Report: Toronto Raptors prepared to trade ‘anyone but [Jonas] Valanciunas’
The Toronto Raptors and new general manager Masai Ujiri are already preparing to make a splash on the trade market, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
The front office entered training camp before the 2013-14 season with an open mind about the players on its roster, but there is now a “strong sense” that the Raptors are willing to trade “anyone but [Jonas] Valanciunas,” Stein reports.
Valanciunas, a 22-year-old center who averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks as a rookie last season, was the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft.
While Toronto has considered signing veteran forward Rudy Gay to an extension, Ujiri and company are now surveying the league to determine his trade value, along with the values of point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan received a four-year, $40-million contract extension from ex-GM Bryan Colangelo last November, Lowry will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and Gay has a player option for 2014-15.
From the report:
Gay, meanwhile, rates as one of the league’s more fascinating cases after Toronto’s previous regime gambled on the notion that the former Memphis Grizzlies max signee could be a co-cornerstone with Valanciunas. How tradable, really, is Gay when he’s making nearly $18 million this season? The sense out there is that the Raps, who only just got him in January, are determined to find out.
Rival teams are still formulating their projections on what Gay will do at season’s end, when he has the option to become a free agent or play out the final season of his last Memphis contract at a heady $19.3 million. You hesitate to simply assume that Gay, even at his relatively young age, will opt for free agency, because the likelihood is that the annual salary in his next deal won’t be nearly that high.
The Raptors fell to 1-1 after a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. They finished 34-48 last season, tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2007-08.