Toronto’s Goran Dragic and San Antonio’s Thaddeus Young were both near the top of the “they will get traded before the deadline” lists generated before the season tipped off.
It seems fitting that on deadline day they got traded for each other.
Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported the trade, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was first with the details.
The Raptors are trading Dragic and protected 2022 first-round picks to the Spurs for Thad Young, Drew Eubanks and a 2022 second-round pick via Pistons, sources tell ESPN. Pick is protected 1-14 in 2022; 1-13 in 2023 and would turn into two seconds beyond that. https://t.co/SN0sFyVurm
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
It is no secret the Spurs quickly will arrange a buyout with Dragic, and he is expected to almost as quickly sign as a free agent with the Mavericks (although the Clippers, Bucks, Bulls and more are expected to at least lob a call and see if they can land him). Dragic has been away from the Raptors by mutual agreement and has yet to play a minute this season, but he has been working out to stay in shape.
The real value here for the Spurs is a first-round pick that very likely conveys this year. The pick is lottery-protected, but with Raptors playing well — they are on a seven-game win streak — they are not headed to the lottery (their pick would be 20th right now). The Spurs get the first-round pick as the price for taking on salary.
It’s the money that matters to Toronto in this trade. The deal puts the Raptors Raptors $3.75 million below the luxury tax line, which ends up being an eight-figure swing (once you add in the Raptors will now get a more than $10 million payout, the teams under the tax split the tax money the teams over the line pay out).
Plus, Thaddeus Young could have some value in the Raptors rotation, although he has struggled this season in San Antonio.