The Raptors Should Take A Swing At Trading For A Star – The Cold Wire

Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors follows through on a shot over Georges Niang #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on April 28, 2022 in Toronto, Canada.
(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

After winning the NBA championship in 2019, the Toronto Raptors took a big step back when superstar Kawhi Leonard left as a free agent to join the Los Angeles Clippers.

They were expected to be greatly weakened the following season, but they somehow went 53-19 in the regular season and took the Boston Celtics to the brink of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals before bowing out.

After missing the playoffs last year, the Raptors bounced back and posted a 48-34 record, and they took two games from the Philadelphia 76ers after falling behind to them 3-0 in the first round of the postseason.

Toronto has a cadre of good, young players, but it should not rest on its laurels.

With a few established stars rumored to possibly be on the move this summer, the Raptors should think big and take a shot at landing one of them.

Yes, The Raptors Have A Bright Future

In Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, the Raptors have two borderline stars who are both 28 and just entering their respective primes.

Both Siakam and VanVleet should have several more productive years ahead.

In OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr., Toronto has two more viable young players who played a significant role in the team reaching the postseason.

In Scottie Barnes, the Raptors have the Rookie of the Year and a player who is very versatile and may have tons of upside.

If they preach patience and look to develop the group they have now, they can likely count on being in the playoffs for years to come.

However, will their fan base be content with simply reaching the playoffs and perhaps winning one series each year?

The Eastern Conference has gotten a lot stronger over the past three years, and as the Raptors learned prior to trading for Leonard, they cannot reach the NBA Finals if they don’t have a true superstar.

Who Could They Go After?

Bradley Beal, the star shooting guard for the Washington Wizards, has been brought up in trade rumors for a couple of years now, especially since the Wizards have been stuck in mediocrity during that time.

Beal can not only score lots of points pretty efficiently, but he can also get others involved, as evidenced by his 6.6 assists per game this season.

He has been linked to the Miami Heat, but the Raptors could possibly swoop in with a strong offer, given all the good, tradable assets they have.

How about Donovan Mitchell – he is rumored to possibly be on the move after the Utah Jazz lost in the first round of the playoffs, and he is the big game player who could elevate the Raptors above their opponents in key contests.

However, many Raptors fans don’t seem interested in him.

The Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine will be a free agent next month, and he could be the star who can help elevate the Raptors, especially if Barnes develops into a star himself over the next couple of seasons.

If the Portland Trail Blazers decide to blow it up and deal Damian Lillard, he is the type of crunch-time performer who could give the Raptors a puncher’s chance come playoff time against anybody in the East.

The best thing the Raptors have going for them is all of their young, productive players, and it may be time to cash a couple of them in for the right man who will take them to the next level, just as Leonard did a few years ago.

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