The hottest Portland Trail Blazers trade rumors over the last two weeks have centered around Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby. The 6’7, 25 year old small forward has the right combination of skills (17 points, 5.5 rebounds per game plus defense!), experience, and contract ($18 million per year through 2024) to make Trail Blazers nation light up with glee. Playing behind a forward tandem of Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes, Anunoby’s minutes and role have been pinched in Toronto. Blazers fans have speculated that the 7th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft might be the lever to pry the young maestro from the Raptors to the Rose City.
Today, Raptors Assistant GM Dan Tolzman appeared to throw cold water on that theory. Interviewed as part of a larger press conference, Tolzman was asked, in passing, whether Anunoby could be replaced with the 7th pick. William Lou of Sportsnet/The Fan 590 tweeted out the response:
Q: You think you can draft another OG Anunoby at 7?— William Lou (@william_lou) June 8, 2022
Raptors assistant GM Dan Tolzman: "That would be tough, man. The way he's trending? That would be really tough." pic.twitter.com/jDROLpeKZQ
The facial expression in the video tells the whole story. It’s like someone asked Tolzman if he enjoys slightly-used cat litter sprinkled on his Jell-o. The exact text:
Q: Do you think you can draft another OG Anunoby at 7?
A: That would be tough, man. The way he’s trending...that would be really tough.
Obviously that response doesn’t preclude a deal getting done. The Blazers could offer inducement besides just the 7th pick to sweeten the pot. Or the Raptors could decide that they don’t need to draft another OG Anunoby with the pick, as they didn’t have room for the one they already had. They might find another prospect equally attractive.
That said, this isn’t necessarily a great sign for those thinking that Anunoby to Portland would be a quick, simple exchange.