5 disgruntled NBA stars the Raptors could make a trade for this summer

May 25 2023, 7:21 pm

The Toronto Raptors appear to be sitting and waiting for that one big move to change their franchise around.

Raptors fans were largely gutted when the team parted ways with DeMar DeRozan in the summer of 2018 but were extremely rewarded that following spring when 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard helped to deliver the franchise its first-ever championship.

Leonard, like many others before and since, represented the suddenly disgruntled NBA superstar that was in need of a fresh start to really find his stride again. In a game often dictated by the success of just a few stars on the court, it’s imperative to make sure your best players are treated well and thriving on and off the court.

Uncomfortable situations have long been the norm in the NBA, with the Raptors likely dealing with a few of their own. But now’s the perfect time to speculate and generate a few possible trade proposals that could land the Raptors with one of those stars in need of a new working environment.

“Disgruntled superstar,” for the purposes of this article, has a three-part criteria:

  • At least one All-Star Game appearance in their career
  • A disappointing end to the season (and one anticipated one)
  • Some speculation that maybe it’s not going to work out in their given market

Would the Raptors necessarily be a better roster next season if they make a big trade? Who knows.

But giving it a shot with a new group might be better than simply running it back, and at the very least, it’d justify the hours we’ve spent drumming these up on Fanspo’s trade machine.

With that being said, here are five star players the Raptors could take a run at this summer via the trade market:

Jaylen Brown, Celtics

Age: 26

Contract: One year, $31.8 million (2024-25 UFA)

2022-23 stats: 67 GP, 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists

A possible trade: O.G. Anunoby and Chris Boucher for Jaylen Brown

The only player on this list still active in the NBA playoffs, Jaylen Brown has the possibility to end an ongoing narrative about the Celtics’ chemistry issues with a major performance to close out the postseason.

But down 3-1 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, even the most optimistic Boston fans know there’s a real possibility he’s playing his last few games with the Celtics.

Brown was reportedly the subject of a failed trade offer for Kevin Durant last summer, which led to comments about how he felt the situation was “disrespectful” due to his strong playoff and regular season performances in the past for Boston.

Getting a player like Brown would be no small task for the Raptors, but it’s a move that could transform the team’s offensive ceiling were they able to pull it off.

Julius Randle, Knicks

Age: 28

Remaining on contract: Three years, $93.3 million (player option 2025-26)

2022-23 stats: 77 GP, 25.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists

A possible trade:  O.G. Anunoby and Thaddeus Young for Julius Randle

It took Julius Randle until his third NBA franchise to develop into an All-Star, but what’s stopping him from finding a fourth?

Randle’s game has been widely critiqued for not being particularly aesthetically pleasing, but the two-time All-Star posted a greater scoring average than any Raptor has hit in their career to date.

But Randle’s Knicks have won just one playoff round in four seasons, which is usually about the rate of success that NBA teams tend to make big moves away from older stars.

Randle might not exactly be the¬†ideal move for the Raptors at this point in time, but there’s likely a trade to be made out there should Toronto’s front office be interested.

Trae Young, Hawks

Age: 24

Remaining on contract: Four years, $178 million, (player option 2026-27)

2022-23 stats: 73 GP, 26.2 points, 10.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds

A possible trade: Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam for Trae Young and Clint Capela

Speaking of Trae Young, the fifth-year guard has just about seen everything in his career ‚ÄĒ except a trip to the NBA Finals. Having played through four head coaches, speculation has been cooking that Young could be the next domino to fall in a chaotic Atlanta franchise following the team’s first-round loss to the Celtics.

“League sources say the Hawks‚Äô front office has the green light from ownership to do whatever it wants to with the roster, which includes considering trade opportunities involving All-Star point guard Trae Young,” the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote earlier this year.

Trading away Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam would be a true scorched earth trade, but it’d give Toronto a genuine top-10 talent to build around while refreshing the rest of the roster.

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Age: 22

Remaining on contract: Five years, $194 million (2028-29 UFA)

2022-23 stats:  29 GP, 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists

A possible trade: Pascal Siakam for Zion Williamson

While Trae Young represents the young superstar that Toronto is coveting, Zion Williamson is a little closer to the unknown commodity that the team targeted when they traded for an oft-injured Kawhi Leonard back in 2018.

When Zion’s played and been healthy, he’s been exceptional. But availability is the best ability in the modern NBA, and he’s played just 114 games across four NBA seasons, while currently having no timetable for return with a hamstring injury that’s sidelined him since January.

And even though he’s seen as the future of the Pelicans franchise, perhaps an impatient front office would rather cash in their chips for a more durable player.

In a perfect world, most teams would never trade a first-overall pick four years into their career, but if New Orleans had any intention of going into win-now mode, a move for a proven star like Siakam might just be bold enough to pull off.

Draymond Green, Warriors

Age: 33

Remaining contract: One year, $27.5 million, player option 2023-24

2022-23 stats: 73 GP, 8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists

A possible trade: Gary Trent Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. for Draymond Green (sign-and-trade)

Draymond Green is likely headed for the Hall of Fame one day, but there’s enough reason to believe maybe he’ll be the odd man out of Golden State in the near future.

Perhaps stemming from the fallout of his punch in last year’s preseason to teammate Jordan Poole, the Warriors never quite were the unstoppable force they were a season ago when they captured their fourth NBA title together.

Green would be far from a long-term solution for the Raptors, but he’d likely help stabilize a defense that played far below their potential last season and showcase himself for likely one final long-term deal in his preferred destination before heading off into retirement.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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