trent or Poeltl in sign-and-trade scenarios. Either way, Jaylen Brown is a player the Raptors should keep an eye on this summer.
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