The Toronto Raptors have found themselves linked to some of the biggest names in the sport over the last few seasons, though all that speculation hasn’t really materialized into a deal being consummated. One player who has been in fans’ crosshairs for years is Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a Toronto native.
While the Thunder have been losing on purpose for the last few years in the name of getting tons of draft picks, the expectation is that Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Chet Holmgren would eventually turn things around. Now that Holmgren is out for the season, some are speculating that OKC’s timeline has been thrown out of whack.
Not only would Gilgeous-Alexander be returning home, but he’s a proven elite scorer with a 6-6 frame that enables him to play both guard spots. He could easily be the second scoring option on this team behind Pascal Siakam as Toronto tries to compete in the suddenly deep Eastern Conference.
Raptors fans asking for a Gilgeous-Alexander trade are in the right frame of mind, given what a game-changer he could be in this scheme. Unfortunately, the conditions needed for OKC to move off him for a price that is even somewhat reasonable simply don’t exist right now
Will the Toronto Raptors acquire Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?
Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 24.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game over the last two years. Oklahoma City is not giving that up unless they get a borderline unprecedented haul, especially now that the franchise is allegedly starting to turn the corner.
Considering what Donovan Mitchell was traded to Cleveland for, the Raptors are not going to acquire Gilgeous-Alexander without giving up names like Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby. Multiple protected first-round picks will need to be sent to Oklahoma City, and Masai Ujiri will undoubtedly have some trepidation about that.
As seamless a fit as Shai would be in Toronto’s attack, is it fair to worry about his health? With 63 games missed in the last two seasons, SGA is not the picture of ironclad durability. The skinny dynamo’s terrific shooting and fearless finishing at the rim are naught but ash if he can’t stay on the floor.
Gilgeous-Alexander makes almost too much sense for the Raptors, but there are some obstacles in the way of getting a deal done in the immediate future. Fans should probably cancel the No. 2 jersey preorders barring Ujiri going for broke and giving up the farm.