The Toronto Raptors have been one of the better teams in the NBA the last few seasons. They’ve grown each year under HC Dwane Casey and last year made the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. However, anyone that watches this team knows that they are still one key piece away from truly contending with the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s why when reports came out that the Atlanta Hawks are listening to offers for Paul Millsap, the Raptors immediately came to mind.
The Raptors Need To Trade For Paul Millsap
There are several reasons why the Raptors are a logical trade partner. Reason one is that power forward is the glaring hole in their starting lineup. They’ve been rotating through Pascal Siakam and Patrick Patterson this season, which isn’t going to cut it against Cleveland.
The second reason is that the Raptors have the assets available to make such a deal. Terrence Ross has been great off the bench and his $10 million salary would be a necessary piece in any deal. They also have young players like Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright, as well as 3 first round picks.
Finally, the Raptors are one trade partner that would have a legitimate shot at extending Millsap. A trio of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Paul Millsap would keep Toronto in contention for the foreseeable future. And by trading for him, they could give him a full max contract this summer.
All that considered there a few drawbacks to any potential trade. If Millsap walks next summer, you lose all of your depth for nothing. They also have to pay Kyle Lowry the max next summer as well, putting themselves into luxury tax territory.
If I were Masai Ujiri, I would do what I can to acquire Paul Millsap before the trade deadline. Ujiri has said in the past that he would be willing to go into the luxury tax if the right deal came along, same with the parting of their young assets.
But the point of having young assets is being able to turn them into a star player. If the Raptors keep waiting for these players to develop, their opportunity would have passed them by.
As for Kyle Lowry, he turns 31 next summer. And giving him a max contract at that age is even more reason for them to pull the trigger. Realistically there’s only 3-5 more years where the Raptors can truly call themselves contenders, and they can’t afford to wait for LeBron to call it quits. Toronto should do all they can to get Millsap before the deadline in February as the championship window will not always be open.