Grizzlies initiated trade talks with Raptors involving Lowry, Valanciunas


Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) controls the ball against Memphis Grizzlies guard Garrett Temple (17). (Brandon Dill/AP)

The Toronto Raptors have been quite active ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

They’ve reportedly prepared an offer for Anthony Davis, and were expected to pursue ex-New York Knicks’ big man Kristaps Porzingis before he was swiftly traded to Dallas.

The Raptors also discussed a potential deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been rumoured to be looking to move veteran stars Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol. According to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange, the Grizzlies contacted Toronto about a trade centred around Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas, the longest-tenured Raptors, heading to Memphis in exchange for Conley and Gasol, but nothing came close to materializing.

At 21-33 the Grizzlies are 14th in the West and have been reportedly shopping Conley, 31, and Gasol, 34, as they look to initiate a rebuild. The two long-time Grizzlies are set to earn over $58 million combined next season and don’t appear to be in Memphis’ long-term plans. While Gasol holds a player option for next season, they’ll be particularly motivated to move Conley. In 2016 he signed a five-year, $152 million extension, at the time the NBA’s richest contract in history, but was sidelined for 70 games last season due to an injured heel.

Lowry, 32, who has been battling back issues all season, is expected to return to the Raptors lineup on Tuesday versus Philadelphia after missing Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Valanciunas, 26, was playing some of the best basketball of his career before injuring his hand against the Golden State Warriors in early December. He is expected to make his return to the court soon.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen what, if anything, the Raptors have in store ahead of Thursday’s 3 pm ET trade deadline.

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