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But this is all speculation at the moment.
What we do know is that whenever free agency opens the Raptors will be one of the busiest teams, with the most on the line. Starters Fred VanVleet and Marc Gasol and sixth man Serge Ibaka are all now unrestricted free agents. VanVleet, one of the best two-way point guards in the league, will be in high demand, though the team is determined to bring him back. Gasol is declining and might consider returning to his native Spain to finish out his playing days, but is still a valuable defensive orchestrator for the Raptors and Ibaka is an excellent centre and one of the team’s leaders and key locker room stabilizers.
The Raptors will also have to think about offering an extension to Anunoby (and possibly to Kyle Lowry), while also making sure they leave enough cap space available for the 2021 off-season, when two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will become available if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Of course team president Masai Ujiri’s potential contract extension will also be an off-season point of emphasis for ownership.
Zooming out, Anthony Davis is the biggest-name current potential free agent. He can opt-out in search of a long-term mega-deal, despite just winning with the Lakers, or wait until next year when there is more economic certainty.
We’re going to assume none of the veterans scheduled to make in excess of $20 million U.S. (DeMar DeRozan, Gordon Hayward, Mike Conley, Andre Drummond, Otto Porter Jr., etc.) will decline their player options, given the aforementioned fiscal climate, and that the intriguing restricted talents (like Brandon Ingram, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Dario Saric) stay put.
That probably leaves VanVleet, Ibaka, Sixth man of the year Montrezl Harrell, Danilo Gallinari, Davis Bertans, Goran Dragic, Aron Baynes, Jerami Grant, Joe Harris and Derrick Favors as the best available players.
Will teams pay up long-term, or will we see some short deals as players wait it out for the “brighter days” LeBron James mentioned upon winning the title.
It’s all a guessing game.