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Thread: 2013/14 has been a magical season for the Raptors but what does the future hold?

  1. #1
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    Default 2013/14 has been a magical season for the Raptors but what does the future hold?

    I think it's safe to say all hail Masai! For as much as we gripe about Lowry's impending free agency, JV's progression (or lack thereof), Casey's coaching flaws, and Demar's legitimacy as a superstar nobody could have ever foreseen this team as the no.3 or 4 seed in the east to begin the season (in spite of the current tank-a-thon happening). As we know it all started with Masai pulling off twin coups unloading Bargniani and Gay's contracts freeing up a ton of cap space, adding roster depth, and providing future financial flexibility. Whether or not he intended to tank is irrelevant now because it ended up being a complete win/win situation for him and us. If we tanked then great, hopefully we'd pick up a top 5 and be in a position of flexibility next yr but instead we started winning which was also great because we started building a winning culture along with allowing our younger players (DD, JV, TR) more playing time to become seasoned. Regardless of how far we go into the playoffs this experience will be priceless for them and we'll still have that flexibility next year (although like everyone I'll be a little disappointed if we don't advance to the 2nd round). The bottom line is we really couldn't have asked for a better season, or to be in a better position going into next year. Thank you Masai!

    However that brings me to my actual question, what will Masai do next year? Like the majority on here I believe that Lowry, Patterson, and (most probably) Vasquez will all be re-signed. After making these moves he will still have money to play with and again like the majority I feel that money should be used on signing a true backup center for JV (Is Zaza on the market?) along with signing a backup SG for DeRozan (maybe Salmons will re-sign for a reduced price or perhaps everyone's Vince Carter fantasy will finally come true). But If Masai does make these minor tweaks in the offseason I think it will be a great move in a less is more type of way. He allows the team nucleus to remain intact and to build off the success of the prior season but he also still retains a great mix of desirable players and expiring contracts to pull off a blockbuster at anytime if he so chooses. And if that doesn't happen prior to the trade deadline he'll have all of those expiring contracts in his back pocket to work with (Fields, Hayes, Johnson, Hansborough) which provides a lot of options. Here is where I'm stumped though, like the upcoming draft I don't know what position he'll go after or who he'll make a run at. IMO of all the starters that could be upgraded I'd go with Amir at PF, this makes sense for me because of his combined age, injury history, and contract status. Amir is the perfect backup if he were to re-sign at say 4-5mil per year but I believe plugging in a younger all-star at that position would take us to the top of the east where we could be competitive for years with our youth & talent.

    Then I've also heard the KD conspiracies, that Masai is linked to him and will be trying to lure him here in 2016 by retaining Vasquez (his old alumni) and Vince Carter (his idol growing up). So maybe he does nothing major next year and just waits for his messiah to arrive, personally I love this theory but I'm not sure how much weight it holds. Anyone have thoughts on his future moves?
    Last edited by Raps76; Thu Mar 6th, 2014 at 06:39 PM.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    On Tim and Sid this aft they had Masai on and he said they were talking with Lowry's agent

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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    On Tim and Sid this aft they had Masai on and he said they were talking with Lowry's agent
    Damn can't believe I missed it, I always miss the good ones..

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    Raptors Republic Starter Scraptor's Avatar
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    I think the future is a complete and utter mystery. Everything hinges on Kyle Lowry. Masai is a master poker player and all we can do is hope that he has some pocket aces or is a hell of a bluffer.

    I don't for a second believe Kevin Durant will sign in Toronto unless we have a second star as good as or better than Russell Westbrook. It may even take a third star or some kind of serious playoff noise. Greivis Vasquez and a 38 year old Vince Carter are hardly going to influence one of the top two players in the world.

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    Quote Scraptor wrote: View Post
    I think the future is a complete and utter mystery. Everything hinges on Kyle Lowry. Masai is a master poker player and all we can do is hope that he has some pocket aces or is a hell of a bluffer.

    I don't for a second believe Kevin Durant will sign in Toronto unless we have a second star as good as or better than Russell Westbrook. It may even take a third star or some kind of serious playoff noise. Greivis Vasquez and a 38 year old Vince Carter are hardly going to influence one of the top two players in the world.
    You nailed it @Scraptor, he's a master poker player and always keeps his cards close to his chest. It's definitely an exciting time for this team.. I also agree about KD, we'd have to at least make the conference finals next year to garner serious attention from him.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star OldSkoolCool's Avatar
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    Quote Raps76 wrote: View Post
    Damn can't believe I missed it, I always miss the good ones..
    here you go:

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/n...-are-fighters/

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  9. #7
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    Thanks @OldSkoolCool

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    I think there are three things you can say for sure. DD, Ross and JV will all get better.

