ESPN’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade is a huge gamble


The Toronto Raptors could decide to pick up some Canadian talent this offseason as they try to get back to the postseason. It just so happens that one of the best Canadians in the league could be on the move once again, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is by no means a lock to return to the Oklahoma City Thunder next season.

SGA only played 35 games last year, but he was lethal when active, as his 23.7 points per game average on 50% shooting in addition to 5.9 assists per game proves that at age 22, he is one of the best young players in the game at any position.

However, if GM Sam Presti continues with his quest to acquire every draft pick in existence, Gilgeous-Alexander could be easily discarded, as doing so could mean that the Thunder could rebuild without having to give Shai a max contract.

The Raptors need a point guard if Kyle Lowry leaves, have the cap space to support another max contract if they make some offseason jettisons, and need to make a move that reestablishes themselves as contenders. As perfect a fit as Gilgeous-Alexander is, ESPN’s (subscription required) trade that brings Shai to Toronto comes off as a very risky move.

ESPN’s mock Toronto Raptors trade for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Raptors Get

SG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Thunder Get

2021 First Round Pick (No. 4)

C Aron Baynes

In order to make this trade legal before August, Toronto must guarantee at least $3 million of Baynes’ salary. He’s a throw-in, however, as getting Gilgeous Alexander to pair with a pair of 27-year-olds in Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet and a 24-year-old in OG Anunoby is the prize here.

The No. 4 pick could be a potential game-changer like Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green. Gilgeous-Alexander is a proven star in this league, but there is a potential that the Raptors could draft someone with a higher ceiling in this draft and keep them under team control without having to pay them for years.

Essentially, the Raptors could hand the Thunder a guard with even more potential to Gilgeous-Alexander, while the Raptors foot the bill for a more expensive guard. Whatever win-now boost the Raptors can get from adding Shai might be blunted if the player OKC picks at No. 4 blossoms.

If Gilegous-Alexander is on the market, the Raptors should make a legit effort to try and trade for him, and the No. 4 pick could be adequate compensation. However, this move comes across as very sketchy, as they would be pledging a huge portion of their future in order to commit to Shai.