Mar 30, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) celebrates with forward Steve Novak (16) against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. The Raptors won 98-93. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

From sedentary to frantic - Masai Ujiri re-builds Raptors roster

Dec 28, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Lou Williams (3) in action against the Charlotte Bobcats during the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Your Scribe has been hard-pressed to keep up with the astonishing number of changes GM Masai Ujiri has recently rendered to the Toronto Raptors roster. I need to list them all:

  • draft Bruno Caboclo #20
  • draft DeAndre Daniels #37
  • trade John Salmons to Atlanta for Lou Williams and the draft rights to Lucas Nogueira 
  • trade Steve Novak (and a pick) to Utah for a player to be waived later

That’s a lot of player turnover in a very short period of time. But not all the names have changed. We are informed of agreements in principle with free agents Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez, all of whom were critical performers in last season’s remarkable success and are welcomed back with open arms.

I’m not bothering to update my salary spreadsheet any more, as there’s little purpose until July 10. That’s the date the NBA’s equivalent of the Gnomes of Zurich make public their calculation of the league’s salary cap (and apron, and luxury tax threshold, yadda yadda). At that moment, we’ll be compelled to read all the press releases which list salary details for each re-signed player, then update our spreadsheet. Finally, we’ll be able to make some educated guesses as to who’s likely to go, and who will stay, as the Raps can’t keep everyone.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as the turmoil might not be over for the Raptors . I tend to over-estimate the savvy of NBA GMs, or perhaps they can’t say “No” to pushy, impatient owners. Teams which seem to fancy the idea of a fast re-build, and are on the radar of bright, shiny free agents like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, might still want to deal for cap space. Masai may still have deals pending before July 10 in which the ending contracts of Chuck Hayes and Landry Fields could be dispensed with.

Toronto, thanks to our GM, is going to look like an oasis of sanity compared with the majority of squads, including (or in particular) those in glamour cities.

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