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What moves did the Raptors make at the NBA trade deadline?


Home Town Boy Returns

It appears that the once dominant Toronto Raptors have hit an icy patch, and it may be several years before they regain their status as contenders. Unless they manage to draft top talent like USC’s Bronnie James and persuade his aging daddy, LeBron to endure Canadian winters and join a team of cast-offs, the Raptors will need to attract big-name free agents or risk becoming perpetual bottom-dwellers.

NBA Trade Deadline

Despite trading Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby before the trade deadline, General Manager Bobby Webster continues to make moves. On NBA Trade Deadline Day, the Raptors made several acquisitions before the 3 PM ET deadline on February. 8. They acquired Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Kira Lewis, Otto Porter Jr., and a 2024 first-round pick.

Later in the day, they traded point guard Dennis Schröder and Thaddeus Young to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, who was subsequently waived by the team.


Gonzaga Bulldogs

Kelly Olynyk was born on April 19, 1991, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He played college basketball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs from 2009 to 2013. In his junior year, he redshirted to focus on skill development. In his senior year (2012-2013), he had a breakout season, averaging 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 62.9% from the field.


A Celtic 

Olynyk entered the NBA draft in 2013 and was selected with the 13th overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks but was subsequently traded to the Boston Celtics.  He spent his first four seasons in the NBA with the Boston Celtics and showed versatility as a stretch forward/center, capable of scoring inside and outside. He had some notable performances during his time with the Celtics, including a career-high 41 points against the Atlanta Hawks in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

The Heat Is On

Olynyk signed with the Miami Heat in 2017 where  he became known for his solid three-point shooting and floor-spacing abilities, fitting well into the Heat’s system. He played a key role off the bench during the Heat’s run to the NBA Finals in the 2019-2020 season.


During the 2021 season Olynyk was traded to the Houston Rockets in February (another trade deadline move) as part of the trade that sent Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat. During his time with the Rockets, he continued to provide valuable contributions as a stretch big man.


The following season Olynyk signed with the Detroit Pistons in August 2021. He continued to showcase his scoring ability and perimeter shooting while also providing leadership to a young Pistons team.

Olynyk is a Toronto Raptor!


Bringing in Olynyk is a feel-good story for Raptors fans. The 32-year-old returns to his hometown while continuing to represent Canada on the world stage in international basketball competitions. Olynyk was part of the Canadian squad that won the country its first Bronze Medal in the FIBA World Cup. Today he is a Toronto  Raptor. His role with the team and his performance will depend on how he fits into the Raptors’ system and the opportunities he’s given.

Throughout his career, Kelly Olynyk has been recognized for his basketball IQ, shooting touch, and ability to contribute in various facets of the game. He has been a valuable asset to every team he’s played for, known for his versatility, hustle, and professionalism on and off the court.

Olynyk‘s contract status

The ex-Gonzaga standout’s contract is set to expire, suggesting he might be a temporary addition. However, being a Toronto native, there’s a strong chance the Raptors could extend his contract in the summer, providing a dependable veteran presence for the youthful roster, notably led by first-time All-Star Scottie Barnes. Webster referred to him as a “consistent force” and foresaw him bringing stability to their second unit.

 Ochai Agbaji 

Accompanying Olynyk is Agbaji, a 23-year-old guard who was drafted 14th overall by the Jazz in the 2022 NBA Draft.


Agbaji, who spent four years at Kansas, clinched a National Title in 2022 during his senior year. He had an exceptional senior season, earning accolades such as Big 12 Player of the Year, Consensus First-Team All-American, and NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Throughout his senior campaign, he maintained impressive averages of 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, displaying efficient shooting splits of 47.5/40.7/74.3.

A 6-foot-10 Wingspan

While Agbaji is still finding his footing in the NBA, the Raptors could potentially offer him the opportunity to carve out a niche for himself in the league.

Standing at 6-foot-5, Agbaji boasts an impressive six-foot-10 wingspan, aligning well with the Raptors’ hunger for long-limbed wings. While he may not possess significant offensive potential, there’s potential for him to develop into a reliable 3-and-D player, complementing Barnes effectively. With defensive prowess and a smooth shooting stroke, Agbaji has qualities that can contribute positively on both ends of the court.

Webster spoke enthusiastically about Agbaji during his press conference, highlighting his excitement for the impact the 23-year-old could have on the franchise.

Giving Away Schroder & Young

After Germany secured gold at the FIBA World Cup last summer, the Raptors made a surprising move by signing the tournament MVP, Dennis Schroder, previously with the Lakers, who was relatively unknown to most fans. However, Schroder quickly made a strong impression, performing at an All-Star level in his initial month with the Raptors, earning praise from both fans and NBA peers alike. This unexpected success led to speculation that the Raptors had uncovered a hidden gem, with Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri once again showcasing their knack for talent evaluation.

Unfortunately, as the season progressed, Schroder’s performance began to decline, resembling his struggles during his time with the Lakers. With the Raptors’ recent acquisitions of Barrett and Quickley, it became apparent that Schroder’s time to prove himself was running out. Ultimately, this led Webster to trade Schroder, Thaddeus Young and a first round 2024 pick to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, who was subsequently waived by the team. This move raises questions as to why the Raptors would trade two potential bench players and a first-round draft pick for seemingly nothing in return. NBA analysts have been left speculating about the motives behind the Raptors‘ unconventional moves.

Salary Cap Considerations

NBA teams often make trades to manage their salary cap space and stay compliant with league regulations. It’s possible that by trading Schröder and Young and a first rounder for Dinwiddie, the Raptors were able to free up salary cap space or create flexibility for future transactions.

Long-Term Strategy

NBA teams often make trades with their long-term goals and strategic vision in mind. The Raptors’ decision to trade Schröder and Young for Dinwiddie might have been part of a broader strategy to position the team for success in the future, whether through acquiring assets, reshaping the roster, or aligning with organizational goals.

This Is The End

It appears that the future for the Raptors is not just about re-tooling, but rather a full-scale rebuilding effort that could span three to five years before the team can contend again. It’s hard to fathom that just a few years ago, they were crowned world champions.

The departure of key players like Lowry, Pascal, VanVleet, and OG to teams with better chances at winning has been disheartening. While it’s a positive development to have three Canadians on the roster, the reality is that the current team is a far cry from the competitive forces that Toronto boasted when DeRozan and Vince Carter were at the helm.

Hopefully, Masai and Bobby can make significant moves in the free agent market to revitalize the team, or else the winters might just feel a bit colder for Raptors fans.

by Myles Shane

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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