NBA rumors: League expecting Raptors to lose 2 key starters

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have three impactful starters potentially hitting the free agent market this season in Fred VanVleet, Jakob Poeltl, and Gary Trent Jr. As it pertains to Poeltl, it looks like the Raptors will do whatever they need to in order to bring back the former Top 10 pick.

The other two appear to be on much less firm ground for retention. With the Raptors already in a position where they need to be careful of how they spend their money, two different players trying to cash in at once could make for a very sticky situation as they try to keep everyone together.

New head coach Darko Rajakovic might be bringing his unique offensive system to Toronto, but he might not have all of the top players from the last few years as he tries to implement that scheme. In fact, many expect both of Toronto’s potential free agents to bolt.

According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, sources around the league expect Toronto to lose both VanVleet and Trent in free agency, which could create a serious power vacuum in Toronto. How will Rajakovic go about replacing two of his best perimeter players?

Will the Toronto Raptors keep Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr?

While VanVleet can be guilty of holding the ball too long at times, he has proven to be a phenomenal passer at times. Rajakovic’s scheme is predicated on ball movement and quick decision-making, which could make VanVleet a quality point guard for such an attack.

While teams like the Rockets and Magic, who have the cap space to give him a massive deal and a need for a veteran star that can help them make a run at the postseason, the Phoenix Suns might be in the mood for VanVleet’s services as they try to find a replacement for Chris Paul.

Trent might actually have a bigger market than VanVleet, as he is a younger player with a lethal 3-point shot and pesky defense that will play well in virtually any scheme. A cheaper player who can be effective without dominating the ball, Rajakovic wouldn’t like to see Trent leave.

The Raptors know that they will be unable to retain everyone from last year’s team, but such a huge exodus could be so destabilizing for this franchise that Rajakovic has an impossible task to overcome in Year 1. One of these players needs to be brought back for Toronto to have a chance.

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