Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri (Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)

There’s a lot of trade scenarios being bandied about these days, mostly due to boredom and all designed to figuring out a way to improve the roster so it can progress beyond an exciting, but ultimately lame, first round exit. DeMar DeRozan has usually been at the center of such discussion due to fans’ penchant for “selling high”, and when he’s not being hammered about on the ESPN trade machine, Terrence Ross is being thrown in the mix with deals involving Kevin Love and any other superstar than one can illogically fantasize about.

There’s also the 20th pick which in this year’s draft, if you ask some, is tantamount to possessing a sack of grain in a famine. Others value it only slightly more than an unsightly rash, making the spectrum of value for this pick wider than the gap between our t-shirt design team and MLSE’s. The pick is seen as a means of trading up through packing an player or two to go along with it, or even as a trade asset entirely on its own. The possibilities that fans can come up with are both creative and bizarre, making the whole enterprise rather entertaining if not bemusing.

What we haven’t contemplated much of is what if the Raptors stand pat and do nothing. They don’t make any big free-agent signings and focus only on retainment. They draft a player with the 20th pick who is intended to be used as a roster player next season. They rely on that ever-so-tempting organic growth to improve the team over the summer and come back with, more or less, the same roster sprinkled with some salt and pepper. What would happen then?

To find an answer to that question we’d have to more closely look at how much of a leap the current crop can make over one summer, and what it would mean in the context of the Eastern Conference. It would be fair to assume that Kyle Lowry would not be much better than he was last season, and if anything, is likely to average out a bit next year. Expecting him to exceed his 17.9 points and 7.4 assists per game for next season would be a tall order, and even if he does, it’s difficult to see him doing it by much.

Jonas Valanciunas, who is working with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer, could stand to improve by a large factor in his career, but how much of that will happen over one summer remains to be seen. Of all active centers who averaged 10 points, the biggest second to third year points jump that we’ve seen has been Marc Gasol’s 2.9 points, followed by Nikols Pekovic’s 2.4. Based on this, Valanciunas’ 11.3 points are likely to improve while remaining modest. Certainly, you don’t expect him to become a 20/10 player over the summer.

Viewing Terrence Ross through the same lens, we can see that wings are more able to make a jump in their third year. Kevin Martin’s 9.4 point and Andre Iguodala’s 5.9 point jump are just some of the examples of wing players finding a new gear in their third year to become more refined scorers. Terrence Ross, based on statistics at least, is more likely to produce at a higher rate next season than any other Raptor.

The eye-test would stand to confirm this as well as Ross possesses a great shot, good ball-handling skills, and has shown that he’s got the core tenets of a good offensive player. Even considering that the potential and likely outcome are often two different things, most fans can attest that Ross has, if appropriate improvements and coaching adjustments are made,  a chance to contribute in a greater capacity next season. One doesn’t have to look too far south to Washington to see a comparable player in Bradley Beal progress so fast, and hope that Ross can ride the same type of wave.

Then there’s DeMar DeRozan, whose PER shot up by 3.7 points and whose ORTg went up to 110 for the first time since receiving meaningful minutes. If he improves by the same amount next season (taking him to 22.1), it wouldn’t (PER-wise) put him in the category of LeBron James or Chris Paul, but closer to guys like Russell Westbrook and James Harden, which in the context of the Raptors would be a commendable improvement in offensive production.

You can assume that Amir Johnson, injury aside, continues to produce the way he has and the subs do what they do. There’s of course the intangible element of chemistry which is hard to measure, predict, or repeat, so we’ll say it stays the same since the core group is the same. Add in a backup center which makes sure we see less of Chuck Hayes, and you start seeing the possibilities and limits of these Raptors next season.  Much like the Raptors would be relying on continuity to be the underpinning driver of improvement, the same would be true for Charlotte, Washington and Atlanta.  Whether the Raptors’ improvement will be greater than those teams is a question of debate, and the only surety is that just like how the playoff experience benefited the Raptors, it did so to those other clubs as well, even more so for Washington.

