NBA insider names the team that could be the first trade deadline domino to fall

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Often the entire trade deadline hinges on the decisions of a single team, with a cascade of trades to follow. An NBA insider just told us who to watch this year.

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Every NBA team likely has a few different players they’re eyeing on the trade market and the dozens of deals that stack up at the deadline are contingent on the trades that come first. Once one team decides to become a buyer or seller or to move a key piece to a specific team, everything else falls into place.

At this point, we don’t know quite who that team might be this season but one NBA insider has pegged the Toronto Raptors as the one to watch. According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet, the Raptors are the team everyone is waiting on:

“It seems inevitable that changes will be coming, with the Feb. 9th trade deadline a referendum on how much faith Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster have in their current direction.

The rest of the league is waiting anxiously.

As one league source who has been monitoring the Raptors situation closely in recent weeks put it to me: ‘Toronto are the first domino. What they do will affect teams all across the league: Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta – not that it’s about deals with any particular team, just that people are going to be waiting to see what the Raptors do before they make their moves. Toronto could set the market.'”

What will the Toronto Raptors do at the NBA trade deadline?

The Raptors are struggling, currently 16-21 and 12th in the Eastern Conference, ranked 15th in offensive efficiency and 18th in defensive efficiency. It seems likely they’ll make some changes but how far they go is an open question.

The Raptors have the reigning Rookie of the Year in Scottie Barnes but several players who could fetch a hefty price at the trade deadline — Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Thad Young. Each of those players could potentially be moved for long-term value and draft picks or for more immediate help and will have plenty of suitors from contending teams.

It all just depends on how much of their present the Raptors are willing to sell for their future.

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