Raptors GM Masai Ujiri indicated that one of the franchise’s priorities is to add a Canadian player to its roster. There are currently 10 Canadian players in the NBA, and they are responsible for $30,511,748 in cap hits, or an average salary of $3,051,175 for the 2014/15 campaign. Ujiri, who’s in the second year of a five-year contract, promised that the team will have a Canadian player even if he doesn’t have a long tenure in charge of the Raptors.
“We are studying it. I even considered last year hiring somebody to concentrate just on Canadian players and I think I’m going to go through with it because the growth of the game here is so big,” Ujiri said. “It’s the fit. We can maybe take our time and study it a little bit so it is the right fit and not do it just to do it. It’s going to come, there is no doubt in my mind. It’s an obligation that I think we have to fulfil. We are a Canadian team and I think to have Canadian players, I think will be phenomenal.”
It’s understandable that the Raptors would like to add an element of national pride to their roster. Having a Canadian to cheer for certainly couldn’t hurt ticket and merchandise sales, but unless the player added something tangible to the team, the idea isn’t necessarily a wise one given how precious each roster spot has become in this day and age. As far as the players are concerned, one advantage that the team would have in luring Canadian free agents or retaining a Canadian player obtained via a trade is that those players would already be accustomed to Canada’s higher tax rate, something that can be a hindrance when competing dollar-for-dollar for NBA talent with U.S. based teams. Though, representing one’s country on the hardwood on a nightly basis could prove to be a daunting task. A player would need to weigh the added pressure and attention versus the desire to play for his country’s only NBA squad.
What do you readers say? Is it a smart idea for the Raptors to target Canadian players? Cast your vote below and feel free to take to the comments section to expand on the topic.