Top Toronto Raptors Free Agent Targets

Spread the love

NBA free agency has officially kicked off and it did not take long for Masai Ujiri to make a move. In the early hours of the morning of July 1st, the Toronto Raptors re-signed their two-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan to a 5-year deal worth $145 million. While no one knows who the top Raptors free agent targets are, it is obvious that Ujiri’s number one priority was to bring back DeRozan.

Even with the salary cap expanding drastically over the off-season, this deal will bring the Raptors right up against the salary cap.  Prior to signing DeRozan, Toronto had $70.2 million on the books. With only 10 players on the roster, they had three less than the minimum required. The projected salary cap spike is set to $94 million, giving the Raptors about a $23 million cushion. Toronto has DeRozan’s Bird Rights, meaning that they Raptors can afford to go over the cap to re-sign DeRozan. It will leave Ujiri with only a veteran-minimum and mid-level exceptions to use in order to fill their roster spots.

There is a loophole that Toronto fans should expect Ujiri to jump through. Since the Raptors own DeRozan’s Bird Rights, they can hold off filing his contract until after July 7th. This would leave space for them to sign another free agent before then. Ujiri has expressed his desire to upgrade both forward positions this off-season. The Raptors drafted center Jakob Poetl with the ninth overall selection in this year’s draft in order to add depth up front, meaning that that position isn’t as important to target as the forward positions will be in free agency.

Top Toronto Raptors Free Agent Targets

Here are some of the top potential Raptors free agent targets.

Dwight Powell: 5.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.6 APG (2015-16 season)

This signing would make sense in many ways. First and foremost, the young man is a native Canadian, which would make him an instant fan favorite. It would also add to the likelihood that he signs a team-friendly deal.

In a basketball sense, it would’t be bad, either. Only logging 14 minutes per game last season, Powell’s traditional stats are misleading. Powell is explosive and finishes well above the rim, converting 67.7% of his shots within 5 feet of the rim last year. As a roll man, he is extremely efficient, finishing a mind boggling 91.7% of alley-oops. In the high-post area, Powell is deadly. He wasn’t asked to be much of a distributor for the Dallas Mavericks, but Powell averaged 3.1 assists per game his senior year at Stanford with a 20% assist percentage. If paired with Jonas Valanciunas, he’d no doubt be threading passes to the big Lithuanian down low. Powell only shot 28% on all jumpers last year, but his mechanics are not broken. Powell’s 73% from the free-throw shooting shows his potential ability, and at just 24 years old, he still has time to improve.

Standing at 6’11″, Powell has shown his versatility defensively, able to guard both centers and power forwards. This makes it possible to play him alongside either Valanciunas or Patrick Patterson. On the defensive glass, Powell uses his extraordinary athleticism to gobble up rebounds at a 21.4% rebounding rate. His activity and athleticism will certainly make him and Patterson a dangerous pairing. Unfortunately, Powell is a restricted free agent and Dallas will be able to match any offer that the Raptors extend to the Canadian.

Terrence Jones: 8.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.8 APG (2015-16 season)

Jones is an intriguing player, mainly because he has been with the Houston Rockets for his entire career. Playing with James Harden cannot be easy. Knowing that it is unlikely even to touch the ball for several possessions would frustrate anyone. A crafty, athletic lefty with long arms, Jones can play effectively in the low and high posts. He uses his ball handling and intelligence to attack defenders from both areas. As a good offensive rebounder, the Kentucky Wildcats product uses his 250-pound frame to carve out space below the rim and beat his man to the glass. It is difficult to gauge how effective Jones is on offense, but the talent is there.

Defensively, he is quick enough to stay in front of most face-up big men and strong enough to not be backed down on the block. His jumper is not what you would call “fundamental”, but he managed to shoot 31.6% from deep on 1.5 attempts per contest last season. That’s not great, but Jones has potential to improve in that aspect. Like Powell, Jones is a restricted free agent and the Rockets can match any offer Toronto may extend to him.

Ryan Anderson: 17.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.1 APG (2015-16 season)

Anderson is one of the long-shots on this list. It is likely that he will command a huge contract this off-season that Toronto simply cannot match. It makes sense as to why, as Anderson can really score and is underrated as a difference maker on the glass. A true stretch four, Anderson shot 36.6% from behind the arc on almost six attempts per game last season. He has some post scoring ability, where he has a stunning Dirk Nowitzki-esque fadeaway jumper on the block (shooting 59% on all turnaround jumpers).

Anderson is not the quickest or most athletic, and he’s not a threat to protect the rim or switch onto point guards. That is not to say that he does not compete. Anderson puts in a tremendous amount of effort on the defensive end; he simply isn’t quick enough.

It is not possible to easily predict Anderson’s value as an unrestricted free agent, but it is likely that he will sign for upwards of $15 million per year. Because of his shooting ability, he would be perfect to play alongside Valanciunas. Additionally, his rebounding and post-up abilities make him a very exciting option with Patterson as his running mate.

Jonas Jerebko: 4.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.8 APG (2015-16 season)

Jerebko’s numbers are misleading, as the Swedish native is much more talented than his box scores would suggest. Jerebko is the most versatile player on this list, having logged minutes at small forward, power forward, and even some at center. While not the most athletic, he is a very intelligent defender and usually, if not always, makes the proper defensive rotation. Standing at 6’10″, he has the height and length to bother most forwards. Jerebko’s surprisingly quick feet allow him to contain penetration better than offensive players might expect. Jerekbo grabbed nearly 20% of all available defensive rebounds last season, proving to be an excellent rebounder, and his activity in that facet is apparent.

The ball rarely sticks when Jerebko is on the floor, and it usually zips along the perimeter quickly and with precision. Jerebko is also an excellent shooter; he drained nearly 40% from behind the arc on 1.5 attempts per game. Jerebko’s solid handle allows him to attack aggressive closeouts and collapse the defense. But Jerebko’s real value surrounds his contract. The Boston Celtics have a team option on him, but if they do not activate it, Jerebko might accept the Mid-Level Exception. That would allow Toronto to sign a second player along with Jerebko.

Main photo