The Toronto Raptors have had a very interesting offseason, to say the least. After yet another sweep at the hands of LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the 2018 postseason, many wondered if big changes were coming in Toronto, or if they would simply try running it back once again.
Team president Masai Ujiri chose the former, firing coach Dwane Casey (who ended up winning NBA Coach of the Year) and later trading DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. The DeRozan trade upset many, as DeRozan had become a beloved figure in Toronto off the court as much as on it, but the opportunity to bring in a top-5 player like Leonard (albeit coming off a mysterious quad injury) was too good to pass up even in the face of potential backlash.
It will be fascinating to see how this Raptors team will look next season, considering it was one of the most cohesive groups in the league and now will have to create new team chemistry. On Monday, Toronto made another addition to the roster, although not nearly as important as Leonard, when they agreed to a deal with free agent center Greg Monroe (ostensibly to fill in the void left by Poeltl).
Monroe is an interesting signing because he is a throwback center that at times struggles to stay on the court due to his lumbering nature and defensive shortcomings. Monroe played for three teams last season, beginning the year in Milwaukee before being dealt to Phoenix in the Eric Bledsoe deal where he was released and ultimately wound up in Boston. Monroe barely played for the Celtics, as they elected to go with smaller lineups that could run up and down the floor rather than to put the plodding Monroe out there.
That said, Monroe still is a capable offensive big man in the post and a strong rebounder that can help out in the regular season. One would not expect him to have much of a role once the rotation shrinks in the postseason as teams tend to go smaller now, but it’s possible that in certain matchups he could find himself in the rotation depending on the opponent.