Toronto Raptors: It’s time to part ways with Delon Wright

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 10: Delon Wright
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 10: Delon Wright /

With Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry locked in for the next two years, it may be time for the Toronto Raptors to trade Delon Wright.

Delon Wright is a skilled two-way point guard who has improved every season and just turned 26 years-old. Despite all of that, the Toronto Raptors should look to trade him.

The market for Wright is still unclear, largely due to the fact he hasn’t been involved in many trade rumors to this point. Considering his contract and age, his trade value may be higher than his production level. Fans rarely want to trade players who are young and talented. Endowment effect runs rampant through NBA circles. However, most* NBA teams are not dumb, and if you want to receive something of value in return, you can’t offer up garbage.

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Duplicate skill-sets

With Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet still on the roster, Wright played the majority of his time at shooting guard last season. At 6’5″ with solid athleticism, Wright is able to guard most shooting guards around the league, particularly ones that come off the bench.

On the offensive end, however, Wright’s abilities are somewhat compromised playing off the ball. For one, he is not an elite shooter.

Wright shot 36.6-percent from three last season on 2.2 attempts per game, so it’s not like he is Elfrid Payton or Rajon Rondo out there. Still, 2.2 attempts is less than ideal, and watching him play it’s clear that he does not carry the same gravity as other elite marksman.

Secondly, shifting Wright to the off-guard position eliminates one of his biggest advantages, his size. At 6’5″ with a crafty handle, Wright is often able to throw a point guard on his hip use his large frame to score around smaller defenders. Play Wright at shooting guard and he loses that advantage.

Depth on the perimeter

Not only do the Raptors have a bevy of talent at point guard, they have more than sufficient depth on the perimeter as a whole.

The Kawhi Leonard trade impacted the Raptors in many ways. Swapping two wings for one as given one of the deepest teams in the NBA last season even more depth on the perimeter.

As it currently stands, Toronto is projected to have eight perimeter players who are expected to receive considerable playing time.  (Lowry, VanVleet, Wright, Green, Leonard, Anunoby, Miles, Powell). Depth is important, but players will grow malcontent if they are not receiving the time they believe the deserve.

At least a couple of players stand to fall out of the rotation, and if Toronto doesn’t deal them soon, they will start to lose value.

Different timelines

It has been well documented the Toronto Raptors are gearing up for the summer of 2020 when Giannis Antetokounmpo and other notable free agents hit the market. Delon Wright, however, hits the market one year earlier than that, meaning any contract Wright signs will likely eat into the Toronto’s 2020 cap-space.

With Wright hitting free-agency in the summer of 2019 just as he enters his prime, and with a bevy of teams expected to have available cap space, it’s very possible that Wright may receive a considerable offer sheet.

If Toronto wants to maintain their flexibility for 2020, matching Wright’s offer sheet might not be an option.

Hitting free agency in just one year, it’s easy to assume that Delon Wright would have limited value to all teams, but that is not necessarily the case.

Any team that acquires Wright next season will also receive his Bird Rights. In the NBA, if a team owns a players Bird Rights they can offer him any contract, including one that exceeds their salary cap.

Wright will also have a low cap hold and be a restricted free-agent in 2019, meaning he can also be an attractive option to anyone who is looking to sign a big-name free agent in 2019 as well. Basically, Wright’s value is only limited to teams attempting to make an offer with 2020 cap-space.

Shedding Salary

A report has recently surfaced from Ian Begley, indicating the Raptors are looking to shed salary for next season. If this is true, Toronto will likely need to attach an asset along with any salary dump.

The natural combination is Delon Wright and fellow backcourt mate Norman Powell. Yes, Wright is probably a bit too much of an asset to trade along with Powell, but Toronto can always receive draft compensation in return. (Probably Powell and Wright for a good 2nd rounder or two bad 2nd rounders).

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Wright is a young, talented and is a valuable asset to any team. If Toronto can’t find a reasonable offer then they should hold onto him despite all the reasons above. That doesn’t mean it isn’t time to start looking.