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Basketball, Sports

5 players the Raptors should target at the NBA trade deadline

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Graham Cox Jan 31, 2019 3:02 pm 5,385

Finals or bust.

As we near the NBA All-Star break, the Toronto Raptors find themselves among the Eastern Conference elite and remain in the hunt to make their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

Due to things like injuries and load management, we have yet to see the Raptors consistently field their best lineups throughout the 2018-19 season, so the team still has room for improvement.

Although it would be nice to take a wait-and-see approach once the squad is healthy, with Kawhi Leonard possibly walking at the end of the year, Toronto has made it clear they are in win-now mode. Even if they manage to get over the hump and into the NBA Finals, they will most likely be met by the heavily-favoured Golden State Warriors and the Raps could use all the help they can get.

With the February 7 NBA trade deadline fast approaching, here are five potential trade targets that could provide additional value to the Raptors for a deep playoff run.

1. Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)

anthony davis new orleans pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans / Twitter

Position: PF
Age: 25
Size: 6-foot-10
Stats: 29.3 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 2.6 BPG

This would have been a ‘one can dream’ addition to this list until it was reported that Anthony Davis had requested a trade and that Toronto was preparing an offer.

Any time a player of Davis’ calibre becomes available, you would be foolish not to try to get him. Davis is an elite All-NBA level forward with a combination of sheer talent and unbelievable athleticism that gives even the best teams, including the Golden State Warriors, headaches.

With multiple teams preparing offers and the Pelicans reportedly in no rush to move him, the chances of Toronto landing AD at the deadline are slim, but not impossible. Also, in order for the Pelicans to even considered the Raps as a trade partner, it would be a package that would mortgage the future along with core role players to make the salary work.

What a trade could look like:

Raptors trade: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, 1st round pick

Pelicans trade: Anthony Davis, Tim Frazier

2. PF Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic)

trade

NBA / Twitter

Position: PF
Age: 23
Size: 6-foot-9
Stats: 15.9 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.5 APG

Raptors fans best know Aaron Gordon for his eye-popping dunks during the 2016 NBA Dunk Contest, which was hosted in Toronto.

Outside of the flashy dunks, Gordon has become a solid player with tremendous potential. Although wildly inconsistent, he has shown brilliance shooting, defending, posting-up and rebounding the ball.

As trends continue towards position-less basketball, he is the perfect wing player to slot into an athletic Raptors lineup that could combat the Warriors death lineup.

It would cost some key assets, but with Gordon being locked under contract for four more years, he could be the player that eases the transition into the future, if Kawhi does decide to leave.

What a trade could look like:

Raptors trade: OG Anunoby, Norman Powell, CJ Miles

Pelicans trade: Aaron Gordon, 2nd round pick

3. Nikola Mirotic (New Orleans Pelicans)

trade

New Orleans Pelicans / Twitter

Position: PF
Age: 27
Size: 6-foot-10
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG

As every team in the league is salivating over Anthony Davis, the Raptors could swing a trade for some of the other assets on the reeling Pelicans.

Nikola Mirotic has shown great offensive upside this year. He brings size and versatility and has proven he can hit the deep ball. With the volume of threes that the Raptors shoot, you can never have too many floor spacers.

Although Mirotic has also shown inconsistency over his career, filling a sixth-man role on a contender could be the perfect fit.

What a trade could look like:

Raptors trade: Norman Powell, Malachi Richardson, future 1st round pick

Pelicans trade: Nikola Mirotic

4. Wayne Ellington (Miami Heat)

Miami Heat / Twitter

Position: SG
Age: 31
Size: 6-foot-10
Stats: 8.6 PPG, 2.0 RPG

You might continue to see a trend with these targets: shooters who can defend. The Raptors are only hitting 34.7% (18th best) from beyond the arc while averaging the ninth most three-point attempts in the Association. With their uptempo style of play, Toronto can use shooters.

Wayne Ellington is a career 38% shooter from deep and can defend multiple positions on the perimeter. He is the kind of player that contenders love for playoff runs as he can move the ball effectively and isn’t a liability on either end of the floor. Being on a value price tag ($6.27 million) as well, he is a guy Toronto should take a long, hard look at.

What a trade could look like:

Raptors trade: CJ Miles, future 2nd round pick

Heat trade: Wayne Ellington

5. Robin Lopez (Chicago Bulls)

trade

Chicago Bulls / Twitter

Position: C
Age: 30
Size: 7-foot-0
Stats: 6.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.9 BLK

The upgrade over Greg Monroe you didn’t know you wanted.

Robin Lopez is stuck on a Bulls team that is in complete disarray and Chicago is in full-blown tank mode. If the Raps could swindle him and make the money work, he would be a great big man to have for the playoffs.

Lopez has shown to be a solid rim-protector and would bring defensive energy into the bench rotation.

The difficulty might be convincing Lopez and Ibaka to play nice.

What a trade could look like: Lopez is on an expiring contract worth $14.4 million and it is highly likely he will be bought out by the Bulls. This would allow the Raptors to sign him after the February 7 deadline without having to give up anything to get him.

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