The Toronto Raptors continued success mortgaged for an uncertain future.
The 2021 off-season may not begin until sometime in late July or early August, with the 2021 NBA Finals expected to take place between the 8th-22nd of July. Therefore, hoarding salary cap space for a future transaction, the impending free agency of Giannis Antetokounmpo, is self-sabotage of the team’s continued success for a dream scenario.
It’s also a wish based on no empirical evidence that betrays the smart methodical construction of a winning NBA franchise model orchestrated by Masai Ujiiri, the team president, and Bobby Webster, the general manager.
This tactic’s history, saving salary cap space, is disastrous for teams who have tried it. Perhaps the most recent example is the New York Knicks in 2019 when they had 70 million in cap space to spend on free agents. Their 2019/20 season record was 21-45 with Julius Randle being the best player they acquired.
They failed to acquire Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, as was widely rumored. Further, the Toronto Raptors have never signed a big named free agent unless Hedo Turkoglu counts as such, and he was traded after one disastrous year.
Ultimately, Giannis Antetokounmpo will garner interest from several teams and make the most money by re-signing in Milwaukee at five years and over 220 million dollars. All the salivating around the NBA could end abruptly if the “Greek Freak’s” decision, on December 21st, 2020, is to extend his contract. Teams that are plotting and planning for the opposite to happen may have to adjust their plans.
If the Toronto Raptors are no longer a top-five team in the Eastern Conference and only five or six players under contract in 2021/22, they have no shot at attracting Giannis Antetokounmpo and will have ended a run of successful basketball for no good reason.