Sure the NBA Finals are just about to tip off, but for 28 other teams, it’s time to start preparing for next year. On Tuesday, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer came out with our first big These Guys Might Get Traded story ahead of the July 1 start to free agency.
The biggest bit to come out of the piece was that OG Anunoby, the Raptors two-way wing, could be on the market. Though Anunoby has not requested a trade, “rival front offices” are gossipping about his dismay with his new role in a Scottie Barnes world.
Could this be nothing? Sure! Could it also be something? Yeah! And that version is way more fun to posture, especially as Fischer details Toronto’s failed pursuits of centers Jarrett Allen, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and Jakob Poeltl. Per the piece, “league personnel” are linking the Trail Blazers and Jazz as viable landing spots.
Is this the trade the Jazz need?
Utah isn’t working as currently constructed, and after a 4-2 first-round series loss to the Mavericks it’s more than fair to question the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert pairing’s future. To facilitate a Gobert-for-Anunoby swap, Toronto would have to provide additional salary (Anunoby is on a wildly team-friendly deal that pays $18 million annually compared to Gobert’s monstrous $35 million owed next season), and that could be done if it parts ways with Gary Trent Jr. Of course, a third team could help as well.
By shifting down from the lofty Gobert, whose rim-protecting prowess is best coveted in the regular season, Utah would add another long-armed defender who can switch multiple positions and shoot from range. He’s kinda the piece… every NBA team is looking for.
Jazz 2023 championship odds: +4000 (bet $100 to win $4,000)
Would Anunoby launch the Blazers into contention?
The short answer is probably not given the team parted ways with C.J. McCollum midseason, but if Damian Lillard returns at full health and the team makes additional moves, it’s possible. The trade exception from the McCollum trade would allow it to acquire Anunoby without matching salary, and the Blazers’ No. 7 pick could help greenlight the move. The question is who else they’d have to lose.
Fischer cites Anunoby’s trade value as more than two first-round picks and a promising rookie-scale prospect.
Blazers 2023 championship odds: +10000 (bet $100 to win $10,000)