The Raptors have made some bold moves this offseason to say the least. First, they fire coach of the year Dwane Casey, and now they trade away possibly the best player to ever put on a Raptors uniform in Demar Derozan. Neither of these moves make sense for a team that finished atop the eastern conference and with the second-best record in the league just a year ago.
While firing the coach of the year is a bold move, they should still be fine considering his replacement Nick Nurse has plenty coaching experience. Trading Derozan however, could be the first domino to fall in the demise of this great Raptors team. While they may have around the same, (or better) record this year, the next few years could be disastrous.
The Raptors did a good job of getting talent in exchange for Derozan, but raises many other concerns about the future of the organization. Kawhi Leonard has made it very clear that he intends to sign with one of the LA-based teams after his contract expires this year, making trading for him a massive risk. While it worked out for the Thunder and Paul George, the Thunder didn’t have to give away the centerpiece of their team to make the trade. Kawhi may end up re-signing with the Raptors after all, but if he doesn’t, the Raptors will continue to spiral out of control.
If Kawhi doesn’t re-sign, the Raptors would essentially be left with Kyle Lowry. It’s well-known that Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan were best friends, so trading Derozan will likely have an impact on Lowry’s decision when his contract runs up in 2020. If Lowry leaves, they’ll be left with virtually nothing.
These moves may give them a greater chance to win the championship this year, but it is still unlikely that they take down the Warriors. Everything will need to go right for them to still have a solid team in a few years. On the bright side, if everything goes wrong, they may have a chance to take LeBron James Jr. whenever he enters the draft.