If Broussard’s tweet is to be believed, then it’s quite clear that the Raptors have zero intention of tanking.
I'm told the Raptors are not looking to get rid of Rudy Gay and his contract
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 3, 2013
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.