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Monday, April 23, 2018

Report: Raptors having difficulty finding taker for Jonas Valanciunas

Tug as they may, the Toronto Raptors just can’t seem to pull the plug on the Jonas Valanciunas experiment.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News reports on Monday that the Raptors are having a hard time finding a trade partner for the Lithuanian center.

More from Deveney:

Toronto has sought to deal Valanciunas since the February trade deadline. They’d had conversations with Detroit and New Orleans then, sources said, and continued to have discussions around Valanciunas at the draft, but talks with the likes of Sacramento, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta did not get very far.

The 25-year-old Valanciunas is at least serviceable — he averaged 12.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for Toronto last season. But his development has stagnated the last several years, and it seems he still has yet to earn the trust of head coach Dwane Casey. As a seven-footer without much range and a just-OK ability to protect the interior with no capacity whatsoever of defending the perimeter or the pick-and-roll, Valanciunas is not particularly versatile either. That’s a player archetype that the NBA has made almost totally outdated.

Some have argued that Valanciunas has simply been underutilized in Toronto. But for a player who is owed roughly $50 million over the next three years and is blocking young bigs like Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, and Pascal Siakam from playing time, the Raptors may ultimately have to settle for a lesser return in their increasing desperation to unload Valanciunas.

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