Good, Better, Best: 3 centers the Raptors have been linked to

Sep 28, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jusuf Nurkic, Toronto Raptors
PORTLAND, OREGON – NOVEMBER 15: Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers against the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors are on the hunt for a second-unit star at the trade deadline, as they are firmly in the playoff hunt despite a bench that ranks as the absolute worst in the league. Based on the latest buzz, it would appear that Toronto is targeting size and strength.

While Chris Boucher has come on strong lately and Precious Achiuwa has emerged as a quality defender, Toronto still lacks traditional height and muscle in the paint. That could cause some problems if they make it to the postseason given the deluge of quality big men in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto has been linked to some interesting names over the last few weeks, with a move that features them potentially landing Danilo Gallinari gaining some steam lately. However, if the Raptors want someone that can bolster the bench and swat away shots at the rim, they need to be willing to part with a ton of capital.

The Raptors will have plenty of options at their disposal when it comes to making additions at the deadline. However, there are several elite options on the market that would require Toronto to part with a whole load of assets if it means that they can potentially add a franchise-changer.

Should the Toronto Raptors make a move for one of these centers?

Good: Jusuf Nurkic

With Portland fresh off trading CJ McCollum and Norman Powell, they have dipped fully into rebuild mode. While they don’t have any other centers on the roster, they could continue the tear-down by sending Nurkic away to Toronto and letting him plug some holes over there.

Nurkic has been linked to the Raptors, and it’s easy to see why. A bruising big man who can reel off double-doubles consistently thanks to his rebounding, Nurkic would boost a team that ranks near the bottom of the league in defensive glass-crashing. Still, there are some concerns with the Bosnian big.

Raptors rumors: Jusuf Nurkic would be a muscular center in the paint.

On top of the fact that his lumbering style of play might not mesh with a Raptors team that wants to switch as much as possible on defense, Nurkic is a free agent at the end of this season. Adding a half-season rental might not be very appealing for Masai Ujiri and this front office.

At the end of the day, Toronto coming away from the deadline with Nurkic would be a solid addition. They need muscle in the paint, and he’d provide that in addition to some nice interior finishing. However, given his impending free agency, there are better options out there.