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Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images
Toronto Raptors Receive: Ochai Agbaji, Kelly Olynyk
Utah Jazz Receive: Kira Lewis Jr., Otto Porter Jr., 2024 first-round pick (least favorable from Houston, L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City and Utah)
Most won’t love the not-very-good Raptors forking over a first-round pick. Get over it. That selection is slated to convey in the bottom five, and nobody seems to love this draft class. Toronto also currently has Indiana’s first-rounder as well as the No. 31 pick anyway.
On top of that, the Raptors must grapple with the reality of their 2024 first-rounder being owed to San Antonio (top-six protection). This trade increases the likelihood of that pick conveying, which would allow Toronto to plan its bigger picture with more flexibility.
Both Agbaji and Olynyk fill needs, too.
Agbaji is having a sophomore campaign to forget. But he has provided glimpses into functional spacing and finishing and try-hard defense. If nothing else, he gives a still-shooting-starved Toronto roster some optionality depth on the perimeter.
Olynyk is having a terrific season in which he’s stretching defenses and, most impressively, facilitating the offense from live-dribbles and standstills. He will be a boon both for the Raptors’ transition machine and half-court attack.
If things don’t work out, Olynyk is a free agent this summer. So at worst, this is a zero-risk deal. But at best, Toronto just added a big with standout versatility (and Canadian roots) to keep longer term—a scenario that must be top priority after giving up a first to get him.
It says a lot about the Jazz’s view of Agbaji that this is the return they accepted while also sending out one of their most immediately valuable players. Team CEO Danny Ainge and general manager Justin Zanik deserve credit for pulling the ripcord when other organizations might have tried to force fit and development that never materialized—a decision perhaps made easier since they weren’t the ones who drafted Agbaji. (He came over from Cleveland in the Donovan Mitchell trade.)
The Jazz also didn’t have a first-rounder in this year’s draft…technically speaking. They owe their pick to Oklahoma City with top-10 protection. They have been frisky enough for that pick to convey this year, so guaranteeing themselves a first-rounder has purpose.
At the same time, this move in tandem with Simone Fontecchio’s departure makes it far more likely that Utah slumps out of the play-in race and retains its own pick. And it scooped up a top-35 selection as part of the Fontecchio trade. Is there that big of a difference between, say, No. 27 and No. 33 in this class?
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