4. Raptors begin a rebuild
Spurs own Toronto’s 2024 first-round pick and 2025 second-rounder from the Jakob Poeltl trade. First-rounder is top-six protected in 2024, 2025, and 2026. If San Antonio does not get it in 2026 the pick becomes two second-rounders.
The Raptors trading off pieces and trying to retool their roster around Scottie Barnes would add a ton of value to that selection. The Spurs will draft their centerpiece in Victor Wembanyama, but having a shot at another lottery over the next three years is massive.
A top-six protection is not much. The team with the worst record in the league can fall to fifth as the Pistons did this year. To be guaranteed a top-six pick, the Raptors would have to finish with one of the two worst records in the league. That is no sure bet, especially if they plan on keeping Scottie Barnes. The Raptors have zero reasons to trade a 21-year-old with that much promise that should blossom further if given a larger offensive role.
Toronto’s rebuild could start on Thursday night. They have the 13th pick and two key free agents this summer. If the Raptors go point guard in the lottery, the franchise likely expects Fred VanVleet to leave in free agency. Jakob Poeltl could be right behind him and force the Raptors to retool. It is a key offseason in Toronto, and things begin on draft night.
The San Antonio Spurs will be watching closely to see what the Raptors do.