The Free Agency Profile for the Toronto Raptors
*Photo via USA Today
Toronto Raptors (49-33)
For the Toronto Raptors, the 2014-2015 season was in essence a reality check. The poor quality of the Eastern Conference catapulted them to a division title and a fourth seed, however they were never considered a threat or title contender in anyway. Although they won a franchise record 49 games this past year, the way their season ended has left Raptors faithful disappointed and in some ways worried the team has taken a step back in their process of title contention. After trading away their backup point guard, Greivis Vasquez in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Raptors selected 23 year-old Delon Wright, a point guard out of Utah, with their first round pick. With free agency looming the Raptors must find a way to remain an upper echelon team in the East, while also posing a threat to the rest of the league as a borderline title contender. After coming off of a season some Raptors fans would consider a failure, General Manager, Masai Ujiri and the rest of the Raptors brass will be in for a very busy summer, once the free agency period begins July 1st.
Cap Space: $24,704,926
Amir Johnson, Power Forward (UFA), Lou Williams, Guard (UFA), Landry Fields, Small Forward (UFA), Tyler Hansbrough, Power Forward (UFA), Greg Stiemsma, Center (UFA), Chuck Hayes, Power Forward (UFA)
With six unrestricted free agents the Raptors might be looking a little bit different once the 2015-16 season rolls around. Look for the Raptors to try and retain this year’s Sixth Man of the Year, Lou Williams, although he is getting serious interest from many other teams around the league. The Raptors will also look to bring back the heart and soul of their team, Amir Johnson, but only at the right price. The other four free agents are most likely going to be wearing another jersey next year as the Raptors will find their replacements either by free agent acquisitions or by developing young talent already present on the roster.
Team Needs: Rebounding, Experience, Defensive minded players
In last year’s playoffs versus the Washington Wizards, the Raptors were exposed in both of these areas. The Raptors were bludgeoned on the boards, getting outrebounded by the bigger and stronger Wizards team. The Raptors also had a hard time keeping quick guards like John Wall and Bradley Beal in front of them, allowing Washington to easily facilitate their offense by getting into the paint.
Possible Targets:David West, Kevin Seraphin, Dorell Wright, Brandan Wright, Tristan Thompson
With the exception of David West and to some degree Tristan Thompson, none of these players have what it takes to turn this Raptors team around individually. However, all of these players would help in certain areas where this Raptors team is flawed. Both Kevin Seraphin and Brandan Wright are good rebounders who can also put the ball in the basket from the power forward/center position.
Dorell Wright, older brother of this year’s Raptors first-round draft choice Delon, would provide some outside shooting from the small forward spot, while also bringing experience and leadership. If the Raptors decide to swing for the fences and acquire Canadian Tristan Thompson or David West, then they will have upgraded tremendously at the power forward position and definitely would be considered a threat in this weak Eastern Conference.