ESPN Grades the Raptors Off-Season: B-

Hey Chad, what do you think of the Raptors’ off-season?

This is Chad Ford.

Key additions: Kyle Lowry (trade), Jonas Valanciunas (draft), Terrence Ross (draft), Landry Fields (FA), Aaron Gray (re-sign), Quincy Acy (draft), John Lucas III (FA), Alan Anderson (FA)

Key subtractions: Jerryd Bayless, James Johnson, Gary Forbes

GM Bryan Colangelo went all-in on Steve Nash this summer. He had the hometown hero angle working for him. He offered Nash the biggest contract. He gave Fields a ridiculous contract to cut the Knicks’ sign-and-trade offer for Nash off at the knees. He even had Wayne Gretzky in his corner.

The one thing Colangelo didn’t have? A team that was close to Nash’s kids. In the end, Nash chose family over money or fame and, in doing so, inadvertently stuck another dagger into the hearts of Raptors fans everywhere.

While losing Nash was a blow, Raptors fans have things to look forward to this season. Getting Lowry for a future draft pick was a steal. He is a big upgrade at the point and gives them some toughness they desperately lacked.

Adding Valanciunas is also a pretty big deal. He may not be an impact player right out of the gate, but most general managers agree that he would have been the No. 2 pick in the draft behind Anthony Davis. Ross gives them a great shooter and athlete on the wing, and Acy is the type of player who will do all of the dirty work in the paint.

Pair those three with Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and friends and the Raptors have a team that should be much more competitive this season.

The only thing keeping the Raptors from getting an A is the fact that Fields’ offer sheet was not matched by the Knicks. I don’t care what the Raptors are saying, they would have never paid him that much money had they known Nash was heading to L.A. Now they’re stuck with him. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a pretty big blemish on what has otherwise been a pretty positive summer.


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