Masai has a track record of success with draft picks in the past (Anunaboy, Barnes and Siakam), and with a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA draft, the Raptors hope to continue their model. The Raptors struggled with shooting problems all season while production from their bench was non-existent. Toronto ranked 28th in 3-point percentage (33.5%), last in bench minutes (14.1) and points per game (27.2). The Raptors’ Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. have player options and will most likely test free agency this July. Jakob Poeltl, who rejoined the Raptors at the trade deadline, is an unrestricted free agent. Fred VanVleet, who switched his representation to Klutch Sports Group, has until June 15 to opt out of his player option. VanVleet has until June 30 to agree to the four-year, $114 million extension from Toronto. Vanvleet is a vital piece of this Raptors baseball club, ranking second in minutes played. Despite the slow start, Vanvleet showed glimpses of why he remains a top guard in the Eastern Conference. VanVleet’s evaluation of contract valuations provides a realistic view of its determined value. If Toronto agrees to pay VanVleet anything beyond a four-year, $115 million contract, he will earn more than $25 million in the 2023-24 season.
“There is parody in the league and I just don’t see breaking a team as 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 (President of the Toronto Raptors)
The front office’s top priority will be Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, who are eligible for the extension and can become free agents in 2024. Siakam is eligible to sign a maximum four-year, $189.1 million extension in July . Siakam is coming off another stellar-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 offer. Another All-NBA offer makes Siakam eligible for the supermax extension. The extension would increase to five years and an additional $100 million (worth up to $288 million). Anunoby kept his promises to the Raptors organization. Masai Ujiri praised OG for his maturity and declared 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-point range after the All-Star break. With recent CBA rule changes, the Raptors will get an additional $16 million that can be leveraged to offer Anunoby. A four-year, $116 million deal would start at $26.1 million and replace his $19.2 million player option in 2024-25.
“I think sometimes people mention to us about contracts, personally I don’t think contracts are an issue because I think historically the players here knew that we had taken care of the players here. You know there have hardly been any players where that’s what we do.” -Maasai Ujiri
If Toronto agrees to bring back its core of Vanvleet, Trent and Poeltl, the Raptors will face financial turmoil for years to come. With the addition of the Siakam, Barnes and Anonuby contracts, the Raptors are potentially seeking around $175 million in contracts during the 2024-25 season for their top five players. In the NBA business, when executives handpick standout picks, this is the price you pay. It’s time for Toronto to go in a different direction, the invisible ability to attract top-level players must come to an end. Masai will need to use his core pieces and test the market this offseason.
Written by: Hussein Abdullahi
Featuring: @raptors, @nbacanada
Published by: TGQ Inc.