The Toronto Raptors are about to begin their 29th NBA season, and there are plenty of questions surrounding the team. Pascal Siakam is entering the final year of his contract, and there has been no shortage of trade rumors. Toronto has missed the playoffs in two of the last three years, but they are closer than fans think to be being serious contenders.
Will the Raptors take a risk to get into title contention? It is not an easy decision, and Toronto may be eager to see how the roster fits after Fred VanVleet’s departure in free agency. Can they make a serious run in 2024? They will need some upgrades before February’s trade deadline if that is the franchise’s goal.
The Toronto Raptors are no strangers to taking chances on talent and watching it blow up in their faces. They have gambled on up-and-coming prospects and established veterans only to watch both backfire. What players do they regret taking a chance on?
Players the Toronto Raptors shouldn’t have gambled on
12. Fred Jones
Jones was the Pacers’ first-round draft pick in 2002, but he struggled to find playing time early on. His breakout moment came when the 6’4 guard won the Slam Dunk Contest in 2004. His production improved in the second half of his second NBA season, and Jones helped Indiana make three straight playoff appearances.
He was a restricted free agent in 2006, but the Pacers rescinded his qualifying offer, which cleared the way for the Toronto Raptors to sign him to a three-year deal worth $11 million. The 27-year-old should have been in the middle of his prime, but things did not work out.
Fred Jones lasted just 39 games with the Raptors before being traded to Trail Blazers. His minutes and production dropped off in Canada, and he was traded for Juan Dixon, who lasted just one year with the Raptors. Jones played two more years in the NBA before finishing his career overseas.
Giving the 6’4 guard a three-year deal immediately backfired on the Raptors, but it is far from the worst gamble they have taken in their first 28 years as a franchise.