It is more likely that the Toronto Raptors will be sellers at the trade deadline because they are now out of the postseason picture. Although Fred VanVleet is a club legend, the notion of trading him away and overhauling the roster has gained traction lately due to his contract.
VanVleet can opt out of his deal’s final year and become a free agent. He currently makes only 38% of his shots and has sustained his second significant injury of the season. The fact that Toronto is hesitant to pay him like an All-Star guard is understandable, given his age, height, and injury history.
The Orlando Magic are in a position where they can stop attempting to tank for high draft picks and start vying for a postseason spot instead. All parties may benefit if VanVleet joined their backcourt and signed a new nine-figure contract that Toronto might need to prepare to match.
The wisest course of action will be to surround that trio with a group of supporting players who can let the stars shine while keeping the team competitive, as the Raptors are likely to extend Pascal Siakam and build around Scottie Barnes. Orlando may have sufficient resources to lure Ujiri and this front office.
Orlando needs a backcourt scorer with experience who can support rising players like Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, the ROY favorite. By giving VanVleet a significant extension and starting a lineup of FVV, Jalen Suggs, Wagner, Banchero, and Wendell Carter Jr., the Magic may be able to make the playoffs once more.
Toronto would receive three young players who can fill their three most significant deficiencies in addition to a first-round choice projected to fall into the top ten. The primary beneficiary of this trade is Anthony, a talented young scorer who might excel in Toronto if given more opportunities offensively.
Bamba has been associated with the Raptors for years, and it’s simple to understand why. Bamba is the type of center that this Raptors team needs with his limitless wingspan and accurate 3-point shot.
Harris is a more productive scorer at this point in his career and a passable defender, so that he might be more appealing to Toronto than Terrence Ross. Gary Trent Jr. would feel free if the Raptors added a bench shooter.
The Raptors must make some tough personnel decisions, including dealing VanVleet. Ujiri had at least tried the whole “transfer your leader” thing previously and succeeded.