The Raptors will face some difficult decisions this offseason, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Amir Johnson, Lou Williams and Jonas Valanciunas will be free agents and Terrence Ross will be eligible for a rookie extension. Toronto won 49 games this season, one more than last year’s total, but the team went 12-16 over its final 28 games and didn’t look like a playoff-caliber team at times. GM Masai Ujiri has the challenge of figuring out if the young roster is still growing or if the team has plateaued as currently constructed.
“We’ll learn that as time comes,” Ujiri said. “This playoffs will help. We will continue with what we are preaching, we will continue to learn. It’s like at the trade deadline, if we added an older player, that would take away something from these guys showing themselves … [But] It’s going to take the playoffs, it’s going to take time to see [if] you keep this group or do you add in a player here or there. But they are building the stage and that’s what you want.”
The Raptors, who lost the first game in their series with the Wizards earlier today by a score of 93-86, haven’t won a playoff series since they beat the Knicks in the 2001 playoffs. Here’s some notes from Toronto’s rival in the Atlantic Division:
- The Knicks need to improve in almost every facet and Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal examines a few areas that deserve the most attention. Herring identifies the point guard situation as an area the team should invest resources in this offseason. He believes Jose Calderon, who was the subject of trade discussions during the season, could be a contributor to the team, but as part of the second unit instead of a starter. Herring also identifies adding athleticism to the roster and working to improve coach Derek Fisher‘s game management among the areas the team should focus on.
- The projected salary cap increase over the next two seasons should help the Knicks land marquee free agents, opines Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork. League executives expect the salary cap to increase from its current $63.1MM figure to $67.1MM next season and $89MM during the 2016/17 season. Begley also cautions that the team should be careful when adding free agents this offseason; although the team will have roughly $22MM more to work with next offseason, the maximum salaries for players will also rise significantly since they are a product of the salary cap.