The Toronto Raptors could be in the mood to make a major acquisition at the trade deadline to beef themselves up before the postseason crunch comes around. Perhaps the Portland Trail Blazers could be interested in another deal after their Gary Trent Jr. swap last year?
Portland has been a fixture in the postseason over the last decade, but this year has gone off the rails. Damian Lillard is struggling amid trade rumors, and Chauncey Billups might not be very well received by his team. This franchise appears to be one step away from rebooting.
If that is the case, Toronto could pilfer some established contributors from the Pacific Northwest to strengthen themselves for a postseason run. A backup point guard, 3-and-D weapon, and rebounding center could all be on the Toronto wish list in the next few weeks.
If the Blazers start to sell amid a desire to completely hit the reset button, look for Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors to potentially inquire about one of these three players before the trade deadline. Pulling off a trade could make Toronto a legitimate postseason threat.
The Toronto Raptors could trade for these 3 Portland Trail Blazers.
3. PG Dennis Smith Jr.
Smith has not panned out after being picked ninth overall in 2017, as his scoring skill with Dallas was not enough to earn him a spot in the long-term core. After bouncing around as a backup, Smith has been playing some of the most efficient basketball of his career in Portland.
From November 30 to December 8, a span in which he averaged 30 minutes per game before suffering an injury, Smith was averaging 12.6 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game while making 45% of his shots. Smith has always been a solid penetrator, but it looks like his defense is starting to come along as well.
Dennis Smith Jr. would give the Toronto Raptors a young point guard.
With the offensively challenged Dalano Banton and the inconsistent Malachi Flynn serving as the two primary ball-handlers, Toronto could use someone who could take the pressure off of Fred VanVleet in the starting lineup without forking over an arm and a leg to get him.
While Smith’s recent hot streak could be viewed as more of an excellent week or two rather than a long-term positive trend, he still might be a better offensive option than Banton or Flynn at this juncture. Perhaps a second-round pick down the road could get this deal done?