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Raptors add P.J. Tucker to bolster their everlasting pursuit of the Cavaliers

P.J. Tucker gives Toronto another body to throw at LeBron James, if it comes to that.

P.J. Tucker gives Toronto another body to throw at LeBron James, if it comes to that.

By Ben Rohrbach

All the talk leading up to the NBA trade deadline was centered around the Boston Celtics’ pursuit of Paul George or Jimmy Butler in hopes of challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy, but as the clock struck 3 p.m. on Thursday, it was the Toronto Raptors who were buyers.

The Raptors made a last-minute deal for gritty veteran wingman P.J. Tucker, sending Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks to the Phoenix Suns in return, per The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

While Tucker isn’t as sexy a name as George or Butler, when combined with the trade for Serge Ibaka, the Raptors made a bigger push to challenge the Cavs than any other team in the conference.

Despite reported discussions with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls involving their coveted 2017 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics stood pat at the deadline. The East’s other serious challenger, the Washington Wizards, bolstered their bench, adding Nets wing Bojan Bogdanovic in exchange for a 2017 first-round pick, but there’s no doubt Toronto won this arms race.

When all was said and done, the Raptors upgraded at both forward spots, replacing Terrence Ross’s streaky offense and the oft-injured Sullinger with defensive stalwarts Tucker and Ibaka.

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