This Toronto Raptors free agency period will be as important, if not more so, than any other in the last decade, as they need to jump back into playoff contention quickly. One way they could accomplish that goal is splurging on a player like Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes on the open market.
After getting his first few NBA cups of coffee with the “Trust the Process” Philadelphia 76ers, Holmes has since proven to be a quality center in Sacramento, averaging 12.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game on 64% shooting with the Kings. Per 36 minutes, Holmes has been averaging a double-double.
Sacramento does not hold his Bird rights, meaning that they could need to get creative in order to bring him back. While this could be good news for the Raptors, his rumored price tag might be enough to scare Masai Ujiri away from committing a ton of resources towards securing his signature.
NBC Sports is reporting that Holmes is seeking a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $80 million, which is slightly less than the $85 million deal Fred VanVleet got last offseason after helping lead the Raptors to a championship.
Should the Toronto Raptors free agency plans include Richaun Holmes?
The Raptors have Khem Birch in their sights, and his career-best stretch with Toronto last season coupled with the added hometown advantage could lead to him returning to the squad for a much more economical price. However, signing Holmes might be the move that helps the Raptors more than Birch.
While Birch has a nice quarter-season stint as a starter, Holmes has been a quality starter for two years on a Kings team that didn’t have a ton of frontcourt depth to supplement him. Holmes isn’t a great shooter, but he should be a better fixture on offense with the rebounding to fill their void and an improving defensive game.
The “start high” negotiation tactic might end up getting Holmes a contract with fewer years and overall dollars, but if the Kings are willing to match Holmes’ demands, the Raptors should back off, as they need to make several signings to improve the team. If he is willing to take less money, Ujiri should jump all over him.
The Raptors need to improve this roster in free agency, but they can’t just give out blank checks all offseason. Holmes is without a doubt worthy of taking a look at, as he would give Toronto an upgrade at center, but $20 million a year for the next four seasons would be a huge commitment that Ujiri might not be thrilled about.