Two years after acquiring Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri may be on the hunt for another disgruntled superstar who could help them fully dominate the Eastern Conference and win their second NBA championship title.
Their roster, as currently constructed, might be enough to make them a legitimate playoff contender in the 2020-21 NBA season. However, if they want a realistic chance of bringing home the Larry O'Brien Trophy, they should strongly consider going after a legitimate superstar that could form a "Big Three" with Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam. One of the players that the Raptors could target on the trade market is All-Star shooting guard James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
In a recent article, Michael Saenz of Fansided's Sir Charles In Charge included the Raptors on his list of "dark horse landing spots" for Harden before the 2021 trade deadline. Toronto may not be one of Harden's preferred trade destinations, but Saenz believes they have enough assets that can convince the Rockets to engage in a blockbuster deal.
"The Raptors have good assets as well and could likely find a way to get a deal done that Houston would like. Of course, I'm not sure Toronto would be willing to give up everything considering what just happened with Kawhi Leonard last offseason. A trio of Kyle Lowry, Harden, and Pascal Siakam would be enough to make a deep playoff run in the Eastern Conference at the very least. Plus, if Siakam continues to develop at the rate he has, there's a good chance the Raptors would emerge as a favorite in the Eastern Conference."
The successful acquisition of Harden could dramatically change the Raptors' fate next season. His arrival in Toronto could transform them from mere playoff contenders to one of the heavy favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals next year. Harden would significantly improve their offensive efficiency which ranked No. 14 in the league, scoring 109.0 points per 100 possessions, per ESPN.
He would give the Rockets a superstar that could take charge of the offense in crucial situations. Aside from being a prolific scorer, Harden is also an incredible playmaker and an elite three-point shooter. Last season, he averaged 34.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Bringing a player of Harden's caliber to Toronto would undeniably be expensive. To convince the Rockets to make a deal before the 2021 trade deadline, the Raptors would likely need to give up a package that includes Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and multiple future first-round picks.