Assuming that all things stay even and the Raptors manage to hold the teams beneath them at bay next season, is there a chance for them to climb the ladder in the East by keeping the roster structurally similar?  There was a six point gap between the Raptors and the Heat and an 8 game one between Indiana and Toronto.   In reality the gap between Miami is likely more and the Pacer gap less.  It would take a considerable drop from those two clubs and a marked improvement from Toronto to see them switch places with either.  There’s a likely shake-up happening in Indiana with Roy Hibbert on the fringe and David West a year older, but at the same time it’s hard to see Larry Bird not converting his assets into value next season, thus maintaining Indiana’s relative superiority in the East.  If the Big Three return, Miami will be where they always are.  The gist here is that the Raptors will have strong competition from the north and a push from the south if they hope to retain their third place conference seeding.

As I see it, bringing back the same team, drafting a late-rotation center, and relying on continuity and chemistry is a start that will perhaps bring us a 3rd-5th seed next season, but doesn’t separate the Raptors from the pack nor does it do enough to catch the leaders.  Individual player improvements are happening not just in Toronto but Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Chicago, and unlike years past, the Raptors are in an Eastern Conference that is growing strong.  In order for the Raptors to make the leap or at least create separation from the pack, they’ll need to address their weak points as displayed in the post-season.

John Salmons and Landry Fields are not sufficient cover at the small forward, the frontcourt rotation suffers from a lack of size and strength, and the bench doesn’t have the players that can play the type of defense Casey prefers.  In the form of assets, Ujiri has his first-round draft pick, two in the second round, and expiring contracts in Landry Fields ($6.2M) and Chuck Hayes ($5.9M).  John Salmons is sure to be waived prior to June 30th, thus reducing his cap hit to only $1M next season.  Whichever way you slice and dice these assets, it’s very difficult to imagine the Raptors yielding something of great value by moving these pieces without throwing in a starter.

Far be it from me to speculate on particular trades so I’ll leave it at this: in order for the Raptors to improve and address multiple deficiencies, Ujiri will be very tempted to part with one of his key players.  The Thunder remained competitive after trading away James Harden and the Clippers were the same after trading Eric Bledsoe (granted, for different reasons), and that was due to there being a critical mass of talent that could carry the team forward.  The Raptors, as presently constructed, don’t appear to have that critical mass and if they roll the dice and trade a key player away without netting something substantial in return, they risk taking a step back more than forward.  Such is the tricky nature of Masai Ujiri’s position, which is one where he can play it safe and rely on organic growth knowing that competition will be tough, or one where he can be aggressive and potentially ensure that the same competition remains at arm’s length.

  • siggian

    With JV, the big improvement is more likely to come at the defensive end. So yes, he might gain only a couple of extra PPG, his overall impact could be much higher.

    As far as Indiana goes, I think the real Indiana was the team that played the 2nd half of the season. They just aren’t that good and I could easily see them slip to 4th with Miami, Chicago, and Toronto above them.

    As far as drafting goes, expecting a 20th pick to contribute anything significant is bad thinking. The Raptors are better off taking the best available player and filling the backup C role with a veteran retread. You know that Casey would not play a rookie C over Chuck Hayes anyway.

    • OakTree

      The Raptors’ offense really isn’t designed around getting JV a lot of possessions in the post. When they do feed him in the post it seems like it’s just a matter of dumping the ball to him, then clearing out and standing around.

      How about trying to get some screening action on the weak side for open 3s off a skip pass, or getting some cutters (DD/Ross) going through the lane? A lot of JV’s turnovers are the result of the guards and wings failing to give him an outlet pass, and failing to give him a passing lane in response to the double team.

      This is something I expect to see some change in next year, as I do think that going forward they want to see JV more as a focal point in the offense.

      • thegloveinrapsuniform

        agree. also, its rare in the league to see a combo of a scoring SG/SF and true post up bigman. probably because it rarely works. I usually see JV getting the ball when Lowry is handling the offense but when the ball gets to Demar, its rare that it goes down to JV.

        • SR

          What do you mean? That’s not rare because it doesn’t work, it’s rare because the league is diluted. Scoring guards and dominant bigs having success….jeez, how about Shaq and Kobe, Parker/Ginobli and Duncan, even Harden and Howard anchored one of the most potent offenses in the league this year. And then go as far back as you want and look at the scoring guards Kareem and Russel played with…could go on and on.

          The Raps guard-heavy scoring was still relatively inefficient. Redistrbuting mkre of the offense to a strong post player would be a huge step forward.

      • siggian

        I see the gain in JV’s offense coming from having confidence in his jumper and nailing 2-3 per game instead of that fake-fake-damn, he’s not falling for it, now I gotta try something else-shot he resorted to often in the early part of the season.

