The Toronto Raptors are in a very weird place with veteran guard Bruce Brown. While his style of play is perfect for Masai Ujiri and this front office has been trying to acquire him for years, the Raptors are in the mood to sell off some of their more experienced assets in the name of properly rebooting this team.
Those who want to trade Brown are on very firm ground in their argument, as they could give his rotation time to younger players like Gradey Dick while getting more assets for the long-term rebuild. Brown seems to be looking at teams with a better shot of contending that he could land with.
Brown's direct courting of a trade to the New York Knicks and sales pitch in which he stated what a good fit he would be for Tom Thibodeau's system shows that he is already looking elsewhere. The Raptors may not let him go, however, until someone gives Ujiri a reason to.
According to Marc Stein in his latest podcast, Brown's value is reportedly set at a promising young player and a first-round draft pick. Brown may already be planning an exit, but it remains to be seen if anyone will actually meet Ujiri's asking price for one of the more unique veterans in the NBA.
Toronto Raptors seeking player, first-round pick in Bruce Brown trade talks
Brown's per-game numbers with the Raptors are right on par with what he was doing as a member of the Indiana Pacers. Brown is a tremendous finisher at the rim with a great feel for the game and high defensive awareness. Contenders, as the Denver Nuggets showed last year, will love him.
The Knicks seem like a trade partner that makes sense. They have the picks, could part with Quentin Grimes as the Raptors look to improve the bench, and could send Evan Fournier's salary as ballast to make the deal financially feasible.
The tough part in this whole exercise could be Ujiri deciding to part with a player he spent years trying to acquire in Brown. With Gary Trent Jr. likely to hit free agency, Brown represents a quality replacement on the bench that has played well alongside Scottie Barnes so far.
The Raptors might be rebuilding, but they also don't need to tear everything down to the studs and provide Barnes with minimal help in what will likely be his prime seasons. Brown as a role player would be ideal, but Grimes and a pick could be quite tempting.