Breaking: Why Raptors Stay Quiet as NBA Free Agency Kicks Off…

Breaking: Why Raptors Stay Quiet as NBA Free Agency Kicks Off…

The team had neither the financial means nor the desire to make significant moves on the first night.

As anticipated, the Raptors remained silent.

Toronto wasn’t expected to be a major player in the NBA free-agent market, and as the free agency period began Sunday night, they stayed on the sidelines, waiting to make future moves.

With a focus on a younger roster they hope will mature over time, the Raptors didn’t make any splashy signings or attempt to retain Gary Trent Jr., who is now available to other teams.

The team’s cautious approach is logical, and it might take days or weeks before they make any moves in the market. The roster still lacks size and frontcourt shooting, but Toronto isn’t in a rush to fill these primarily backup roles.

The first night of free agency typically sees big-name players signing big-money deals. Teams like the Clippers with Paul George and the Lakers with LeBron James dominate the headlines. Most teams, including the Raptors, usually wait for the initial wave of signings to pass before assessing their options.

The Raptors have only the mid-level salary cap exception, set at about $12.9 million (U.S.), limiting their spending power.

Trent, meanwhile, seems to no longer fit with the Raptors. Despite being a proven NBA shooter, the team wants to evaluate other players in the coming months as they rebuild towards contention. They have second-year wing Gradey Dick and drafted Ja’Kobe Walter, a promising shooter who could be a younger, less expensive version of Trent. If Ochai Agbaji develops into a solid 3-and-D player, it further complicates Trent’s position.

Relying on first-year Walter or second-year Dick is risky, but that’s the Raptors’ current strategy. While Trent or a full mid-level exception wing would provide immediate benefits, the team wants to see if their young players can step up.

Toronto has secured Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley with long-term contracts. It’s crucial for the team to determine if the supporting cast can fulfill its role soon.

Bringing Trent back with the intention of trading him for other assets is risky.

“You want to be strategic about what’s tradable, what’s not tradable,” general manager Bobby Webster said after the NBA draft. “We have some big contracts coming up in the future that have to be addressed, so it has to make sense for everyone.”

The Raptors didn’t make any big moves on the first night because they didn’t need to, lacked the financial resources, and preferred to let their young core develop. They are expected to make some moves, but likely in the later stages of free agency.

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