HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto and Raptors host Blake Murphy of Sportsnet 590 The Fan break down the trade rumors surrounding OG Anunoby, the possibility of a Fred VanVleet extension, the futures of Gary Trent Jr., Thaddeus Young, Chris Boucher, and more on the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast.
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1:52 OG Anunoby Trade Rumors
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Scotto: The Toronto Raptors are not looking to trade OG Anunoby, league sources told HoopsHype. For Toronto to consider trading Anunoby, it would have to be a substantial trade package for the soon-to-be 25-year-old forward along the lines of a noteworthy upgrade at center or a top-10 draft pick.
Toronto has been linked to several centers such as Rudy Gobert, Myles Turner, Jusuf Nurkic, Jakob Poeltl, Nicolas Claxton, etc.
With the emergence of Scottie Barnes, Anunoby is Toronto’s best trade asset if the organization wants to acquire a true center and move Pascal Siakam to power forward and Barnes to small forward for more of a traditional lineup.
Murphy: Your league sources are right. It would take a lot for the Raptors to move Anunoby. Masai Ujiri loves this kid. He’s really good. He’s an all-world defender. He’s very efficient when he’s playing a tertiary lower usage spot-up dominant role. They still think there’s some upside in his self-creation game.
If you’re looking at a team where there are six or seven mouths to feed and only so many balls to go around, it’s hard to make the case to funnel more of the offense his way when he’s in and out of the lineup, and when he’s not quite as efficient as some of the other guys. He was probably their most well-rounded offensive player in the postseason. Pascal Siakam was obviously their best player. OG had a higher usage and had a pretty efficient postseason. That’s what you’re hoping for from him. But he was also in the 11th percentile as an isolation scorer this season.
I think this is mostly a case that other teams would like to have Anunoby, and they look at a Raptors team that has six core pieces, and long-term, maybe some of those guys get unhappy with their usage rate.
As it pertains to the Raptors’ interest in a trade, I don’t think it’s any secret that OG would be the most logical trade chip in a lot of scenarios. While I think the team would prefer to trade Gary Trent Jr., he only has one year left before he can opt out. If you’re talking in terms of value that another team might see in a guy, it’s not quite the same since OG has an extra year on his deal, and he’s about the same price and a better all-around player.
Scotto: He averaged 36 minutes and 17 points. It’s not like he wasn’t getting the ball. I think you’re spot on with the Trent note, which we’ll get into later on in the pod. When I look at his age, he’s got a lot of prime basketball left on a reasonable contract. Logically, he’s the most likely trade candidate. If you’re going to go for a guy like Gobert, he’s got to be the guy you’d have to part with.
Murphy: I don’t think Gobert is a reasonable target for the Raptors because they’d have to give up two pieces of their core to make the money work. Dan Tolzman, their assistant GM, was at a pre-draft workout media session the other day and was asked if he thinks the No. 7 pick could turn into Anunoby (as in to develop into a similar caliber player like Anunoby over time). He said the way Anunoby’s going, probably not.
I think the Raptors would rather go into the season without a traditional center than trade OG for a center who is a worse player than OG is overall. They’re pretty committed to this 6-foot-9 (frontcourt) vision. They’re probably watching the Warriors and Celtics in a series where nobody playing key minutes is bigger than 6-foot-10, so you can do it. If you’re high on Precious Achiuwa as they are, do you trade Anunoby for a center who’s going to block some of Achiuwa’s minutes?
Scotto: Precious is a guy Ujiri, from what I’ve heard, is a really big fan of.
10:38 Fred VanVleet extension possibility
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Scotto: The Raptors and All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet are expected to discuss a possible contract extension this offseason, league sources told HoopsHype. VanVleet will become extension-eligible this offseason for up to three years, almost $89 million. He could also decline his player option for the 2023-24 season and extend for up to four years, $114.2 million, as our HoopsHype capologist Yossi Gozlan outlined in his Raptors offseason preview. Following an All-Star season, there’s no question VanVleet is worth the full extension amount he’s eligible to be paid.
