The Toronto Raptors added yet another Canadian player to the mix at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline. After having previously brought RJ Barrett into the team's long-term core, the Raptors acquired Toronto-born, Kamloops-raised big man Kelly Olynyk in a trade with the Utah Jazz that also netted them young guard Ochai Agbaji.
From a practicality point of view, Olynyk made a ton of sense. Even though he isn't the best defensive player, the Raptors needed a proepr backup center. Getting a player with his finishing ability and passing should help a completely reworked bench as they try to get into a rhythm.
This trade was made to help get multiple rotation players locked in for the short-term future. Alongside Agbaji, who needs to really take off as a scoter in Toronto, Olynyk is welcoming the challenges and possibilities that come with putting on that famous Raptors jersey.
Olynyk said that he would "love to be [in Toronto] for the rest of his career" after coming to the Raptors. After showing he can be a solid connecter for a young team in Utah, Olynyk will bring his consistent style of play back to where he grew up.
Kelly Olynyk is thrilled to play for the Toronto Raptors
Olynyk, who attended the first game in Raptors history, is averaging 8.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this season. His 56% field goal percentage and 4.4 assists per game are both career-best marks, which is exactly what Toronto was eyeing when they made the trade with Utah.
Olynyk's parents both worked for the Raptors in the past. His mother, Arlene, was the NBA's first-ever female scorekeeper, working with the team from 1995 to 2004. His father, Ken, was a coach who once held the rank of "observing coach" during the Raptors' 2002-23 season under Lenny Wilkens.
The Raptors didn't make this trade to get a solid 30-game stretch out of Olynyk. All signs point to Toronto retaining the free agent for 2024 and possibly beyond. After a long career that has sent him to six different teams, Olynyk, who will turn 33 in April, knows the last few seasons of his basketball journey are approaching.
Olynyk is hoping a return home gives him that extra spark he needs to keep his performance strong. After Barrett saw his numbers spike when he came back to Toronto, Olynyk could be in for a similar bump once he puts on the jersey of his childhood team.