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Raptors free agency targets: What Toronto has to spend, and realistic options at their price point | Sporting News Canada



Raptors free agency targets: What Toronto has to spend, and realistic options at their price point | Sporting News Canada

The Raptors have already taken care of their biggest decisions in free agency. They gave Scottie Barnes a no-brainer max extension and agreed to terms with Immanuel Quickley on a more controversial five-year, $175 million deal. They also made a small trade, acquiring two potential rotation pieces in Davion Mitchell and Sasha Vezenkov.

The Raptors are far from done, though. They have a couple of different avenues that they could take to fill out the rest of their roster. They won’t have the cap space to go out and sign a Paul George or James Harden type of superstar, but they will be able to add some more solid pieces to their rotation. Here’s who is available to them in free agency, and some realistic options that make sense for the team.

MORE: Ranking the top 50 free agents in the 2024 class

Raptors cap space and spending power

The Raptors still have decisions to make on Bruce Brown’s $23 million team option, as well as deciding if they want to try and bring back Gary Trent Jr. If they do pivot from those two, then they could open up $22 million in cap space, per NBA analyst Yossi Gozlan

It’s more likely that the Raptors hold onto Brown’s contract and use it as a trade chip, taking them out of the cap-space game. Even if that happens, they will have the $13 million mid-level exception available to add an outside free agent. 

In summary, the Raptors could have up to $22 million to sign someone, and will have at least $13 million available. Here are some players who could fit into that range. 

Update: The Raptors picked up Brown’s player option on Friday afternoon, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Raptors free agent targets

Patrick Williams

Williams is the best restricted free agent who actually might switch teams this summer. The former No. 4 pick hasn’t lived up to expectations yet, but he’s already a good defender and has hit 41.0 percent of his 3’s for his career. He was one of the youngest players in his draft class and at the age of 22, still has room to grow. 

The Raptors would have to move on from Brown in order to sign Williams, or facilitate some sort of sign-and-trade with the Bulls. It would likely take $20 million or more per season to land Williams.

MORE: Patrick Williams landing spots: How much Bulls forward is worth to Thunder, Raptors, Hornets & more in free agency

De’Anthony Melton

Melton is one of the best buy-low candidates in this free agency class. He’s a great two-way player with a knack for steals and deflections. He’s also a much-improved 3-point shooter, hitting 38.3 percent over his past four seasons. 

Melton was in line for a decent payday that would have priced him out of the Raptors’ range before this season. Injuries made it tough for him to find a rhythm in the Sixers’ lineup, and he couldn’t crack the rotation at the end of the year. If he does get back to full health, then he’s the type of 3-and-D guard that every team could use. 

Obi Toppin

Toppin was one of my 11 best free agency sleepers. The restricted free agent could be out of Indiana due to their cap crunch and the need to clear up minutes for Jarace Walker. 

Toppin was a good playoff performer last season, showing the athleticism and 3-point shooting that had him as the No. 8 pick in the 2020 draft. His defense is well below-average, but he can provide instant offense that the Raptors could use, and he fits in their timeline at age 26. 

Monte Morris Detroit Pistons

Monte Morris

Morris was considered one of the best backup point guards in the league a few years ago. His star has dimmed in Washington, Detroit, and Minnesota over the past two seasons. He’s still a great 3-point shooter and a very reliable passer who rarely turns the ball over. 

Morris would be a nice veteran piece to help aid the development of some of the Raptors’ younger players. The team needs depth at point guard, and he’s the type of cheap stopgap that would fit nicely into their plans. 

Markelle Fultz

Fultz is another option at point guard. He’s riskier than other players on this list, but could have more upside. The former No. 1 pick has battled injuries throughout his career, including last season. He was developing into a good downhill attacker with a solid midrange game before regressing last year. 

Fultz definitely isn’t living up to his draft slot. His 3-point shot will probably never come around. He’s still a good defensive guard and playmaker that could give good minutes as a spot starter or first player off the bench. 

MORE: The biggest winners and losers of the 2024 NBA Draft

Gary Trent Jr.

Will the Raptors move on from Trent? He’s going to command a decently-sized salary due to his career 38.6 percent from deep. Toronto has good depth at his position already, but they could always use another shooter. 

If Trent does stay, he should get something in the neighborhood of the $18.6 million that he was earning last season. 

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