3 Free Agent forwards the Raptors can sign if key player walks away from the team

The Toronto Raptors may lose Sasha Vezenkov, leaving them perilously thin at forward. Which free agents could the Raptors sign to fill the hole at SF?
Haywood Highsmith, Miami Heat
Haywood Highsmith, Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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No. 1: Haywood Highsmith

The Miami Heat have a long and established track record of developing talent, and you can look all around the league and see examples, from Gabe Vincent to Max Strus to Josh Richardson. One of their latest success stories is forward Haywood Highsmith, who went undrafted in 2018 and worked his way through the G League and eventually onto the Heat's roster and into their rotation.

Highsmith is not going to take the ball and create a shot for himself or others, but he has developed into a fairly reliable 3-point shooter, hitting 39.6 percent from deep last season. Where he truly brings his impact is on defense, where he is one of the better defenders in the entire free agent market this summer.

The Heat have deployed Highsmith in nearly every role you can think of, from perimeter stopper to the point man in a zone to weakside rim protector. He has a lot of bounce and lateral agility and his size (6'7" with a wingspan at least seven feet) allow him to be used to defend essentially any position.

The Raptors would love to have a defender like Highsmith on the roster, and he could be the bench forward to take the court when Scottie Barnes sits to make it more tenable to play worse defenders like Gradey Dick or Kelly Olynyk, and if his shot stays consistent, he could close games for the Raptors.

Highsmith is only 27 years old despite his journeyman path into the league, and the Raptors could sign him to a long-term deal to hopefully have him around when they are ready to compete at a high level. He is a very different type of player than Sasha Vezenkov, a defender and shooter rather than an offensive scorer and playmaker, but he could turn out to be a savvy replacement if the Raptors lose their current small forward.

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