HomeBasketballRaptors comply with a three-year take care of Gary Trent Jr., however...

Raptors comply with a three-year take care of Gary Trent Jr., however there’s nonetheless the matter of an enormous man

There remains much work for the Raptors to do.

Big work.

As they prepare to begin an NBA season without Kyle Lowry for the first time in almost a decade, the Raptors are still seeking a centre of any kind from a free-agent market that opened with a predictable flurry of spending on Monday night.

But even though they lost Lowry and threw in on shooting guard Gary Trent Jr., the Raptors have not yet addressed a glaring absence of a proven big man on the roster.

Jarrett Allen re-signed with Cleveland for five years and $100 million (U.S.) and Kelly Olynyk moved from Houston to Detroit on a three-year, $37-million deal, leaving the free-agent ranks of big men woefully thin.

The Raptors are known to have interest in Sacramento’s Richaun Holmes, who has yet to sign, but he is about all that’s left on the market.

Lowry’s departure could give the Raptors a boost in their pursuit of frontcourt help. One of the pieces coming back for Lowry is veteran guard Goran Dragic, who would be superfluous on a Toronto roster with Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn. Moving him in another transaction is a definite possibility.

Dallas has interest in Dragic, who is intrigued by the thought of joining his Slovenian countryman Luka Doncic, with the Mavericks, according to league sources.

Until Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster finish a transaction for a big man, their free-agent shopping and roster reconstruction is not over. They still have interest in Khem Birch, who finished the season in Toronto, and Freddy Gillespie, who will play for Toronto’s Summer League team starting this week.

Meanwhile, the Raptors are intrigued by the long-term potential of Trent and now have the time to see how he develops. Trent, a 22-year-old former second round draft pick, has agreed to a three-year, $54-million contact to stay with Toronto, solidifying one backcourt spot.

Gary Trent Jr., who agreed to a three-year, $54-million (U.S.) deal with the Raptors, will spend the off-season working on his ball-handling and one-on-one play.

The Raptors see Trent as an underdeveloped version of Norm Powell and will spend the off-season working on his ball-handling and one-on-one play so he can fit better into the team’s ball movement, read-and-react offence.

Precious Achiuwa, a six-foot-nine forward who is also coming in the Lowry deal, according to multiple reports, is the most intriguing prospect Toronto got Monday night.

The 21-year-old forward, the 20th pick in the 2020 NBA draft, is coming off an excellent run with Nigeria’s Olympic team. He spent his rookie season with the Heat being tutored by respected veteran Udonis Haslem and has the kind of work ethic Raptors coach Nick Nurse will appreciate.

He has no shooting range — he didn’t attempt a three-pointer in 61 games and 737 minutes with Miami last season — but he did average about 10 rebounds per 36 minutes and shot 54 per cent from the field.

The expected flurry of signing announcements, none of which can be made official until Friday, underscored the value of veteran point guards in this era.

Aside from Lowry’s deal, which will come in at about $90 million, Chris Paul got a four-year, $120 million deal to stay in Phoenix, Mike Conley will stay in Utah with a three-year contract worth $72.5 million, and Derrick Rose is sticking with the Knicks for $43 million over three years. Lonzo Ball is the only other significant young point guard to move, heading to Chicago from New Orleans on a four-year, $85-million deal.


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