Recently, Raptors Rapture examined four players the Toronto Raptors should pursue or pass in the trade market. This time the Raptors’ roster is getting examined as we review four players that they should either keep or waive. The trade deadline is March 25th, and the Raptors’ management may need to clear cap space and or roster spots for potential transactions.
The waiving of Alex Len last month could help free a roster spot and guarantee a two-way contract like Yuta Watanabe. Free roster spots could also make room for incoming players acquired via trade, and there have been rumors involving the Raptors very recently.
First, SI.com reported that Kyle Lowry’s home in Toronto is on the real estate market for sale. While that on its own means nothing, as Lowry is a free agent at the end of this season and 35 years old, there are rumors about the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat showing interest in the Toronto point guard.
Any of the following four players could be included in deals to match the salary coming back in a trade, but here’s why they should be kept or waived.
Should Toronto keep these four Raptors? Or should they look to get rid of them?
Toronto Raptors Keep or Waive target No.1: Yuta Watanabe.
Hailing from Kagawa, Japan, Watanabe has made quite a positive stir in Toronto. Not every player can be a 20-25 point per game scorer. While fans are excited by production, they are also appreciative of a player’s effort. The Raptors coaching staff has been taking notice as well. Watanabe is becoming a permanent fixture in the Raptors rotation because of this.
In his third NBA season, and first with Toronto, Watanabe will set his own personal records for minutes and games played. The small forward has already matched his career-high in games played of 18 from last season when he played for Memphis.
He is averaging 12.4 minutes per game and hitting 42.9 percent of his three-pointers. His defensive efforts have also been keeping him in the Raptors rotation as well. Every team needs lunch pail players. The type who will hustle on every play, chase loose balls, and do the under-appreciated things that usually coaches understand and respect.
There is another reason Watanabe is being hailed as an exceptional up and comer on the Raptors. He has become an international sensation in Japan marketing-wise, as he and Rui Hachimura have become huge marketing cash cows. The Raptors are the best selling team in Japan, according to this SI.com article.
He is on a two-way contract that the Raptors will be forced to convert once he reaches 50 games, and it’s a strong probability he gets a guaranteed NBA contract before then.