NBA Rumors: Raptors "The First Domino" For NBA Trade Season

With the Toronto Raptors five games under the .500 mark, and in a month-long swoon that's dropped them to 12th place in the Eastern Conference, all eyes around the league are on team president Masai Ujiri. 

In fact, the attention is so focused on the Raptors, according to a report, that what they do will affect the entire NBA trade circuit from now until the Feb. 9th deadline.  

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.'

                                                                          —Michael Grange, Sportsnet 

Raptors beat reporter Michael Grange notes that the real problem right now is that things are all very up in the air around the Raptors situation—Will they blow it up? Will they mildly 're-tool'? Or will they just ride this thing out?

"No, I don't know when they're going to pivot," one league source said; "It's all very nebulous right now," said another.

Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet can both be free agents at the end of the season. Ideally, the team won't sit by and watch both leave without getting something in return.  Grange also writes that reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes has "raised eyebrows internally and externally for his lack of progress in his second season."

The entire NBA trade deadline market could be set north of the border. 

Photo: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports