NBA Rumors: Toronto Raptors Have 3 Centers On Their Radar

The Toronto Raptors could go either way at the trade deadline: sell and re-build, or buy to re-tool on the fly. And if they decide on the latter, NBA Insider Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reports that "league personnel expect the Raptors to focus on playmaking on the perimeter and rim protection in the interior."

On the interior side of things, he notes that Toronto has the Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton, the Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner, and, as we've known for a while, the San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl on their radar. 

As Fischer notes, the Raptors "have certainly sniffed around the big man market in recent seasons," including poking their nose in on Rudy Gobert when he became available from Utah last spring, and inquiring with Dallas about Kristaps Porzingis before they sent him to Washington. 

As for Turner, Toronto has had interest in him in the past as well, just about every time the Pacers have been willing to listen to trade offers. The latest news on that though is that it's more likely that Turner isn't going anywhere for the time being. 

Turner becomes a free agent at season's end, and is one of, if not THE, premier shot-blocker in the league. He's also shooting a career-high 39% from three. 

As for Ayton, it almost seems inevitable that he'll be leaving Phoenix at some point. If not now, then perhaps in the summer. He arrived at training camp in a sour mood, angered with the Suns over his contract negotiations from last summer, and grumbling that he and head coach Monty Williams hadn't spoken at all since he was benched in the 4th quarter of their Game 7 elimination in the playoffs last spring. 

But he's still putting up his usual numbers, essentially 17 and 10 (points and rebounds). He isn't really known as a rim-protector, however, averaging just 0.7 blocks per game this season and last. 

Poeltl is well-known to the Raptors, as he was developed by the team in his first two seasons in the NBA, and they were sad to see him go when they had to include him with DeMar DeRozan in the Kawhi Leonard trade in 2018 (but, yeah, that trade turned out okay nevertheless). 

Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports