Did Masai Ujiri hint Chris Boucher is staying with the Raptors?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 28: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 28: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have some big free agent decisions to make this offseason, with the status of Chris Boucher being one of the first questions that Masai Ujiri and his staff must answer. Boucher has been a sterling example of how the Raptors can develop talent and turn G League players into stars.

Boucher struggled early in Toronto’s resurgent 2021-22 season, but he turned things around to the point where he was one of the best players in the squad’s playoff series against the 76ers. Boucher will finally hit free agency, and he figures to cash in with a nice multi-year contract.

Both Boucher and Thad Young are available on the open market, but Ujiri will likely do everything to retain at least one of them. As confirmed by Aaron Rose of Sports Illustrated, Ujiri’s quotes from a media availability make it sound like he expects Boucher to return to the fold.

“Pascal needs to make a jump. Fred needs to make a jump,” Ujiri said. “Precious, Boucher, all these guys need to make a jump.” Including Boucher alongside all of those long-term building blocks could serve as a sign that Toronto wants to bring Boucher back into the fold for next year.

Will the Toronto Raptors resign Chris Boucher?

Boucher averaged 9.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last year. While his scoring averages are down across the board, Boucher was effective down the stretch. That ability to nail 3-pointers and defend multiple positions will make him a valuable commodity on the open market.

The odds of keeping both Boucher and Young are minimal. There is a case to be made for Boucher, as he could be just a bit more effective on the perimeter. While he is turning 30 next year, Boucher could be a bit more valuable than Young if Ujiri is hellbent on giving one of them a multi-year contract.

The overall numbers don’t look very encouraging, but Boucher’s start was so slow that it skewed his season-long averages. Boucher averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on 49% shooting from December 5 onward. Given his very unique skill set, it could be difficult for Toronto to find an exact duplicate in the draft or free agency.

Boucher has meant a lot to this franchise, as he is one of few remaining players from the 2019 team that is still on the roster. Ujiri seems unwilling to let the rest of the league vie for his services, and he could entice Boucher to stay as a result of that fear by handing him a hefty contract.

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