    There is also a good chance the Raps pick up a decent rookie.

    After that, as Scraptor said "a mystery."

    Are there any other things out there that we can say for sure? Fields will be better next year than he is this year? He has certainly improved over last year, and improvement after nerve surgery seems to take time, but be steady. Anything else?

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    For those who are fans of the Wins Produced stats, the numbers over at boxscoregeeks are revealing. Masai has traded away every player with a negative WP, and has only a couple below average players left.

    If he follows the same trends:
    - Salmons is gone
    - he will do everything to bring back Lowry
    - Patterson is retained
    - Buycks will be sent elsewhere for another chance ( like Austin Daye was)
    - he may let Grevis walk, and see what Nando and Stone can do

    We won't have a position of great need, and will draft best player available:
    - PG solid with Lowry and what Masai may see as OK backups
    - 3 wings are Ross, DD and a recovered Fields
    - 3 strong forwards are Amir, PP and Hansborough
    - Jonas at center with an adequate backup in Hayes and our PFs
    Last edited by Kuh; Fri Mar 7th, 2014 at 09:07 AM.

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    Great interview. As someone tweeted during the interview, I can listen to this guy talk all day.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar planetmars's Avatar
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    I am very surprised at how good this team is playing this year. You hear all the time that when a team gains player X that the team becomes so much better (San Antonio with Robinson than Duncan, Cleveland with LBJ, etc), but you don't hear how a team can also get better when they remove player Y (like Toronto with Bargnani and then Gay).

    The Bargnani trade/amnesty was going to happen. Too much bad press there - but to get a first rounder with no protections (yes its the worse of Denver's/NY' but still) and a serviceable player (who actually doesn't do anything unfortunately) was a great trade. I had hoped for a similar return from the Gay trade but we got a bench out of him - and that has always been a problem for this team.

    This summer in my opinion should be quiet. I don't think MU or the Raptors should make a lot of moves. Lowry should be the full focus. He needs to be resigned at a good value.. or let go. I wouldn't want to give him more than $10 in any year.. flexibility needs to be a focus going forward at all times with this team, especially in this new CBA. But you also don't want to let him go. I really want to see a bargain despite the way Lowry has played this year. MU can only do so much but I really hope Kyle liked playing here (at least this past year) and I hope Kyle doesn't take it too personally that he was involved in all those trade rumours this year. I'm hoping that the market for a PG is really thin and that the Raptors get a break when negotiating with a UFA.

    After that I say keep everything in tact. They have no real cap space this summer. Even if GV is renounced and Salmons is waived they are over the cap. So don't break the bank. Keep the flexibility open for 2015 when better free agents are available and the Raptors are under the cap. Use this summer and next year as a way to keep the chemistry in tact and use 'organic growth' to get better. Look at plugging in holes in the bench (someone for Salmons, and possibly GV, maybe a backup center for JV but only if you could find someone where the 2nd year is not guaranteed)

    After the bench is shored up figure out what you want to do with Casey. He gets mixed reviews on this board and that's understandable. Could this team have played this well without a defensive-minded coach like Casey? Guys like to play for him.. especially the two leaders in Kyle and DeMar. If they swap him do these guys get pissed off? Obviously you need to look at the development of TRoss and JV but can you guarantee the next coach will do a job as good as Casey has done?

    My prediction is that he'll be back. The contract length/size doesn't matter since MLSE is rich and coaches don't count towards the cap. I don't think it will be a detriment to the team if he does come back next year either. He may not be the guy that pushes them to the top (ie, top 5 in the league) but that's probably not going to happen next year anyway.

    So if everything works out I can't see why next year won't be as magical as it was this year. Even if teams like Philly/Orlando/Milwaukee all get stud picks they will still be rookies.. Raptors should still have an edge in the East over those teams. If anything Miami and even Indiana (if they don't get Lance back) could both tumble. I'm not saying the Raptors will be in the top 3 next season but they could still be in the playoff hunt even if they don't make a drastic move.

    Rome was not built in one day.. patience is important and MU has loads of it.

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    Quote Kuh wrote: View Post
    For those who are fans of the Wins Produced stats, the numbers over at boxscoregeeks are revealing. Masai has traded away every player with a negative WP, and has only a couple below average players left.

    If he follows the same trends:
    - Salmons is gone
    - he will do everything to bring back Lowry
    - Patterson is retained
    - Buycks will be sent elsewhere for another chance ( like Austin Daye was)
    - he may let Grevis walk, and see what Nando and Stone can do

    We won't have a position of great need, and will draft best player available:
    - PG solid with Lowry and what Masai may see as OK backups
    - 3 wings are Ross, DD and a recovered Fields
    - 3 strong forwards are Amir, PP and Hansborough
    - Jonas at center with an adequate backup in Hayes and our PFs

    P.S. One other team that has a similar looking set of WP players is San Antonio Spurs. No significant negative or below average players. All average or above average. That may be their, and Masai's, little secret.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star stooley's Avatar
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    Quote Kuh wrote: View Post
    P.S. One other team that has a similar looking set of WP players is San Antonio Spurs. No significant negative or below average players. All average or above average. That may be their, and Masai's, little secret.
    Shhhh!

