With a quiet draft night, the Toronto Raptors will likely look to make a splash this offseason. GM Masai Ujiri emphasized the need for some change, and the rumors of dealing DeMar DeRozan for Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe indicate he’s not afraid to trade virtually anybody on this team. Judging Masai’s behavior this far leads me to assume he is going to try to build around the current squad and re-tool, rather than ‘blow it up’.
Evidently this team needs some work, but I personally don’t think they are that far off. Here is what Ujiri’s offseason checklist should look like:
Address Back-up Point Guard(s)
With sights set on Bledsoe, I think Ujiri may have the wrong idea. There would be no point in getting a high-motor, scoring first point guard unless Kyle Lowry is on his way out. I don’t think Lowry had a fair chance last season, and is the answer at the point guard spot going forward. Signing a solid veteran play-maker along with a young third-stringer would settle the situation. John Lucas III was recently let go by the club, therefore it’s evident two point guards will be needed.
Acquire Stud Power Forward
Quite frankly, if this team wants to continue with the current roster, a drastic piece needs to be added. If you want to stay in the 5-9th seed range, keep Amir Johnson as the starter. However, if this team wants reach the upper echelon of the league, a legitimate all-star potent power forward will be needed, with Amir coming off the bench. Names such as Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap, & Josh Smith have been throw out there, however none have been linked to the Raptors as yet. A package surrounding a first round pick in a sign and trade would be a possible scenario.
Settle Bargnani Situation
Watching fans boo Andrea Bargnani last season may have indicated that they don’t like him. It’s quite evident at this point that not many people want Bargnani in Toronto anymore, and while Andrea has been the beneficiary of some bad luck injuries, poor team chemistry, and awful fans, it’s obvious he doesn’t fit in with this roster anymore. However, if Masai wants to deal Bargnani, ensure his value is properly fulfilled. Trading him for Caron Butler is simply poor asset management.
Clear Cap Space
Dumping Bargnani would be a start here, as well as using the amnesty clause on Linas Kleiza. This would provide the Raptors with some financial flexibility to address needs above, and if you can somehow dump Landry Fields the awful cap situation suddenly becomes bearable.
The bottom line is this: Ujiri isn’t messing around. This should continue to be an interesting offseason to say the least. Stay tuned, as this could be a scarier roller-coaster than Raptors fans are used to.