Since losing Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency period, most people do not see the Toronto Raptors as a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference in the current NBA season. However, as of now, the Raptors are proving their doubters wrong by performing very well despite losing their best player last summer. To further boost their chance of bringing home their second Larry O’Brien Trophy to Toronto, rumors are circulating that the Raptors could engage in a blockbuster deal before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
Compared to the initial belief before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Raptors are now expected to be buyers more than sellers before the trade deadline. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri may no longer wait for the summer of 2021 to make massive upgrades on their roster. Several league executives who reportedly spoke to O’Connor believe that Ujiri will make a “big acquisition” that could give them a realistic chance of defending their throne this season.
“If an opportunity presented itself, league front-office executives wouldn’t rule out Ujiri making a move this season to bolster their chances for a repeat. The Raptors are one of a handful of Eastern Conference teams with a chance to make the Finals,” per the report. “In their win against Toronto, the Heat showed that they too belong in the conversation, and both Milwaukee and Philadelphia remain threats. Boston and Indiana loom, too. But the Raptors are built to play many styles, meaning they can adapt or dictate to any playoff opponent. Potential additions could increase their odds, but no matter what happens, the Raptors are in good shape.”
As of now, the Raptors have established an impressive performance on both ends of the floor, sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record. However, the Raptors need additional star power, especially if they want to beat powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers in a best-of-seven series.
According to a previous The Inquisitr article, one of the potential targets for the Raptors before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline is Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thompson is currently having a career-best season, averaging 13.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks while shooting 50.9 percent from the field. Though he is yet to show any sign that he’s no longer happy in Cleveland, most people think that Thompson is better off being traded to a legitimate title contender than wasting his prime on a rebuilding team like the Cavaliers.
Aside from Thompson, other potential targets for the Raptors include Kevin Love of the Cavaliers, Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons, D’Angelo Russell of the Golden State Warriors, and DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs.