A massive trade proposal has the Toronto Raptors going all-in to land a future Hall of Famer to lead the offense, with young star Scottie Barnes headlining the return.
Barnes has emerged as a star in Toronto, averaging 15.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Barnes was named the 2022 Rookie of the Year, helping the Raptors bounce back from a disappointing 2020-21 season to finish as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.
If Toronto were to trade a rising star like Barnes, they would have to get a monumental player in return. And an enticing trade proposal from Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has the Raptors making such a move.
Buckley suggested a trade that has Toronto landing All-Star point guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Barnes, 2023 first-round pick Gradey Dick, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young, Dennis Schröder and a 2028 first-round pick:
“This isn’t on here simply for the shock value, though. While Toronto has split from head coach Nick Nurse and floor general Fred VanVleet this offseason, the organization still doesn’t seem super keen on rebuilding. If the Raptors are going to push forward with the likes of Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby, though, they have to find a difference-maker who could give this core a chance to compete at a high level.
Lillard would simultaneously scratch itches for spacing, scoring, shot-creation and star power, all while giving the organization clarity. Add him to the fold, and now re-signing both Siakam and Anunoby becomes a no-brainer. Lillard would lift this offense in all facets, and Toronto’s supporting cast would provide the defensive protection he has all too often been without in Portland.”
The Raptors would be getting the best player in this deal, but it’s hard to envision Masai Ujiri and company wanting to trade Barnes for a player 11 years older than him in Lillard, not to mention the other players and the first-round pick.
But Ujiri is no stranger to making risky trades. Knowing he likely had Kawhi Leonard for just one year, Ujiri traded for the San Antonio Spurs’ superstar and watched his team win a championship 11 months later.
So it wouldn’t be stunning if Ujiri were to make another risky blockbuster trade similar to the one Buckley proposed. Odds are, however, that the Raptors continue to try and build around their young star.
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