The Toronto Raptors may have won their first Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2018-19 NBA season, but they ended up losing the best player of their championship squad, reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, in the 2019 NBA free agency. Despite the strong effort from the Raptors to convince him to stay, Leonard still decided to leave Toronto to play for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Clippers.
The decision of Kawhi Leonard in the recent free agency has undeniably changed the NBA landscape. With the core of Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Pascal Siakam, the Raptors remain a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. However, without Kawhi Leonard, it remains a big question mark if the Raptors have what it takes to defend the title in the 2019-20 NBA season. Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report recently created a list of trade scenarios that could potentially save “free-agency losers” like the Raptors.
For the Raptors, Bailey suggested that they may consider trading for Andre Iguodala of the Memphis Grizzlies. In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Raptors would trade Norman Powell, Malcolm Miller, Chris Boucher, and a future second-round pick to the Grizzlies in exchange for Iguodala. For the deal to work under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the Raptors would still need to add more players to match the Grizzlies’ outgoing salary.
If the trade becomes a reality, Bailey believes that it would help both the Raptors and the Grizzlies in filling up the needs to improve their rosters.
“Memphis would get another young(ish) player who may show more in a bigger role (Powell, 26). They’d also add to an ever-growing treasure trove of future picks. For the Raptors, Iguodala obviously doesn’t come close to replacing the offense of Leonard and Green. But those two were critical cogs on the other end too. The 2015 Finals MVP could help there. And his playmaking could ease Siakam’s transition into the role of a No. 1 scorer.”
Andre Iguodala may already be on the downside of his NBA career, but he would still be an incredible addition to the Raptors, giving them a defensive-minded wingman and another three-point threat who is also a three-time NBA champion. Though he’s not an offensive weapon like Kawhi Leonard, Iguodala could fill the void the reigning Finals MVP left on the defensive end of the floor. Like Leonard, Iguodala could be tasked to guard the opposing team’s best player in crucial situations.