While the Toronto Raptors are still second place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference with a 28-12 record, the team has recently been playing without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who has been slowed down with a back injury since the start of December and has missed the last five games. With Lowry out for a total of 10 games since last month, the Raptors have struggled in terms of playmaking, but according to the Sporting News, the team could explore a few possible trades, including deals that could send veterans Jeff Teague or Jeremy Lin up north to give Toronto additional options at point guard.
As noted by the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney, backup Fred VanVleet has played well for the Raptors as their second-string point guard but hasn’t been able to facilitate the offense like Lowry has during his time as a starter. While the best option for the Raptors might be to acquire a more traditional point guard via trade, Deveney explained that Toronto doesn’t have too many players whom teams could find useful or worth the money, which could make trading for Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, as recently rumored, out of the question.
“That would cost the team budding star Pascal Siakam and wing OG Anunoby, plus some filler salary and two future first-round draft picks. The Raptors already owe this year’s pick to the Spurs, and they would have to persuade Washington to take a pick as far out as 2023,” Deveney wrote, referring to the hypothetical Beal trade as a “longshot.”
Kyle Lowry is sidelined indefinitely and the #Raptors are without their best playmaker.— Sporting News Canada (@sportingnewsca) January 4, 2019
Bradley Beal is the big name but more affordable players like Jeremy Lin and Jeff Teague are affordable for Toronto.
Our @SeanDeveney has more #NBA trade rumors ➡️ https://t.co/a2fY0E2f2w pic.twitter.com/MmWtZfIHqT
Instead of trying to acquire Beal, the Sporting News‘ Deveney suggested that the Raptors could trade for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jeff Teague, who could be “expendable,” given how Derrick Rose has enjoyed a resurgence in the 2018-19 season and how Tyus Jones has played well starting in place of the injured Teague and Rose. On the other hand, Deveney brought up Teague’s expensive contract and subpar shooting this season as two reasons why trading for him could be a risk.
Alternately, Deveney recommended trading for Atlanta Hawks reserve point guard Jeremy Lin, who has averaged 10.4 points and 3.3 assists off the bench and made a strong recovery after missing all but one game last season due to knee surgery. In addition to being a potentially “good fit” for Toronto’s system, Deveney opined that Lin could be motivated to “stick it” to his former team, the Brooklyn Nets, by moving from a weak team like the Hawks to an Eastern Conference contender like the Raptors.
While all of the above trade scenarios are merely hypothetical, Deveney concluded his Sporting News piece by stressing the importance of finding someone who could fill in for Kyle Lowry if he has to miss more games due to injuries. In 30 games, Lowry is averaging 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game, but has seen his numbers decline to 11.6 points on 36 percent shooting over the last 11 games.