The Toronto Raptors have spoken up and down about their desire to build internally and lean on their collection of young talent. With Gradey Dick potentially being their only first-round choice in a three-year span (no picks in 2022 and their pick Top 6 protected in 2024), he figures to be a big part of that.
This team needs shooting, and there are few, if any, pure shooters in this draft class better than Dick. While the former Kansas star likely envisioned a role as a bench gunner for Toronto in his rookie season, Damian Lillard threatens to upend all of that.
After Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that neither Scottie Barnes nor Pascal Siakam are being thrown in trade packages by Masai Ujiri and the Raptors, one naturally assumes that two-way standout and All-Defensive team wing OG Anunoby is the headliner of the deal.
With Gary Trent Jr. an impending free agent and a player who has reportedly shown dislike toward playing in Portland, Dick might end up playing for the Blazers as a key part of the return package. Fischer even compared him to Ochai Agbai, who was picked 14th overall in 2022 by the Cavaliers before getting traded to the Jazz for Donovan Mitchell.
Will the Toronto Raptors trade Gradey Dick for Damian Lillard?
While the Blazers likely aren’t crazy about a Miami Heat package that includes Tyler Herro as the biggest name due to their collection of young guards, getting Anunoby in the deal might help soften the blow. Dick in Portland would join a young team with an exciting offense.
Dick would also be much more desirable for the Blazers than whatever collection of veteran contracts the Raptors could throw in this deal to make the money match up. If the fate of this trade comes down to including Dick in the deal, the Raptors should consider pulling the trigger.
If Ujiri is able to keep Dick, however, he could play a part in making Toronto a legitimate championship contender with Lillard. A starting five of Lillard, Trent, Barnes, Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl could be quite deadly. A bench featuring names like Dick, Dennis Schroder, Precious Achiuwa, and Jalen McDaniels would adequately supplement that group.
Losing Dick right before the season may not be what the Raptors had in mind when proceedings began, but they would be foolish to hold on to him at the expense of Lillard.