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Toronto Raptors

How biggest moves at the 2020 NBA trade deadline impact the Toronto Raptors

Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors ultimately decided to drop anchor and hold steady during a frenzied trade deadline which swirled with trade winds in every direction.

But just because the Raptors decided to stand pat doesn't mean they weren't directly impacted by all of the chaos leading up to Thursday's deadline.

MORE: Details on every trade deadline deal

Here's what it all means through the lens of the defending champs.

Andre Iguodala to the Miami Heat

Of all of the trades, this is the one that impacts Toronto most this season.

There are doubts when it comes to how much a 36-year-old Iguodala changes Miami's fate. He hasn't played at all this season and the last time we did see him was in the NBA Finals against the Raptors when he shot 30.8 percent from 3 and finished the series with more turnovers than steals.

The Heat acquired Iguodala for his moxy, championship experience and ability to - at least in theory - defend the game's best perimeter playmakers for 20-25 minutes a game. It's that last bit which comes into focus when evaluating potential matchups in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

When it comes to Philadelphia, Miami will throw Iguodala at Ben Simmons.

When it comes to Boston, Miami will throw Iguodala at Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown.

When it comes to Milwaukee, Miami will throw Iguodala at Khris Middleton.

When it comes to Toronto, Miami will throw Iguodala at … OG Anunoby? Norman Powell? Pascal Siakam?

Whereas the 76ers, Celtics and Bucks all feature the type of towering perimeter playmaker that Iguodala is best suited to stop, the Raptors don't rely on that archetype. It's difficult to imagine Iguodala chasing around Kyle Lowry or Fred VanVleet or bodying up Siakam.

MORE: Now more than ever, it's time to appreciate Kyle Lowry

The Heat and Raptors have already played twice with their third and final meeting coming on April 14 in what is Game 82 for the Heat and Game 81 for the Raptors. By virtue of winning the first two meetings, the Heat have already locked up the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning that game could ultimately prove meaningless.

Iguodala's impact on the Raptors isn't necessarily about how he fundamentally changes the matchups in a potential series, but rather on how he changes other series. If he's able to swing a series against the Bucks, 76ers or Celtics, he could be the difference maker in determining who the Raptors see in later rounds.

What about the Memphis Grizzlies?

The Grizzlies got better. And boy were they busy!

While they also traded away Jae Crowder, Memphis picked up Justise Winslow, who is an athletic and versatile wing that should fit in nicely alongside Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks.

MORE: Dillon Brooks agrees to 3-year extension

The Raptors still have both games against the Grizzlies left on the slate with a home-and-home on March 28 and March 30. In a tight race for the two seed, every win matters, which means a pair of games against a Grizzlies team that just got better could ultimately mean the difference in seeding.

Will this trade change the outcome of those games? It's obviously impossible to say. But the Grizzlies are better today than they were yesterday, which makes the task at hand in March more difficult.

The Raptors are on a roll and somehow on pace to win 60 games, two more than they did last season en route to winning the NBA title. In a competitive Eastern Conference with as many as five teams jostling for spots two through six, every win proves vital.

Toronto still has games left against Golden State (two), Houston (one), Atlanta (one) and Detroit (one), which were all among teams significantly involved in trade deadline deals.

Andre Drummond and Fred VanVleet

Wait, what?

Andre Drummond was traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Cleveland Cavaliers, two teams that do not figure into the playoff picture.

So how does that impact the Raptors?

By trading away Drummond, the Pistons will enter this summer with considerable space.

One of the players that they have been rumoured to target in the summer of 2020? Fred VanVleet.

The Raptors' guard is making $9.3 million this year and is set to hit unrestricted free agency where he'll be in line for a big pay day. Reporters and insiders have speculated that VanVleet could receive offers in excess of $20-25M per year, which could make it awfully expensive for the Raptors to bring him back.

If the Pistons do eventually make a push for VanVleet this summer, don't forget that it was made possible in part by Thursday's trade of Drummond to the Cavaliers.

Many view VanVleet as a potential long-term building block alongside Siakam and if this trade helps pave the way for his earlier-than-expected exit from Toronto, it could drastically alter how the Raptors build their team moving forward.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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