The team reportedly had conversations with the Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Pelicans during the season, and the Raptors continued discussions before the draft. Sacramento, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta were squads listed to have interest but potential trades “did not get very far.”
Valanciunas started 80 games last season while averaging 12 points and a career-high 9.5 rebounds per game. Since the former top-five pick joined the team in 2012-13, he has been in the starting lineup for 357 of the 363 games he has played.
However, his role is no longer defined as the team apparently tries to get younger and more dynamic.
With Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan set to make big money over the next few seasons, the team would also likely want to shed some payroll. Valanciunas is owed about $50 million over the next three years, including his player option for 2019-20.
Toronto also has solid young big men on the roster in Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam, both of whom have impressed during the Las Vegas Summer League.
“I think there will be an opportunity for me and for Jakob,” Siakam said. “That is how it seems, that there will be more time for younger players on the team, and it is our job to be ready for that.”
If Valanciunas is eventually dealt, the two second-year players should get plenty of minutes alongside Serge Ibaka in the frontcourt.
Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com