No matter what the Toronto Raptors end up doing over the course of the 2023-24 season, one constant that will overshadow all of their doings is the fact that Scottie Barnes will be on this roster for the long haul due to his status as the team’s de facto franchise player.
With questions about the long-term future of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, the Raptors seem to be doubling down on Barnes and what he brings to the table. While his scoring flatlined last year, his playmaking and defense both took steps in the right direction. A new coaching staff and set of supporting players could work wonders.
Anyone suggesting the Raptors could move on from Barnes does not have an accurate picture of Toronto’s roster, front-office dynamics, or vibes at this moment in time. That hasn’t stopped some contrarians from trying to bring an end to the Barnes era prematurely.
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report put Barnes second on his list of five young stars under 25 who need to be traded elsewhere. Is Buckley just unaware of the fact that Toronto’s culture and style of play will be built almost entirely around Barnes and his improving game this season?
B/R oddly suggests Toronto Raptors trade Scottie Barnes.
While some of the points he made about Toronto’s inability to decide on rebuilding or contending and the fact they lack other young players of a similar ilk on the roster, why on earth would Toronto ever entertain trading away their most prized young asset this season?
If they want to contend, they would be foolish to give away Barnes for a veteran that may not be enough to get them over the hump. Why would they start a rebuild by trading Barnes, who is the exact type of player one hopes to acquire when beginning a long rebuild?
Barnes may not be a perfect player, but the Raptors star has shown the ability to be an impactful playmaker, competent scorer, and enticing defender. His numbers will likely improve under Darko Rajakovic, who could run a more up-tempo offensive attack than what Nick Nurse was working with.
If Barnes ends up being traded, the Raptors’ front office should be roasted to a degree that was not thought to be humanly possible. Barnes is staying on this Raptors team long-term; questions about his supporting cast around him be damned.