and welcome back to Sports Caster, where, as always, I am Adam arm wrecked, talking all things MBA on SportsCastr news where we come in.
Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors fan base, they were able to claw back from that Oh, to deficit against the Boston Celtics.
But come up short 90 to 87 in Game seven.
And obviously, there's a lot of attention around.
See a common display.
We came on the other day and really highlighted the struggles of him relative to the regular season.
Coming into these playoffs, we can think about as well.
Some of the other guys, as we talked about that had some of their own issues, just transitioning right.
The defense usually ratchets up a little bit.
You're going to get some of the best in terms of the opposition and who they want to throw on you defensively.
And then the lights are bright now, no crowds or anything like that down in the bubble butt.
Still there, pumping in some of those home noises and maybe the pressure a little bit as well.
Remember, this is a guy who won most improved player of the year Prior he was up for not sure if you wanted this year but was a candidate again in Siaca for most improved a second time.
So you know, he took on that mantel that was left there by Kawhi Leonard and, unfortunately, unable to cross that threshold and really elevate his game like we've seen ironically on the other side of the ball here in Boston.
Tatum right? Tatum has come up big for them during the regular season.
He's taken on that next step in his evolution, and it's certainly rising up the charts in terms of the better players in the league.
That being said, you know, Kyle Lowry came out in the postgame, said that he wouldn't be surprised if Siachen comes back next year is just destroying dudes because gonna be even more dedicated and focussed.
But he also said going back to just his advice for sockem quote.
When we got swept by the Wizards, I read every single article I read every single thing that was said about me.
Good, bad, evil, terrible, awesome.
And I used it as motivation, and that's what CIA Kim is going to do.
That's the advice that I would give him so sometimes people say, And this is obviously going back years prior when, When before CIA comes time there when Kyle Lowry was there.
And he's just the soul face of the franchise.
Pre Kawhi Leonard.
And you say, You know, you gotta ignore the outsiders.
You gotta block out all the negativity and stay focused on your game and stay true to your form.
Kyle Lowry goes the other way.
Says Lean into it right.
See what these people are saying about you.
Take the licks right, The good, the bad, everything.
And just say Alright, fine.
I love the fact that I did X y z.
Fantastically, I'm disgusted by the fact that I didn't improve in these areas.
And here's the motivation, right? Go back to that last actually last dance do***entary when Jordan sent the memos right and was talking with the sideline, reporters who didn't think they were gonna make it out of the Siri's said they were gonna losing four, losing five and was just going down the line, checking off those boxes and saying, Took care of you.
Take care of you.
See you in two games and that's a little bit of the mentality.
We know this about Kyle Lowry.
This is what he instills in the Toronto Raptors Is that grittiness and that toughness that really permeates throughout the entire roster.
So you can say, you know you don't want to hedge your bets there.
He's not saying get after these guys and get into some of those social media wars but using it as motivation.
And I don't think that CIA who's gonna need a ton of it he took blame, took, you know, responsibility for not playing bigger in this Siris in particular, on helping this team have a chance to go back to the conference finals and ultimately, the MBA Finals, depending on how things shook out against the Miami Heat.
But listen, it's the playoffs.
It's a unique season, unique playoff scenario, and they come up short now.
What you have to start to think about is turning the page and looking at this roster going into the offseason and looking ahead to next year.
What is this gonna look like for the Toronto Raptors? We've talked about before? How the hierarchy off the Eastern Conference is going to see a shift here you've already seen Now Miami in the conference finals this year feels like a direct shift in terms off the weight of where these teams are.
They're gonna go into the off season and maybe look to bring in a player, right? They speculated about going after Yanis.
Maybe if you're a purist, you hope that he stays there with the Milwaukee Bucks.
And then you even heard, though, about them pursuing Victor Oladipo off the Pacers, who wanted a bigger than four for $80 million extension that he was offered during the season and turned down off of injury high defensive a***en so they could add pieces to wherever they finish, whether it's a Eastern Conference finals loss, an MBA Finals loss.
Or maybe they win the championship, at which point will be easier, not necessarily the have to go after pieces and free agency.
But maybe they would, because now you're talking about solidifying legacy and going ahead and getting that double dip and looking for a back to back opportunity for the Toronto Raptors.
Listen, did see a calm struggle.
Yes, do I think that he can continue to elevate his game 100% 26 years old Brooklyn Nets guy just like Caris.
Levert comes on and year 25 year 26.
You start to see the evolution of his game, so I think that he can continue to grow there.
The other areas that you look, though at on this roster, is how do you improve the players around him so that it frees him up and allows him to more effectively have the space and time to do his thing? You could go back to actually and think about when they mentioned when Nick Nurse was just assistant on this team, Sockem went to him and said, I don't have a jump shot.
I need you to help me improve my shooting and Nick Nurse dedicated time with him and see a comm dedicated the time and got better in that area.
So you know that he can improve and you know that he can continue to evolve different areas of his game.
If we think about this from a payroll perspective, though, and go inside the contracts to players that really I think you saw either one the age or to the wear and tear really coming and that was Marc Gasol and then, obviously, Serge Ibaka Ibaka had some flashes but really got exposed again.
End up having the injury here in the Siri's against Boston.
Gasol aging, getting a step slow, just not able to keep up with the quicker players blowing past him on drives down the lane, extending out defense on the perimeter.
And even though he offers perimeter shooting, that was also a struggle for him in the Boston Syriza's.
Well, both those players air coming off the books here, so it's a difficult thing to take your two bigs and then and then switch and pivot off of them in a single off season.
