For the second season in a row, the Toronto Raptors will be the team everyone is watching with bated breath. With soon-to-be free agents like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby potentially on the market, teams will be looking to see if Masai Ujiri has finally given up on the core as currently constructed.
Toronto is once again mired in the middle, failing to slip into either engagingly good or amusingly bad. Ujiri's seeming lack of urgency to fix this roster has been a thorn in the side of many a Raptors fan in the last few years, but this trade deadline might be what finally breaks that resolve.
The Raptors have no excuse not to be active at the deadline. If they want to win, they have some very clear holes that don't require the most incredible powers of observation to identify. If they want to sell, they have more than enough assets to move off.
While the deadline might be a few months away, it is never too early to peruse the market or make a trade that can materially improve this team. Don't be shocked if any one of these three early predictions about the Raptors' trade deadline ends up becoming reality.
3 Early Predictions for the Toronto Raptors at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline
3. A backup guard is acquired
Malachi Flynn is certainly better than he was last year, and Darko Rajakovic has almost made it a point of personal pride to get him to perform at top level. However, Flynn seems to be attending the Precious Achiuwa school of tantalizing flashes papered over by maddening inconsistency.
To make matters worse, Gradey Dick recently getting demoted to the G League and struggling in his debut has left Toronto without an off-ball guard they can trust outside of Gary Trent Jr. (who has his own consistency issues) this season. Some new blood is needed if Rajakovic is to run the offense he always wanted.
The Toronto Raptors need more guard depth.
If the Raptors are still in the playoff/play-in hunt when the deadline rolls around, acquiring a better backup guard could be one way that Toronto makes a subtle improvement to the roster without mortgaging most of what little draft capital Ujiri has under his control right now.
The Raptors looked incapable of doing anything right at times last year, but they at least looked like a team to worry about following the acquisition of Jakob Poeltl. Perhaps an experienced guard with a history of being an above-average 3-point shooter could have a similar impact?