Raptors reportedly not planning to trade any key players with Kawhi Leonard gone
The Toronto Raptors were dealt a major blow last week when Kawhi Leonard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, but that does not mean they are giving up on contending in the Eastern Conference next season.
Several of Toronto’s key players — Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka — are set to become free agents a year from now, which has led to speculation that the Raptors might explore trade possibilities for one or more of them. TSN’s Josh Lewenberg reports that Masai Ujiri has no plans to hold a fire sale and would prefer to see things through.
The Raptors have no plans to trade vets Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka (all on expiring deals) ahead of the season, I’m told. As he’s done previously, Masai is expected to give his team an opportunity to sink or swim before choosing a path and deciding on its future.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) July 10, 2019
Leonard may be gone, but the East is wide open. While the Raptors would have been the clear favorite if Leonard returned, the NBA Finals MVP went to a Western Conference team. Kyrie Irving also left the Boston Celtics to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, who will be without Kevin Durant for the entire 2019-20 season. The Philadelphia 76ers added Al Horford, but they lost Jimmy Butler. The Milwaukee Bucks lost Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers. There are a handful of teams that could win the East, and the Raptors are still one of them.
Ujiri knew all offseason that Leonard leaving was a strong possibility, but that didn’t stop him from making some big promises for the future. There’s no need for a total rebuild, especially with how things stand elsewhere in the East.