Masai has a history of success with previous draft picks (Anunaboy, Barnes and Siakam), and with a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Raptors hope to continue their draft. The Raptors have struggled with shooting issues all season while their bench production has been lacking. Toronto ranked 28th in 3-pointers (33.5%), last in bench shooting (14.1) and in points per game (27.2). The Raptors’ Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. both have player options and will likely test free agency this July. Jakob Poeltl, who rejoined the Raptors at the trade deadline, is an unrestricted free agent. Fred Van Vleet, who switched representation to Klutch Sports Group, has until June 15 to pick up his player option. VanVleet has until June 30 to accept a four-year, $114 million extension from Toronto. Vanvleet is an important part of this Raptors ball club that plays second in minutes. Despite the slow start, Vanvleet showed why he is still the top guard in the Eastern Conference. Assessing VanVleet’s contract valuations gives a realistic look at his determined value. If Toronto agrees to pay VanVleet north of a four-year, $115 million deal, he will make more than $25 million in 2023-24.
“There is a parody in the league and I just don’t think that tearing down a team is the only way to build a team. I think when I look at the trade deadline or look at the players we have, I think there’s a lot of value.” – Masai Ujiri (Toronto Raptors President)
The top priority will be around Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, both of whom are eligible for extensions and could be free agents in 2024. Siakam can sign a four-year, $189.1 million max extension in July. Siakam is coming off another All-Star caliber season, averaging 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists. You can make a strong case that Siakam will get another All NBA bid. Another All NBA bid makes Siakam eligible for a supermax extension. The extension will increase to five years and an additional $100 million (for a total value of $288 million). Anunoby kept his promises to the Raptors organization. Masai Ujiri praised OG for his maturity, calling him one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Anunoby averaged 17.3 points on 54.1% shooting from the field and 44.2% from 3 after the All-Star break. With recent CBA rule changes, the Raptors would receive an additional $16 million that could be used to offer Anunoby. The four-year, $116 million contract will start at $26.1 million and replace a $19.2 million player option through 2024-25.
“I think sometimes people mention contracts to us, I personally don’t think contracts are an issue because I think historically the players here have known that we’ve taken care of the players here. You know there’s hardly been any players where that’s what we’re doing.” – Masai Ujiri
If Toronto agrees to return its core of Vanvleet, Trent and Poeltl, the Raptors will face years of financial turmoil. With the additions to the contracts of Siakam, Barnes and Anonubi, the Raptors are potentially looking at $175 million in 2024-25 contracts for their top players. In the business of the NBA, when executives make outstanding picks, that’s the price you pay. It’s time for Toronto to go in a different direction, the invisible ability to attract top level players must end. Masai needs to use his key pieces and test the market this offseason.
Author: Hussain Abdullahi
Featured: @raptors , @nbacanada
Publisher: TGQ Inc.