Top 3 trade assets Raptors could utilize to quickly improve roster

Feb 12, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 12, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 3

Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors are currently stuck in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings, having refrained from being either engagingly good or amusingly bad this season. Every positive the team has going for them can be canceled out by players like Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes struggling.

While Pascal Siakam is playing elite basketball in every single facet at the moment, VanVleet has taken a step back from an efficiency point of view. Barnes has made genuine strides as a playmaker, but his offensive effectiveness and defensive focus are lacking.

This will make it difficult for Ujiri to pick a direction at the trade deadline. Will he try to make a run for the postseason by being cavalier and making some risky win-now moves? Has he realized that the core is totally stagnant and some trades that lean more towards selling could be in order?

If the Raptors do want to start making some moves, no matter which direction they go, they actually have one of the deepest war chests of picks and players the league has to offer. This trio of assets stands out above the rest as the most valuable bargaining chips that Ujiri can lean on.

Top 3 Toronto Raptors trade assets

3. First-round Picks

The Raptors will likely relish the fact they can make a high-end draft pick after trading away their first-round selection last season to acquire Thad Young. However, with Ujiri in possession of so many future firsts, the Raptors could turn those around and get some winners in exchange for this future capital.

While the Raptors are in the Victor Wembanyama hunt, even if it’s a very remote possibility, Toronto is on track for an early play-in exit that will help their first-round pick land somewhere in the teens. These picks will be attractive for any team looking for some sweet additions to hypothetical trade packages.

Will the Toronto Raptors trade any first-round picks?

Toronto has Siakam in the prime of his career. While the Raptors may want to build around a young core with Barnes at the heart of everything, they can’t go too heavy on development when they have an All-NBA star at the peak of his powers. Aggression could be the name of the game here.

The Raptors have a brilliant chance to maximize their potential in the next few years, but they will find it difficult to win with a Siakam/Barnes duo leading the charge if multiple rotation spots are being taken up by developing players trying to get their feet wet. Ujiri has enough picks to trade while still holding most of his future capital.