30 teams in 30 days: Raptors opt to bring the band back


30 teams in 30 days: Raptors opt to bring the band back

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: Toronto Raptors 

BOSTON –  At a time when most teams are looking to bring in new blood, the Toronto Raptors instead opt to bring the band back together.

The major moves made by the Raptors this offseason centered around re-signing their own top free agents, specifically Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka with three-year deals worth $100 million and $65 million, respectively.

MORE: No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

They join a core group that consists of All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan and center Jonas Valanciunas.

Despite finishing with a 51-31 record for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference last season, the Raptors’ season was viewed by many as a disappointment.

Coming into the season, they were viewed as the greatest threat to Cleveland’s supremacy in the Eastern Conference.

They got off to a great start, but lost 11 of 15 games during the month of January and part of February. It put them in the kind of hole that proved to be too deep for them to fully climb their way out of to claim the top spot in the East.

But the Raptors certainly made things interesting as they closed out the season with wins in 12 of their last 14 games and finished just two games behind the Celtics for the best record in the East.

Closing out the season strong with their core group intact provided the kind of confidence boost that made keeping the main guys together a logical move for Toronto.

By doing so, the Raptors have doubled-down on a roster that’s heavy on chemistry at a time when the two leaders in the East, Cleveland and Boston, have made significant changes and will most likely take some time to get on the same page.

So while the Cavs and Celtics have grabbed the headlines most of the offseason, the Raptors are not a team to look past especially with most of the band back together.

Key free agent/draft/trade addition:  C.J. Miles (Indiana)

Key losses: DeMarre Carroll (Brooklyn); Cory Joseph (Indiana); Patrick Patterson (Oklahoma City); P.J. Tucker (Houston).

Rookies of note: O.G. Anunoby.

Expectations: 45-37 (Second in the Atlantic Division, fifth in the East)

CELTICS TALK PODCAST: How will Kyrie Irving's knee injury affect him going forward?

NBC Sports Boston illustration

CELTICS TALK PODCAST: How will Kyrie Irving's knee injury affect him going forward?

1:30 - How concerning is Kyrie Irving's injured knee? Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Chris Mannix discuss how this will affect Kyrie for the rest of this season, if he will be ready for playoffs, and if it will linger into next year.

6:50 - What are the expectations for the Celtics if they are without Kyrie Irving? Is it worth it to push Kyrie to play if they can’t win the title this season?

9:05 - Celtics are playing more for the 2018-2019 season than they are for 2017-2018 as they could become serious title contenders with a healthy team and more development from young players.

11:50 - What will be the interest in Marcus Smart in the offseason? Is it more likely he leaves or stays in Boston?

15:30 - Raptors or Cavaliers are both dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference. Who is the favorite to come out of the East?

20:06 - How can dangerous could the 76ers be in the playoffs? Do they have a chance to win a playoff series?

24:19 - Brian Scalabrine sits down the Celtics head coach Brad Stevens to talk about NCAA March Madness and his love for Butler University. 



NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on his knee injury looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins' season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves, agreeing to deals woth LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung on Thursday. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom E. Curran discuss how despite all that, the Pats should still be in search of a left tackle.