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Toronto Raptors could set NBA trade market if struggles continue

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are looking for the very same second-half success they saw a season ago. Nick Nurse’s squad posted a 21-20 record in its first 41 games of the 2021-22 campaign, only to go 27-14 the rest of the way.

Unfortunately, things are not looking as positive right now. Toronto currently sits at 16-21 on the campaign and has lost nine of 12. It has the team as the 12th seed back east.

According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet, a continuation of these struggles leading up to the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline could force the front office duo of president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster to become sellers.

As one league source told Grange, “Toronto is the first domino. What they do will affect teams across the league.” The source is pointing to potential buyers showing interest in several Raptors players should they look to sell.

Related: Updated NBA trade rumors

Toronto Raptors NBA trade deadline chips

toronto raptors, nba trade deadline
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Star forward Pascal Siakam has been a major part of the NBA rumor mill over the past couple seasons. For some, his star has far outpaced the Toronto market. With that said, it seems more logical for the Raptors to wait until this coming offseason to move off Siakam.

He’s in the midst of another brilliant campaign, averaging 26.5 points to go with 8.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. If the Toronto Raptors do indeed hold on to Siakam through the deadline (not a guarantee), there’s still several players who could be of interest to contending teams.

  • OG Anunoby: This wing continues to be bandied about in potential trades. Though, the Raptors’ brass absolutely loves what it has in the 25 year old. For good reason. Anunoby is averaging a career-best 18.6 points on 47% shooting while leading the league in steals with 2.1 per game. He’d require a mighty haul, including two first-round picks and a young player in return.
  • Fred VanVleet: Toronto is in a different situation with this 28-year-old All-Star. VanVleet is currently playing under a four-year, $85 million contract and seems to be somewhat limited due to his small 6-foot-1 frame. With that said, the former undrafted free agent from Wichita State is still averaging 18.1 points and 6.0 assists. His 38% shooting is troublesome.
  • Gary Trent Jr.: Acquired in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for Norman Powell during the 2020-21 season, Trent Jr. is more of a one-dimensional player. It has impacted him some with the Toronto Raptors. This doesn’t mean contending teams won’t show interest in a wing who is averaging 18 points on 38% shooting from distance since the start of last season.

The Toronto Raptors also have other veteran assets in that of Chris Boucher, Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young who could be moved for assets. In fact, this might be the likelier scenario. That is to say, trading role players in-season while waiting for the summer to make wholesale changes to the core group.