For a moment, the Raptors were at the pinnacle of the basketball world, having won their first Championship in franchise history — and against a historic dynasty.
Not long after their victory, they suffered a devastating defeat: losing their franchise player, and their chance at future Championships, to the Los Angeles Clippers. But despite losing a significant piece of the puzzle, they are not quite ready to blow things up, as explained by TSN’s Josh Lewenberg.
The immediate fallout is the Raptors are no longer contenders, of course, but they’re also not extinct. As currently constructed, they’ll be competitive in the wide-open Eastern Conference. They’ll give the keys to budding star Pascal Siakam and see what they have in third-year forward OG Anunoby. They’ll see if Fred VanVleet can be a starter and hope to find a diamond in the rough with one of their recent signings.
As for veterans Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka – who are all on expiring deals – the Raptors have no intention of moving them, at least not before the season, according to sources. Like he did with previous Raptors teams, Ujiri will give this group an opportunity to sink or swim before choosing a path and deciding what comes next.
So, Masai will see what he’s got before making a move. He wants to see which players fit, which do not, and how the overall team performs with who they have left — and they might have enough stay competitive.
Just how competitive, however, is still a matter up for debate. Nonetheless, expect anything for this Raptors team this upcoming season.