        If the Raptors actually incorporate JV into their offense as an organic thing (as opposed to “Coach says we need to give him the ball to start the game” thing that they often went to) then I can see his PPG going up 6-8.

        But the real improvement should be on the defensive end. JV looked much better towards the end of the season compared to the beginning.

  • OakTree

    I agree with the sentiment. I think it’s most likely the roster will look very similar next season.

    I expect to see Lowry, GV, PP and De Colo all return.

    I’m 50/50 on Hansbrough. I think they’ll kick the tires on some free agent bigs, but Tyler may be the best option, and if he’s happy in Toronto I don’t mind him has the 4th or 5th big in the rotation.

    I don’t expect any of the drafted players to go into the rotation immediately, and I don’t expect to see Salmons return. So, that’s probably what a free agent signing will address. Someone like a Thabo Sefolosha or Wesley Johnson. A guy that can guard SFs, knock down open 3s, and will be happy getting minutes off the bench for a decent team. I don’t expect them to bring in someone to start over Ross.

    • OakTree

      It will be interesting to see how they clear out roster spots for the draft picks.

      I think that De Colo has made one of Buycks/Stone redundant, and I think it’s likely that Buycks will be let go.

      Also, if they bring in a free agent SF, then I expect to see one of Fields/Novak moved – likely Novak, as he has the more movable contract.

      • arsenalist

        Buycks is the absolute last time I read ANYTHING into summer league. I mean, not that I take stock into summer-time performances, but I actually felt he could provide *something* in a third-string capacity. I was wrong.

      • OakTree

        Lowry, De Colo, Vasquez, Stone, DeMar, Ross, Fields, Draft Pick #1, Free Agent SF, Patterson, Amir, Draft Pick #2, Hayes, JV

        That’s 14 players with one spot open for flexibility going forward.

        (Is it bad etiquette to repeatedly respond to your own post?)

        • Milesboyer

          Absolutely no need to keep Stone, 3 point guards are enough.

          • OakTree

            I like Stone as an emergency reserve.

            He can defend 3 positions, and he’s reliable with the ball, so he won’t kill you when he’s out there.

            You could do a lot worse with the 14th guy on your roster.

            • siggian

              De Colo make Stone unnecessary as a PG. If the Raptors are playing Stone for anytime other than blowouts, the Raptors are screwed anyway and you might as well be playing a rookie for experience over playing Stone.

              • noname

                stone is actually a good defender, and he has shown flashes of alright offence. But Buycks is absolute garbage.

        • ckh26

          Nope… but you can use the edit button and update your initial post with additional content/thoughts…

        • noname

          trade fields + hayes + 2 second rounders for a big backup C and you’re golden.

  • mcHAPPY

    Continuity = Asset Accumulation

    Nothing wrong with staying the current course and waiting for an opportunity to present itself at trade deadline, next year’s draft, or 2015 free agency.

    Hopefully the days of jamming square pegs in round holes are over with.

    • SR

      Agree completely. Most fans were calling for patient retooling/rebuilding post-Colangelo. Now a bit of success as soon as the season ends and all the impatience hits.

      Ujiri is an opportunist and should continue to be one. Pre-determining that “we are making a big splash this summer, dammit” leads to bad trades and inflated contracts. He’s got still improving players on mostly good contracts. There’s no panic or pressure here.

    • Jamshid

      Again you are back to your old self. You supported BC for 7 years so blindly and never questioned the man and you are doing the something now. Wait till trade deadline ? Asset accumulation ?! Sure, But let us see some move now. Let us see how you are going to use Salmon, Hayes, Novak, Fileds and … to get some asset. MU can not sit still and let another opportunity pass by.

      Make steps toward this asset accumulation … This was a great article and described the reality of East and you come back with your typical Blind Love for authorities.

