The Toronto Raptors would be heading into the 2022 NBA offseason with the goal of finding a starting-caliber center. The Raptors may currently have Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch, and Chris Boucher on their roster, but none of those big men is considered a starter in the league. The 2021-22 NBA season is yet to come to an end, but the Raptors have already started to be linked to some quality big men who are expected to become available on the trade market this summer.
Top Trade Target - Rudy Gobert
One of the top trade targets for the Raptors this summer is All-Star center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. Since suffering a first-round exit in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, rumors have been swirling around Gobert and his future with the Jazz. In his substack newsletter, NBA insider Marc Stein revealed that rival executives are expecting Jazz CEO Danny Ainge to be aggressive in exploring trade options on Gobert "to shake up a stagnating roster."
By sacrificing some of their core players and future draft assets, the Raptors could come up with an intriguing offer should the Jazz finally decide to move Gobert this summer.
Proposed Raptors-Jazz Trade
In a recent article, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report came up with a hypothetical blockbuster trade idea that would enable the Raptors to acquire Gobert from the Jazz in the upcoming offseason. In the proposed trade scenario, the Raptors would be sending a trade package that includes OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., the rights to swap first-round picks in 2023, and a 2024 first-round pick to the Jazz in exchange for Gobert. If the trade becomes a reality, Bailey believes it would help the Raptors and the Jazz in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.
Raptors Solidify Starting Lineup
Trading two of their current starters would be a tough decision for the Raptors, but it would definitely be worth it if it means acquiring a player of Gobert's caliber. The potential arrival of Gobert in Toronto would provide the Raptors with a major frontcourt boost and significantly improve their performance on both ends of the floor. He would give them a very reliable scorer under the basket, a monster rebounder, and a quality rim protector.
This season, the 29-year-old center averaged 15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks while shooting 71.3 percent from the field. Adding Gobert to the core of Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, and Pascal Siakam would undoubtedly strengthen the Raptors' chances of making a huge noise in the Eastern Conference next season.
Why Jazz Would Make The Trade
As Bailey noted, the proposed blockbuster deal would be worth exploring for the Jazz if they want to continue building the team around Donovan Mitchell.
"If Utah believes a physical decline for soon-to-be-30-year-old Gobert is around the corner and unloading him would prove to Donovan Mitchell that he's the priority, maybe it would roll the dice on a deal like this," Bailey wrote. "Perimeter defense has been a massive problem for the Jazz over the last two seasons, and adding Anunoby and Trent to the wing rotation would help there."
However, after the trade, the Jazz would still need to find a new starting center who would try to fill the huge hole that Gobert will be leaving in their frontcourt.