The Toronto Raptors are now two years removed from their lone NBA title, and their reign as a consistent Eastern Conference contender appears to be nearing an end. Canada’s team has struggled to bounce back from losing Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol in free agency don't look to be a team capable of making a deep playoff run. Toronto will have to make some big decisions ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, and scrapping this season to begin a rebuild might be the best option.
Fred VanVleet is proving to be worth the four-year, $85 million contract he signed over the offseason and is one of three Raptors averaging more than 19 points per game. His career highs in points (19.9), rebounds (4.3), and assists (6.6) per game show improvement from last year, and he’s been elite on the defensive end as well. Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Norman Powell are all playing well, but Toronto is 11th in the Eastern Conference and will likely face off against a powerhouse if it does creep into the postseason. Cashing in on Lowry’s expiring contract could bring in young talent and better Toronto’s chances of getting a valuable building block in the NBA Draft.
A bevy of teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers, are interested in Lowry. Contenders are high on the two-way guard and believe he can take a very good team to the next level. But how much are they willing to give up? Promising, young talent and draft picks should be high on the Raptors’ list of priorities, and the Heat might have the most to offer between these teams. Lowry has been dangled as trade bait for years, but this could be the season he finally gets moved.