The Toronto Raptors’ usage of Thad Young, fresh off trading for the grizzled veteran and signing him to a two-year contract, was puzzling. After starting him earlier in the season as a small-ball center, Young’s role was reduced to the point where he saw playing time in just a handful of games during the remainder of the season.
Young’s salary for next season is worth around $8 million, but the Raptors may only owe him close to $1 million if they decide to cut bait with him. While Masai Ujiri will likely do this if he can’t find a taker for his contract, he should at least pursue a potential swap with interested teams.
With the new CBA targeting teams that are over the luxury tax with heft punitive penalties, the idea of sending Young in exchange for a player that is more expensive might help their books get a bit more balanced, send Young to a more desirable landing spot, and help the Raptors land a rotation player all in one.
Eric Koreen of The Athletic came up with a bushel of trade targets that could make sense for the Raptors. With some teams in need of salary cap relief or some in need of a veteran presence that can help a young squad right the shop, Young might be a player worth acquiring for some needy teams.
Grade the Trade: 3 Toronto Raptors/Thad Young trades
McConnell is an ultra-consistent player that has averaged between 8.5 and 8.7 points per game in each of the last three seasons. With the Pacers needing frontcourt depth on a young team and the Raptors needing a backup point guard, this trade seems like something that is just a few weeks away from becoming a reality.
What are the objections? Well, McConnell will turn 32 late next season, and he already is a substandard athlete by NBA standards. Jeff Dowtin is not as good as McConnell right now, but is it unfair to suggest that Dowtin’s ceiling could be similar to McConnell’s? Why not just run with the younger, cheaper option?
Will the Toronto Raptors trade Thad Young for TJ McConnell?
McConnell is a very limited offensive player, which is not going to help the Raptors fix either of their biggest issues. If the Raptors are going to pursue these sorts of trades for Young, younger players and/or better shooters should be the ones firmly in the crosshairs.
McConnell wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world, as he is clearly better than any other backup point guard the team has on their roster. However, filling that spot with a bang-average veteran and losing Young in the process might not be the best utilization of their assets.