Raptors free agency: 3 available centers to consider signing

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Thon Maker, Toronto Raptors free agency
Dec 12, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center and potential Toronto Raptors free agency target Thon Maker (14). Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors have one free roster spot after the waiving of Sam Dekker. If they can either offload Goran Dragic as soon as possible or convince a veteran to sign for a league-minimum deal, they could finally add some more depth on the interior.

The Raptors may have thought their positionless basketball idea would befuddle opposing defenses, but the issues in the paint have placed a very firm ceiling on Toronto’s defensive effectiveness. With Khem Birch missing time due to knee injuries, the warts of this roster have been exposed several times over.

The Raptors don’t need to look for prime Shaq on the free agent market. If they can add someone who can either rebound well or protect the rim, they could start to fix two of their biggest issues. There are still a few veterans that are hanging around the murky waters of NBA free agency.

If Masai Ujiri wants to be aggressive and sign a player with some experience to beef up the back end of the roster, one of these three players could provide insurance in case of injuries or slide into the back end of Nick Nurse’s rotation.

Toronto Raptors free agency: 3 centers to consider signing.

3. Thon Maker

Maker still has athletic gifts that would make every general manager drool. Unfortunately, Maker has five seasons under his belt, and it appears as though his window to fully capitalize on those skills has shut. Even at just 24 years old, Maker is having trouble finding a new team.

Maker averaged 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game during his career. Too skinny for full-time center work in the eyes of most teams but not skilled enough as a shooter to hang out near the perimeter, Maker has run into some trouble finding a permanent home. However, his skills may appeal to Toronto.

Raptors free agency: Could Nick Nurse take a chance on Thon Maker?

The Raptors have been reduced to using Chris Boucher as a center, and he’s a 6-8 skinny rail that often struggles to assert himself in the paint. At 7-0 with a comically long wingspan, Maker could fit in well on a Toronto team that is often willing to eschew size and strength for mobility and length.

Maker is a 33% shooter from 3-point range, which is better than the 18% mark that Boucher is posting this season. Maker could go overseas to extend his pro career, but Toronto needs to look into giving him a lifeline by sticking him on the back end of the roster. Maybe Nurse will finally get the most out of Maker.