Toronto Raptors fail to make any big trade moves and people aren't happy
It was supposed to be the end of an era for the Toronto Raptors, but rumours of a blockbuster roster shakeup fell flat when Thursday's NBA trade deadline cutoff passed without any huge moves at 3 p.m. ET.
A major transaction was expected to follow a smaller move that saw the Raptors trade Canadian centre Khem Birch, a protected 2024 first-round pick and two future second-round picks to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for former Raptors centre Jakob Poeltl.
Poeltl was a key piece in the controversial but ultimately franchise-defining trade that dealt beloved star DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs in a package that brought Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green north of the border, resulting in the Raps' first-ever championship.
The Toronto Raptors are acquiring San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl for Khem Birch, a protected 2024 first-round draft pick and two future second-round picks, sources tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/9Iz7KFCd20— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
He returns to a very different-looking Toronto roster in 2023, one that has failed to live up to expectations in a borderline disastrous campaign. The Raptors are expected to sign Poeltl to a long-term deal this summer, according to ESPN.
But the lack of change amid what has proven to be a sub-par season for the Raptors has fans — who have grown accustomed to Masai Ujiri's strategic mastery of the trade market — more than a little disappointed at the outcome this trade deadline.
The #Raptors traded 3 picks, and a potentially high 1st round pick for a UFA who is a mid player. They now have 3 UFAs they can’t afford. No picks. And a team that is not good enough to win. They can’t sign free agents. This was a horrible trade deadline. #WeTheNorth— Ben (@Canhistoryrules) February 9, 2023
Many were expecting to see at least one of the team's core players — OG Anunoby, Fred Vanvleet, or Pascal Siakam — dealt before the deadline, but little materialized.
It’s pretty unbelievable that the #Raptors aren’t selling at the deadline. Could’ve sworn either Fred or O.G. would be gone by now.— Luke Rosenthal (@luke_rosenthal) February 9, 2023
The single trade leaves the pre-deadline squad almost entirely intact, a perplexing lack of action for a struggling team with a dismal 26-30 record, sitting in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
NBA insiders like Shams Charania were among the big names expecting Toronto to shake up its roster for the trade deadline, and many are left feeling stunned that a minor tweak was all the team's front office could muster.
...so the Raptors aren't doing anything else?— Paul Ross (@RealPaulRoss) February 9, 2023
Others think it doesn't bode well for the team's future.
thats when people stop watching the team— reilly o’reilly (@reillyoreilly4) February 9, 2023
If you believe social media chatter, the Raptors are considered one of the biggest flops of the trade deadline.
The Raptors will tip off against the Utah Jazz on Friday with their practically unchanged roster. Here's wishing them luck.
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