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Report: People around NBA expect Raptors to run it back

Masai Ujiri
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are expected to “run it back” in the 2023-24 season, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.

Grange received intel from multiple league sources who expect the Raptors to try to keep their current core.

“What I’m hearing now is they’re not going to trade from their core,” said one league source.

Toronto won’t have it easy this offseason, as the team does have free agents that it needs to bring back to make that happen.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if they run it back,” another league source said. “There is a lot of holding and waiting going on.”

Former All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet is one of those free agents, as he opted out of his player option for the 2023-24 season.

It was recently reported that the Wichita State University product could command $30 million or more per season on the open market. Toronto could certainly bring VanVleet back, but it would need to be willing to commit some serious money to him.

A key cog in the team’s championship run in the 2018-19 season, VanVleet averaged 19.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.2 assists (a career high) per game last season.

Another player that could end up in free agency for Toronto is Gary Trent Jr. He also has a player option for the 2023-24 season.

Trent has been a solid wing scorer for the Raptors, but he did see his role take a bit of a hit after the team acquired center Jakob Poeltl at the trade deadline last season.

The Raptors have Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby under contract for at least one more season (Anunoby has a player option for the 2024-25 campaign), so the team could be looking to make one last run with this core.

Toronto had a down season in the 2022-23 campaign, failing to reach the playoffs after making the Eastern Conference play-in tournament field.

As a result, the Raptors moved on from head coach Nick Nurse earlier this offseason.

It’s possible that a coaching change is what this team needs, but for the Raptors to run it back, they’ll need to make a competitive offer to VanVleet in free agency.


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