The Toronto Raptors seemed more than willing to trade away Bruce Brown, with the Utah Jazz emerging as one of the teams willing to give up multiple assets to acquire him. In a sharp twist of fate, the Raptors managed to bring in some very interesting short and long-term assets without dealing Brown.
The Raptors pulled off the trade with Danny Ainge and Utah, but Brown was not in the deal. Instead, Kira Lewis Jr, Otto Porter Jr, and a 2024 first-round pick are going to the Jazz in exchange for veteran center Kelly Olynyk and former lottery pick swingman Ochai Agbaji.
The Raptors have enough picks in the 2024 Draft to stomach the loss of a selection that will likely be in the late 20s, and they were able to solve their backup center issue by adding Olynyk into the fold. Toronto buying is odd, but they did manage to plug two holes with this contract.
Toronto Raptors acquire Ochai Agbaji, Kelly Olynyk for Otto Porter Jr, first-round pick
Olynyk is averaging 8.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game while hitting 56% of his shots and 43% of his 3-pointers this season. The Toronto-born big man's season ahs largely flown under the radar, and he could make a very compelling case for retention in 2024-25 if he plays wel down the stretch.
Agbaji was picked 14th overall in 2022 by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded to Utah in the Donovan Mitchell deal. He has averaged 6.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game on 42% shooting and 35% from 3-point range. He is a prime candidate to break out with a bigger role in Toronto.
Lewis played in just one game for the Raptors after being acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans. The oft-injured former lottery pick will need to restart his career elsewhere, as there simply was not an avenue to regular playing time. Porter's Raptors career ended with just 23 games played and a bunch of injuries.
Toronto is taking a gamble, essentially saying they believe the toolsy Agbaji is a better asset than the very late first-round pick they owned in the draft. If Olynyk plays well enough for the Raptors to name him the backup center next season, Toronto will kill two birds with one stone.