Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Barnes, Knicks, B. Brown, Nets

It could be a “fascinating” offseason in Toronto, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who said in the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast that people who have been in touch with the Raptors recently have gotten the sense that the front office doesn’t yet know which direction it will take with its roster.

As Windhorst outlines, one path would see the Raptors re-sign Fred VanVleet, extend Pascal Siakam, and potentially pursue additional upgrades. Conversely, the team could make changes to its core, perhaps exploring a sign-and-trade of VanVleet and other deals involving players like Siakam and/or OG Anunoby. The front office’s decision on a direction for the roster isn’t necessarily separate from its ongoing head coaching search, Windhorst observes.

“They’ve interviewed a bunch of different coaches and it’s not clear which way they’re going to go,” he said. “They’ve gotta probably make a decision about whether or not they’re going to keep these guys together, and that is going to influence the kind of coach you hire.”

Windhorst points to Will Hardy and the Jazz last spring as an example of a head coaching hire that was made at the same time a team decided to retool its roster. If the Raptors have a similar overhaul in mind, they could target a coach who specializes in player development, though it seems unlikely that they’ll blow things up to the same extent Utah did.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Eric Koreen and Seth Partnow of The Athletic consider how the Raptors should view Scottie Barnes‘ sophomore slump following his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2021/22. Partnow, acknowledging that the team would’ve liked to see Barnes make greater strides as a play-maker, shooter, and defender last season, says he’d be “concerned but not worried” about the 21-year-old’s development.
  • The Knicks have the assets to be serious players for any impact player who hits the trade block, but will the right star actually become available for the team this offseason? In a story for subscribers, Peter Botte of The New York Post explores that question.
  • As Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily relays, Nuggets guard Bruce Brown suggested during an appearance on The Dan LeBatard Show that the Nets‘ front office was interested in re-signing him last summer, but declined to go into details on why things didn’t work out. “I don’t know who made the decision, but I just know the front office wanted me back,” Brown said, spurring speculation that either Nets owner Joe Tsai or one or both of Brooklyn’s then-stars (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving) played a part in Brown’s exit.
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