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Tracking latest news, rumors for Toronto Raptors ahead of 2020 NBA Trade Deadline [UPDATE]

We analyze what Toronto needs to do before the deadline and update you on the latest news and rumors.

Toronto Raptors v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The defending champs have looked great this season. Despite dealing with a ridiculous amount of injuries, the Toronto Raptors are near the top of the Eastern Conference and entering the playoffs as the two seed is well within reach. Currently priced at +1200 at Draftkings Sportsbook, a return to the NBA Finals can’t be ruled out.

Latest news, updates, analysis for Toronto Raptors

Should the Raptors make a move at the deadline?

It’s tough to tell. When you take a look at their roster and performance so far this season, they look a lot like the 2019 New York Yankees. A team dealing with more injuries than anyone can count, while still maintaining a level of success. Toronto is 36-14 and is actually in contention for the No. 1 seed, only 6.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks. That’s a wide margin, but not one that isn’t surmountable. Especially for the defending champs.

My guess is the Raptors would benefit from making a move in some capacity. You can only sustain and endure injuries for so long before the devil rears its ugly head. In the playoffs you don’t want a few guys going in less than 100%. Bringing in a depth big behind Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka makes sense. Chris Boucher and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have been fine, plus Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby can change positions. Still, a true center on the bench would help.

Should the Raptors trade for Kevin Love?

Gasol was one of the best moves the Raptors could’ve made last season’s trade dealing, but he’s been out of his prime for a while and might not be as valuable in the playoffs this year. He’s averaging a career low in points per game (7.5) and is nearing a career low in rebounds per game (6.4) as well. One name that comes to mind is Kevin Love, who’s grown in increasingly upset with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s a better scorer and rebounder than Gasol at this point, and their salaries for the 2019-20 season are almost identical. The Cavaliers could get a veteran big man on an expiring contract, alongside a few young pieces (Terrance Davis and Chris Boucher maybe) to sweeten the deal as they rebuild. On the other side, Toronto improves its starting lineup to pursue a deep playoff run. It just might be worth it.

— Ameer Tyree

Update, Jan. 18: The Raptors are looking to add talent before the Trade Deadline on Feb. 6, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Friday evening.

I don’t know if this means a significant move is on the way, but it certainly seems like Masai Ujiri will make a splash. Stay tuned.

Update, Jan. 18: The Raptors dismantled the Wizards on Friday night. Which isn’t anything overly shocking. What did stand out was the performance of backup G Terence Davis, who matched his season high of 23 points in 23 minutes off the bench. A point-per-minute? Not bad. This is a fine performance against a bad team in garbage time, but it’s also worth noting with the Trade Deadline approaching. With Fred VanVleet getting healthy and Norman Powell back, the Raptors have three guards in the rotation, so Davis is expendable. If he keeps playing well when given minutes, that only boosts his trade stock.

— Ben Zweiman

Update, Jan. 17: With Fred VanVleet returning to the lineup, potentially as soon as Friday vs. the Wizards, does that mean the Raptors should stand pat at the Trade Deadline? With how their reserves have played in the absence of key players, I’d say that makes the most sense. Sure, as Garion alludes to in the excerpt below, Toronto is aging and its championship window sans Kawhi has likely closed. But is there still glimmering hope of another title run? I think Ujiri sees some potential in this team and is willing to at least ride out the wave into the offseason before making big changes. That may mean the Raptors miss out on the chance to add some assets prior to the 2020 NBA Draft, but it isn’t like Toronto would be left with nothing. FVV will get signed, Pascal Siakam is a stud, and other than Serge Ibaka, Lowry and Gasol, the roster is relatively young.

— Ben Zweiman

Update, Jan. 16: Rarely are the defending NBA Champions sellers at the deadline, especially when they’ve won 26 of their first 40 games in the follow-up season; yet the Raptors are truly in unprecedented waters. When Kawhi Leonard decided to not re-sign in Toronto this summer, suddenly the team was in no-man’s land. While they might have a superstar in the form of Pascal Siakam, the Raptors’ core is aging quickly with expiring contracts like Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. Plus, if there was ever a management group that was inventive enough to trade a assets during a season where most agree that they can contend, it would be the one headed-up by Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster.

The most interesting piece in this aspect is Kyle Lowry, currently averaging 20.5 points 7.8 assists in 29 starts in 2019-20. Lowry’s name has been connected with both the 76ers and the Heat, but it would take something substantial for the All-Star to get dealt. Schedule is another thing to consider. Nine of Toronto’s next 10 matchups are with teams currently below .500, and it’s doubtful Lowry would be on the move should the Raptors be anywhere close to the two-seed.

— Garion Thorne

A Backup Point Guard

The workloads for both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have been insane this season. Lowry is playing 38.5 minutes per game and VanVleet is at 36.3 minutes per game. Both have spotty injury histories throughout their careers, so it’s no surprise that these heavy minutes have resulted in each of them missing time with injuries. For the playoffs, it’s imperative that Toronto has both of these guys healthy. The best way to ensure their health is to bring in a guard that can soak up minutes and bring down the workload of the Raptors’ starting backcourt. As is, both Lowry and FVV are easily playing the most minutes per game of their careers.

Stop Getting Hurt!

I have talked about the injuries earlier and every team deals with them, but the injury luck of the Raptors in unlike anything I have ever seen. Making a trip to the Finals certainly takes a toll and I am guessing the injuries are at least partially a carry over from last years championship. In addition to Lowry and VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam have all missed extended periods of time due to injuries this season. To make noise in the playoffs, the Raptors can’t afford to be missing any of these guys. Some added depth could go a long way to reducing workloads in the regular season to reduce injury risk and potentially add wins in the postseason. The Raptors have a strong core and don’t really have many glaring holes. They just need to make sure all their best players are available when it matters most.