The regular reason for the 2021 season is over, and it’s time for the Playoffs. This means the season is over for some teams who couldn�t make the playoffs. That�s the case of the Toronto Raptors, who finished as the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Last year, the Raptors made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and now, almost after a year, they couldn�t even make it to the play-in tournament, with a negative record of 27-45.
This Raptors team looks different compared to last year. They lost key players like Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell.
The team will need to make some tough choices this offseason. Kyle Lowry�s contract is one of them, as it comes to an end, marking the end of an era.
Kyle Lowry�s Contract
After multiple reports at the trade deadline, Kyle Lowry wasn�t traded from the Toronto Raptors, as he needed to assure teams he would re-sign. However, now it�s a different situation with his contract coming to an end. The Raptors currently pay him 30 million dollars, and it�s debatable if he still deserves that amount.
�I�m BSing because I don�t have an answer for you”.�Money talks; years talk�.Kyle Lowry on his future in Toronto
Lowry is 35 years old, will get worse, and won�t benefit from staying in Toronto. His departure is the best scenario for both him and the team. This season, Kyle�s numbers deviated, and they will only go worse from there.
It�s time for Toronto to move on and evolve, as they bet on Fred Van Vleet to be the lead playmaker of the team. Toronto�s prepared him for the past 2 years, and without Lowry, he can be the leader.
Return to Toronto
This year, the Toronto Raptors had to play in Tampa Bay, far away from Toronto, with different weather and no fans. It�s been a tough year for them, as they hope to return to Air Canada Center next season. Things look hopeful as more people are getting vaccinated in Canada, and a return seems likely.
One person who�s in favor of the Raptors� return home is their President of Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri.
�I don�t want to be selfish on the sports part, and as an NBA worker or executive, I don�t want to be selfish and push our agenda before other people, but, yes, timing matters and we would like to be considered, because we do not want � I repeat � we do not want to play anywhere else but Toronto”President of Basketball Operations of the Toronto Raptors Masai Ujiri
Betting on the Future
Looking at the future of the Toronto Raptors, everything looks promising. They managed to trade Norman Powell for Gary Trent Jr., who looks to be a star on the rise. They�ll have to pay him this offseason, but that�s a small price to pay to get a decent backcourt in Van Vleet and Gary Trent Jr.
The Raptors also have their franchise player in Pascal Siakam, who, despite struggling this season, is still in a good place to build around.
OG Anunoby�s rise is notable, improving every season ever since drafted. Next season he can be the difference with his great defensive awareness and improved offense. If he continues to improve like this, the Raptors won�t need to worry about their backcourt.
However, the most interesting aspect of this offseason is the Raptors 2021 lottery draft pick. This year�s draft is as stacked as ever, and the Raptors can get a gem to develop, like a defensive big to replace what Ibaka or Gasol produced for them unless the Raptors believe in Chris Boucher and bet on him next season.
Re-signing with Masai Ujiri
Masai Ujiri is the man that got Toronto their Championship, taking a risk on Kawhi Leonard for a single year. The team has developed well, and he is the main reason for it.
Resigning Masai Ujiri must be the priority of the Toronto Raptors if they want to continue on the rise, as they had a tough year and now need stability. He has not failed the city of Toronto, or even the country of Canada, always making the right decisions. If they resign Ujiri, Toronto fans shouldn�t worry about their future, as it will be in good hands like the past 8 years.