The Toronto Raptors were supposed to throw their towel into the tanking ring by dealing Rudy Gay, but with recent wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Indiana Pacers, they might be turning into buyers, not sellers, on the trade market.
According to Grantland's Zach Lowe, the Orlando Magic covet Raptors sophomore Terrence Ross, and since the Magic are still a ways away from playoff contention, they could look to unload Arron Afflalo in a deal for Ross and possibly draft considerations.
Ross has moved up the Toronto pecking order with Gay gone and has become one of the Raptors' featured offensive players. His season averages of 8.9 points and 2.9 rebounds on 43.3 percent shooting overall and 41.1 percent from three are not stellar, but he is averaging 13.6 points and 3.8 boards while shooting an astounding 47.4 percent from deep as a starter.
Orlando has been using rookie Victor Oladipo heavily at point guard and could potentially view the Oladipo-Ross backcourt as its guard tandem of the future if Ross continues to develop as expected.
The Magic have their young core in place, but could use one more outside shooter who can also get to the basket, and Ross has shown in his short time with the Raptors that he is capable of both knocking down jumpers and finishing at the rim.
Afflalo is in the midst of the best season of his career, averaging 21.7 points, 4.4 boards and four assists while connecting on 48.2 percent of his shots and 43.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Adding Afflalo, if he can keep up his current level of play, would make Toronto a virtual playoff lock in the weak Eastern Conference and could help it pull away in the Atlantic Division. With a little luck, Toronto could even be hosting a playoff series.
For Orlando, dealing Afflalo would help it guarantee one more high lottery pick while also opening up some more minutes for Oladipo at the 2 and Maurice Harkless. It would also put the Magic even further under the salary cap headed into the offseason.
Lowe notes general manager Masai Ujiri's hesitance about making deals that hurt Toronto's future for short-term gains, but if the team keeps up its recent stellar play, it will be hard not to go all-in at least a little bit on the 2013-14 campaign.