The network of basketball blogs under the SB Nation NBA banner include a site dedicated to the lost Seattle Sonics. I mention this because any time news of NBA expansion bubbles to the surface, those guys are on it — and with good reason, since their team was hijacked out of the city in the first place. It’s a hard and lonely road, but they walk it.
To satisfy their dedication, the latest league expansion news comes directly from Commissioner Adam Silver himself. In a recent Players Tribune interview with C.J. McCollum (which is apparently a yearly happening), the NBA is considering adding another team. In fact, Silver sees it as inevitable.
For more information, the dudes over at Sonics Rising, the aforementioned Seattle blog, have transcribed some of Silver’s quotes here. And it was discussed on the SB Nation NBA frontpage a bit here. The whole thing isn’t quite a lock, but given the value of NBA franchises, and the tenets of capitalism, I believe Silver when he says the league will look to expand eventually.
But now we get to the point at hand: if the NBA does in fact expand, it’ll mean a draft, and it’ll mean the Raptors will have to protect some of their players and let others stand alone in the cold winds of possible change. When SB Nation put the question to me and the other NBA team sites — which eight players would you protect? — I answered like this: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, OG Anunoby.
That’s my eight. The toughest choices, to my mind, were decided to keep JV’s salary on the books, opting for the unknowns of youth with OG instead of the certainty of C.J. Miles, and leaving Pascal Siakam exposed. Did I make the right calls? Maybe, maybe not. Both Sonics Rising and SB Nation NBA have held fictional expansion drafts and while no Raptors players were snatched in the former, in the latter the fake general managers (of a Virginia Beach team) moved on Miles. There are definitely some calls that could be made differently all-around.
So, in that spirit, now I turn it to you: which eight players would you protect on the Raptors roster and who would you leave unprotected? Am I crazy for keeping Valanciunas? Not crazy enough? Let’s hear it.
Leave your answers in the comments.