3 Eastern Conference playoff free agents Raptors must watch

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 22: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors drives past Max Strus #31 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 22: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors drives past Max Strus #31 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors are likely well aware of the fact that they won’t be able to compete for a championship if they keep their team together as currently constructed. As such, the 2023 offseason promises to be one of the biggest in recent memory for the squad.

The Raptors have their eye fixed firmly on the Western Conference postseason right now, likely looking for prospective free agents that could make the jump to Toronto if Masai Ujiri writes a big enough check. That doesn’t mean that the Raptors should look away from the Eastern Conference in their pursuit of glory.

The Raptors’ needs are as clearly defined as any team in the league. The shooting is bad, the guard depth is unacceptable, and the on-ball creation could improve. If any one player checks one of those boxes (or, preferably, all of them), Ujiri will get on the phone with their agent.

These three Eastern free agents will be floating out there in the aether when their season ends, making them perfect candidates for the Raptors to snatch up and pump up as they try to somehow get back on the right track in the near future.

Toronto Raptors free agency: 3 Eastern playoff names to target

3. Max Strus, Miami Heat

Strus may be a one-trick pony to some who won’t be a valuable defensive player, but the Raptors’ need for shooting is so strong that they should at least consider trying to pull the 6-5 sniper away from the Heat. Strus is streaky, but he can’t miss when he is clicking from deep.

Strus has averaged 11.1 points per game while averaging 38% from 3-point range. While Will Barton failed to be the shooter this team needed, Strus profiles as a player that come right in and be an immediate impact player that improves as time goes on.

Toronto Raptors free agency: Max Strus could help with shooting.

The fear that Toronto would likely have in paying Strus is the idea that he could turn into a Duncan Robinson albatross due to his inability to develop a more well-rounded game. If Nick Nurse, who turned Gary Trent Jr. into a rock-solid defender, stays around, Strus might be able to take a step forward on that end.

If nothing else, Toronto is going to get a microwave bench scorer with postseason and Finals experience. In a league where players like that are getting insane money, Strus is a relatively economical option that can slot right into the Raptors’ bench as soon as he puts pen to paper.