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.
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)