The Raptors Top Priorities This Offseason
Source: NBC Sports
The NBA season is sadly over, and now as the Bucks are newly NBA minted NBA Champions, we must turn our attention to the Toronto Raptors. It was a long playoffs without seeing our Dinos fighting it out in postseason play. Toronto missed the playoffs for the first time in the Masai Ujiri era. They have some serious questions to ask and holes that need to be filled. So what do they need to do to make the playoffs next season? Here's my list.
Priority #1 - Re-sign Masai Ujiri
This is easily the biggest priority for the Dinos this offseason. There hasn't been much noise in Raptor land on a possible Masai contract, but I imagine that’s because of the frenzy that is the first couple of weeks of the offseason. However, with the draft done, that means there’s a little less on the table to worry about, and that means more time can be focused on Toronto’s top decision maker.
We've seen Ujiri turn down massive roles in other places in the past and has always shown loyalty to the Raptors, so that should give fans confidence that he’ll return. They’ll need him too considering the work that needs to be done to get the Raptors get back to a championship level. He's changed the culture in this city, and the organization as a whole. It'll be a tough road back to the top, but Ujiri is the man the Raps need if that road is going to driven smoothly.
Priority #2 - Dealing With Kyle Lowry
The Raptors had a big chance to trade Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline but instead elected to not pull the trigger. The Raptors wasted that opportunity. The Raptors still have plenty of suitors for a package deal to be done with the pending free agent. The Sixers, Mavericks, Pelicans and Heat have been linked to the vet as a possible destination, so it’s probably in the Raptors best interest to get something for arguably the organization’s most important player.
The Pelicans could be desperate to get Lowry, especially with gowing doubt surrounding Zion Williamson's. It could work in the Raptors favor if the Pelicans are trying to lure the five time All-Star. Interestingly, the Nets might be a candidate too. It would give Lowry the best shot at winning another chip. Their cap situation may make that type of deal tough, but the Nets bench looked could sorley use a guy like Lowry.
It will be tough to see the GROAT leave, but it would be worse if Toronto let Lowry walk without any compensation. Lowry's value is strong right now and the right deal could benefit both parties. Toronto can erase last seasons mistakes and bring some much needed pieces to prove this is a good team so they don't miss the playoffs in back to back seasons.
Priority #3 - Filling The Big Man Spot
Last season the Raptors lost Marc Gasol and failed to renew Serge Ibaka's contract. Their replacements were a disaster. Raptors management were banking on Aron Baynes to replicate his career season in Phoenix, but that never materialized on the court. The Raptors also snagged Alex Len, but he only played 7 games before he was waived. Luckily, Chris Boucher stepped up, though I feel Boucher might need more seasoning to be a starter.
However, the crop the Raps will have to pick from in free agency isn’t all that strong. Maybe trying to acquire RFA Jarrett Allen is the right move? Cody Keller could be a potential target, but he might be too pricey. The Hawks were trying to move John Collins, though there will be stiff competition to try and acquire his services. There are a lot doubts surrounding the Raps 5 slot, but it'll need to sured up if the Raps hope to regain their 2019 form.
Priority #4 - Resigning Gary Trent Jr.
I've been high on Gary Trent. He emerged as a large presence in the Raptors lineup as his scoring improved and he produced career highs in his short stint as a Raptor. As much as it was a hard pill to swallow losing Norm Powell, it would be an even bigger waste of trading Powell and losing out Trent Jr. as well. Depending on the market plays out, the Raps could get GTJ at an affordable price.
Trent Jr. is only 22 and one of the youngest players on the team. He has time to grow and improve on the Raptors. We've seen Nurse's ability to build up young players in the Raptors system and help take their games to new heights. He's a work in progress, but the good news is he’s shown love to the city and that is a good start and he could be an integral piece for the future.