And I’m not sure why I liken this to a team truly on the rise, but I came across a three-minute video put out by the Raptors thanking the fans for all their support and lauding them as the “best fans in the NBA, by far.” Perhaps that would be hard to believe, but everyone saw that scene outside the stadium during their home playoff games. It was an incredible spectacle and it couldn’t help but get you excited for this team. Maybe it was Drake’s “ambassador” magnetism, but I would like to hope that the fans see the potential for what it is. I’m not sure how often teams produce videos such as this one, but it seems very heartfelt and genuine. And we hear from Kyle Lowry, who says that for all the rough times they had last year, it made their success this year all the more special. He says it’s only going to get bigger and better for the Raptor organization. For someone trying to be purely neutral all basketball observations, that doesn’t sound like someone ready to leave Canada at all.
Kyle Lowry: A (A+) Did it all for the Raptors. Scored, passed, defended, gave the team an iron will. The team’s most valuable player loses his A+ because playoff work was not at that level.
The “best kept secret” in this sports culture is no longer classified. Even though the Raptors return to the postseason ended in a first round series loss to the Brooklyn Nets, there’s been enough proof put forth for one to assume that something is brewing here – something that these basketball fans haven’t seen before, or at the very least, haven’t seen in a long time. That’s why the “#WeTheNorth” and “#NorthernUprising” campaigns have worked so well. Not only are the people within the environment noticing something special, but people from an external standpoint are starting to see what they’ve been neglecting too. For a bit over two weeks during the first round of this year’s postseason, Toronto was a sight that basketball fans from all over just had to witness. Fans packed the ACC for all four home games in the seven game series, and thousands more filled Maple Leaf Square to watch the Raptors battle the Nets on a remarkable 30-by-50 foot screen to show their support – even if the team was playing away from Toronto.
With the cap going up this year, I think both Lowry and Vasquez are brought back. Lowry will get over $10 Mil (maybe more than $12), and Vasquez will get less than the MLE. I think Vasquez will get something like 4.5 with 3 years plus a team option for the 4th. He wants to be back, so he will get long-term security and a bit of a “hometown” discount. He absolutely loves it in TO.
I liken Cole Aldrich at this point in his career to Spencer Hawes, another big man I had no use for until recently. Cleveland will probably hang onto Hawes, who’s going into his eighth season and has never been better. Sometimes you just have to have patience. We Raptor fans have that quality, many times over. Bring Cole Aldrich to Toronto, Masai.
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