The Toronto Raptors will be one of the most active teams in free agency. Turns out, when three of your six best players are scheduled to hit the open market, the offseason microscope might focus on you. This is a sharp change of pace from the last few offseason cycles.
The Raptors have center Jakob Poeltl, team leader Fred VanVleet, and standout young guard Gary Trent Jr. in line for a big payday, with the latter two almost guaranteed to decline their player options and look for more expensive deals outside of Canada this summer.
The Raptors will try to make changes, but throwing the baby out with the bath water and burning everything to the ground isn’t the best idea ever. They will likely try to bring back some of their best names amid competition from across the league for their services.
It’s time to take stock of the Raptors’ free agents and figure out who the leaders in the clubhouse are for these three players. Will they come back to Toronto, or leave them hanging at the altar in a move that totally destabilizes this team?
Where will the 3 biggest Toronto Raptors free agents sign?
C Jakob Poeltl
Poeltl has been viewed as a virtual lock to come back to the Raptors, as Toronto likely planned for him to play multiple seasons with the team when they gave away so much draft capital to acquire him. It makes sense, as the Raptors looked like a legit offense when Poeltl was in the fold.
After playing large chunks of the season without a non-rookie true center in the rotation, Poeltl changed the Raptors’ game. Not only was his tremendous finishing a huge asset and his screen-setting the catalyst for improved pick-and-roll efficiency, but he was one of the best rim-protecting big men in the Eastern Conference.
The Toronto Raptors will likely retain Jakob Poeltl.
Poeltl is a complete non-factor on offense when he is far away from the basket, but the Raptors will still bring him back. With so many ball-dominant players that require a bushel of shots every single night, the fact that Poeltl has proven to be a solid offensive player without dominating the ball makes him valuable for this roster.
Masai Ujiri showered some substantial praise on Poeltl earlier in the offseason, calling him a Top 10 center in the league. That is certainly high praise, and it is indicative of a front office that will trip over itself if it means they can bring him back on a lengthy multi-year deal.
Destination: Toronto Raptors