5 Stars the Toronto Raptors could deal for this summer: Trade or Fade?

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
2 of 5

No. 4: Mikal Bridges

The idea of Mikal Bridges is an incredibly alluring one. He was one of the league's best perimeter defenders on the Phoenix Suns a couple of seasons ago, factoring into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation and shutting down everyone from Stephen Curry to Trae Young. He was also a knockdown 3-point shooter, making him the most valuable kind of role player in the league, a player who can fit in any lineup and raise the playoff ceiling of any team.

Then the level-up happened. Two years ago, first in Phoenix and then on the Brooklyn Nets after he was traded for Kevin Durant, Bridges began creating more offense for himself, attacking off of the dribble and building a portfolio of shot-making from every spot on the court and not simply on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. He was the Nets' primary offensive option this past season.

Adding an elite wing defender who can bomb from outside and be a secondary scorer alongside Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley? That kind of player seems like the perfect fit for the Raptors, or honestly most any team. Yet the reality for a Bridges trade is less rosy for a couple of seasons.

First, the cost to add Bridges would be exceptionally high. The fact that he could fit on any team makes him desirable for a lot of franchises, and even lofty trade offers have been rebuffed by the Nets over the past year. Even if they do some to a place where they are ready to move him, the competition will be fierce and will drive up the cost.

You pay whatever it takes to add a superstar, but Bridges is not that kind of player. He has grown as an on-ball scorer but he isn't particularly elite at it. What's more, as his offensive role has grown, his defensive impact has eroded; he was decidedly average on that end this season. Teams could expect him to regain that impact in a smaller role, but it's not a given. This is a trade the Raptors should avoid.

Verdict: Fade