Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be “scouting the enemy,” as we’ll be covering the outlook for the 29 other teams in the league ahead of the 2019-2020 season.
Former Grizzlies: Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry
Offseason in Review:
Raptors fans and players best enjoy the last sips of the Championship champagne, because it hasn’t been the best offseason up North.
After a weeks worth of meetings and speculation, Kawhi Leonard decided to leave Canada to return home to Los Angeles and play for the Clippers. Shortly after Kawhi’s decision, Danny Green left the Raptors for the other Los Angeles team. The Raptors were able to re-sign 3x NBA Champion Patrick McCaw, but bench players Jeremy Lin, Jodie Meeks and Eric Moreland all remain unsigned in free agency.
With limited cap space after the departure of Kawhi and Danny, the Raptors were left to sign disappointing former lottery picks in Stanley Johnson and Cameron Payne. The signing of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is nice, but when he is your biggest free agent signing, you know you’ve had a rough summer.
The Raptors picked up Ole Miss star Terence Davis as an undrafted free agent and also signed Devin Robinson, Oshae Brissett, Sagaba Konate, Matt Thomas, and Dewan Hernandez to deals this offseason.
The Raptors are in prime position to be one of the more interesting teams this coming season. Masai Ujiri has never been one to shy away from making moves. A core of Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Gasol is good enough to compete in the Eastern Conference but not contender status good. Ujiri can revamp a rebuild by trading Lowry, Gasol and Ibaka this season and building around Siakam. Likewise, Ujuri could flip the uber-talented Siakim in a deal to make get a piece or two to make another run at the title.
The Raptors could simply keep the roster as is and let the big salaries of Lowry, Gasol and Ibaka get off the books. The Raptors, even with a Pascal Siakam extension likely, will have plenty of cap space after next season, but with a weak free agent class, I would be shocked if Ujiri sits on his hands and doesn’t make any moves. The Raptors will probably do their best at defending their title, but once February nears, look for the team to start actively pursuing trades for Lowry, Gasol and Ibaka.
It’s a bittersweet and quick end to a team that just won a championship, but I would imagine it was all worth it for Raptors fans.
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