It is the beginning of a pivotal offseason for the Toronto Raptors, and there is a lot of work to be done in order to equip this team for a return to playoff supremacy. The young core and talent, led by the likes of Fred VanVleet, are there, and a return home to Toronto with a few important roster additions could immediately book this organization’s ticket to the Eastern Conference playoffs.
This group needs more than some patchwork players, and a big-name star is what this team needs in order to compete with the best of the NBA. A compliment to the Raptors’ young players and someone who can take all the weight off Pascal Siakam’s shoulders would be a huge boost to this club.
Superstars are expensive though, and although team president Masai Ujiri isn’t scared to make a big splash, it always hurts a bit to mortgage the future and/or lose a player the fanbase has fallen in love with.
This year’s free agency class is solid and definitely has some difference-makers, but there are no true superstars that will truly test the market (unless Kawhi Leonard decides the Clippers aren’t it).
The Raptors have a ton of UFAs that they can talk to or stud RFAs they can make offers, but the trade route, with someone like VanVleet included in a swap deal, maybe the only way to get a true star talent this offseason.
The Toronto Raptors could trade Fred VanVleet for a superstar this offseason.
As stated earlier, superstars are expensive and along with a boatload of draft picks – organizations usually want an established starter to come back as well. It will be a tough choice for Ujiri and company if it comes down to picking the young player they are most willing to part ways with. VanVleet should be that guy.
It’s no dig on VanVleet that he should be the guy to give up. If anything, it is a testament to the player he has become. From going undrafted to being an established starter for one of the preeminent organizations in the NBA, Steady Freddy has come a long way. This is more about his fit with the organization in the long term.
Kyle Lowry is more than likely on the way out too, so the Raptors losing their two starting guards may seem like a terrible move. A closer look at the depth chart though shows the guard spot is one of strength for the future.
Malachi Flynn, Jalen Harris and already established young guard Gary Trent Jr. could all have big roles with this team as soon as next season. With the highest draft pick this organization has had in years too, the guard position is one of strength for this year’s draft class.
Projected No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham would be the dream, but a player like Jalen Suggs or Davion Mitchell would be huge gets that could have immediate impacts.
VanVleet is a volume shooter who may not have all the tools to be a top floor general in the NBA. Still, he’s one of the best two-way guards in the Eastern Conference and would be worth a lot in a trade scenario. Be it for an upgrade at the guard position or superstar addition to the frontcourt. VanVleet is a very expendable player on the Raptors’ roster.