A lot has been made of how the Toronto Raptors will handle this offseason. The team has already fired head coach Dwane Casey and look like it will be one of the teams with the best chance of adding former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. Once the coaching search wraps up — whether it ends with Budenholzer or someone else — the team’s attention will ostensibly turn to its roster.
Toronto has to decide if it wants to run it back with this group, which set a franchise record for wins in a season but got swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, or if it wants to shake things up with their roster. This primarily means decisions have to be made regarding stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
You can make a case for or against trading either player, but if the Raptors decide to move DeRozan, the good news is the team has already made headway on determining his value on the market recently. Marc Stein of the New York Times wrote in his newsletter that Toronto shopped DeRozan last offseason, and that this summer could feature a ton of roster turnover.
When you add it all up, Toronto’s 2017-18 championship prospects couldn’t have been much tastier. This group of Raptors doesn’t sport a long-term outlook anywhere near Boston’s or Philly’s, but the opportunity squandered was massive. That’s why changes are already underway.
Expect them to continue.
Word is that the Raptors quietly explored their DeMar DeRozan trade options last summer — before they had any inkling that a breakout season was looming — and I’d fully expect Toronto to explore those possibilities again. Not just with DeRozan but with anyone and everyone on the roster.
Lowry himself called this a “wasted year” in Toronto and it appears that sentiment may be shared by the organization’s decision makers. DeRozan was outstanding this year, and while last offseason was one thing, perhaps the team could use that to justify building around him going forward.