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Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas (17) reacts after scoring against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, in Los Angeles. A person familiar with the terms has told The Associated Press that the Toronto Raptors have acquired centre Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for a package including centre Jonas Valanciunas.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press

The Toronto Raptors swung the trade they hope will put them over the top this season, landing Memphis Grizzlies centre Marc Gasol on Thursday.

The deal was reported by ESPN and the Associated Press.

In poker terms, the Raptors have now pushed their whole stack into the middle of the table.

Story continues below advertisement

Gasol, 34, is a former NBA defensive player of the year and a three-time all-star.

Gasol is under contract only for the remainder of this season. He holds a player option for the 2019-20 campaign.

Memphis Grizzlies' Marc Gasol, right, looks for help as Minnesota Timberwolves' Josh Okogie defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Minneapolis. A person familiar with the terms has told The Associated Press that the Toronto Raptors have acquired centre Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for a package including centre Jonas Valanciunas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ AP Photo/Jim Mone

Jim Mone/The Associated Press

In return for Gasol, Toronto sends back centre Jonas Valanciunas, guards Delon Wright and C.J. Miles and a 2024 second-round draft pick.

Valanciunas’ arrival in 2012 signalled the turning of the tide. By the next year, the Raptors had gone from league whipping boy to regular post-season participant. For a big man, the Lithuanian had an impish way about him, which deeply endeared him to fans. However, he never quite capitalized on his initial promise. That made him expendable.

Ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, the best teams in the Eastern Conference have been waging an arms race. Philadelphia kicked it off Tuesday by trading for highly regarded wing Tobias Harris. Milwaukee responded early Thursday by acquiring versatile New Orleans marksman Nikola Mirotic.

Now it’s Toronto’s turn to shoot its shot.

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