As there were two Game 7s in the NBA Conference Finals for the first time since 1979, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors were hoping to still be playing.
Despite having the best record in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history, the Raptors were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals. Falling short to the Cavaliers for the third consecutive season, the Raptors are faced with a dilemma.
After firing head coach Dwane Casey who was recently named the 2017-18 NBA Coach of the Year, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri must decide on building around the team’s core or making significant changes.
According to Ryan Wolstat of Toronto Sun, the Raptors will explore all trade options including their All-Star backcourt during the offseason:
Masai Ujiri fired Dwane Casey and is not expected to limit his shakeup to only one move. Of course there’s a better chance DeRozan does return, but Toronto will explore all options, per multiple league sources.
While DeRozan and Lowry will likely receive the most trade interest from around the league, Ujiri and company may just attempt to reduce the team’s payroll:
DeRozan, Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas will likely garner the most interest on the market, though Ujiri could look to cut salary in the form of top disappointment Serge Ibaka or Norman Powell, who is about to see his salary take a leap as his extension kicks in.
Since Casey became the team’s head coach prior to the 2013-14 NBA season, the Raptors have established themselves as a strong regular season team. However, in the midst of James’ dominance in the Eastern Conference, the future of the franchise is unclear considering the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are on the rise.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, they have been previously linked to DeRozan before he ultimately re-signed with the Raptors. Depending on how free agency goes for the storied franchise, it would not be surprising if the 28-year-old was somehow mentioned again with his hometown team.
As part of our efforts to help you understand how we handle the personal information you share with us, and in preparation for the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we’ve updated our Privacy & Cookies Policy. The updated Privacy & Cookies Policy will take effect on May 22, 2018. By using our services on or after that date, you’ll be agreeing to our updated Privacy & Cookies Policy. We recommend that you read our updated Privacy & Cookies Policy in full.