The Toronto Raptors didn’t make any huge trades in the offseason, though they were linked to some of the biggest names available on the market. From Kevin Durant to Donovan Mitchell and Malcolm Brogdon, Masai Ujiri put in a ton of effort to improve this team.
Ultimately, none of those deals came to fruition. Durant stayed in Brooklyn, Mitchell went to Cleveland, and the Indiana Pacers traded Brogdon to the rival Boston Celtics for a first-round pick, former Ujiri target Daniel Theis, and a collection of bench players, none of whom will equal what the veteran point brought to the table.
According to Brogdon himself, the Raptors, in addition to the Celtics and Washington Wizards, showed a great deal of interest in trading for him. It was his decision to angle his way to Boston, and his justification for that move will have Raptors fans screaming until they are blue in the face.
“I thought [Boston] was farther along,” Brogdon said in a Sirius XM interview. “They have a superstar in Jayson Tatum and probably another superstar in Jaylen Brown as well. I thought it would be a great fit for me because I wanted to win right now.” It looks like Raptors-Celtics just got even spicier.
Celtics PG Malcolm Brogdon turned down the Toronto Raptors.
What makes this even tougher to swallow is the fact that Brogdon would have been a perfect fit for this Raptors team. The former Rookie of the Year averaged 20.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game in the last two years while making 38% of his 3-pointers in his career.
The Celtics were able to acquire Brogdon while surrendering just one first-round pick (which will likely be in the 20s), one somewhat promising youngster in Aaron Nesmith, and veteran salary ballast in Theis. Oh, and some bench players who could be cut at any moment. The Raptors could have easily made a better offer than this, and likely did.
Brogdon’s claim is not totally outrageous, as the Celtics are fresh off a championship while the Raptors were the No. 5 seed. However, just three wins separated Boston from a Toronto team that was absolutely ravaged by injuries. With Ime Udoka suspended, the gap might not be as big as Brogdon is making it seem.
For a guy who has been very mild-mannered and well-respected throughout the league since he came into the NBA as a second-round pick out of Virginia, Brogdon appears to have dropped a lit match onto a puddle of spilled gasoline. The Raptors and Celtics don’t like each other, and the bad blood may have just got worse.