While the loss of Kawhi Leonard was a tough pill to swallow for the Toronto Raptors, they don't intend to give up on the 2019-20 NBA season. The championship core remains intact minus Kawhi and Danny Green, but each Raptors player is set to take on a bigger role in this upcoming campaign. Pascal Siakam is expected to make another big jump this year, as he becomes the centerpiece for the new-look Raptors.
Recently, there had been rumors that the Raptors could part ways with some of their top players, including Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol. But it's been reported that the team is "quite happy" with its current status, and has yet to begin "entertaining trade talks" for its players, as league sources told Heavy.
Several NBA general managers approached the Raptors to gauge the availability of its veteran players on the trade market, but the team has no plans to sell just yet. Lowry, Ibaka, and Gasol were crucial to the Raptors' title with each playing his role to perfection. Not only can these players help the team return to the postseason, but they also provide a valuable presence on and off the court for the Raptors' younger prospects.
There's been much speculation out there regarding the team's next moves, but Masai Ujiri appears to be determined to keep the Raptors a winning franchise. With the culture of the team undergoing significant changes under the leadership of Ujiri, they aspire to remain a contender in post-Kawhi era.
"This is where they always wanted to be," said a source about the status of the franchise.
"Masai was always going to rebuild things around Siakam and OG (Anunoby) and the other young guys eventually. He's going to have a ton of cap space. But he's got to be able to get free agents to go there and it's still a tough sell, getting guys to go to Canada. So they've got the ring, if they can get to the playoffs again, he has something more to sell when that cap space comes available," revealed the NBA source.The Raptors understand that it's important to remain a winning team in today's NBA. That's why they've engaged in contract extension talks with Siakam, as recently noted by The Inquisitr. They're certainly in good hands with Siakam leading the way alongside their experienced vets, but the Raptors also need younger players such as OG Anunoby and Stanley Johnson to step up to the challenge.
Depending on how the season plays out, the Raptors may eventually change their plans by the trade deadline. Their core players would certainly attract more interest from teams hoping to boost their own championship odds.