The Toronto Raptors might’ve had some success with their new small lineup as they try to cement themselves as contenders in the Eastern Conference, but that shouldn’t necessarily preclude them from making some moves in order to become a contender.
While the Raptors have been liked to Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond incessantly over the last few weeks, there are ways to improve this team without trading away players like Norman Powell. A trade with both the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons could interest Masai Ujiri.
The rebuilding Pistons could look to trade away Delon Wright, a 6-5 point guard with a solid jump shot that can be a valuable reserve. With Khem Birch having leapfrogged Mo Bamba as Nikola Vucevic’s backup on the Magic, the former No. 6 overall pick is in need of a fresh start to once again cementing himself as a solid rim protector.
If the Raptors get creative and pull off the following trade, all three teams could get something valuable. Detroit could get more picks for the rebuild, an Orlando team lacking depth restocks at several different positions, and Toronto gets a guard and center that will help them compete for a high playoff seed.
This 3-team trade could get the Raptors some much-needed depth
C Mo Bamba
PG Delon Wright
2022 Second-Round Pick (ORL)
SG Patrick McCaw
PF Al-Farouq Aminu
2022 First-Round Pick (TOR)
C Aron Baynes
PG Dennis Smith Jr
SF Stanley Johnson
Detroit might not be thrilled about taking on a player like Aminu that carries a hefty price tag, but adding McCaw should help alleviate some of their doubts. The first-round pick is the key, as Pistons GM Troy Weaver could get another contributor in the draft and part ways with two point guards that aren’t long-term building blocks given the presence of Killian Hayes.
Orlando, who looks destined for a trip to the lottery following injuries to point guards Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony, can get a backup in Smith to help fill the void, a center in Baynes that can replace their newly-created hole off of the bench, and a versatile defender in Johnson that can keep the ball moving on offense.
Toronto, meanwhile, would get a solid backup point guard with enough length and versatility to shift over to the off-ball guard spot if the need arises and a promising big man who could revitalize his career after getting frozen out in Orlando.
Wright, a former Raptors first-round pick, is averaging a career-high 10.7 points per game, all the while using his passing ability and gangly 6-5 frame to guard both guard spots on defense. Bamba, averaging just 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, still has his 7-10 wingspan and athletic ability, and Nick Nurse could give him new life as a rebounder and shot-blocker.
This trade might not be the sexiest move in the world, but it’s a practical, economical way for the Raptors to improve.