The Toronto Raptors finished this season early this month, when they lost 4-3 to the Nets, during the 1st round of the playoffs.
It was an entertaining season for the team, whose energy and passion provided excitement and hope for Raptors fans.
But this team needs improvement, in order to present a stronger face during the next season. This improvement will hardly come via the forthcoming Draft night, unless Masai Ujiri decides to do his magic again, as he did in December 2013 when he traded Rudy Gay, but this time during the draft night, even by picking the right guy or by trading some player(s) for higher picks. The 20th (and 39th and 57th) pick hardly ever provides a game changer, a franchise player.
So the improvement should come via trades or free agent signings. Let’s talk about some interesting cases of unrestricted free agents, who will be on the market this summer.
Kyle Lowry: I’m starting with our guy. He has to stay. 17.9 points and 7.4 assists per game, are stats that cannot be found easily, and his leadership and bonding with the rest of the team is so good, which makes his case the top priority for the Toronto Raptors. We wish that both parties will end with a solution, easily and soon. PG is the most critical position, and he showed that he could be the leader of this team, not only a very good PG.
Luol Deng: Raptors Rapture poll, thanks to Brian, showed that he’s the most desirable free agent for our Raptors. He’s efficient, at least during his Bulls tenure (and this is a slight concern), very good shooter beyond the arc, good defender but also a guy who will glue easily with this team. He’s a warrior on the court, and a respected veteran presence off it. His stats? 16.0 pts and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Marcin Gortat: During this season, the lack of help from the Center position was more than obvious. Who is the best UFA this season to close this void? It’s not Pau Gasol, or Spencer Hawes (although they are interesting options, especially the Spaniard). It’s the Polish center of Washington Warriors, Marcin Gortat. 13.2 pts and 9.5 rebs per game show his talent. And he’s a beast at the rim.
Shawn Livingston: How many 6’7” PGs exist in the league? Few. At Livingston’s calibre? Probably none. The Brooklyn Nets don’t have the financial flexibility to re-sign him, and during this season he showed everybody that he’s back for good from his knee injury, and he’s an efficient PG offensively and defensively. Especially if one or our two PGs leave (Lowry is unrestricted and Vasquez restricted), the Raptors must try to sign him.
Interesting cases are Jordan Hill, Ramon Sessions, Trevor Ariza, Vince Carter (I’m receiving boos already, but I would love to see him back), and as I said before, Pau Gasol and Spencer Hawes.
Players like Lance Stephenson, Boris Diaw, Dirk Nowitzki and Mario Chalmers (especially the last two), will re-sign with their current teams.
Restricted free agents are many. We will talk about them in another post.
So, what is your opinion Raptors fans? Did I miss somebody?