Raptors

Raptors Have Necessary Assets to Acquire Beal

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The 2020-2021 NBA season is off to a dizzying start. In both conferences, teams climb up and slide down the standings on a near-nightly basis. As of this publication, 24 games have been postponed due to COVID-19.

And after the James Harden blockbuster, another All-Star could pack his bags soon en-route to greener pastures.

Even with his reinforced commitment to Washington, the likelihood of a trade increases as DC’s losses do, whether Beal maintains his loyalty or not.

At some point, the Wizards might have to cash in to avoid a continual waste of Beal’s prime. No amount of Russell Westbrook can change that, unfortunately.

With another star in a less-than-ideal situation, the Internet’s boldest trade-machine operators provide social media with endless combinations. Of those who have the trade capital necessary to land Beal, the Toronto Raptors stand out amongst the group. The team owns all of its first-round draft picks and possesses an impressive core of budding talent.

But what could a package for the All-Star look like?

Option 1: Trade Siakam

Toronto’s season, too, started slowly, with many attributing struggles to Raptors All-Star, Pascal Siakam. Through inconsistent performances, the lowest effective field goal percentage of his career, and a frequently passive offensive game, Siakam’s been a shell of the player we saw last year.

And yet, he’s still an uber-talented two-way forward that doesn’t turn 27 for another two-plus months. If Masai Ujiri has any chance of prying another high-octane wing away from an underwhelming team, the conversation probably starts with Siakam.

A quick comparison of the two offers an idea of what else might need to happen for this trade to occur. Beal, the more potent offensive option, averaged better than 22 points per game over each of the last five seasons, hitting 32.8 points per game right now.

Siakam is the far-superior defensive talent, tying for eighth in defensive win-shares last season. But win-shares, particularly defensive ones, don’t generate the same buzz as scoring 30 points per game. The Raptors would need to tie in additional assets to entice Washington.

Wizards

Packaged with Siakam and two first-round picks are second-year reserve Terence Davis and rookie point-guard Malachi Flynn. Siakam provides a defensively savvy star capable of scoring 20 points any given night, and the two youngsters become prospects to develop into Westbrook’s eventual replacement.

With the 2021 draft expecting to be an incredibly talented group, headlined by 19-year-old Cade Cunningham, the Wizards earn two picks in the deep class. And with their own 2023 choice tied up with Houston from the Westbrook deal, the second pick provides insurance on what could potentially be a lost selection.

Raptors

The Raptors get their man and a depth big to plug in behind Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher in the form of Moritz Wagner. Toronto slides OG Anunoby to the power-forward spot and rolls out a small but potent lineup. The defense takes a hit, but the offense finally has a go-to scorer.

Option 2: Trade Anunoby

Wizards

Though he doesn’t have the same star power as Siakam, Anunoby has tantalized his potential.

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He’s been sidelined since January 25th, but OG has scored 17.7 points per contest over his last eight games while swiping a league-leading 2.1 steals per night. He’s also had this success on startling efficiency, shooting over 53% from the field and over 60% from deep.

Many see All-Defense, if not All-Star potential in OG, but even if he could be the pivotal piece in a swap, he wouldn’t be considered as much of a sure bet as Siakam. The Raptors will need to part ways with another, more-established prospect.

The ever enigmatic Norman Powell offers the Wizards much-needed defense and floor spacing. He’s proven capable of both starting and coming off the bench and remains relatively low-maintenance. When he’s focused and not being asked to do too much, he positively influences winning basketball. In 13 starts this season, Powell has shot at a near 50-40-90 split and averaged better than 20 points per contest.

For salary-matching purposes, Patrick McCaw and Aron Baynes are included. Washington gets the chance to try and squeeze whatever championship sorcery remains in McCaw’s aura, and Baynes gets a fresh start after a rough opening campaign with the Raptors. And what the hell, take another second-rounder while you’re at it, too!

