The NBA will see a newly crowned NBA championship team this year. There are only four teams left in the bubble, and clearly, the Lakers are the favorites to win it all. However, their ascent to the top will be met by the toughened Denver Nuggets. Whichever team will come out of the West, they’ll have to face either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics for the crown.
The Celtics were tested in a 7-game series against the Toronto Raptors. The latter team exited the bubble with grace. Now, they’ll have to regroup and think of their next steps to go back to a winning shape. They’ve already started by signing Nick Nurse to a multi-year deal as the head coach.
The unsung hero of the 2019-2020 championship team of the Raptors is Fred VanVleet. He sank big shots after big shots during the title run of the team. This year, he did pretty much the same and averaged 18 points with 7 assists to his name.
VanVleet is a tough player on the court. When Kyle Lowry sits, VanVleet takes over the offense for an instant scoring punch. It remains to be seen how much the Raptors will pay Fred in his contract, but he is someone worthy of a multi-year high caliber deal. He’ll form part of the young core of the Raptors alongside with OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell.
The emotions are still reportedly high after the premature exit of the Raptors from the bubble. As such, only the contract of Nurse has been fixed. Even Masai Ujiri’s contract, which is set to expire after 2021, still hangs in the balance.
Also, there are rumors that Marc Gasol allegedly wants to finish the rest of his playing career in Europe. Due to this fact, the front office of the Toronto Raptors has big decisions to make as to who will slot in Gasol’s spot if he leaves.
Serge Ibaka doesn’t seem to fit the bill as he can be considered as past his prime. Therefore, the Raptors might want to make some moves to fill in Gasol’s spot. They have the assets and the track record of attracting a big name from free agency. It will just ultimately depend on what future they want to build for the one-time championship team.
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