Kawhi Leonard's decision to leave the reigning NBA champions Toronto Raptors for the Los Angeles Clippers has undeniably changed the NBA landscape. The core of Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, and OG Anunoby may be able to extend the Raptors' playoff streak in the 2019-20 NBA season but without Leonard on their roster, it remains a big question if they still have what it takes to bring home another Larry O'Brien Trophy to Toronto. Though they all made contributions to their success last season, no one can deny the fact that Leonard played the biggest role in helping the Raptors win their first NBA championship title.
However, despite losing Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency, most of the Raptors' players don't seem to be concerned about their chances of defending their throne in the 2019-20 NBA season. According to ESPN, veteran center Marc Gasol said that though they lost several core players this summer, the Raptors are still a "very hungry team."
"If I had to express it in one word, I would say 'hungry,'" Gasol said. "I think it's a very hungry team. We all understand what Kawhi meant to the team and how well he played in the playoffs. But we also understand how good we can be as a team, and we're all going to invest everything in it to be that team."All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry shared the same sentiment as Marc Gasol, saying that despite all the things that happened in the 2019 NBA offseason, they currently have only one goal in mind which is to win the 2020 NBA championship title.
"It's always the same goal for me," Lowry said. "I'm more motivated than ever."
The upcoming 2019-20 NBA season would be a tougher challenge for Kyle Lowry. Without players like DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard on their roster, there is a strong possibility that Lowry could be the focal point of the Raptors' offense next season. However, in order to have a realistic chance of accomplishing their main goal, Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri said that other players like Pascal Siakam would also need to step up and show huge improvements with their game.
"I think guys are going to step up, I think guys are up for the challenge," Ujiri said.
When they lost Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency, most people believed that the Raptors would undergo a rebuilding process and trade some of their veterans before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. However, according to a previous The Inquisitr article, the Raptors are currently not entertaining any offers for Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, or Serge Ibaka.