The dust has settled on free agency and, for the most part, the off-season trade flurry. With most teams at or approaching full rosters, we focused this week’s episode on where teams stand and how they look heading into next season.
To help us sift through the winners and losers of the off-season, we brought in former Raptors HQ contributor, Chris Walder. For Jason, Chris, and myself, it was also a nice little reunion of former Raptors Fan Patrol teammates. Enjoy!
On This Week’s Episode:
Kawhi Leonard is a Los Angeles Clipper. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as its predecessor. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that we must now accept, as Leonard was introduced as a Clipper on Wednesday. There was no iconic laugh, nor any motivational rallying cry. Just an over-the-top Chairman who doesn’t know how to properly greet his superstar.
Kawhi and Ballmer will have to figure out that handshake pic.twitter.com/SoqeLPNU21— SportsNation (@SportsNation) July 24, 2019
As for the Raptors, there are 16 players under contract (13 guaranteed + three partially guaranteed) and an additional four signed (Jordan Loyd’s 2-way + 3 Exhibit 10s). At least five are headed to the 905 or being cut. Who do you think misses the opening day roster?
Last season, the question hanging over everyone’s head was, “will he stay?” This season, at least until February, that question will likely be, “will he be traded?” In this case, “he” would be pointed towards Toronto’s three expiring veterans — Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol. Are any of them Raptors next season? Are you prepared for a Raptors squad that doesn’t have any of them?
As currently constructed, Toronto is a playoff team that should be in the running for home court advantage in the first round. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some fans [raises hand] see a playoff-tested squad with six of their top eight players returning from a championship-winning season, with another year to build on chemistry and a bevy of Conference foes that, arguably, got worse. Other fans see the departure of two great-to-elite 3-and-D players as the beginning of the demise of the franchise’s best era. Which side do you fall on?
To cap off the episode, we had some fun pre-season awards. There was so much questionable team construction that three of our four fictitious awards were variations of highlighting overrated teams. The Roy Hibbert, Jeremy Lin, Nikola Jokic, and Carmelo Anthony awards produced some interesting nominees. Chime in below with your choices.
2:30 - Esteemed Guest
4:50 - Kawhi Presser
9:40 - Kawhi Poppins
12:02 - Team of 16
14:35 - #15?
17:25 - Cam “Pain”
23:28 - Expiring Vets
27:05 - .500?
33:30 - Eastern Tiers
40:36 - NBA Off Season Awards