Much work remains to be done for the Raptors.
As they prepare to start an NBA season without Kyle Lowry for the first time in nearly a decade, the Raptors are still looking for a center of any kind in a free-agent market that opened with a predictable wave of spending Monday night.
But even though they lost Lowry and released guard Gary Trent Jr., the Raptors have yet to address the glaring absence of a proven great man on the roster.
According to various reports, Jarrett Allen re-signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five years and $ 100 million (USA), Richaun Holmes will remain in Sacramento on a four-year contract for up to $ 55 million, and Kelly Olynyk has moved from Houston to the Detroit Pistons on a three-year, $ 37 million deal, leaving the established big-man free agent ranks woefully thin.
Those three, along with players like Nerlens Noel (back to New York) and Dewayne Dedmon (back to Miami), represented the only proven centers on the market and now they are all gone.
Lowry’s departure could give the Raptors a boost in their search for help in the frontcourt. One of the returning pieces for Lowry is veteran guard Goran Dragic, who would be superfluous on a Toronto roster with Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn. Moving it into another transaction is a definite possibility.
Dallas has an interest in Dragic, who is intrigued by the idea of joining fellow Slovenian Luka Doncic with the Mavericks, according to league sources.
Until Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster complete a transaction for a great man, their free agent purchases and roster rebuilding are not over. They still have an interest in Khem Birch, who finished the season in Toronto, and Freddy Gillespie, who will play for Toronto’s Summer League team starting this week.
Meanwhile, the Raptors are intrigued by Trent’s long-term potential and now have time to see how he plays out. Trent, a 22-year-old former second-round draft pick, agreed to a three-year, $ 54 million deal to stay with Toronto, solidifying a spot on the backcourt.
The Raptors view Trent as an underdeveloped version of Norm Powell and will spend the offseason working on his ball handling and one-on-one play so he can better fit into the team’s ball movement, read and react to offense.
Precious Achiuwa, a six-foot-nine forward who is also on Lowry’s deal, is reportedly the most intriguing prospect Toronto had Monday night.
The 21-year-old forward, the 20th pick in the 2020 NBA draft, is coming off an excellent streak with the Nigerian Olympic team. He spent his rookie season with the Heat under the tutelage of respected veteran Udonis Haslem and has the kind of work ethic that Raptors coach Nick Nurse will appreciate.
He doesn’t have a shooting range, didn’t attempt a 3-pointer in 61 games and 737 minutes with Miami last season, but he averaged about 10 rebounds every 36 minutes and shot 54 percent from the field.
The long-awaited flurry of transfer announcements, none of which can be made official until Friday, underscored the value of veteran point guards in this era.
Aside from the Lowry deal, which will cost around $ 90 million, Chris Paul got a four-year, $ 120 million deal to stay in Phoenix, Mike Conley will stay in Utah with a three-year deal worth $ 72.5 million, and Derrick Rose is staying with the Knicks for $ 43 million for three years. Lonzo Ball is the only other major young point guard to move, heading to Chicago from New Orleans on a four-year, $ 85 million deal.
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