Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Raptors ‘Can’t Stand Pat’ & More NBA Trade Rumors Buzz

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


The Lakers may have eased the NBA trade market a bit with their low-risk deal for Rui Hachimura, but at least one veteran assistant coach won’t be surprised to see a lack of larger deals as we near the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

“You’re not going to see what moves teams SHOULD be making,” he told Heavy Sports. “Nobody has more (courage). Everyone is so afraid of being wrong. They know that if a trade doesn’t pay off immediately, they’ll get killed on social media. Even before the guy you get plays for you, chances are you’ll be criticized.

“But if you want to be a GM in this league, you don’t have to worry about that. But boys do. It’s the same with coaching. No one wants to tell the stars what to do — and that’s the damn job.”

That tirade aside, teams are sure to keep an eye on Toronto, which begins a brutal seven-game tour of the Western Conference on Wednesday. The Raptors are currently even outside of the Play-In tournament and it’s hard to imagine them continuing down the same path. Some restructuring seems appropriate.

“I’d be surprised if Toronto doesn’t do anything,” a league executive told Heavy Sports. “You need a big body.”

When it was suggested it would be nice for her to have Jonas Valanciunas back, he said: “Absolutely. He would be perfect. It may not suit their style, but they need some bulk. He’s one of the most underrated players in the league in my opinion. And the guy is like a double-double every night. He’s not sexy, but I mean, he doesn’t get any credit — from anyone but New Orleans. I’m a big fan of his.”

The manager is also in love with Toronto guard Fred VanVleet, who may have his contract terminated after this season.

“He’s a winner,” he said. “He’s not having a great year, but I’ll take him.

“Something has to happen, and not just in Toronto,” he added. “I think the teams that you think are going to do something are probably going to do something because they can’t stand still. You just can’t.”

Atlanta is being closely watched, where a change in management and dissatisfaction (to say the least) within the roster has teams circling. John Collins is still being made very available, but his big contract and the Hawks’ asking price are slowing down the process.

“The thing about John Collins is that they would have to replace him,” a staff source said. “He’s a pretty good player. You might not want to pay him, but he’s a pretty good player. You’d better give him something good in return when you trade him in. He’s a beginning player, averaging ages 13 and 8. You know, he’s not a lout.”

Neither is Kyle Kuzma, who is having the best statistical year of his career in Washington. But he’s on hold to turn down the $13 million next season that remains in his contract and get a far sweeter deal, either with the Wizards or elsewhere. Kuzma may not be sure the Wizards will pull through, according to a league executive who has been addressing the situation.

“I’m told he spoke to them about a trade if they don’t think things are going to work out there,” the manager said. “People there told me that he wanted to be the main actor. No one has a problem with the child’s work ethic. He’s working his ass off and he’s improved, but he thinks he’s the guy. So you could see something happening there.”

Another league source told Kuzma: “He can definitely help someone. He’s having a good year. He’s a good player. You’ll probably have to deal with an alien personality, but if he could take a role somewhere, he could really help a team. If he really wants to be on a team that can win anything, seeing himself as the lead could be a problem. Well, he could definitely be a star in a role for the right team, but he’s not the kind of star to build around.

“You look for great players who can be great for what you need. How to win Malcolm Brogdon is the best example. Boston had Derrick White starting when (Rob) Williams was out and Brogdon is a better player. But he accepted the bankroll and you see what it did for them.

The key will be to project how another team’s player will behave in your situation.

“You don’t just take a guy’s numbers from somewhere else and put them on your list,” an Eastern Conference GM told Heavy. “You have to look at who was around him and if he gets the same opportunities with you, the same shots and so on. This is not a fantasy sport where you only go by the stats. You have to be able to know how a guy suits you. That’s one of the toughest parts of this season.”

Neither is Kyle Kuzma, who is having the best statistical year of his career in Washington. But he’s on hold to turn down the $13 million next season that remains in his contract and get a far sweeter deal, either with the Wizards or elsewhere. Kuzma may not be sure the Wizards will pull through, according to a league executive who has been addressing the situation.

- Advertisement -
Latest news
- Advertisement -
Related news
- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here