After missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years, the Raptors will look to take the necessary steps to get back on the competitive path. It starts on July 29, when the Raptors select No.4 in the 2021 NBA Draft. They will then have a few decisions to make in free agency, which opens on August 2.
Before free agency, all eyes will be on Kyle Lowry. It’s possible that Lowry will return to the Raptors, but his departure would allow them a decent amount of money to spend on free agency. RealGM’s Keith Smith says Toronto can create up to $ 34.2 million in cap space this offseason, placing it behind the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks for most in the league. .
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes, this could be the “last time in the foreseeable future” that the Raptors have limited space to sign an outside free agent.
If the Raptors end up with that kind of ceiling space, who might they target?
It’s unclear what the Toronto guard rotation will look like next season. Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn are both on contract until 2023-24, but the Raptors could lose Lowry as he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Six-time All-Star and single champion, Lowry is expected to generate a lot of interest in the league.
Additionally, Gary Trent Jr. will be a restricted free agent. The Raptors will have the chance to match any contract Trent receives in free agency, but how far are they willing to go?
Lonzo Ball, G, New Orleans Pelicans (FRG) – The No.2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Ball did not become the star, many thought he could enter the league, but he has become a legitimate threat from the 3-point line and is at both an intelligent passer and disruptive defender. Like Trent, Ball will be a restricted free agent, although Shams Charania of The Athletic recently reported that the Pelicans are “unlikely to match a big offer” on him. pelicans declared interest to Lowry could make it a sign and a potential trade.
Victor Oladipo, G, Miami Heat (UFA) – Acquired at the trade deadline this season, Oladipo only played four games with the Heat before suffering a season-ending injury. The All-Star double has now been limited to 88 games over the past three seasons. As for his injury history – Oladipo has had two surgeries to his right quadriceps tendon in the past three years – would a team like the Raptors be interested in signing him for a proof deal? ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Oladipo “may be allowed to return to full contact basketball as early as November”.
Three more: Norman Powell, G, Portland Trail Blazers (PO); Tim Hardaway Jr., G, Dallas Mavericks (UFA); Duncan Robinson, G/F, Miami Heat (RFA)
The Raptors have three forwards in their contract rotation for next season in Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher. Still, the Raptors might be looking to increase their depth up front and / or target someone who can meet some of their greater needs.
DeMar DeRozan, G/F, San Antonio Spurs (UFA) – DeRozan spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Raptors and is widely regarded as one of the best players in franchise history. Who knows if DeRozan and the Raptors would be interested in a reunion – they didn’t exactly end on the best possible terms and he’s not on the same development timeline as VanVleet, Siakam, and Anunoby – but Toronto might have enough room to pursue him in free agency and could do with more play in the backcourt. DeRozan is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 21.6 points and 6.9 assists per game.
Will Barton, G/F, Denver Nuggets (PO) – According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Barton has declined his $ 14.7 million player option for next season, setting him up to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Wojnarowski adds that there is “strong interest” between the Nuggets and Barton to negotiate a new deal once free agency opens, but it would come as no surprise if he receives interest from teams in need of a punch if they can’t come up with the terms of a new contract.
Doug McDermott, F, Indiana Pacers (UFA) – McDermott has long been one of the league’s most accurate shooters. Over the past two seasons, he’s averaged 11.9 points per game while shooting 41.2% with a 3-point range on decent volume (4.3 3PA). McDermott is also one of the league’s top cutters in his role. According to NBA.com, only 19 players scored more points than him in 2020-21, a group made up mostly of great men.
Three more: Tony Snell, G/F, Atlanta Hawks (UFA) ; Jeff Green, F/C, Brooklyn Nets (UFA) ; Otto Porter Jr., F, Orlando Magic (UFA)
Center position was a weakness for the Raptors in the 2020-21 season. Aron Baynes started the season as a Toronto starter at five, but the Raptors turned things around with Game 28, going small with a frontcourt from Powell, Siakam and Anunoby. They then closed the season with Khem Birch as the starting center after he was bought out by Orlando Magic around the trade deadline.
Baynes have a team option worth $ 7.3 million for the 2021-22 season and Birch will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Boucher is still under contract for one more season, but the Raptors could find themselves in a similar position to the previous offseason – having to rebuild their center rotation almost from scratch – depending on what happens with Baynes and Birch.
Nerlens Noel, C, New York Knicks (UFA) – Selon Ian Begley de SNY, the Raptors are among the teams that “should be interested” in Noel this offseason. The No.6 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Noel has just had one of the best seasons of his career. While he scored just 5.1 points per game, he averaged his most rebounds (6.4) since his second season to go along with a career-high 2.2 blocks.
Richaun Holmes, C, Sacramento Kings (UFA) – After an outstanding season with the Kings in 2019-20, Holmes has averaged career highs of 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.6. blocks per game in 2020-21. The 27-year-old has grown into one of the league’s top rollerblades and cutters. He doesn’t offer much in the ground spacing department, but Holmes can keep defenses honest with his float.
Kelly Olynyk, F/C, Houston Rockets (UFA) – Olynyk has thrived in a leading role with the Rockets this season. In 27 games, including 24 he started in, he averaged 19.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists over 0.545 / 0.392 / 0.844 shooting ranges. Previously, Olynyk has proven to be a valuable role player as a member of the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, delivering 3-point shots, offensive rebounds and solid vision of the field on the bench. Originally from Toronto, there are obvious ties to the hometown.
Jarrett Allen, C, Cleveland Cavaliers (RFA) –One of the league’s best young men, NBA.com’s Nacho Losilla had Allen as the No.1 center available in this year’s free agent class. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Raptors are among the teams that should have “some interest” in Allen this offseason, but being a restricted free agent gives the Cavaliers an opportunity to match any offer he has. receives. Unlike the situation with Ball, it looks like the Cavaliers are set to sign Allen for a big overtime.
Andre Drummond, C, Lakers de Los Angeles (UFA) – The Raptors have reportedly shown interest in Drummond in the past. His value isn’t as high as it once was – he was an All-Star in 2015-16 and 2017-18 – but Drummond is still one of the best rebounders in the league, as well as a defenseman. capable when locked up.
Three more: Montrezl Harrell, C, Los Angeles Lakers (PO); Lauri Markkanen, F/C, Chicago Bulls (RFA) ; Daniel Theis, C, Chicago Bulls (UFA)
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