Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Toronto Raptors (Last Year: 49-33)
2015-16 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Jonas Valanciunas/Lucas Nogueira
PF: Patrick Patterson/James Johnson
SF: Terrence Ross/Bruno Cabolco
SG: DeMar DeRozan
PG: Kyle Lowry/Greivis Vasquez
NBA Free Agents:
SG-Lou Williams (UFA)
PF-Amir Johnson (UFA)
SF-Landry Fields (UFA)
PF-Chuck Hayes (UFA)
PF-Tyler Hansbrough (UFA)
C-Greg Stiemsma (UFA)
2015-16 Team Salary: Approximately $48.1 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
1. Power Forward:
Amir Johnson is a free agent, and in all honesty, at best, an average starting power forward in the league. With Patrick Patterson and James Johnson better suited to be role players, the Raptors need to pursue a starting-caliber power forward who can be an upgrade from Johnson to try to help their trajectory toward becoming a true threat in the East. Toronto has the cap space to make a run at a bigger name free agent, but if the team cannot lure someone else North of the Border, re-signing Johnson should be Plan B.
2. Bench Scorer:
The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year, Lou Williams provided tremendous scoring punch off the bench for Toronto this past season. However, he is a free agent who should draw a good amount of interest on the open market. If the Raptors are unable to bring Williams back, they will need to look elsewhere to find a reserve perimeter scorer.
With only nine players under contract for next season, the Raptors really need to add depth all across their roster besides just the two areas I have addressed above. Toronto could use a defensive wing and could target someone like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with the 20th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Finding a veteran backup center should be on the Raptors' checklist as well since Lucas Nogueira hasn't proven ready to see quality minutes.
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