B/R oddly sends Raptors’ Chris Boucher to tanking team in trade

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors could have let Chris Boucher walk in free agency and ppaidsomeone younger, but the team was so enamored with the skillset he brings to the table that they gave the G League success story a $35 million contract. There’s no way he ends up in the rumor mill, right?

Well, while the possibility of trading him might seem unusual, the wild mind of Masai Ujiri has concocted some unique trade frameworks in his time. With so many teams willing to make fools of themselves to possibly select Victor Wembanyama, some teams in the West might be willing to acquire Boucher for a premium player.

The Utah Jazz may have beaten up the Nuggets in their first game of the season, but Danny Ainge’s squad is widely expected to bottom out as they try to secure Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson. This could lead them to part with desirable veteran assets.

On Bleacher Report’s list of one trade every team should consider, the Raptors are flipping Boucher and a pick to the Jazz in exchange for the services of guard Jordan Clarkson. This would certainly be a controversial trade among Raptors fans, but it could be more realistic later in the season if the wheels fall off in Utah.


B/R’s Toronto Raptors trade features Chris Boucher, Jordan Clarkson.

Here’s why this trade won’t happen. The Raptors just committed to Boucher with a three-year contract in the offseason, so booting him off the team after just half of one season seems like a confusing move. Attaching a first-round pick to acquire a springy guard on the wrong side of 30 is also problematic.

On the other hand, the Raptors may be faced with a bit of a logjam in the frontcourt if Christian Koloko continues to impress the coaches and earn rotation time. The backcourt bench depth remains a suspect, even with Dalano Banton’s strong preseason. Given Utah’s direction, Clarkson won’t stay on the Jazz for long.

The issue with Clarkson (besides having one of the quickest trigger fingers in the league) is his lack of good perimeter defense. That threatens to compromise the entire “Vision 6-9” identity. However, Nurse turned Gary Trent Jr. into a defensive pest, so he might be able to work with Clarkson.

The Raptors are not going to have the same roster at the end of the year, as Ujiri will undoubtedly look to find a way to get some extra scoring pop. If Boucher starts to regress, flipping him might become a slightly more attractive proposition.

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