This season there has been a whirlwind of trade rumors surrounding the Toronto Raptors, and no member of the team has been included in trade talks more than Chris Boucher. The Montreal native started the season ice cold, though he’s found his groove lately.
With a mixture of a tradeable contract, lack of output, and his current age, Boucher found himself as the perfect trade candidate for the Raptors. His unique style of play and ability to protect the rim with his tremendous length had helped Boucher become an attractive piece for any team to add to their roster.
With Raptors fans essentially packing his bags and cutting film for a 30-second tribute video, Boucher has had his back against a wall. But over the past few weeks, Boucher has silenced his critics, proven his value to his team, and given fans a reason to rethink trading the 29-year-old big man.
With his resurgence in play along with his long-standing history with the organization, Boucher is certainly not deserving of being moved, and here is the case for not trading Slim Duck and angling for a reunion in 2022.
Toronto Raptors: Chris Boucher has been a beast on the boards.
It’s no secret that the Raptors’ biggest weakness is their rebounding. Currently sitting in the middle of the pack in rebounds per game, the mediocre performance on the boards has continued to cost the Raptors over the past two seasons.
If the Raptors were to move Boucher, they would be giving up one of their top rebounders. His season average of 5.9 rebounds per game does not reflect his current output.
Over his past five appearances, Boucher has averaged a tremendous 10.2 RPG, which ranks him 13th in the NBA in that timespan. This has given the Raptors an edge on the glass on both ends of the court.
Taking a gamble and moving one of their top board-getters in Boucher to acquire someone with a similar skillset could prove costly if the new acquisition takes time to acclimate to Toronto’s scheme. His transformation into a high-energy role-player off of the bench
The Toronto Raptors have a thin bench.
With Boucher’s stock at a season-high, it’s reasonable to assume his return could be quite handsome. Even with his current performances, Boucher may not hold enough value for the Raptors to acquire a game-changing piece.
Boucher is coming up on 30 years of age, and with his thin frame mixed with his current playstyle, it is safe to assume his game may not be for everyone’s taste. After taking this into consideration, as well as the inconsistency shown in the past, teams may need to be cautious with him.
It is doubtful that any team would be willing and able to give up a young piece to the developing Raptors for them to tutor in return for Boucher, while still finding output from them come game time. With the Raptors bench already razor-thin, Nick Nurse would be hard-pressed to allocate quality minutes to other players without Boucher in the lineup.
The Raptors are still vying for a playoff spot, so they shouldn’t part with their best bench player unless they get a king’s ransom for an expiring contract.
Chris Boucher is on a hot streak.
Boucher has been fantastic for the Raptors in recent games when facing top-tier competition. To sell high on Boucher at this current moment would be a mistake, as he has started to truly come into his own and fit like a glove in Nick Nurse’s system.
Over the past week, Boucher chipped in 15.2 points per game as well as 1.6 blocks per game. In that span, Boucher has led the Raptors in rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage, and 3-point percentage. With this combination of scoring, rim protection, and rebounding, Boucher’s value to the Raptors has never been higher.
With a playoff birth in their grasp, this is no time to be hasty and pull the trade trigger just to make a move. Boucher has proven his worth to this team and will look to continue doing so into the second half of the regular season. If all goes according to plan, he will provide major minutes for the Raptors come the postseason.
While he is an impending free agent, trying to bring him back for the future might be a more prudent option than ditching him. Boucher has been a marvel of Toronto’s development system, and he is filling a role off the bench. Why change what isn’t broken?