3 long shots worth trading for at deadline

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The Toronto Raptors are currently flirting with a playoff spot, but one big trade could make them contenders in the Eastern Conference. Many people have looked at the 2020-21 NBA season as a wash for the Raptors. However, Masai Ujiri and his staff aren’t one’s to give up so easily.

If you looked at the Raptors’ core, it’s pretty solid. Fred VanVleet is developing into an All-Star, while Pascal Siakam was named to the All-NBA Second Team last season. Kyle Lowry may be nearing the end of his career, but he’s still able to score 15 points in his sleep and play hard defensively every night.

When those three are playing at their best capabilities, the Raptors have a chance at beating any team in the league. However, it’s tough to find a game this season where all three are clicking. Typically, the trio takes turns having a great game, so the inconsistency of this group has pushed them toward a fringe playoff team, instead of a top-four candidate.

Despite those inconsistencies and the inability to close a game, this team does have a lot of talent. They’re more than likely going to make the playoffs, but if they want to compete in the Eastern Conference, they need to head to the rumor mill and make one more big acquisition.

3 long shots the Toronto Raptors should pursue

ORLANDO, FL – FEBRUARY 17: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

No. 3: Nikola Vucevic

It’s no secret that the Raptors could use a big-man. After letting Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka walk away as free agents last summer, the Aron Baynes experiment hasn’t been working. Nikola Vucevic is currently in the second season of a four-year contract worth $25M per season. Although he’s making a lot of money, he would be perfect in the Raptors system.

The 30-year-old from Switzerland is stuck on a terrible Orlando Magic team that looks bound to miss the playoffs for the seventh time in the past nine seasons. As a result, they may be willing to move on from their star-player if the price is right.

Vucevic would solve the Raptors’ center issue

In terms of what Vucevic offers, he’s the perfect modern-day center that can spread the floor and rebound. He’s essentially a lesser version of Nikola Jokic, which is a huge compliment because the Joker is the best center in the NBA and an MVP candidate this year.

Vucevic is currently averaging 23.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, which is better than any Toronto Raptors player this season. He’s also shooting 41.4 percent from three, which is very impressive for the big man. Although he’s not a defensive specialist near the rim, his offensive ability would add a brand-new element for Toronto and push them over the edge as contenders in the East.