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Will Toronto take a look at Mo Bamba?

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With NBA free agency scheduled to begin Thursday at 6 pm ET, the Toronto Raptors appear to be entering from a position of relative strength.

After a blessed 2021-22 campaign that saw them go 48-34 and finish fifth in the Eastern Conference despite predictions that it would be a bad year, the developmental year turned out to be highly successful, highlighted by the first All -Star by Fred VanVleet. nods, Pascal Siakam’s return to All-NBA status and Scottie Barnes establishing himself as one of the game’s brightest young talents with a Rookie of the Year campaign.

These positive steps forward have made the Raptors’ offseason quite comfortable.
The team has a talented core made up of VanVleet, Siakam, Barnes, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., and Precious Achiuwa, all locked down until at least the end of next season. And during last week’s NBA Draft, the club looked to somehow address its need for a backup center with the selection of Arizona junior Christian Koloko.

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However, just because the Raptors are in a good spot right now doesn’t mean they can’t improve, and they certainly can look to improve during free agency.

Despite the steps Achiuwa took last season and the selection of Koloko, center remains an area of ​​need the Raptors will likely want to consider propping up. Also, given all the play that Siakam and Barnes offer, the Raptors don’t have a lot of consistent targets to kick and make defenses pay for caving in on them in the paint, so finding a spot shooter, or even better a wing three and D reliable – would be helpful.

Lastly, it might be wise for the Raptors to look for a suitable backup point guard or shot creator who can play with the second unit. Toronto’s bench woes were well-documented last season, and that’s mostly because there wasn’t a guy in those secondary and third appearances who could lead the team in their offense or create something of his own. Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton have shown flashes at times, but if the Raptors are going to take the next step, an immediate upgrade would be welcome.

These are the types of targets the Raptors could possibly be looking for, but one thing to keep in mind though, unless they can execute a sign and trade, big names like Deandre Ayton, Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal will be out of the picture. Toronto price range. That’s because the Raptors simply don’t have the cap space to soak up the max contracts those players will likely be looking for.

Instead, Toronto will have to use cap exceptions to add via free agency and will have the non-contributor midlevel exception (worth about $10.3 million) and the biennial exception (a contract that can last up to two years). seasons and is worth just over $4 million) to use when the free agency craze kicks off Thursday.

So with that in mind, here’s a look at 10 targets the Raptors may want to consider.

mo bamba

Position: Center
Condition: Restricted

After four seasons of minimal progress, the Orlando Magic are unlikely to match any offers that come their way for Bamba if they find themselves in the full mid-tier exception. At 7-foot-10 with a wingspan of 3-point range and good shot-blocking instincts at just 24 years of age, the Raptors could certainly do worse to address their need at center.

nic claxton

Position: Center
Condition: Restricted

Another restricted free agent center. The Brooklyn Nets, with their depth issues, probably want to stay but probably won’t be able to match offers coming in at the non-contributing mid-tier, opening the door for the Raptors to potentially acquire the athletic, tradeable big man. . He’s not much more than a rim runner offensively, but he’s only 23 and his quick feet would make him a good fit for Toronto’s various defensive schemes.

Amir Coffey

Position: Guard
Condition: Restricted

Coffey had a standout season in which he saw his two-way contract turn into a regular when he started in 30 games for an injury-decimated Los Angeles Clippers team. Through 131 NBA games, he’s a 38 percent career 3-point shooter, so he could certainly help the Raptors in that regard. However, given his restricted status and the work the Clippers have done to help shape him, it’s unclear if Toronto or any other team could take him off their hands.

brian forbes

Position: Guard
Condition: Unrestricted

If the Raptors are looking for a shooter who can run their second unit a bit, then Forbes would be a great fit. At six-foot-two, he’s on the smaller end of the spectrum of players the club seems to covet recently, but he can play both guard spots and is utterly accurate from beyond the arc, shooting 41.3 per cent from deep in his balls. six. -NBA career season, including the 41 percent he shot last season split between the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets.

gary harris

Position: Guard
Condition: Unrestricted

After being mired in a 3-point shooting slump the previous three seasons, Harris shot 38.4 percent from that distance last season with Orlando. He’s more of an undersized shooting guard than anything else, but if his shot hitting has returned, he would be a good option off the bench for Toronto as a player who can protect ball handlers and create their own. offense from him.

Tyus Jones

Position: Guard
Condition: Unrestricted

Jones is coming off a strong regular season and even stronger playoffs with the Memphis Grizzlies, which means his value as a 6-foot backup point guard could be a bit inflated heading into free agency. That said, the Raptors likely won’t find a better option than Jones to help manage his second unit within their budget. VanVleet’s heavy load may not need to be as heavy with a lead guard as dependable and resilient as Jones is.

Monk Malik

Position: Guard
Condition: Unrestricted

As far as backup guards go, it sounds like Monk would tick the most boxes for the Raptors. He enjoyed a career year with the Los Angeles Lakers last season primarily as a bench gunner and secondary playmaker, two things Toronto currently lacks. Also, over his past two seasons, Monk has developed into a decent 3-point threat, shooting 39.4 percent from beyond the arc. He’s on the smaller side at six-foot-three, but he’s still only 24 years old, blessed with great athleticism and a decent defender with room for improvement.

Victor Oladipo

Position: Guard
Condition: Unrestricted

Given all that he’s been through injury-wise, Oladipo still feels like a risk, but if he doesn’t eat up all of Toronto’s midlevel exception, it could be worth it. He had big moments during the Miami Heat’s run to the Conference Finals last season and would add another veteran voice to the room. His star days are likely behind him, but he has shown that he can still hit big shots in the big moments, an invaluable skill for any team with aspirations to make some noise in the playoffs.

bobby portis

Position: Front/Center
Condition: player option

All signs point to Portis opting out of the final year of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and becoming an unrestricted free agent. He would be quite a candidate for the Raptors, as he is a tall, athletic big man who can knock down 3-pointers (he shot 39.3 percent from that range last season), score inside and grab rebounds on both ends of the floor. . There could be some conflict between him and Achiuwa over who would start the five, but that would be a small price to pay for acquiring a player as talented as Portis.

Delon Wright

Position: guard point
Condition: Unrestricted

The Raptors took Wright with the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft and eventually used his contract to help grease the wheels in the trade that brought Marc Gasol to the team in 2019, helping them win the title that year. Since then, Wright has developed into a solid backup point guard, whose 6-foot-5 height allows him to defend multiple positions. Toronto already knows what Wright can bring to the table, and while he doesn’t shoot much, especially from 3s, having a versatile defender coming off the bench while VanVleet is taking a breather isn’t a bad thing.

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