Grade the Trade: Raptors help Warriors land All-Star in blockbuster proposal

The Toronto Raptors could get involved in a 3-team trade to land a hometown player and help the Warriors land an All-Star to salvage their offseason.
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz and Gary Trent Jr., Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz and Gary Trent Jr., Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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Laying out the details of the trade

The Warriors are reportedly in hot pursuit of Utah Jazz All-Star Lauri Markkanen. The seven-foot marksman is a player many teams would love to add as his size and shooting combination fit on nearly every roster. Of extra value to the Warriors is that he only makes $18 million this season, allowing them to match his salary much more easily than more expensive options; waiving Chris Paul meant their primary path to matching salary was gone.

There are no such issues with Markkanen from a big-picture standpoint, but the Warriors do still need to match his salary. A popular trade construction involves stacking a number of smaller salaries such as Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II and a couple of their young players. That move strips the Warriors of important depth but could be a way to make a deal happen.

A popular NBA trade account on X recently proposed a different kind of construction, one where the Warriors use Andrew Wiggins as the matching salary. After he was a key member of the Warriors' 2022 championship Wiggins has had a pair of up-and-down seasons since and appears moveable in the right situation.

The Jazz may not want to take back Wiggins in a Markkanen deal because his salary goes out for two seasons, and that's where the Raptors come in. The can insert Bruce Brown into a three-team deal, sending his expiring salary to the Jazz and taking back Wiggins themselves.

Here is how that trade would look:

Raps Warriors Jazz Markkanen Brown Wiggins

The Utah Jazz essentially control five full seasons of the Golden State Warriors' draft after this move, investing in the upside of a losing season after Stephen Curry ages out of his prime and eventually retires. The side benefit of having such control is that it forces the other team to often make the less-optimal team-building decision to continue winning since they don't control their own pick, which usually ensures the team will be worse moving forward. They also can flip Bruce Brown to a contender at the trade deadline for added value.

The Warriors would likely leap at this move despite the painful draft pick cost. They would retain their entire young core to fill in around Stephen Curry and Lauri Markkanen, and would be in place to field a very strong team; perhaps not championship quality, but good enough to be in the mix. Stephen Curry, De'Anthony Melton, Lauri Markkanen, Draymond Green and Trayce Jackson-Davis starting with Brandin Podziemski, Buddy Hield, Gary Payton II, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, Kyle Anderson and Kevon Looney on the bench is a fantastic roster.

The Raptors would help the Jazz here, and ultimately help the Warriors salvage their offseason. Does this deal make sense for them?