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Toronto Raptors rumors, top trade and free-agent targets for 2021 NBA offseason

The Toronto Raptors are coming off a disappointing 27-45 season in which they failed to make the playoffs after seven consecutive appearances. That makes their upcoming 2021 NBA offseason all the more pivotal.

With franchise cornerstone and emotional leader Kyle Lowry gone and uncertainty as to how the roster will be built out at the top going forward, Toronto has its work cut out to reascend among the Eastern Conference’s elite.

Here’s a look at the latest rumors surrounding the Raptors, which feature continued speculation on how their rotation will round out and which players they’ll ultimately build around.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Another team ‘confident’ Goran Dragic will get on their roster

According to The Athletic‘s Tim Cato, the Dallas Mavericks “remain confident Dragic will end up on the roster one way or another.

While you could argue this as more of a Dallas rumor, it has huge ramifications for Toronto, because the Raptors have a huge void in the backcourt left by longtime emotional leader Kyle Lowry. He stuck it out with the franchise for many years and saw those struggles all the way through to an NBA championship.

It’s a mostly young, albeit promising, core in place for Toronto right now. Dragic is the ideal mentor who comes from another great organization in Miami. It’s also a chance for Dragic to get significant playing time. Even if he doesn’t want to be there as of now, Dragic’s fit with the Raptors seems ideal from a pure basketball standpoint.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Goran Dragic buyout not on the table as of yet

ESPN’s Jordan Schultz seemed to dispel multiple reports that suggested the Raptors wanted to reach a buyout agreement with Goran Dragic so that he could sign with the Dallas Mavericks:

Dragic arrived in Toronto as part of the blockbuster sign-and-trade deal centered around longtime Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. While it’s possible Dragic could stay put, it seems like he ultimately wants out and would like a chance to choose where he lands.

But the Raptors have proven themselves as a championship organization with an excellent culture in recent years. Maybe Dragic can be convinced to stay, play the season out and have a chance at a more prominent role than he might be able to score on most other playoff contenders.

Related: NBA playoff predictions – Bracket picks & 2023 Finals champion

Toronto Raptors rumors: Pascal Siakam unlikely to be traded

The Athletic‘s Sam Amick reported the following on Siakam’s future in Toronto:

“Do the Raptors actually want to move Siakam? Based on conversations with several people close to the situation in Vegas, I’d venture to say no — at least for now. […] Sources say he still wants to be in Toronto, especially after being away for a season while playing in Tampa.”

Good news for Raptors fans who want Siakam to stick around. At this point, it wouldn’t make much sense to move off him, even though the surprising draft pick of Scottie Barnes seemed to at least faintly boost the possibility of an impending trade.

Had Toronto gone with a traditional guard near the top of the draft lottery like Jalen Suggs, Siakam staying put would seem more certain. Barnes is a capable ball-handler and distributor, yet he’s also, like Siakam, extremely versatile.

Siakam seems to have put behind any issues he previously had with head coach Nick Nurse, per Amick, so between that, the Raptors not actively seeking to deal him and his desire to play in front of the home crowds again, the trade buzz on Siakam should quiet a bit.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Goran Dragic is key trade chip who won’t be dealt easily

The Dallas Mavericks have inquired about prying Dragic away from Toronto, but thus far, Substack’s Marc Stein reported, “I think it’s gonna be tough. [The Mavs have] already tried, based on everything I’ve been told. Toronto has been resistant to it.” (h/t HoopsHype)

Stein also added in a podcast interview with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck that the Raptors won’t grant Dragic a buyout because of his trade value on an expiring contract.

Dragic is on an $18 million cap hit for this coming season and will then be an unrestricted free agent. A buyout might be the best for all involved if Dragic truly doesn’t want to be in Toronto. Then again, if he could buy into what’s by all accounts a fantastic Raptors program, he might be a solid veteran floor general who can replace some of Kyle Lowry’s production.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Team shut down massive Ben Simmons trade offer

The Action Network’s Matt Moore reported that the Raptors were offered Ben Simmons in exchange for Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and the fourth overall pick.

That seems like a steep price for a guard with plus size and elite defense who can’t shoot. Anunoby is already an elite wing defender, VanVleet has a knack for active hands in passing lanes, and sacrificing the fourth overall pick as part of the package makes it all too costly.

