2 moves remain for Raptors to make after the first weekend of NBA Free Agency 2022

The Toronto Raptors are in a very precarious position. The only Canadian team in the NBA last season won 48 games and finished 5th in the conference. However, they were also eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It’s clear that their current core won’t be enough to get them over the line. In terms of what they can do, there are many ways the management of the team led by GM Bobby Webster and VP Masai Ujiri can help. Here are two steps the Raptors still need to take after the first weekend of NBA Free Agency 2022.

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Steps Raptors Must Take in 2022 NBA Free Agency

Throw away everything and the kitchen sink for Kevin Durant

As mentioned above, the Raptors’ current core is insufficient to be legitimate contenders. They’re going to be a good team and if they get lucky with their seeding, the Raptors could even win a playoff series. No one is that lucky, however, and the best this Raptors team can do is make a second-round appearance. However, there is a certain unfortunate superstar in Brooklyn named Kevin Durant. Let’s not forget that the Raptors took Kawhi Leonard out of the blue from the Spurs in 2018 and led them to the title in 2019. He eventually left, that part is true, but the situation with Durant is different in that regard.

Leonard joined the Raptors on a one-year contract, while Durant would be tied to the Canadian franchise for the next four years. This would give them plenty of time to try different things with the roster as the first edition of it might not work with Durant. Also, Leonard arrived with championship experience, something Durant has as well. Eventually, Durant would come to a younger roster than the issue of the Raptors roster that Leonard came to. VanVleet, Siakam and Scottie Barnes, to name a few, are all young stars in this league and should be a huge encouragement for Durant to call Toronto home.

Of course, it would take a lot of fortune to bring KD to Canada. Luckily, the Raptors have all of their first-rounders available, along with some interesting youngsters. You can also add guys like Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher as salary fillers, but the Nets would likely want Scottie Barnes as part of the package, too. It would be a monster move and one that wouldn’t be too unusual for Toronto, but the Raptors have a choice. Either trade in for Kevin Durant or another superstar, or remain a mediocre team for the next few years.

Trade OG Anunoby and picks for a third star

Well, the term star used here is pretty broad. It’s a term that includes the likes of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet as stars, but to be honest they are great players. However, neither are the best players in a championship squad and Scottie Barnes doesn’t have that potential. They could go in the direction of blowing everything up, but it would be difficult for Raptors fans and the front office to let go of the continued success the franchise has had over the past few years, with the exception of 2021 and the year in where they spent Tampa Bay. If they don’t want to go in that direction, but would rather go for a mini rebuild, the Raptors should do whatever it takes to trade in Anunoby and her collection of pickaxes.

The biggest issue here is what might land for a couple of first round players and a young player like Anunoby. The most obvious answer right now is Donovan Mitchell, but another player would need to be involved to match the salaries and it’s really debatable if that’s worth it. There’s an opportunity to head towards Kyrie Irving as well, but overpaying for a player with just a year’s contract isn’t a good deal, especially for a player who could very easily lose focus on basketball.

However, the Raptors should be optimistic. They’ve had Anunoby for three years and a team-friendly deal in terms of salaries. If they miss the Durant Sweepstakes, they can always hold onto it and hope that a star becomes available in the near future. The reality is that Anunoby is their best trade, aside from the guys the franchise doesn’t want to trade with, like Barnes. If they see a star become available to bring in through the offering of Anunoby and Picks, they should pounce and hope it’s enough for a championship.

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