All the options on the table for the Raptors, who could rebuild, reload or stay the course this season – The Athletic


Toronto raised the banner, handed out enormous rings with “North” spelled out in diamonds, and choreographed an elaborate celebration worthy of its massive achievement.

That was a week ago. Now what?

We The Not Sure.

The world champion Toronto Raptors (side note for Raps fans: yes, let those glorious words sink in one more time) find themselves in an unusual place. This still feels like the same team, with six of the top eight players from last year’s championship run back on the roster. But without Kawhi Leonard, what does that get them?

Not since Michael Jordan retired from Chicago has a defending champion started the season without the Finals MVP on its roster. The history in other sports is similar. Unless you’re a fan of the Bulls or the Miami Marlins, this is terra incognita.

Moreover, this isn’t quite the same as the 1999 post-lockout Bulls or either version of the post-championship Marlins. Those teams knew they’d be…