Despite losing forward Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers last summer, the Toronto Raptors exceeded many expectations in the 2019-20 season, posting a 46-18 record that put them in second place in the Eastern Conference at the time the NBA went on hiatus last month. But with the Raptors expected to lose a number of veterans in free agency in the 2020 offseason, a new report suggests that the team might be able to reload by acquiring Jamal Murray from the Denver Nuggets for their own starting point guard, Kyle Lowry.
As explained in a new list of trade ideas from Bleacher Report, both the Raptors and the Nuggets are close to an “organizational crossroads” despite their success this season, with Toronto particularly nearing this state due to the impending free agency of starting guard Fred VanVleet, forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and big men Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Chris Boucher. Lowry, meanwhile, is 34 years old and scheduled to enter free agency in the summer of 2021. All this, as pointed out by writer Zach Buckley, leaves the Raptors with few options when it comes to surrounding star forward Pascal Siakam with top-level talent.
According to Buckley, the Raptors could theoretically land Murray and forward Jerami Grant if they offer the Nuggets a trade package that includes both Lowry and promising young forward/guard OG Anunoby. While the 23-year-old Murray did sign a five-year maximum contract extension last summer, the Bleacher Report writer noted that Denver might have to take his inconsistency into account when considering whether the deal was worth it or not. It was also speculated that acquiring Lowry — a six-time All-Star at point guard — could allow the Nuggets to make an “all-in push” for an NBA championship.
— NBA (@NBA) January 29, 2020
Talking about how the Raptors could benefit from the move, Buckley wrote that the team could get a better idea of what the future holds for them if they land Murray, an Ontario native who is only in his fourth NBA season.
“If Toronto saves money elsewhere—moving on from most of the known free agents—it could still have the funds to chase Giannis Antetokounmpo and feature him in the NBA’s next Big Three with Siakam and Murray.”
Not much was mentioned about how the complementary pieces could help their new teams if the trade pushes forward, but Buckley hinted that Anunoby could shore up some of the Nuggets’ biggest weaknesses through his ability to shoot three-pointers and play tough defense.
Bleacher Report‘s suggestion of a Lowry-for-Murray point guard swap was not the only recent piece of speculation involving the defending NBA champions and their possible plans for the 2020 offseason. Last week, The Inquisitr wrote about the possibility of San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan returning to the Raptors this summer, though no hypothetical trade packages were discussed at that time.