NBA executives calling Raptors' RJ Barrett "toxic asset" is a bit of a reach

Barrett could end up proving the doubters wrong.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors
Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Toronto Raptors officially began a new era when they traded away OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks for a package consisting of two new starters in combo guard Immanuel Quickley and muscular wing RJ Barrett. If nothing else, both players represent offensive upgrades.

Some Raptors fans and media observers were quick to assert that Quickley, not the former No. 3 overall pick Barrett, is the prized asset in the trade despite the fact that Barrett is younger, under contract for the next few seasons, and has a longer history of being an above-average scorer at the NBA level.

Many of the anti-Barrett folks out there will point to the fact that he signed a multi-year contract (a deal will only increase in value as the years go on), which he hasn't lived up to. Some around the league have an even more venomous take, one that calls into question Barrett's status as a player.

Zach Lowe revealed on his Lowe Post podcast that many executives around the league view Barrett as a "toxic asset," postulating that Toronto may have willingly chosen to be shouldered with that deal to secure Quickley.

NBA executives believe Raptors' RJ Barrett is "toxic asset" after trade.

Even if you want to hold the respectable belief that Quickley is the main attraction in this trade, it would be foolish to immediately decry Barrett as a poisonous player. While he's not perfect, and his efficiency could be much better, his ability to score in a variety of different ways is sorely needed on a milquetoast Raptors team.

It's hard to view a 23-year-old player who has scored between 17 and 20 points per game in all but his rookie season five years ago as too negative of a player to acquire. The salary won't look as tough as it does now as the cap continues to go up and less of it is taken up by the Barrett deal with each passing year.

Barrett's first game with the Raptors went very well, as he recorded 19 points and nine rebounds while leading Toronto to a 124-121 win against a very solid Cleveland Cavaliers team. That game certainly didn't look as "toxic" as some may have hoped.

Some executives might be confusing the idea of not living up to billing as the No. 3 overall pick with being a bad player. Even if the Raptors wanted Quickley more than Barrett, there's a path to RJ becoming a stud long-term in Toronto.