The Toronto Raptors and their fans are currently in a brutal battle. While some corners want to keep plugging away at this core and make one more playoff run, some want Masai Ujiri to blow up this roster and start from scratch around Scotty Barnes.
Yujiri obviously has some decisions to make as to which direction makes the most sense for this franchise. While he looked like a sellout after trying to flip OG Anunoby at the trade deadline, the acquisition of Jakob Poeltl shows this team is in winnow mode.
Those two philosophies are clearly pushing and pulling against each other in this front office. How can you hire a good head coach and create a strong plan for free agency when there is no consensus on direction? Brian Windhorst proved all this trouble.
On the “Hoop Collective” podcast, Windhorst made it clear that everyone close to the Raptors has no idea what they’re doing. While the Raptors are a tight end organization, even outside observers can see how crazy things seem to be in Toronto.
NBA Rumors: Toronto Raptors unsure of direction in 2023
Both sides have a compelling case. Pascal Siakam and Scotty Barnes could be a dynamic 1-2 punch, Poeltl said this team has been playing great defense and a new coach could boost their offense. Tanking can be a tough decision, as teams like the Pistons and Rockets have done it for years with little improvement.
However, Siakam may not be the No. 1 option on a championship team. With less draft capital, several upcoming contract extensions and the Eastern Conference as deep as ever, cutting and trading some big players could help in the long run.
The Raptors appear to be going both ways, trading away some of their old core in exchange for a haul that will allow them to compete in 2023 and beyond. While such a move would be ideal for next season, there are those who lament the lack of commitment to the build-up.
The Raptors can’t compete for a title, but they don’t have a first-round pick (unless they fall out of the top six) and they have clear differences among the players on the team. With most teams hitting free agency, the Raptors are between a rock and a hard place.