Some members of the Toronto Raptors may have had big plans for Bruce Brown after acquiring him from the Indiana Pacers in the Pascal Siakam trade, but the constant deluge of trade rumors surrounding him makes it seem very unlikely that he will stick around for the long haul.
Brown has averaged 10.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on 49% shooting with the Raptors. While down slightly from his numbers in Indiana, his value as a versatile switchblade and finisher in the paint has been obvious. If Toronto keeps him, Brown will be an effective bench weapon for 2024-25.
What will make it difficult for Toronto to hold on to him is the fact so many teams are after him. The Los Angeles Lakers, who reportedly were looking at Brown during his free agency in the offseason, might be willing to make one last Hail Mary attempt to secure his services at the deadline.
According to Jovan Buha of the Athletic, Brown and Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray are the Lakers' top targets at the deadline. Logic would dictate that if LA misses out on the more significant move in getting Murray, they could fully turn their attention over to Brown.
Raptors trade rumors: Bruce Brown "top target" for Lakers
The Lakers have some versatile wings in the form of Jarred Vanderbilt and Cam Reddish, but no one on that roster brings Brown's blend of interior scoring, defensive intensity, and passing skill. The Lakers don't have a ton of assets to give up, but Brown would be an upgrade at multiple spots.
Toronto is reportedly asking for a first-round pick and a young player of some repute if they want to give up Brown. The Lakers have some tradable names, including No. 17 pick Jalen Hood-Schifino and power forward Rui Hachimura. Will Rob Pelinka actually bite the bullet and part with some of his more interesting developmental pieces?
While the Raptors will likely try to commit a ton of resources to build the bench in the offseason, it can be easily argued that picking up a $23 million team option for a player who barely averages over 10 points per game isn't the best financial move for a young rebuilding team.
The Raptors need to figure out who will be along for the ride as the roster gets remade, and Brown's combination of age and price might make things too tough for their partnership to last much longer than this.