Raptors

The Raptors leave with more questions. Though they quickly get the best player in the deal, their frontcourt takes a beating following the departures of Baynes and Anunoby. Boucher is in the midst of a breakout season, but only having one undersized center on your roster is disastrous (looking at you, Pocket Rockets).

Toronto could hope for a quality big to become available in the buyout market. Otherwise, the franchise needs to finesse additional magic to secure one in a trade.

Of course, one could substitute Wagner for Isaac Bonga, but he’s not the answer here either. The Raptors would also lose much of their wing depth, making the bench look razor-thin for the 2019 NBA Champs.

Option 3: Full-Blown Chaos

There’s admittedly a lot of moving pieces in this proposal, almost assuredly dooming its chances of happening. With four former All-Stars on the move, this would be a colossal deal that locks in all four teams’ futures.

Raptors

Toronto finds themselves the beneficiary of two former All-Stars in Beal and Andre Drummond. Beal immediately fills the offensive role vacated by the outgoing Siakam, and Drummond provides much-needed competence underneath. This move instantly turns the big-man rotation into a strength for the North, with three diverse centers headlined by the league’s rebound king.

Beal slots in beside Anunoby and Fred VanVleet to form a promising long-term core. Toronto, admittedly, is surrendering a lot for this package. They see both Siakam and the franchise’s heart and soul, Kyle Lowry, leave for new homes, and send Terence Davis and a 2021 first-round pick away, too.

Wizards

The Wizards also have nothing to dismiss emptily. In addition to building around Siakam, the Sixers provide another young prospect in Matisse Thybulle, a Master Lock defender.

Lastly, one first-round pick each from Toronto and Philly. With the hype building around the 2021 draft, Washington has the chance to accelerate their rebuild, sporting a gifted young core and three first-rounders to help fill the gaps.

They can worry about where Westbrook fits later.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The trade is not-so-sure of a deal in Cleveland. This move comes down to how flexible the Cavs want to be short term. Drummond’s contract is expiring, and given the returns for Detroit last season (Brandon Knight, John Henson, 2023 second-round pick), his trade value isn’t very high. They could also decide to re-sign him to a significantly less dollar value next season should he fit their future.

With the Sexland backcourt beginning to make waves in the East, finding the right complementary pieces for the young stars is vital. Getting a smooth-scoring forward to help offload production, like Tobias Harris, wouldn’t be terrible. This idea puts a heavier weight on dealing Kevin Love, but his days in Cleveland seem numbered regardless. A starting five of Garland, Sexton, Isaac Okoro, Harris and Jarrett Allen would make for exciting basketball in The Land, all but locking up a chance at competing in the play-in tournament.

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers finally get a playoff-tested star point guard. Say what you will about Ben Simmons and his seesaw fit as the team’s primary guard, but this move makes the Sixers a far more balanced team. Lowry proved he can perform when it matters most and the six-time all-star would bring a bulldog to Philadelphia’s point of attack on defense and a knockdown shooter with a basketball IQ as high as any player not named LeBron James.

With 64.36 offensive win-shares, Kyle sits ninth among all active NBA players, ahead of Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, and even Kawhi Leonard. Make no mistake– Lowry pushes this team into contention, capable of going at it with any championship hopeful. Philadelphia pays the necessary price to acquire one of the East’s top guards, parting ways with Harris, Thybulle and a first-round pick. The transaction is a worthy gamble for a team that looks toward immediate contention. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Davis offers extra bench depth.

A deal is far from guaranteed in Washington. To this point, Bradley Beal has made all the right statements. Like many superstars before him, however, he has little chance of improving on a squad that seems destined to fail. A roster shuffling is due, and the Raptors have the bodies and picks to convince the Wizards to move on.

As for Toronto, they too have a decision to make. Is it time for a win-now gamble, or are they taking their chances with this homegrown core? Only time will tell.

Follow us on Twitter @RaptorsLead for the latest Raptors news and insight. 

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About Lee Bater

Lee is a broadcasting student living in Toronto. He loves all things Raptors, mac and cheese, music and dogs.

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