Just when it looked like the Toronto Raptors were finally going to put some of the offseason trade speculation to bed, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s continued pursuit of draft picks has put a potential move for Toronto native and Canadian national team star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back on the front burner.
The Raptors are reportedly “monitoring” the SGA situation, with some speculating that another year mired at the very bottom of the Western Conference is not going to be good enough to keep him happy. If he becomes a malcontent, a trade could be the best for both parties.
If All-Star PG Fred VanVleet and the Raptors could pull this deal off, they would instantly have one of the best backcourts in the league given Gilgeous-Alexander’s 24.2 points and 5.9 assists per game over the last two seasons. Masai Ujiri might need to make such a drastic move in a much tougher East
Gilgeous-Alexander is not going to come cheap, as OKC is not negotiating from a position of weakness or desperation just yet. However, if Shai signals that he is no longer willing to wait for the Thunder to turn things around, look for Toronto to swoop in.
This Raptors-Thunder trade gets Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Toronto.
While the Raptors clearly would prefer not to give away either of these two young studs, the trade market being what it is now necessitates parting with multiple players of that caliber. OKC could possibly flip O.G. and Trent to another contender for more picks and turn the team over to Chet Holmgren and Josh Giddey.
There are two main reasons Gilgeous-Alexander might cost less than a player like Donovan Mitchell. On top of the fact that some questionable durability could make it difficult for him to find a suitor, some might wonder if his points per game averages are the result of being overly ball-dominant on a lousy team.
The Raptors should pounce if he becomes available. Not only is Gilgeous-Alexander talented enough to make plays on both ends without the ball, but no star guard across the league fits into Toronto’s length-dependent roster construction better than the skinny 6-6 guard.
This trade is likely not going to happen unless the Thunder get very pessimistic about their short-term outlook. However, if relations deteriorate, the Raptors will be at the very top of the suitors’ list for the Canadian dynamo. After years of chasing him, the Raptors could finally land their big fish.