By Jared Doyle @outofboundsjay on May 12, 2014
The Toronto Raptors were one of the “feel-good” teams this season, breaking out of franchise mediocrity and grabbing the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors ran into a very deep and veteran-laden Brooklyn Nets squad in the first round of the playoffs, which is a major reason for their early exit. The Raptors have a lot to be excited about for next season. Here are the five biggest rumors surrounding the Toronto Raptors right now.
Both Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson are RFAs this summer, and it is imperative that the Raptors re-sign both players. Vasquez averaged 10 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 4.0 RPG against the Nets, while Patterson averaged 10 PPG, 1,0 APG, and 8,0 RPG. These are both players who are not afraid of the big stage, and should be considered cornerstones for this Raptors franchise moving forward.
DeMar DeRozan had a breakout year due to receiving more minutes courtesy of the Rudy Gay trade to the Sacramento Kings. DeRozan averaged career highs in points (22.7), rebounds (4.3) and assists (4.0) this season. DeRozan is one of the Raptors' best players, and will only get better as he gains more experience in the NBA.
CBS Sports recently reported that the Raptors are interested in bringing Vince Carter back “home” this summer, due to Carter becoming a free agent. This is an awful idea. Not only has Carter made it known he wants to stay in Dallas, but the Raptors have a slew of quality guards who are younger and more athletic than Carter. Re-signing Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, and Greivis Vasquez this summer should be the Raptors' priority, not Vince Carter.
Jonas Valanciunas is reportedly going to be working with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer to help develop his low-post skills. This is a great scenario for the Raptors because players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have come back from Olajuwon's training sessions more adept in the post, and subsequently had breakout seasons playing in the paint. This is a smart move for JV, one which could aid in pushing the Raptors past the first round.
Kyle Lowry will become a free agent this offseason, but the Raptors have already made it publicly known that they have every intention of re-signing the young perennial All-Star point guard. Lowry had a breakout season this year, averaging 17.9 PPG (second-highest on the team), 7.4 APG, and also was in the top 10 for win shares in the NBA. GM Masai Ujiri will do everything in his power to sign Lowry to a long-term deal this summer.
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