      • mcHAPPY

        Actually I questioned Colangelo quite often in his last 18 months. :) It took me a while but I finally realized the man was full of sh!t. :) Congrats to those who figured it out long before me…. and my apologies to some of them, too. :) Turns out you were right. :) Hopefully you all got your internet supremacy badge in the mail. :)

        I guess I wasn’t clear in what I was typing. :) Staying the course doesn’t mean do nothing. :) Staying the course means stick with core under contract (JV, TR, DD, AJ) and resign key FA’s (KL, PP, GV). :) Use draft night to off load cap friendly contracts (Salmons, Bro, Buycks, Stone) to teams needing to shed salary in exchange for more 1st round pick(s). :) Then use any cap space and/or exceptions to sign quality FAs to short term, team friendly contracts such as Hansbrough last season. :) That is STAYING THE COURSE. :)

        Would you rather another 2007 free agent signing like Kapono? :)

        Would you rather another 2008 trade like Jermaine O’Neal? :)

        Would you rather another 2009 trade like Marion? :)

        Would you rather another 2009 free agent signing like Hedon’t? :)

        Would you rather another 2010 onwards of dead weight contracts and sub-par talent? :)

        Those are the square pegs in round holes I was speaking of. :)

        The last thing that should be done, in my opinion :) , is:

        1) start trading guys like Ross or DeRozan for guys with baggage such as character, contract, or history, :)

        2) start signing guys to 4 year cap killing salaries starting at $5M, :)

        3) start trying to win a championship next year when patience significantly increases the odds 2 or 3 years down the road. :)

        So in conclusion, I’ll put in a quote from the article that was a great way to end it:

        “The Raptors, as presently constructed, don’t appear to have that
        critical mass and if they roll the dice and trade a key player away
        without netting something substantial in return, they risk taking a step
        back more than forward. Such is the tricky nature of Masai Ujiri’s
        position, which is one where he can play it safe and rely on organic
        growth knowing that competition will be tough, or one where he can be
        aggressive and potentially ensure that the same competition remains at
        arm’s length.”


        There is nothing wrong with staying the course and accumulating assets at this point.

        • KJ-B

          I like Kyle Lowry on a 3 year deal with a team option for a 4th at $12 mil per.

          There’s always the tantalizing sign & trade option with Houston. Chandler Parsons is a RFA… I wonder how that would work? Parsons, Lin to the Raptors for Lowry/Fields???

          Much as I enjoy Lowry, it was in a contract year that he had his epiphany… I’m way more comfortable handing out a 4/5 year deal to a Chandler Parsons, given age and history of good health.

        • ahoang

          Geez matt, stop riding BC so blindly and being so happy.

          You’re ruining it for the rest of us… :)

  • pfgtre

    Thanks for writing about sticking with the current roster. I think the Raptors built something this year with chemistry on the court (and seemingly off) which is something you cannot idly throw away. Add in some room for improvement and this seems like a good strategy.

    I am interested in how they will fare against a much tougher East next year. The playoff teams had some injuries: Horford in Atlanta, and Rose (though who knows about him) in Chicago and Brook Lopez in Brooklyn. As mentioned above, Charlotte and Washington are older and more experienced. Some of the lottery teams could be a lot better. Detroit has Stan Van Gundy, so expect a big improvement out of them. Cleveland (with Embiid or Wiggins) and another year for their young guys won’t be pushovers either.

    I think that we are slightly overvaluing our 48 win season in a pretty historically weak Eastern conference.

    • 2damkule

      i think you & i interpreted this part differently:

      “As I see it, bringing back the same team, drafting a late-rotation center, and relying on continuity and chemistry is a start that will perhaps bring us a 3rd-5th seed next season, but doesn’t separate the Raptors from the pack nor does it do enough to catch the leaders. Individual player improvements are happening not just in Toronto but Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Chicago, and unlike years past, the Raptors are in an Eastern Conference that is growing strong. In order for the Raptors to make the leap or at least create separation from the pack, they’ll need to address their weak points as displayed in the post-season.”

      so, basically, his point is that the best way to start slipping into mediocrity (at this point, mediocrity should be defined as a playoff contender that isn’t a legit threat to win – or even play for – a championship) is to stand-pat, and hope that the organic growth on the raptors at worst meets the organic growth taking place on other teams.

      • sleepz

        “at this point, mediocrity should be defined as a playoff contender that isn’t a legit threat to win – or even play for – a championship”

        I certainly hope the bar has been raised to this level. If it has, next year should be very interesting.
        I don’t think they can stand pat and expect this team to get better or better results than last season. They don’t have enough talent to do that.

      • ItsAboutFun

        And then there’s the patient, systematic, opportunistic approach that doesn’t look at 1 specific summer as the time that big moves need to be made. MU has made it quite clear that he intends on sticking with the current core for next season, while looking to the draft and free agency to shore up the weaknesses, as in a shot blocking big to back up Jonas..

