Happy Canada Day everyone!
And also, HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FREE AGENCY OBVIOUSLY!
Things got going last night with...crickets. No big signings yet but the rumour mill is in full swing. You can keep track of everything here at SB Nation's Free Agency hub, and our intrepid crew of bloggers has a solid update on all of the ongoings from early, early this morning.
While late last night it sounded like Lowry was a pretty sure bet to return to Toronto despite overtures from the Miami Heat, Yahoo! Sports ace reporter Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the following last night regarding Darryl Morey's "wooing" of Lowry:
Now, I still think the Raptors are going to successfully bring Lowry back. They've got a lethal combination of top dollars, top role, and geographic proximity to his home base in Philly. Sportsnet's Michael Grange does an excellent job here, summing this situation up.
To me, the Heat are the biggest threat but if indeed LeBron James is coming back at max dollars, unless Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade take MEGA discounts, I'm not sure how Miami can come close to offering Lowry the kind of cash he's looking for.
Grantland's Zach Lowe does an awesome job breaking this situation down in his latest piece, a must-read regarding various free agency situations, including those of the Raptors.
Ariza makes sense as an upgrade at the wing position defensively, and a very dependable corner three-point shooter. If he was acquired, it would likely push Terrence Ross back to the bench though, which may or not be a good thing depending on your view of Ross' development. However the entire league is apparently after Ariza, and I think he'll be a top option on the "why did we pay that guy that much" list a few seasons from now. So I expect him to head somewhere else.
As for Lewis, Dwane Casey helped in Lewis' development as a youngster in Seattle and has always been fond of the two-time All-Star. Lewis makes some sense for Toronto too as a late option on the bench. He showed with the Miami Heat last year that he's still capable of shooting and scoring sprees and he could be an option if Patrick Patterson leaves.
I'm not super enthused though. We're talking about a 34 year-old guy with a PER of under 11 last year, who shot 41 per cent from the field and 34 per cent from downtown. And while he seemed to take his game to another level in the playoffs, the data would indicate otherwise as his PER was worse and his percentages were nearly the same. Considering his likely price tag as a "name" guy, I'd rather Toronto looked elsewhere for that sort of production.
The recently waived Jameer Nelson might be an interesting back-up point guard option.
And at forward/center, there aren't a ton of great options but I wonder if going after Emeka Okafor would make sense. He would be a great back-up option to Jonas Valanciunas, able to provide rim protection and solid D in the paint. However he may still see himself as a starter and want more money than Toronto could provide. He's also not been the healthiest player over his career.
One other name to keep an eye on is former Raptor Vince Carter. According to ESPN.com, the Raptors are one of various suitors for his services.