The Toronto Raptors Should Pursue a Wesley Matthews Trade

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 31: Wesley Matthews
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 31: Wesley Matthews /

If the Toronto Raptors believe in their chances at reaching the NBA Finals, then pursuing Wesley Matthews at the deadline could be worth entertaining.

On February 7th, the Toronto Raptors are two wins back from the top seed in the Eastern Conference after coming off a 20 point win over Boston the night before.

For the past multiple years in the East, there have been teams that think they are a threat to LeBron, only to find themselves as an easy out once again come the playoffs.

This year, it’s completely different.

These aren’t the same Cavs and the teams around the Cavs aren’t the same either. Two teams, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, have a real shot at dethroning the Cavs in the East and reaching the Finals.

For this reason, I believe the Toronto Raptors should go all in for the next two years.


Right now, the Raptors are starting Lowry, DeRozan, Anunoby, Ibaka and Valanciunas, but when the playoffs come against a smaller team or even a potential Finals matchup vs the Warriors, Valanciunas won’t be able to see the court.

Add that with the fact that Jonas is due roughly $35 million over the next two years and Toronto might be inclined to move on from him if they can.

Wesley Matthews would give Toronto the ability to roll out a lineup with Ibaka at center and Anunoby, Matthews, DeRozan and Lowry around him. Matthews would instantly be able to focus on the two things he is best at: elite perimeter defense and outside shooting. Salary wise, it wouldn’t be much different for Toronto next season as Matthews has a player option worth $18.6 million and Valanciunas is due $16.5 million. Then consider losing restricted free agents Powell and Coboclo.

Delon Wright has made a leap this season, but could be replaced in the rotation.

Mejri would be the one year replacement for Valanciunas and would join a big man rotation with Ibaka, Poeltl and Nogueira at the center spot.

Giving up the 2020 first round pick would be risky, but if there is a window for this core in Toronto, it is the next two years and Matthews would help solidify that.


For Dallas, getting a first for Wesley Matthews might come at a price and that price might come at a contract like Valanciunas.

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The 2020 first round pick would be the biggest asset in this package as this would give the Mavericks another first to work with in a few years. But if I am Dallas, I need more than the pick in a deal like this.

Delon Wright is a former first round pick in 2015 and has carved out a solid role off the bench this season logging over 20 minutes a night.

Bruno Caboclo is a 6’9″, 22-year-old wing that came into the league as a raw prospect three years ago and is still raw at the moment. Dallas could look at him as a flyer type player to develop and he too is hitting restricted free agency.

Switching out the salaries of Matthews and Valanciunas actually saves the Mavericks some cap space this summer, but cuts into their cap significantly in the summer of 2019 when he has a player option for $17.6 million. He is also just 25 years old.

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Toronto hasn’t been linked to Matthews, but if Toronto is serious about pushing for a title and Dallas is wanting a first round pick, this is a deal that could make sense for both sides.

*A previous version of this piece featured Norman Powell