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Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Toronto Raptors Preseason 2020 - 202: Giannis Antetokounmpo Re-signs with Milwaukee. #RPTZFLZ





    Yesterday the inevitable happened.  Giannis Antetokounmpo re-signed an extension deal with the Milwaukee Bucks that will see him stay with the team for another five seasons at over 200 million dollars US.  The general managers of every team in the league felt like they had a legitimate shot at the most coveted potential free agent in the league and waited with optimism as he spent the week contemplating his decision.  And in the end, he did what he had always said he was going to do, which is take his time contemplating his decision before he finally signs with Milwaukee.  Surprise, surprise.
      Very much to the dismay of Toronto Raptors fans who thought surely the connections to Masai Ujiri and the largest Greek community outside of Greece were going to be enough to drag him away from the only other home he's known and a team that managed to finish in first place despite having only one all-star player.  Also very much to the dismay of Masai Ujiri who felt that he had helped create a system that should be attractive to a superstar seeking a team of role-players capable of achieving championship level goals.  
      Alas, Giannis Antetokounmpo is cut from a different cloth.  His loyalty lies with the team that was the first to extend his family a hand out of poverty.  And besides, the Milwaukee Bucks have always been a steadily run organization, with a fairly reliable basketball fan base.  What more can you ask for?
      Well, now what do you have to look forward to if you're a Toronto Raptors fan?  For one thing, the peace of mind that the Milwaukee Bucks will never be a serious threat.  One of the reasons they were able to retain Giannis is the fact that he's not a ring chaser.  He knows that because of the Bucks organization's inability to attract superstar talent that he may never get the chance to play next to the type of player who would be able to help him win a championship, and he's fine with that.  At the moment anyway.
       There are a few options the Raptors have going forward into the future as they navigate the next few seasons trying to return to the promised land of large parades, Drake one-liners, and banners in the rafters.
       Staying the course of finding mature, moldable players from various parts around the globe to shape into hard-nosed, dedicated role-players and all-stars.  The Raptors have surpassed the Sana Antonio Spurs at finding talent from unforeseen places to put on the floor and on the bench in coaching roles.  It's made them the most consistently winning team in the league for the past five seasons and I don't see that abating so long as the brains of the organization remain in place.  The guarantee of a process of such is a chance at a championship more often than not and that's better than a lot of franchises will ever have.
       Getting reacquainted with a player from the past can be rejuvenating.  The Utah Jazz recently brought back franchise favourite Derrick Favors, who has always been a fan and teammate favourite.  Could the Raptors bring back a player from their past?  Say a Demar Derozan or a Kawhi Leonard?  Especially in regards to Kawhi Leonard, he wasn't at all averse to re-signing with the team.  Maybe a couple of bad seasons in L.A. might persuade him to return to a franchise and city that more than appreciated his hard work and level headed mindstate.
         Acquiring the next best player in free agency might be another option if the price is right.  The pickings are slim as far as finding the player that gets the Raptors back into the championship.  Maybe if they find the right TWO players willing to take a cut for a run at the ship?  I don't think so.  The Raptors, with the exception of their championship season, tend to be more long-term oriented.
         I think the thing to expect the most when it comes to the Raptors is the unexpected.  Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster never take their focus off the main goal which is a championship, but  they try to avoid the trappings that put other franchises in situations that leave them in a rut for multiple seasons, so you can expect whatever's unexpected of them to be calculated and precise and they might have seen this scenario as a possibility when they approached Serge Ibaka and let Marc Gasol go.  The odds are that they knew they might be rebuilding with multiple lower-tier free agents when the time comes.  The main thing Raptors fans can rely on is the fact that they'll be competing for another championship sooner rather than later.
      
       

 

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