The Toronto Raptors enjoyed a very decent 2019-20 NBA campaign. Entering the season as champions, the Toronto Raptors were without two key figures in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Additionally, many of their players are out of contract this off-season, with several NBA trade rumors suggesting possible replacements.
Under Coach of the Year winner Nick Nurse, the Raptors continue to play great basketball and beat the best in the business. However, they lost to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semis.
A new center should be the Toronto Raptors' priority as both current big men Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are out of contract this off-season. Although they will need to spend a chunk of money to bring back star guard Fred VanVleet, the acquisition of a new starting center could be a lot more complicated a move to pull off.
Also Read: NBA Trade Rumors: The dream starting-5 for the Dallas Mavericks going into the 2020-21 season.
NBA Trade Rumors: Rudy Gobert should be the first-choice for the Toronto Raptors
Veterans Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka took up most of the minutes at the center position for the Toronto Raptors this season.
35-year-old Spaniard Marc Gasol has been one of the best players in the NBA in the 2010s. However, he is clearly in rapid decline as he averaged a career-low 7.5 points per game this season.
He could still certainly get the job done as he has improved considerably as a threat from outside but perhaps not well enough to play for a championship contender like the Toronto Raptors.
The other center in their rotation, Serge Ibaka, quietly had a great season where he averaged a career-high 15.4 points per game.
He isn't the same shot-blocking machine he was back in the day, but much like Gasol, Ibaka has become a very decent shooter from downtown. The Toronto Raptors would certainly love to have the Congolese back, but other franchises might desire his services even more.
The Toronto Raptors should try and pursue a star like Rudy Gobert this off-season to fill the void at the center spot.
Rudy Gobert career statistics
Career points per game - 11.7
Career assists per game - 1.4
Career rebounds per game - 11.0
Career field goal % - 64
Career 3-pt % - N/A.
Rudy Gobert, two-time defensive player of the year winner, is one of the few elite centers playing in the NBA currently.
The 7'1" Frenchman was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career this season as he averaged 15 points per game, doing so with nearly 70% efficiency. He also grabbed a career-high 13.5 rebounds every night. HIs defensive stats were impressive as usual as he blocked two shots per game.
There is no denying the fact that Rudy Gobert is a force on the defensive end. However, he is a very limited scorer, and at 28, he may not have enough time to develop that part of his game to a satisfactory level.
Gobert will be earning $25 million during the 2020-21 season before he hits the free-agency market. He is reportedly demanding a supermax extension with the Utah Jazz, but if the team believe that he isn't worthy of the same, a trade for the player could be on the cards.
NBA Trade Rumors: How can the Toronto Raptors acquire Rudy Gobert?
The Toronto Raptors do not have a lot of players guaranteed on their roster for next season, so a trade for Rudy Gobert could be a difficult one to finance.
Any potential deal may include Kyle Lowry and his $30 million contract, although it remains to be seen if the Utah Jazz will be interested in the 34-year-old's services or not. Norman Powell bundled with more sign-and-trade pieces could also get the job done.Published 30 Sep 2020, 05:00 IST