6 best free agents to target at center

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NBA free agency is just over a month away, and the Toronto Raptors are going to have a busy offseason. Besides drafting a player in the lottery and their hopes to re-sign Kyle Lowry and Gary Trent Jr., One of their most important priorities is to get a center.

The center position was the main reason why the Raptors struggled during the 2020-21 season. They didn’t have anyone who can be the anchor like Serge Ibaka to give them some consistency on defense and enough offensive skill to make some easy baskets every now and again.

Khem Birch was decent in the role, and he will most likely stay with the Raptors, but they still need another center who can defend, block shots, and rebound well if they want to contend, or at least maintain their winning ways.

The beauty of this free agency class is that it will enable the Raptors to either splurge on a long-term investment or opt for a more economical decision. Both philosophies make tons of sense for Toronto.

These are the first choices for the Toronto Raptors

These are the choices that the Raptors should sign at the center position right away. They are not necessarily the players that will help the Raptors contend, but they’re here to take the position that the Raptors were missing last year, help them make the playoffs once again, and provide long-term stability.

Richaun Holmes

This was a career year for Richaun Holmes. The 27-year-old averaged 14.2 points per game, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game with Sacramento. He will definitely get a lot of interest from teams across the league, and the Raptors are no exception. Holmes would be an ideal fit for the Raptors. He can defend, grab rebounds, and be a pest on defense.

Toronto was interested in trading for Holmes at this year’s trade deadline. According to Shams Charania, multiple teams had an interest in Holmes, with the Hornets also kicking the tires on him.

His salary from last season was $5 million. And because of his career year, he could get somewhere between $10-20 million per year. If the Raptors pay Holmes $10-15 million per year, then that’s a great deal.

The Raptors have the space to make the addition, the need for his services, and the staff around him to help him prove that his brief stint with the Kings was not the product of playing alongside a limited batch of talent around him.

Nerlens Noel

He’s not going to give teams big stats on offense. Instead, Noel does the little things on the defensive end. That’s why they should target Noel in the offseason. He was the only player in the league to average one steal and two blocks per game last year, and he helped anchor a stifling defense in New York.

He’s a cheap player to sign. His current contract is one year $5 million with the Knicks. I can see him getting a similar type of contract with Toronto. Just let him dominate the paint and the Raptors could work on potentially fixing their deficiencies down low.