        For some reason, he sees a very young core that are only beginning to develop the kind of on-court chemistry that could propel them way beyond whatever individual improvements they make. Of course, if the right deal comes along, I’d expect that he’ll not get caught in some “I gotta stand pat” black/white stubbornness, but he’s made it clear that he’s comfortable with working with what is currently developing with this core, and not feel that minor activity this summer relegates the team to long term mediocrity. Any other approach could easily turn into a Collangelo like quick fix and pray approach. He took the first step, in maintaining continuity of the team culture, by very quickly signing Casey. Now is not the time to fuck with the core. They need to see how JV and Ross develop as actual productive players at both ends, and how that affects the rest of the core and their performance

        Get used to it. They aren’t going to be contenders next season, but that doesn’t relegate then to long term mediocrity.

  • Raps

    Chandler Parsons is rumored to be available as a restricted free agent. What do you guys think the rockets would want for a sign and trade to happen?

    • Roarque

      Unfortunately they would want Amir and a draft pick which is too much imo.
      Good idea though – Chandler is my kind of player.

  • jjdynomite

    Zarar, good write-up but a couple of missing points:

    1. You mention “focus on retainment” to provide “organic growth”, yet fail to mention Vasquez and PPatterson. If both are retained, both offer a substantial amount of upside, likely much more than can be sourced from an UFA (without paying through the nose). Remember, Vasquez had serious ankle surgery on May 24, 2013 and spent the whole summer rehabbing, so was obviously rusty during his time at the Kings and early time with the Raptors. We see how much he thrived later in the season playing alongside Lowry in two-guard sets, plus learning the playbook.

    2. Likewise, 2Pat, still 25 years old, also has room for improvement. He also was really coming on when he missed 3 weeks in the middle of the playoff race due to his elbow sprain — rough for a shooter — and took a while to get back on track. We may have seen 27-year-old Greivis’ peak when he ran point for New Orleans, but there is no reason why 2Pat’s ceiling cannot continue to expand as he continues to solidify his range as a Stretch 4 (poor man’s CB4 potential).

    3. Finally, as siggian mentions below, not sure if an increase in PPG is the best way to evaluate JV. He upped his rebound rate from 6 to 8.8 and there’s no reason he can’t bring, say, 2.2 rebounds/game (to 11 total) given his growth as a (hopefully) dominant C. I’m not sure why Jonas’ block rate declined from 1.3 to 0.9 last year (sophomore slump?), but if he turns that around to, say, 1.5-2 BPG, he could become a force defensively.

    But hey, Chris Douglas-Roberts might not be retained by Charlotte. Can you dig?

  • Roarque

    This happened to me with trigonometry, my golf swing and women in general during my life. That is, I was floundering around with all of them and then one day I got it. It was like I was sitting there eating my granola or it was waking up in the middle of the night and sitting up in bed and realizing I had an insight that coagulated many disparate observations into a vision that stayed with me from then on.
    That’s what I see in Jonas. He’s still trying to capture the fairy dust that will allow him to “get” it about this NBA game. He shows signs for a game or even a stretch of games and then he slides back a little. Perhaps his sessions with Hakeem will help but I think the tipping point might be his relationship with Kyle. That dynamic has to change from hero worship of a veteran on a career year to a relationship of equals – a relationship of mutual respect for the skill sets of each other. I think Kyle is a generous guy with his team mates and he can be the catalyst that allows JV to become the demanding aggressor in the block that begins to command the rock on O.

    • Marz

      Let’s get real here. You never did figure out trigonometry, did you?

      • Roarque

        No, but I can spell cosine.

    • Mugsy

      Lowry, while not a selfish player in nature, is too much of a ball dominant type. He dominates and makes his presence felt with the ball in his hands, not by distributing. I wish what you say could come true, but his style of play will never organically allow JV to become any sort of equal. It has to come from a change at PG or Casey changing the offensive strategy somehow.

  • dunkmycat7

    Doing nothing ?
    If Masai doesn’t make a move to get a KILLER PF and/or a defensive wing then TL should fire him. Same if he pooches the Lowry re-sign. If the Raps want to be front office stupid they could have just kept BC.
    Raps are on the cusp of REAL contention, they have momentum and for the first time in AGES this team is probably good enough to attract a bona fide free agent who actually WANTS to WIN and who will make a REAL difference..
    Strike while the iron is hot..
    AND I want Masai to shoot for the moon..;.;Lebron Bosh, Love – WHATEVER…
    Do nothing ?
    Nonono – a million times no.

