The Toronto Raptors will not look the same as they try to figure out which parts of the roster are dead fat that needs to be trimmed away, but one of the only constants that has been consistently mentioned as a long-term building block is dynamic forward Scottie Barnes.
Surrounding Barnes with shooters that can help space the floor is the best way to make sure that he ends up reaching his full potential. One young scorer who could give this rotation an injection of talent and explosiveness of Los Angeles Clippers guard Terence Mann.
Mann, who was reportedly being discussed in a Fred VanVleet deal at the trade deadline before talks fell apart, may not be back with LA next season as the front office looks to give the team a bit of a facelift. Barnes, who is a fellow Florida State alum, might be networking with Mann right now.
Barnes and Mann were spotted working out together, with Mann later posting pictures to Instagram featuring both former Seminoles. Barnes and Mann’s relationship might move from close friend to teammate if Masai Ujiri gets back on the phone with the Clippers.
Will the Toronto Raptors pair Scottie Barnes with Terance Mann?
Mann had averaged 9.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game over the last three seasons despite playing alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George all the time and very rarely getting a ton of leeway with which to shine. An expanded role in Toronto as the top bench gunner could be ideal.
Trading away Mann in a VanVleet deal might not have appealed to the Clippers due to his impending free agency, but the idea of a sign-and-trade might be more palatable for their front office. The security of having VanVleet might prompt a deal with Mann headlining the return package.
If they choose to keep Russell Westbrook, that’s fine too. Toronto has enough misfit toys on their roster that could be put to better use on a Clippers team that needs some extra defensive punch, while the Raptors would love a player like Mann that is ascending as a shooter, scorer, and creator.
Mann is not going to come cheap, and the Clippers likely won’t give him away this offseason. Still, the idea of inquiring about a player that both fills a need and already has a good relationship with their presumed star in Barnes might be enough to prompt a trade inquiry from Ujiri.