The Toronto Raptors are not done trying to make moves after naming Nick Nurse as their head coach.
Sure, their cap sheet is a mess. It would be all too easy for them to run it back next season and hope another year of their reinvented offense yields different results. According to The New York Times‘ Marc Stein, though, they’re not content to stand pat and are instead looking to make moves ahead of the draft—irrespective of who they might have to trade:
According to one league source, no one on Toronto's roster is off limits as the Raptors pursue a top-10 pick https://t.co/AZzCv8fPXD
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 18, 2018
Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune adds that Kyle Lowry’s name has been bandied about the rumor mill in a very real way:
To piggyback on Marc, I've heard from several places Kyle Lowry is very available https://t.co/zknVAk6WlP
— Tony Jones (@tribjazz) June 18, 2018
Count me among those who would love to see the Raptors end up with Shai Alexander should they trade into the top 10. Though he’s listed as a point guard, he’s basically a wing, standing at 6’6″, with a 7-foot wingspan. He figures to be a defensive terror right from the jump, chasing around everyone up to small forwards.
During a recent appearance on the Hardwood Knocks podcast, The Stepien’s Cole Zwicker described Alexander as a higher-end Delon Wright—which, to be sure, is a pretty big compliment. Alexander is only 19, going on 20, and many have higher hopes for his jumper off the dribble.
Giving up Lowry for the right to draft Alexander, however, would be a debatable move. Few teams in the top 10 will be open to taking on his money; he’s owed $64.3 million through 2019-20. That essentially limits the Raptors to a market of probably the Cavaliers, at No. 8. And not only would taking Alexander that high be a huge dice roll, but the Raptors would need to take on additional money to make it work.
Dealing with a team like the Clippers could be a smarter play. They might have interest in competing now, have a few expiring contracts to send over and could be in position to take Alexander at No. 12 or No. 13.
Forced to choose, bet on Lowry remaining with the Raptors past draft night. Other things could happen thereafter, in the lead-up to and on the heels of free agency. Rerouting him now, though, feels unlikely.