Not a lot of moves have been made by the Raps this offseason, then again when you finish two wins short of the finals, an overhaul really isn’t necessary. The move they did need to make was replacing Bismack Biyombo. The big forward opted out of his contract to go on the hunt for the major bucks. He found just that in Orlando, signing a 4-year $72 million dollar deal. It’s hard to argue when there’s that kind of cash on the table. None the less, the Raps hope they found a stop-gap replacement as they welcomed former Boston Celtic Jared Sullinger to The Six and drafted Jakob Poeltl. They weren’t the only ones shopping the market in the East though.
The New York Knicks added Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah. While the Bulls replaced Rose with former Miami Heat legend Dwayne Wade. The Bulls will be a question mark, but the Knicks have definitely strengthened their squad. So much so, in fact, that they are now tied with Toronto in the odds. TopBet.eu lists the Raptors at +6000, right next to New York, in a very competitive Eastern Conference.
New York +6000
Of course, sitting atop the group, are the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. They won’t be falling down the charts any time soon, although interestingly enough, they are ranked behind the Golden State Warriors on the list. Despite winning the title just weeks ago, the Cavs have dropped to number two already. Adding Kevin Durant to an already record setting Warrior squad can do that to a team.
The Raptors will be in tough next season, for sure, but they did cross off the biggest task on their offseason agenda early. They extended former USC standout DeMar DeRozan’s contract on July 1st. He inked a five-year deal worth $139 million before incentives. He is now one of the highest paid players in the league and the Raptors have officially opened their bank to keep the core together (cap rules prevented them from going all-in, mind you).
The infrastructure is here to stay and Toronto is keen on keeping their position in the league as one of the top dogs – despite their current sportsbook standing.