Despite getting completely destroyed by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in their 2nd round playoff series, I still believe fully healthy the Toronto Raptors were the 2nd best team in the East this season. Which now makes this upcoming offseason that much more interesting.
The Raptors have a bunch of important decisions to make. First off addressing All-Star guard Kyle Lowry and his future. He's 31 and has already confirmed that he will opt out of his career deal and become a free agent. Lowry can make in upwards of $35 million a season which is a significant pay raise for a man who's never made more than $12 million per year.
Their midseason acquisition in Serge Ibaka who in many ways energized the Raptors defense even during Lowry's absence. He's due to make absolutely bank this off season as a result. Will GM Masai Ujuri pony up.
These are the difficult decisions ahead because the fact of the matter is the Toronto Raptors are a very good basketball team. Quite frankly if that LeBron character in Cleveland, Ohio wasn't in their conference an argument can be made that this is Finals contender. But the NBA economics have changed dramatically in the last two years and there is so much money to get. Toronto already paid big dollars last summer to their other star guard Demar DeRozan. So this is not a slam dunk decision to make.
After the Clippers out west, I believe the Toronto Raptors are the most interesting team in the league. If they bring the same team together, I'm willing to bet for at least the next two seasons they can be in the mix for conference finals appearances. And who knows -- maybe LeBron James does have an bad postseason in him ahead. Or maybe not. But we'll never know until we do.