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    It certainly has been a magical year. It seemed like a 500ish record for the team was their ceiling going into the year, and myself and others had them primed for a descent down the rankings following the Gay trade. But here we are - jostling for home court in the first round of the playoffs and riding a stretch of basketball since the shake up that has been one of the best in the team's two decade history.

    Winning in a vacuum is always a good thing. Higher attendance. Higher ratings. Player values go up. Mid-season games take on actual importance after five season of not doing so and you can't rule out the excitement a playoff berth will have for the city and franchise. But there are a certain number of opportunity costs involved, and you'd be naive to ignore that the success has come during a historically bad year for the Eastern Conference.

    There are a few things that I think need to happen this summer in order for the Raptors to continue on their upward trend.

    - Do not lose Lowry for nothing. Whether you're re-signing him to be the team's quarterback for the next 3-4 seasons, or you're re-signing him as a potential trade asset in the future, locking Lowry up to a value contract should be Masai's #1 priority. For me, this number is somewhere in the $8-9 million annual range. This allows him to either be a cap-friendly piece on the Raptors moving forward or a much sought after trade chip. The other alternative is to execute a sign-and-trade that returns strong value to the Raptors. Although it would be the worst case scenario at this point, it will be interesting to see what happens if KL demands $50 million over 4 years.

    - Hit on your draft pick. Pretty self explanatory. If the season ended today the Raptors would pick 20th. Ujiri could really earn his paycheque by walking away with a rotation player (or better) at this spot.

    - Re-sign the secondary free agents (Patterson, Vasquez) to contracts that will allow them to be attractive trade chips going forward. I'm not saying that you necessarily have to trade them, but the deals they sign must keep that option open.

    - I'd also like to see them turn Salmons and his unique contract into something useful, preferably a 2015 draft pick. Keep building that asset base.

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  20. #15
    Raptors Republic All-Star stooley's Avatar
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    Quote Kuh wrote: View Post
    For those who are fans of the Wins Produced stats, the numbers over at boxscoregeeks are revealing. Masai has traded away every player with a negative WP, and has only a couple below average players left.
    Never knew about boxscoregeeks, great website.

    Edit: Eh, there's some nice articles but I really didn't like the paper submitted to the Sloan conference. The correlations were pretty weak...
    Last edited by stooley; Fri Mar 7th, 2014 at 12:07 PM.

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    Quote Scraptor wrote: View Post
    I think the future is a complete and utter mystery. Everything hinges on Kyle Lowry. Masai is a master poker player and all we can do is hope that he has some pocket aces or is a hell of a bluffer.

    I don't for a second believe Kevin Durant will sign in Toronto unless we have a second star as good as or better than Russell Westbrook. It may even take a third star or some kind of serious playoff noise. Greivis Vasquez and a 38 year old Vince Carter are hardly going to influence one of the top two players in the world.
    You can't say that everything hinges on Lowry going forward. This season sure, but is it that hard to beleive that MU could bring in an upgrade to KL?

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    Quote Scraptor wrote: View Post
    I think the future is a complete and utter mystery. Everything hinges on Kyle Lowry. Masai is a master poker player and all we can do is hope that he has some pocket aces or is a hell of a bluffer.

    I don't for a second believe Kevin Durant will sign in Toronto unless we have a second star as good as or better than Russell Westbrook. It may even take a third star or some kind of serious playoff noise. Greivis Vasquez and a 38 year old Vince Carter are hardly going to influence one of the top two players in the world.
    But what about Drake sitting so close cheering him on? That may intrigue KD.

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    Say KD could actually sign in Toronto, he'd obviously be our starting SF. So, does DeMar keep his starting job as our SG or would they give it to Ross? I personally think DeMar keeps it.

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    Quote Jordan Evans wrote: View Post
    Say KD could actually sign in Toronto, he'd obviously be our starting SF. So, does DeMar keep his starting job as our SG or would they give it to Ross? I personally think DeMar keeps it.
    Obviously lol
    "You clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in: I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!"

    - Walter White

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    Raptors Republic Starter KeonClark's Avatar
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    Quote Mr.Z wrote: View Post
    Obviously lol
    That's 2 and a half years away, there's nothing obvious about it. Personally I think ross has a higher ceiling and will end up a better player then derozan. Maybe not a higher ppg, but a better all around player.

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