If the Philadelphia 76ers truly believe Simmons is worth that type of haul, they have another thing coming.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Buzz leading into 2021 NBA Draft

The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor reported that the Raptors have been trying to move up from fourth to third overall in the NBA Draft order. Thus far, the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t budged. O’Connor also reported Toronto’s interest in Florida State swingman Scottie Barnes is legitimate.

Barnes’ defensive upside and playmaking ability off the bounce is worth getting excited for, but two other prospects make a lot more sense for the Raptors to take: Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs and USC big man Evan Mobley.

Kyle Lowry is far from guaranteed to return to Toronto. Keeping the veteran leader would mean a big chunk of cap space spent. Instead, Suggs could be the new backcourt mate for Fred VanVleet.

If Toronto really does want to move up to No. 3 in Cleveland’s place, Mobley should be the pick if he’s there. He’s a 7-footer with great shooting touch, handles, and elite rim protecting ability. He’s a potentially transformative force who’d be a fascinating frontcourt addition next to Pascal Siakam.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Gary Trent Jr. expected to remain with team

Due to be a restricted free agent this offseason, Gary Trent Jr. arrived in a deadline trade from the Portland Trail Blazers this past season, but appears likely to stick around in Toronto, per The Athletic’s John Hollinger.

Trent is a career 39% 3-point shooter whose explosive scoring ability from the perimeter is something the Raptors definitely need going forward. At only 22 years old, Trent is an excellent role player who still has upside to develop even more on both ends of the court.

No word yet, or any indication, as to what the Raptors’ plans are for the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. They have a golden opportunity to get another young, blue-chip player to build around. At least for now, it looks like Trent fits into their plans no matter who they take.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Pascal Siakam could be traded to Golden State

The Athletic’s John Hollinger reported that Siakam has caught the eye of the Golden State Warriors, and they may package James Wiseman and the 2021 NBA Draft’s seventh overall pick to try to acquire the Raptors star.

Now, granted, Hollinger just mentioned Siakam as a “name to watch” among the various strategies the Warriors could deploy to make “more immediate upgrades to the roster.” Nevertheless, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and Toronto may want to sell high on Siakam while it’s possible.

Siakam would command a ton of trade value, and it’d take something extraordinary for the Raptors to commit. Because Golden State probably can’t offer enough on its own, another team could become involved.

One piece in the deal could be Andrew Wiggins, who was born in Toronto and would likely embrace a homecoming if he had to be traded anywhere.

Toronto Raptors rumors: Pascal Siakam likely to miss start of 2021-22 season

When news broke of Pascal Siakam undergoing shoulder surgery, the timeline for his return was set at around five months, but that tentative span wasn’t super specific. The buzz coming out of Toronto thereafter suggests Siakam isn’t going to have a recovery process that puts him ahead of schedule.

With the NBA resuming action for a new regular season on October 19, Siakam is reportedly not going to be cleared for contact until after Raptors training camp, per Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.

Not being cleared for contact means team drills are out of the question for Siakam, so he’ll have to rehab his shoulder extremely well in addition to doing all he can to keep in basketball shape. Of course, that can’t really be achieved until he gets some live game reps under his belt.

It can’t be understated how big of a blow Siakam’s absence could be at the dawn of the 2021-21 campaign. These Raptors are trying to wash the bad taste of this past season out, and not having one of their best players, in addition to potentially losing Lowry, is going to make that task even harder.

Toronto Raptors trade scenarios for 2021 NBA offseason

Teams could make a big offer for Pascal Siakam

Toronto Raptors trade scenarios for 2021 NBA offseason
Apr 2, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson (95) attempts to defend during the first half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Siakam would definitely be a shock, because he’s made so many improvements to his game in a short time, and at 27, still has lots of upside to explore. That said, since he took on a more central role over the past two seasons, his overall efficiency has gone down.

The question is, will Siakam be good enough to carry Toronto to title contention? Or should the Raptors sell relatively high on him now, and attribute some of his regression in 2020-21 to the aforementioned shoulder injury?

It’s something that Toronto’s front office should at least kick around. This is one of the NBA’s premier personnel departments who’ve grown exceptional in-house talent and also made some great veteran additions in years past.

Siakam is at something of a crossroads, but trading him would have to fetch the Raptors a huge haul. Watching him flourish elsewhere would especially sting if the compensation didn’t match up.

Toronto has to be careful with its approach to Siakam’s future. He’s as important as any current player to the franchise’s long-term outlook, whether he’s cashed in as a trade chip or he stays to be the new face of the organization.

Top Toronto Raptors remaining free-agent targets this summer

  • Wesley Matthews, guard