Raptors Notes: Offseason, Roster, DeRozan, Casey

The Raptors have now lost 10 consecutive playoff games to the Cavaliers, dating back to 2016, and while Toronto’s latest postseason struggles will renew calls to blow up the roster, Eric Koreen of The Athletic argues that the right move may be to keep the core intact going forward.

While he acknowledges that making no dramatic changes to the roster or coaching staff wouldn’t be an easy sell, given the frustration level in Toronto, Koreen points to the development of young players like OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam as one reason for optimism. Koreen also suggests there’s a level of trust between the players and coaches – including, but not limited to, Dwane Casey – which could be fractured if the club brings in someone new.

Finally, Koreen observes that it’s not exactly an ideal time for the Raptors to go shopping in free agency or on the trade market, given the expensive, multiyear contracts for players like Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, and Jonas Valanciunas. Any of those deals would be easier to move in a trade a year from now, when they’re closer to expiring.

Here’s more on the Raptors, with their offseason now underway:

  • Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star makes an argument similar to Koreen’s, suggesting the Raptors’ roster still has some upside, given its young talent. Both Feschuk and Koreen write that DeRozan may have to spend even more time this summer working on his three-point range to become a more well-rounded player. Koreen adds that DeRozan needs to work on moving without the ball, while Feschuk identifies defense as a possible area of improvement for the star guard.
  • In offseason preview pieces, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, and Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post examine what’s next for the Raptors.
  • It’s not fair for Dwane Casey to take the fall after leading the Raptors to a 59-win season, but moving on from Casey is a gamble the team may need to take, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.
  • It would be a surprise if Casey is still the Raptors’ head coach when the 2018/19 season gets underway, according to Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star, who wonders if a new voice could “demand more” from DeRozan.
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