Over the past two seasons there were whispers of the Raptors trading both OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam and over the last month they’ve offloaded both players to Eastern conference teams looking to ascend themselves into contention with the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks sitting atop the Eastern Conference.
In the trade the Raptors acquired Bruce Brown Jr. Jordan Nwora, and Kira Lewis Jr. and three 1st round picks in a three team trade with the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans.
Two of those first-rounders (one from Indiana and the other is the worst amongst Thunder, Clippers, Jazz, and Rockets) are for the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft and the other being a 2026 first-rounder that is top-four protected. Assessing the trade, the Raptors have acquired three players and three 1st round picks for a star player pending free agency come July 1st. It was primitive for the Raptors to get the best deal for future assets.
Bruce Brown Jr. was a key rotation player for the Denver Nuggets in their championship campaign last season, and has averaged twelve ppg this season featuring the Indiana Pacers, I think he’ll be a factor on the defensive end for them. Jordan Nwora, former Louisville Cardinal, and a former member of the Bucks has seen a dip in minutes this season in comparison to his twenty-four a game last season. The Pelicans traded Kira Lewis Jr., the former 2020 lottery pick (13th overall) is a point guard who has also seen his minutes limited in recent weeks and likely led to a trade.
The Raptors made a move that most teams ten games under .500 would do in this situation (15-25) would do and with Scottie Barnes, RJ Barrett as the apparent scorers and they’ll still have Gary Trent Jr., Jalen McDaniels, Jakob Poetl, and Immanuel Quickley to play key roles in the rest of the season with the newcomers. The Raptors have some veteran players that’ll likely be next including Dennis Schroeder and Thaddeus Young that could be buyout candidates for a playoff team.
The Indiana Pacers put Siakam in the starting lineup with All Star Tyrese Haliburton as well as Benedict Mathurin, Buddy Hield, and Myles Turner could be a potent and tough out in the Eastern Conference coached by Rick Carisle.