Murphy: I think the Raptors value him a ton as a player and even more as a culture-building piece. He’s kind of taken over from the DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry tree of faces of the franchise, or at least the voice of the franchise in the locker room. He and Siakam have a good 1-2 dynamic in terms of the pecking order.
There are two things I think could give the situation just a little bit of pause. First, there’s not really a rush because he could opt out after this upcoming season, but the Raptors would have his Bird Rights and would be in a position to keep him. The Raptors also may be forced into a decision of what timeline are they on? VanVleet and Siakam both turn 29 this upcoming season. OG turns 25. Trent is 23. Anciuwa is going to be 23. Scottie Barnes isn’t even 21 yet.
I think the Raptors would rather have VanVleet locked up.
15:15 Gary Trent’s future
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Scotto: Gary Trent is a player to keep an eye on this upcoming season. He’s effectively in a contract year since he has an $18.79 million player option for the 2023-24 season. If Trent can duplicate or improve upon his numbers from this past season, he’s a candidate to opt out of his player option for a new long-term deal.
The Lakers had called and poked around on him last year when they were dangling their Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker and a first-round pick package throughout the league.
Murphy: I haven’t completely deleted his player option from my spreadsheet, but I certainly don’t expect it to be here. That’s going to be a different number come 2023. He’s a guy who is still only 23 and has shown he can score at a good volume on a winning team averaging over 18 points per game this year. He hit almost 40 percent on eight threes a game. Before you consider any other skillset, that alone is going to get you $18 million on the open market at that age and shooting profile. He improved defensively this year… If he improves a little bit as a playmaker, that’s another thing he can add. When you look at skillset scarcity, not only is he a good three-point shooter, but he’s capable of creating that shot for himself… I think he’ll opt out, and you’re talking $20 million as a starting number for him as long as he has another solid season.
19:40 Thaddeus Young’s free agency
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Scotto: The Toronto Raptors want to re-sign Thaddeus Young in free agency, league sources told HoopsHype. Toronto gave up a first-round pick in the draft as part of the trade to acquire Young, and the Raptors believe he’s a good veteran locker room presence who can still contribute on the court.
Murphy: I think they look at having about $31 million under the projected tax line in wiggle room. That’s basically for Chris Boucher, Thad and the mid-level exception. Once you chop off the mid-level, you’re looking at maybe $21 million between Boucher, Thad and roster fillers. I think those are the constraints they’re working within. Boucher’s probably looking at maybe $10 million (annually). Maybe you’re only comfortable going to $5 million for Thad.
23:05 Chris Boucher’s Free Agency
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Scotto: The Toronto Raptors have interest in re-signing Chris Boucher, league sources told HoopsHype. Boucher had a breakout campaign during the 2020-21 season where he set career-highs across the board, and he played 80 games for the first time in his career this past season. At 29, he’s still in his prime as he enters unrestricted free agency this summer.
Murphy: I think that ($10 million) is probably what you have to get to roughly to keep him from going elsewhere. He hasn’t had a lot of earning years in his career. He was on a two-way that got converted and then the minimum. He’s made $13.5 million in the past two years, but he’s 29 and hasn’t earned a ton of NBA money. I’d imagine that total guarantee is a real factor for him. Given what he’s shown as the first big man off the bench, a guy who can bring some offense, rebounding, and shot-blocking, in a really weak free-agent class, someone would go to the mid-level exception for him.
25:10 Svi Mykhailiuk and Justin Champagnie
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Scotto: Svi Mykhailiuk has a player option decision… From what I’ve heard, his decision is going to go down to the wire. His deadline is June 22. Another guy from my area in Brooklyn, Justin Champagnie, is someone I’d like to see the Raptors extend a qualifying offer on. I think he has some upside, and Toronto’s player development system can get it out of him.
Murphy: I’d be shocked if he (Champagnie) is not back. They really liked him this year. He was in the rotation for a little bit bringing that hustle, offensive rebounding and toughness. He went down to the G League, and by the end of the season, he looked like a guy who could maybe give you some offense as well. He improved as a corner shooter and created for himself a little bit. His defense improved over the season… I’d be shocked if he’s not back on, I’ll guess, a two-year minimum deal. I think he’s on the roster for sure next year.