June 29, 2022

Portland Trail Blazers reportedly ‘pursuing’ trade for Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, according Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, and are open to including the seventh overall pick in the NBA Draft as part of a deal.

No other element of a hypothetical trade was mentioned. However, a lottery pick may not even be enough to create the basis of a deal for Anunoby, a coveted member of the Raptors’ main rotation who, at 24, has already proven he can play in the spotlight. post-season.

“What are the chances that anyone in the 4-to-8 [draft pick] the range will always be better than Anunoby is now, let alone in two or three years if you take into account Anunoby’s rise,” Michael Grange of Sportsnet wrote this week.

Although Anunoby was again hampered by injuries last season, appearing in just 48 games, her on-field production remained solid when healthy. He averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game and shot 36.3 percent from three-point range on a career-high 6.6 attempts from range. Compounding his value is his contract, as he’s not even halfway through the four-year, $72m extension he signed in 2020 – which also includes a player option for 2024-25.

That mix of potential and production is probably worth more to the Raptors than a package centered around a pick outside of the top three in the draft. Earlier reports from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer suggested Anunoby’s trade value was seen as “higher than Detroit’s known asking price for Grant: two first-round picks or a first and a promising rookie-wide prospect” .

Earlier Wednesday, the Trail Blazers reportedly traded for Grant, sending a protected 2025 first-round pick and additional draft assets to the Pistons for his services. Adding Grant, who is expected to make nearly $21 million next season, wouldn’t stop the Trail Blazers from pursuing Anunoby.

Still, a look at the Trail Blazers’ roster doesn’t reveal many immediately attractive targets for the Raptors to pick up in a trade. Josh Hart had a respectable season last year, averaging just under 15 points on 50% shooting in 54 games. But at 27, he doesn’t meet the criteria for a “promising rookie-scale prospect,” and it’s not easy to envision the combination of his contributions and the one the Raptors drafted eclipsing Anunoby. .

Position-wise, Hart also fails to fill the Raptors’ uncertainty at center, raising questions about how any deal with Portland can make Toronto significantly better – even though Anunoby was adamant about wanting be treated.

But even that is disputed. Portland’s interest marks the latest rumor centered around Anunoby’s availability, with much of the noise stemming from a late May report from Fischer that said he was unhappy with his role in Toronto’s rotation .

In later reports, Fischer noted that the conversation around Anunoby “was driven more by an external interest in acquiring” his services, rather than an internal schism between the fifth-year forward and the team.

According to Grange, the extent to which Anunoby is less than satisfied is considered exaggerated.

Scottie Barnes, Anunoby’s teammate on the Raptors, recently echoed that sentiment while streaming live while playing NBA2K, saying it was “sickening” that Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that Anunoby might want to be traded. Earlier in June, Barnes also commented on an Instagram post rounding up rumors of Anunoby’s displeasure, writing that a “close source” told him it was “bad news.”

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