The Toronto Raptors can get into the draft in two different ways: buying a pick for cash or trading a player (or multiple players) for one. Several teams are looking to get out of the draft because the draft class is considered weak by NBA talent evaluators.
Portland Trail Blazers (10th), Dallas Mavericks (13th) and Atlanta Hawks (17th, 18th) are all open to moving their picks. There is also a lot of trade talk regarding surrounding the first (Cleveland Cavaliers), second (Orlando Magic) and third (Washington Wizards) picks of the draft, but it isn’t likely the Raptors land any of those picks unless they are giving up a significant asset in return.
It is not known who the Raptors are targeting in the draft, but the point guard position could potentially be a need going into next season. Kyle Lowry’s first season in Toronto was a disappointment and he is entering the final year of his deal ($6.2 million). They recently let go one of his biggest backers in Alvin Williams and there is no guarantee that he stays in Toronto after next season.
It doesn’t make sense for the organization to lock in Lowry into a long-term deal because they are barely a lower-seed playoff team in the Eastern Conference. The team has to evaluate his trade value and consider all possible trade scenarios.
A team like the Utah Jazz (currently holds the 14th pick) has no point guards under contract and would be a very good fit for Lowry. It would allow the Raptors to get some value back for Lowry instead of potentially losing him for nothing. He likely won’t have a lot of value as a rental during the trade deadline, so a good time to make a move might be during the draft