    • Matteemo

      I think the best way to land a major player will be to do nothing this year. Keep cap flexibility and wait one more year until Fields, Hayes and other dead weight contracts come off the books, then make a push for that big name FA when you have the cap space to take him on without giving up a valuable asset.

      • dunkmycat7

        To you and Tinman
        How about Tross, Amir, 20th pick, and Laundry’s expiring for Kevin Love ?
        You probably hate it. I LOVELOVELOVE it.
        All I am saying is this team as is NOT good enough to contend at the highest level right now, but if we add 1 or 2 of the right pieces we can contend for the foreseeable future. I want MU to take advantage of EVERY major opportunity out there so we get the impact player we need.The NBA proves every year that stars win in this league.
        You are all assuming this team gets organically better. I think they might actually regress.
        It’s been YEARS since we had this opportunity not to be the bottomless shithole of the trade/FA market.
        Push the envelope now..
        or my cat would say:
        Time to POUNCE !! :)

        • Matteemo

          I don’t absolutely hate it, but I certainly don’t love it either, or even really like it… I think without Amir and Ross our defense would go to absolute shit, Love certainly isn’t known for his defense. I also think he’s not contending for anything in Minnesota nor would he probably be here. Although he is a star, he’s not enough to push our team to contender status. You can’t build a contender overnight, patience is key. I still think we maintain flexibility for now while accumulating assets and pursue a game changing player next offseason. We have a lot of money coming off the books next year, if we can just maintain the same level of success as we achieved this year we will be in a good position to take a major step forward the year after.

          • dunkmycat7

            Love doesn’t play much D but he scores and rebounds like a basketball god and I always like having the other team worry about how to defend US. And it’s been so long since that was true.
            Can’t really argue with your logic BUT…
            I have not been blessed with your patience.
            I guess after years of BC bullshit I just want to win NOW and I think the Raps are so close I can taste it..
            I’m thinking if you asked Masai publicly he would probably go with your approach.
            But I hope he has larceny in his heart.

            • jjdynomite

              “I guess after years of BC bullshit I just want to win NOW and I think the Raps are so close I can taste it..”

              You do realize that this was BC’s M.O as well (“retooling” instead of “rebuilding” yadda yadda). And that’s why we ended up with poo poo platters like Kap-oh-no, J-Ho, HeDon’t and cancerous iso-ball Rudy. And lost Bosh for nothing instead of trading him at his peak.

              And why would K-Love want to sign here long-term? He’s been stuck on a going-nowhere Northern team for years, and there would be only a next season to prove that the Raptors are not the Timberwolves East before he walks as an UFA. That’s a lot of pressure on a team only a single season into reaching the playoffs.

              Patience is warranted.

              • dunkmycat7

                sorry just saw this response
                I have to trust that Masai is NOT going to make the same ridiculous mistakes as BC did.
                Why would KL sign here ? (not OUR KL :)
                I think that this Raps team plus KL minus whatever we have to give up for him = a core that can contend for the next 5 years, my point being we are REALLY ALMOST there now not BC delusional almost there .The Raps ACTUAL success with this young team makes them attractive. It’s WHO BC brought in(your poo poo platters) in his misguided shit for brains attempts to improve this team around Bosh (esp the completely broken JO) that I think we both have issues with.
                The know the old expression “it’s different this time”
                IMO it is. And that is all about MU.
                If there IS the opportunity to get a difference maker they should get him. That is how you win in the NBA now. Period.
                And really – I want Lebron and CB4. Together :)

    • Tinman

      It might not be the time to make the move. Next year’s FA crop is better than this years.
      Keeping the same core, retaining PP and GV, might well be good enough.
      Upgrade at backup PF and a defensive minded wing and who knows what can happen.

      • Matteemo

        I agree to this, maintain status quo, add (hopefully) serviceable young players through the draft, resign our FA’s to reasonable contracts. Let our bad contracts expire and make a big splash in free agency next year.

  • Tunacanpeen

    Is this roster a 48-34 roster (8 behind Indiana, 6 behind Miami) or is it a 54-28* roster?
    *42-22 post Rudy Gay scaled to 82 games (.656 winning percentage)

  • The Red Fury

    Ross is not a good ball-handler…. yet.

