Valanciunas, 26, has been the Raptors' starting center and has compiled season averaged of 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.
They still might. But the Raptors' own prospects were also significantly improved on Thursday with the trade with Memphis for centre Marc Gasol, a move that sent centre Jonas Valanciunas, guards Delon Wright and C.J. Miles, and a second-round draft pick for five years from now to the Grizzlies. The 34-year-old Gasol is a three-time National Basketball Association all-star who is averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals a game in 2018.
Reports of a potential trade between the two teams began to surface on Tuesday, though at the time rumours suggested Raptors guard Kyle Lowry would be included in the package, with Grizzlies guard Mike Conley making his way to Toronto. The former second-team All-American is averaging 8.0 points, 2.9 asissts, 2.9 rebounds and 20 minutes this season in his third season as an National Basketball Association reserve.
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Valanciunas hasn't played in almost two months after suffering a dislocated thumb, but is ready to return to the lineup. The Raptors are hopeful the addition of Gasol, a three-time All-Star who's averaging 18 points and eight rebounds, will give them even more firepower heading into the playoffs.
This is quite the value for Gasol, who has never suited up for a team other than Memphis in his National Basketball Association career. I just know one thing. "I love Toronto and I want to stay there".
SInce Dec.14, the Raptors are 16-9 without Valaciunas in the lineup and are second in the Eastern Conference. He's now averaging 4.7 assists per game, the highest mark of his career and the second-most among centres this season behind only Nikola Jokic.