• Nikola Cuvalo

Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 5.3

POR receives: Jonas Valanciunas, CJ Miles, Delon Wright, OG Anunoby, 2019 & 2023 First Round Picks

TOR receives: CJ McCollum, Zach Collins

There’s a gaping void in Kyle Lowry’s heart and it is shooting guard shaped. Here at OTG, we like to picture this scenario, where the Raptors becomes enamoured with giving K-Low a new star backcourt buddy in CJ McCollum.

They are willing to give up two first round picks, in addition to the players listed above, to entice Portland into essentially performing the first part of a roster teardown. While Portland is currently the 7th seed in the West, with a respectable 24-17 record, what’s stopping them from repeating as first round fodder for the West’s big fish come playoff time?

The Blazers would be receiving a starting quality center on a roster over-stuffed on guards. Between Jusuf Nurkic and Jonas Valanciunas, they would have high-quality minutes from the pair of young scoring centers for all 48 minutes.

They obtain a competent playmaker with still-untapped upside to potentially replace McCollum in Delon Wright and a young wing building block in OG Anunoby on a team devoid of them. Furthermore, they add a veteran sharpshooting wing in CJ Miles to a roster virtually devoid of non-guard shooters.

Meanwhile, the Raptors get the best player in the trade in McCollum, who is averaging 21/4/3 on shooting splits slightly worse than his Most Improved Player Award-winning performance from 3 seasons ago. While Toronto sacrifices depth, they can employ a tremendous starting five of Lowry-McCollum-Leonard-Siakam-Ibaka, and come away with a high upside prospect in Zach Collins to replace those departed first round picks.

While the Raptors would be essentially mortgaging their future in order to win now, such an approach might make sense in a year loaded with immediate performance incentives, and the Trailblazers might be willing to take advantage of such circumstances.

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