The Toronto Raptors reportedly have “everybody and everything” on the table heading into the offseason outside of youngster Scottie Barnes.
After a disappointing 2022-23 season that saw the Raptors fall short in the league’s play-in tournament, losing to the No. 10-seeded Chicago Bulls, the team could make some major moves.
Key players like Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby could be on the move this offseason as the team tries to retool its roster.
“VanVleet will opt out of his contract and join Jakob Poeltl and Gary Trent Jr. as unrestricted free agents this summer,” TSN’s Josh Lewenberg wrote. “Siakam and Anunoby have been and will continue to be featured in trade speculation. Outside of Scottie Barnes, who is coming off a disappointing follow up to his Rookie of the Year campaign, everybody and everything is on the table as the off-season kicks into high gear ahead of the draft in late June and free agency at the beginning of July.”
The Raptors had featured Anunoby in trade talks ahead of the trade deadline this season, but the team ultimately decided to make a win-now move, acquiring Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs.
While the Raptors played better with Poeltl, a true center, in the lineup, it wasn’t enough for the team to repeat the success of the 2021-22 season, when it earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors also fired head coach Nick Nurse, who led the team to an NBA title in the 2018-19 season, on Friday. The move signals that the franchise is looking to turn in a new direction after a down season in the 2022-23 campaign.
Former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka appears to be a prime candidate to replace Nurse in Toronto.
Trading away or losing franchise cornerstones such as Siakam and VanVleet would be tough, but it may be the team’s best way to build around Barnes.
VanVleet is coming off one of the worst shooting seasons of his career (39.3 percent shooting from the field and 34.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc), and he will turn 30 before the end of the 2023-24 season.
Siakam, who was an All-Star this season, may be the team’s best chance at netting a major return in the trade market, though he is only under contract through the 2023-24 season.
Anunoby is also under contract through the 2023-24 campaign, and he has a player option for the following season as well.
While Barnes didn’t play as well this season as he did in his rookie campaign, the Raptors clearly still believe he can be a building block for them.
If the team truly wants to build around Barnes, it may want to make some moves for more shooting to space the floor around him, as he’s proven to be a solid playmaker and slasher in his first two seasons.
The Raptors finished the 2022-23 campaign with a 41-41 record, and it seems like the team will do anything to avoid a similar result next season.