But if I'm the Toronto Raptors, you have to really look at that because those were probably your two biggest areas of weakness.
When you talk about key contributors, the guards Kyle Lowry's 34 then Fleet is gonna be going into free agency as well.
I would assume they make it a priority to bring him back because you're talking about as they talked.
As I said during these playoffs, this is a clone of Kyle Lowry in style, play, tenacity, defensive a***en, just hunger and fight and all those all those frivolous words you throw out right is compliments, but he really is.
So Kyle Lowry, at 34 next couple of years, things start to taper off for him.
You start the hand off that mantle to a 26 27 year old Van Fleet, and he can take over as the heart and soul.
It's here on a rapper, so I think you need to make that a priority.
Maintain that backcourt.
If you go back a couple of years, you want to throw a wrinkle, and you can say they moved off a DeRozan in order to bring in Kauai.
So unless there's that really big, high caliber player, I don't know if they would risk breaking something like this.
Tandem up in that backcourt certainly is possible, but I I'd be pretty surprised, I guess I would say if they went in that direction.
When you think about some of the free agents that are out there, you have, actually, DeRozan will be back out on the market again here at 31 years old.
Then you think about any other guards that really jump out of a Hardaway really found a home there in Dallas.
I would expect him to return there.
You've got Courtney Lee and Tony Snell.
There's not a ton of big names really out there.
Bogdanovich out there in Sacramento has bird rights, though there, so be a little tricky in terms of of bringing him in there.
But beyond that, when you look back at this payroll again, you also see the smaller guys like Rondae, Hollis Jefferson and you've got Butcher and you've got Davis.
Some other guys that are coming off the books is your small contracts.
Not a big deal, but because you have CIA come under contract through 23 24 we'll make 35 million, pretty even a 35 million relatively team friendly deal with a have that.
You also have Powell under contract through 21 22 so you could make a couple of little tweaks here and moves in this off season and keep yourself rate in the competitive upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
We said Brooklyn's gonna be there.
Miami, Boston You have to think that it's let's assume that Yana stays in Milwaukee.
They're gonna be right there.
And then what is the enigma that is the Philadelphia 70 Sixers.
Now they've gotten rid of Brett Brown.
What could happen there is, well, you expect them to be competitive.
So there's some wrinkles here about how they may look at it.
But you wanna keep yourself above the 5 to 8 area, and I think that that requires them making a couple of moves here in this offseason to strengthen the roster over all other names that jump out at me, especially if you're going to get down and start thinking about some of the bigs in the league here and how they can pivot off of it.
Mentioned Hassan Whiteside looks like he found a home there and feels comfortable in Portland.
But they have nurkic.
They have Collins, so there's options there for them that maybe almost, you know, an over abundance of players at that position.
So maybe you could pursue him.
Drum is going to stay out there in Cleveland, you think about, then you get into beyond Bo.
That's not really an option.
You want to go that route because he's gonna be coming off there and being unrestricted free agent as well.
And then even like a Mason Plumlee or a Kelly Olynyk.
You know, these are guys that come in and give you a real hustle.
Real spark, their great team players.
And I think that behind the nucleus that could be Lowry and Van Fleet, SIAC.
Um and then, of course, up how there is.
Well, these could be nice, complimentary pieces that help keep you in the top four or five seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The other thing that they could look to do this off season is turn your attention to a player like O G an Adobe and go ahead and reward him.
He comes in, hits that game winner in the Boston Siri's there to keep keep them alive.
Hey, certainly elevated his play.
At one point, Nick Nurse starts going small and using about the five, so there's versatility there.
I think you can go ahead and get out there ahead of it, because right now he sits there on 3.
8 million going into next season, the final year off his contract.
So you may be able to get him into a not dissimilar to what you did with Siaca, who jumps up to 29 million next year than 31 33.
Maybe you could give them a little bit lower end in the 15 million range, or 10 to 15 million in the 1st and 2nd year.
Possibly then have it starts to rise up.
So the same thing with Caris Levert, who kicks into 16 million going into the upcoming season and then it continues to rise from their This is how you can try to continue to build yourself in what is not necessarily a major market.
We know that Toronto has loyal fans, and they're going to support that team.
And you just need to make sure that, as some of the older players age out as Marc Gasol is, as Ibaka isn't Ibaka has been around in other teams.
But as Lowry goes out the door, make sure that you still have Van Fleet and SIAC Um, and oh gee.
And then bring in another piece here, a couple of bigs.
Help yourself defensively.
Give yourself some extra energy on the offensive boards as well, and you could be right back in it.
But as we say when you're not one of the East or West Coast teams, one of the major market teams as they're referred. Thio.
What ends up happening? Is it on Lee takes? You know, there's an important window, the next to to, you know, 2 to 5 years.
What's gonna happen for Toronto over the next 2 to 5 years is going to be predicated on what we see in this off season.
Because if they bring back Castle and they bring back Ibaka and they try to run it back one more time with the same cast of characters, I think you're gonna find them closer to say six or seven, then 25 or four in the Eastern Conference.
And then over those next following seasons, where those contracts look like they're gonna become dead weights around the ankles of Toronto, it's gonna be hard for them to move off of it.
So take the opportunity right now, make that switch and give yourself the opportunity to continue to be a threat in the Eastern Conference.
Among some of the other teams that are on the rise that will do it for us here on SportsCastr, where has always been talking MBA? I've been Adam arm wrecked.
We thank you for checking in with us and we will catch up with you soon