Raptors have plenty to figure out before trade deadline

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There are decisions coming in Toronto. There are decisions to be made across the NBA, but plenty of front offices will hold their cards in this months-long game of poker and never let go. It appears clear the Raptors, who have been reluctant to ante in recent seasons, won’t choose to stay silent before the Feb. 9 trade deadline sounds.

“What they’re not gonna do is be in the middle,” said one Western Conference executive.

“They’ve told teams they’re going to do something,” said an assistant general manager.

All throughout the G League Showcase in late December, Toronto officials informed inquiring minds they’ll evaluate this Raptors roster until that fateful second Thursday of next month, league sources told Yahoo Sports, especially as head coach Nick Nurse’s unit stands at just 20-24, tied for 10th in the conference, with a roster Toronto leadership expected to compete among the Eastern elite. Those are the standards when you’ve landed a youngster such as Scottie Barnes, whom the Raptors wouldn’t entertain dealing for Kevin Durant this past summer, and All-Stars like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.

It is the stability atop the Raptors’ basketball operations that has rival executives and player representatives bracing for some type of change. We have seen large swings from team president Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster’s front office before, with the backing of a deep-pocket ownership group and Maple Leaf Sports chairman Larry Tanenbaum. If Toronto does decide to bolster this group, league personnel expect the Raptors to focus on playmaking on the perimeter and rim protection in the interior.

They have certainly sniffed around the big man market in recent seasons. for Goran Dragic and the first-round pick ultimately sent to San Antonio for Thaddeus Young. The Raptors registered interest in Rudy Gobert this summer, sources told Yahoo Sports, although there was never a serious approach from Toronto. Myles Turner and Deandre Ayton have…

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