The Toronto Raptors are trying to keep their fingers in the Kevin Durant pie, but a trade for him seems unlikely given all the pieces who would need to move in exchange for him. A more reasonable upgrade, if Toronto is so interested, could be Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner.
While the Raptors did finally add a seven-foot center in Christian Koloko, Summer League confirmed that he will need to spend a good chunk of time in the G League as he works on his offensive game. Toronto may need to look elsewhere for more immediate upgrades.
With Indiana making Turner and Buddy Hield available via trade, the Lakers were trying to bring that pair to Los Angeles with Russell Westbrook’s massive contract being used as the return package. Based on the latest buzz, that possibility seems almost completely dead.
According to Marc Stein and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, any hopes of a deal that sends Turner and Hield to Los Angeles with Westbrook heading to Indiana have been officially doused. Perhaps Kevin Pritchard could be tempted to pick the phone back up and see what Toronto is up to after this latest snag.
Can the Toronto Raptors get Myles Turner?
Turner is a huge injury risk, as he has only played more than 65 games once in the last five seasons. With only one year in that span averaging more than 13 points per game, Turner is not a volume scorer. Masai Ujiri will need to decide if giving up draft capital for a player of his status is worth it.
Even with those concerns, Turner could profile as an ideal long-term center that slides right into the rotation and/or starting lineup. Still an elite shot-blocker who has swatted away more than three shots per game, Turner could be a tremendous rim protector and Christian Koloko mentor.
The Pacers signing Deandre Ayton to an offer sheet shows that they are both willing to move on from Turner and ready to take a few years to build a winner. Draft compensation will be the key in signing Turner, as giving Indiana what they are looking for may seal the deal.
While a trade for Turner should still be considered unlikely, the Raptors at least have a much better chance at landing him than they did before. With the Lakers officially out on Turner, Ujiri can get to work and try to whittle the price down just a bit.