3 free agents fans should be relieved Masai Ujiri didn’t chase


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 14: Devonte’ Graham #4 of the Charlotte Hornets dribbles against Malachi Flynn #8 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors were one of the more active teams this offseason, as they acquired Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in a trade with the Miami Heat for Kyle Lowry in one of the more memorable sign-and-trade moves we’ve seen in some time. They were a somewhat major player in free agency as well.

Toronto had two potential starters on the market in Gary Trent Jr. and Khem Birch, and Masai Ujiri managed to retain both of them for the next few seasons. Considering that Toronto could’ve torn everything down in a full-scale rebuild, that’s not exactly a bad job of adding talent.

While showing aggression in free agency is nice, sometimes the sign of a good front office is to know when to hold back and show restraint. While the Raptors were able to avoid giving out any albatross contracts, the same can’t be said of some of the teams they are competing against.

The Raptors and their fans should all breathe a collective sigh of relief that one of these three players didn’t make the trip to Toronto. Considering the contracts that they got, Toronto dodged a bullet several times over.

3 free agents the Toronto Raptors were right to avoid.

3. Devonte’ Graham, New Orleans Pelicans

Graham had some moments worth celebrating during his time in Charlotte, but the LaMelo Ball/Terry Rozier backcourt being supplemented by the selection of James Bouknight in the NBA Draft left Graham without a home. He cashed in with New Orleans, but at a four-year, $47 million price tag that is way too expensive for him.

Graham can stroke it from deep, but his career 37% shooting percentage and 39.5% mark on shots inside the arc confirms that he is one of the worst interior finishers in the game. Rather than try to make him a star sixth man off of the bench, Toronto wisely let the Pelicans pick up this restricted free agent.

Devonte’ Graham would’ve been an inefficient backup for the Raptors.

Graham is instead headed to New Orleans as Zion Williamson’s consolation prize following the team’s failed efforts to seduce Kyle Lowry into making the trip. With Dragic in tow and the Malachi Flynn/Scottie Barnes duo ready to eat up ball-handling touches, Toronto’s plan seems better than throwing a ton of money a Graham.

Considering his size, penchant for making tough 3-point shots, and efficiency concerns, New Orleans needs to develop him into a Fred VanVleet-type of player. Luckily, Toronto already has a VanVleet type player in the man himself. Graham’s scoring was attractive, but he wouldn’t have meshed well with this roster.