If Broussard’s tweet is to be believed, then it’s quite clear that the Raptors have zero intention of tanking.

The ‘out’ provided by Joe Dumars has been politely declined by Masai Ujiri, who in the constrained salary cap environment afforded to him by Bryan Colangelo, made a modest and unspectacular signing of Julyan Stone. As the Raptors are over the cap, the only free-agents they can sign without using the MLE are minimum-salaried players. These guys aren’t going to be found on any free-agent list, but on the outskirts of NBA rosters and somewhere in the D-League. Let’s take a look at the depth chart and see where we can afford to fill in minimum-salaried, low-skilled guys. The current roster stands at 14: Gay, Fields, Johnson, Lowry, Kleiza, Valanciunas, DeRozan, Gray, Ross, Acy, Camby, Novak, Richardson and Stone:

The red are areas of immediate need. Backup PG is a major issue right now, as I’m classifying Stone as a third-stringer, and given that Lowry isn’t the truest of ball-distributors and that Gay and DeRozan also lack in passing, this is an urgent need if the Raptors intend to do anything of significance this season. The power forward slot also needs help, as after Johnson there’s a significant gap till Acy.

You’ll also notice that I haven’t slotted Johnson as a center, as that has known to take a toll on the guy, so if the Raptors want consistent productivity out of Johnson, they’ll stick him at PF and only PF. This means that we need a backup center as well, and as much fun as it is when Aaron Gray walks on the court, he’s a third stringer on any respectable team.

The signing of Stone has filled out the “Situational” row in the table above, and the remaining areas of concern (the red ones), and the secondary ones (center), I contend, are basically impossible to fill using minimum-salaried guys, and must be done so via trade or MLE.

  • CalgaryRapsFan

    The roster actually stands at 14 – Stone was left off the list, though he was used in the chart.

    I agree that the 2 biggest holes are still the backup PG and starting/backup PF positions, with only 1 roster spot currently open. I think there are still some relatively big changes coming to the roster, in the name of retooling.

    • arsenalist

      Yup, thanks for pointing that out. Fixed.

  • WJF

    Are we really keeping Richardson, can’t see that guy on the roster for opening night.

  • pbjake

    so whats the word on Alan Anderson? If we find a way to shop Fields, he’d be needed.

    • Brett

      AA is not fitting on this team anymore, ujiri can only handle one maybe 2 chuckers that’s why Lucas and AA are not returning (gay, derozen) and fields will be given a chance this year seeing as he surgery effected his shot which effected his confidence which affects his playing time I see him coming out strong and being part of the defensive 2nd unit and maybe 3rd with this new stone guy. Fields still hasn’t fallen off if this continues threw this season I’ll say move him

  • David Bassily

    Why can’t we groom Acy a little bit? He was showing sparks near the end of the season, a bit of imprivement in his mid range game and some better D given his athletisism and he might not be the worst back up 4.

  • FAQ

    Ratpors… going from ‘bad’ to ‘worse’…. it’s gotta be tankarooni time …. 10-73…??!!!

    • C-Low

      ^^ How exactly did the raptors get worse? moron.

  • Carl J Walsh

    figure out a way to get A. Jamison PF and D. Harrison PG for back ups or starter’s :) leave gay and derozan and lowry

    • Carl J Walsh

      and try to turn the rap’s into a def team like the pistons of old :0

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    I think people are Broussard’s Tweet too much at face value. It’s clear the Raptors are not looking to simply dump Gay’s contract for expiring contracts, because there would be little point in that. All that would do is POSSIBLY save them an extra year only if Gay picks up his option for 2014-2015.

    There is no reason to think that the Raptors wouldn’t trade Gay for picks and prospects if offered. I want the Raptors to tank and I wouldn’t take the deal from Detroit.

  • ItsAboutFun

    Patience is a good thing. After the big shoes fall, the rest of the FA signings and trade juggling will pick up steam. I feel Ujuri sees nobody as untouchable, but it has to be a deal that makes sense (no tanking does not). One way or the other, I do not see either Camby or Q-Rich coming to camp. I expect Masai is exploring trades to upgrade, so think we may be a long way away from a training camp roster to evaluate.

  • Roarque

    Didn’t Dwane tell the World that Rudy has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason – and doesn’t that make him a candidate for starting power forward?
    And a prediction? Landry Fields starts at small forward this year. Yes, you heard it here first.

    • Rapfan

      It is impossible to gain 15 pounds of muscle in a month.

      • Roarque

        Don’t tell me. Tell Dwane. I hate being the messenger – bullet holes everywhere.

  • JD

    I think it’s a given that we’ll sign another PG at some point in the next few weeks. Probably someone relatively young but a little more experienced than Stone… Toney Douglas or D.J. Augustin would fit for $2-3M on a short contract using MLE. The situation would be fine if one of our off-guards could run the offense on occasion, but that is firmly outside the capabilities of DeRozan/Ross/Q-Rich. The PF situation I think will be ok with another min contract for depth.

  • JD

    Roddy Beaubois is another guy I see Masai liking for the PG spot.

  • Moe

    Trade camby for another big that’s cheap. Thinking maybe mozgov or maybe the Canadian Joel anthony who would be a great defensive anchor for 10-15 mins a night

  • Raptorsss

    I don’t know what’s more depressing this hack of an opinion piece or the comments below. First of all a healthy Kleiza is a borderline rotation player, not just because he’s a decent player when healthy, but they need to showcase him so that he can be traded. They are forcing Acy to change to a 3 from a 4 and made him work on his shot in the off-season ideally he’ll play the role that Kleiza now does as a 3/4, but he is nowhere near as talented as Kleiza is. Stone is our back-up and if we decide to tank, he’ll be the captain of the ship when we dump Lowry.

    Gay will play with the team for the whole year, if he can’t play at an all-star level he’ll be traded next off-season. And he’ll most likely be our starting 4 with Amir coming off the bench, Ross or Fields will start for us..

    Assuming Richardson and Camby won’t be with us come opening day, the last 3 contracts will be given to young players on minimum contracts.