The Toronto Raptors have certainly had a busy offseason, as Bryan Colangelo has put in a tremendous amount of work in order to make the team more competitive.
Despite losing out on Steve Nash, most people would agree that Colangelo has been successful in completing the task of getting the Raptors to the status of playoff contenders. There should be some drastic improvements this upcoming season, and the Raptors should be an exciting team to watch. Let’s break down the offseason transactions and give them a grade, one by one.
Draft Night: Bryan Colangelo selects Terrence Ross with the 8th pick
This one was tough to swallow initially. The Raptors lost their future starting small forward to a coin flip, and ended up picking a guy nobody mentioned at the 8 spot, passing up big names such as Andre Drummond and Austin Rivers. However, the more people look at the pick, the more people have warmed up to it.
There is no doubt in my mind that Ross will be a great pro, and was probably the safest pick available, it’s just unfortunate that the Raptors didn’t get a higher pick or try to trade up. However, at the 8 spot, Ross isn’t a bad pick.
Quincy Acy was also a solid pick in the second round. He should be a high energy big man off the bench, and will be another solid prospect moving forward.
Free Agency: Raptors sign Landry Fields to a 3 year, 20 million dollar offer sheet
When Bryan Colangelo himself said that giving Fields this offer was to help out with the Steve Nash pursuit and the Raptors still fell short, this one burns even more.
15 million dollars for Fields would have been justifiable- maybe a little overpaying but still reasonable, but 20 million dollars is pushing it. While Fields had a fantastic rookie campaign, his sophomore season was less than stellar. People blame that on Carmelo Anthony, but I’m not sure how much truth there is to that.
Still, if Fields can return to rookie form, this deal won’t be as bad as it seems and the Raptors have a decent starting small forward option.
Trades: Raptors acquire Kyle Lowry for Gary Forbes, future draft pick
This deal saved Bryan Colangelo’s offseason, big time. Lowry is a legitimate top 10 starting point guard, and is relatively young. He will be a viable option for many years going forward, and brings two way point guard play that the Raptors haven’t seen since Alvin Williams.
The only downside to the deal is that Lowry’s contract expires in two years, but if Colangelo can extend him then problem solved. The pick is protected in a very unique way, where it guarantees the Rockets a lottery pick but protects the Raptors if they get a very high pick:
Protected 1st round draft pick
Protection on the 1st round pick is as follows:
In 2014, pick goes to Houston if it is 4-14
If it isn’t, then in 2015 and 2016, pick goes to Houston if it is 3-14
Free Agency: Raptors re-sign Aaron Gray, Alan Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
I know, technically Jonas Valancinas isn’t a re-signing but bringing back Alan Anderson and Aaron Gray are both solid moves. Aaron Gray is a quality, cheap big man who will likely start at center and mentor Valanciunas until he’s ready to take over.
Anderson is a quality player to have off the bench, and is another veteran scoring option who will help improve the bench.
However, the biggest signing has been getting Valanciunas’ buyout confirmed and locking him up to his rookie contract.
Overall, the Raptors have beefed up their team substantially and the positives outweigh the losses.
Overall Grade- B-
Follow me on Twitter @Thesachman