Raptors almost made crazy Nicolas Claxton trade with Nets

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 02: Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 02: Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors may have ended making only one move at the NBA trade deadline, but Thad Young was by no means the only player that Masai Ujiri was linked to. With the Brooklyn Nets feeling out how to offload James Harden, Nicolas Claxton was almost sent away to Toronto.

The Harden trade helped bring two more frontcourt presences in Ben Simmons and Andre Drummond to Brooklyn. Because of the frontcourt logjam, the idea of Brooklyn parting ways with Claxton to avoid giving him a big contract extension made sense to plenty around the league.

The stringy big man has seen his playing time become extremely inconsistent lately, as Steve Nash seems to pick and choose which matchups he wants to lean on Claxton in. He was almost dealt to Toronto, according to the latest buzz from ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

On his podcast, Lowe intimated that the Raptors were very close to trading away a first-round pick in exchange for Claxton. With Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge helping the Nets win now and Day’Ron Sharpe giving them a quality developmental prospect for the future, Claxton may be viewed as expendable once again during the offseason.

The Toronto Raptors almost took Nicolas Claxton from the Nets.

Claxton is averaging 9.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this year, mostly as an interior finisher at or around the dunker spot. With the explosion to handle shifter wings and the height to stick inside, Claxton was almost created in a lab to play in Nick Nurse’s offense.

Claxton is a complete non-shooter at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped Toronto from acquiring big men of a similar ilk. With Scottie Barnes further along as a shooter than most expected and Precious Achiuwa starting to improve in this area, Claxton could’ve been the next project for Nurse to undertake.


Ultimately, it seemed like there were too many risks hanging off of Claxton’s stock. On top of the fact that a proven veteran like Young might provide more immediate success than Claxton, the Georgia product’s injury history has limited him to just 72 games across parts of three seasons.

Claxton would’ve been a very intriguing option for the future in Toronto, but it looked like Toronto wasn’t willing to give up a premium draft asset to acquire him. Perhaps Ujiri can try to get a deal done with Sean Marks once again when the offseason comes around.

Next. 3 reasons Raptors won Thad Young trade. dark