Calling the Toronto Raptors a team in flux would be one of the understatements of the year. Masai Ujiri has assembled a team that likely won’t have a shot at winning anything if they sneak into the postseason, yet don’t have the capacity to bottom out and get the No. 1 pick.
Last season was not a catastrophe, but it’s hard to look at it in any sort of positive light. The wins declined from 48 to 41 despite essentially the same team coming back, and a team that earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference fell out of the playoff picture entirely.
The Raptors are hoping that firing Nick Nurse and letting Fred VanVleet join the Houston Rockets will be enough of a proverbial exorcism to get this team back in the hunt. Sure, it’s a risky bet, but it isn’t without merit due to the team’s strong foundation.
The Raptors need to hope the nightmare doesn’t become a reality once more, as the worst-case scenario can come about for a variety of reasons. The Raptors must hope neither of these three ugly situations ever come to fruition in a pivotal season.
3 scenarios the Toronto Raptors must avoid in 2023-24.
3. Contract squabbles
Toronto had put themselves in a very undesirable position ahead of the 2024 offseason, as three-fifths of their starting lineup (Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr.) are scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency. The way Toronto had handled this has been downright baffling.
Both Anunoby and Siakam have gone on the record stating they love Toronto and desire to play there. Instead of either rewarding that stated loyalty with a contract or starting a rebuild with some trades away, Ujiri has chosen to let them potentially play out the season and hit the open market.
Will contracts impact the Toronto Raptors in 2023?
In much the same the VanVleet discourse got very poisonous near the end of his Raptors tenure, things could get equally nasty if the Raptors are on the edge of the postseason and they have the potential to once again part ways with some of their best names.
The worst part about this entire scenario is the fact that Ujiri has built this prison of his own making. He had multiple opportunities to make a more honest attempt at rebuilding or tanking, and he has constantly decided to thumb his nose at that notion.