Toronto Raptors: The case for and against blowing the roster up

TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 05: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates with teammates (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 05: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates with teammates (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri
TORONTO, ONTARIO – JUNE 19: Masai Ujiri, President, Toronto Raptors attends the 2020 Audi Innovation Series on June 19, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Audi Innovation Series) /

Once considered to be real contenders in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors has a miserable 2020-21 season that forced outsiders to wonder if Masai Ujiri can reach contender status once again with their roster as currently constructed.

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the organization is Pascal Siakam. Ever since Siakam’s nightmare performance against Boston in the 2020 playoffs, he’s struggled to regain his status as a true No. 1 option in the eyes of some around the league, and has been a hot commodity in the NBA trade world because of this.

The Scottie Barnes selection sparked some of these Siakam trade rumors given the fit. However, it seems like Toronto is content with keeping Siakam on the roster after Bobby Webster, Masai Ujiri, and Siakam’s agent Todd Ramasar shut down those rumors.

Keeping the core intact for the season seems like the most likely scenario, but would a rebuild really be such a crazy scenario? Just looking at the Raptors offseason, a rebuild doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. The Raptors selecting more of a project in Barnes over an NBA-ready talent in Jalen Suggs was a head-scratching decision for some, especially for a team looking to return to their winning ways.

Ujiri has stated in the past that the team would not be “stuck in the middle”. While this quote is from years ago, could he return to that mindset if he can’t envision winning with this core?

What direction is the Toronto Raptors franchise headed in?

With the departure of Kyle Lowry and the uncertainty around the Goran Dragic dilemma, the Raptors could be missing a key player in the rotation this year. Without the presence of Lowry, and a bulk of his minutes expected to go to the youth, an underwhelming season for Toronto can’t completely be ruled out just yet.

If Ujiri ultimately believes that this team simply isn’t good enough for a title, could he go into full rebuild mode and potentially trade players such as Fred VanVleet and Siakam? Let’s take a look at the case for and against blowing the roster up.