Raptors should pounce on De’Andre Hunter amid trade rumors

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 05: De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Atlanta Hawks puts up a shot over Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 05: De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Atlanta Hawks puts up a shot over Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors will likely keep their trade feelers extended for as long as possible this offseason, as this squad could be one or two significant additions away from proving themselves as a contender. If the Atlanta Hawks are interested in remaking their roster, De’Andre Hunter could be one piece that ends up getting moved.

The Hawks are poking around the Donovan Mitchell situation, with some rumors suggesting that the Jazz could focus on bringing Hunter to Utah if a deal gets consummated. Hunter is, at the very least, considered an asset that Atlanta could be willing to move for the right price.

The Raptors had plenty of switchable forwards on last year’s team, but two of them in Chris Boucher and Thad Young could leave the team in free agency. The squad will need to get creative when it comes to adding more scoring quality that does not compromise their extremely unique defensive structure.

If Masai Ujiri could draw his ideal player up on a board, it would look like Hunter. Via either a like-for-like swap with one of their critical rotational players or with a sign-and-trade that features Boucher as one of the centerpieces, Hunter should stay on Ujiri’s radar before the offseason properly kicks off.

De’Andre Hunter could help the Toronto Raptors in a trade.

Hunter averaged 13.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last year while showing that his defensive prowess from Virginia is still there despite a host of concerning injuries. Even with Trae Young and John Collins dominating the ball offensively, Hunter has found a way to contribute and hit some big shots.

Hunter had his best year as a shooter, nailing just under 38% of his 3-point attempts on 3.7 attempts per game. Nick Nurse was able to turn Precious Achiuwa into a sniper after just a few months, so he could be the perfect guy to turn Hunter from a good shooter to a great one.

At 6-8 and 225 pounds, Hunter was born to play in Nurse’s defensive scheme. With his offense leaps and bounds better than it was when he came out of college, Hunter can be the perfect OG Anunoby backup and Sixth Man of the Year contender if Toronto gets their way.

While Hunter is a fantastic talent, the Raptors would be trading for someone that has missed more games than he’s played in over the last two seasons and has never topped 63 games played in a season. With a parade of quality starters in line ahead of him when it comes to dividing up shots, Hunter might not blossom on that end in Toronto.

Hunter is a gamble given his history and the fact that he will be a free agent after the 2022-23 season. Still, Ujiri has not been shy about giving up some of his better long-term assets if he finds a player that fits his vision. Hunter is a long-shot trade candidate, make no mistake, but he would be ideal for this scheme.

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