    • sleepz

      Ball handling is one skill that although you work on it, you are not going to become a create your own shot type of player. He can get better at it……but I would argue he will never be good at it. Didn’t show it when he went to Washington and hasn’t shown it as a Raptor.

  • For the love of Mike

    I saw Sam Dower on the flight from LA – he’s trying out today. He’s huge! Built like an NBA player, not like a college player. Looks NBA ready.

    • Roarque

      Did he fly first class?

  • Microaggressive

    “Certainly, you don’t expect him to become a 20/10 player over the summer.”

    Not with Casey. Not with the idea of NBA player seniority like a forced union that rewards mediocrity.

    Of course, there is the benefit of keeping his numbers subdued so that when his first real contract talks come up he will be forced to be paid less due to his artificial mediocre numbers.

    • ItsAboutFun

      Get your tin foil cap back on, and find someone to give you a hug.

      • Microaggressive

        yet, you have zero substantive rebuttal

        You saw for yourself the pecking order for traditionalist Casey. You saw for yourself the Derozan need to grow into the idea of feeding JV to win.

        In the end, it’s probably best that JV doesn’t fulfill his potential before extension. An underpaid All-Star Center is good for the team’s future.

        • dunkmycat7

          This is just crazy talk.
          You think the Raps would actually HOLD JV BACK just so they could pay him LESS in his next contract.
          Don’t need a substantive rebuttal.
          You are just SO TOTALLY WRONG.
          Bet you ,loved the TANK strategy as well.
          Again TOTALLY WRONG.
          Unbelievable what some people come up with.

  • asifyouknow


    Ross needs to become DeMars backup, he is just too small to play SF, in todays NBA 6’8″ plus and 220 plus-plus lb is the standard. (Parker 6’8″ 235 lb)

    Is DeMar and Ross enough for someone to give up Parker? If I’m thinking long term I do it in a minute. Parker is an all-star from day one.

    If I was a betting man, I would bet the house Lowry wont be back. The big market teams like Lakers, Knicks or even Chicago might pay 12 mill plus for four years.

    A question for Toronto experts. Can Raptors afford Lowry money and still build a good team in the long term?

    You all know Lowry was a short loosing streak away from being traded. Ujiri’s plan got foiled because they started to win. He probably wanted to clean house. Is that plan still in place?

    Vaz has become one of the best back-up point guards in the NBA, but as much as I love his game he is not a starter on Casey’s scheme. Vaz and Lowry are a perfect match, this season showed how well they complement each other, Vaz without Lowry won’t work. Hell if I was the Knicks I may want them both.
    In my humble opinion the only untouchables on this team (long term rebuilding) are Amir and JV, the rest can be replaced while building.
    Lots of questions but we won’t get answers until July….Hurry up July…lol

    • ItsAboutFun

      “If I was a betting man, I would bet the house Lowry wont be back. The
      big market teams like Lakers, Knicks or even Chicago might pay 12 mill
      plus for four years. (forget about cap with rich teams ..look at the

      Good thing you’re not a betting man.

      Knicks: With CBA rules and their cap situation, they can’t offer him more than minimum.

      Bulls: With Rose coming back, why would always cost conscious Bulls offer big money to another starting PG? And why would Lowry have any interest in backing Rose up?

      Though they have the money and cap space available, I see little logic
      in them spending big money on a middle of the pack PG to stand in the
      corner and serve as ball dominant Kobe’s release valve for the next 2 years, to say nothing of his
      personality not fitting such a scenario in the least, and them always
      having their sights on bigger fish. No matter what babble comes from
      attention seeking media, that scenario seems very unlikely.

      the end of the day, there are very few teams that have a combination of
      a) cap space to offer substantial salary. b) need for a starting PG. When adding the consideration of a situation that is attractive to Lowry, the choices are VERY slim beyond the Raptors.

      • asifyouknow

        Very well done but Rose is history, Lakers need one and Knick can get creative on a deal, plus Kyle gets to play with Melo rather than DeMar. Agree?
        Answer me this question:
        Are the Raptors willing to pay a 48 mill 4 year deal? If your answer is no, say bye to Lowry.

  • Trace Fairley

    Stay together, add pieces, still one full season away. JV and Ross still have dues to pay. Look at the nba greats that have taken awhile like G Payton and many others. Draft Bachynski late second, let him block some shots instead of Hayes. Organic is better