Serge Ibaka has reportedly agreed to a three-year, $65 million contract to stay with the Toronto Raptors. Meanwhile, P.J. Tucker, the other big acquisition the Raptors snagged at last season’s trade deadline, will depart for Houston, having agreed to a four-year, $32 million contract. Assuming Kyle Lowry will return to Toronto—an increasingly likely scenario—the Raptors will remain exactly who they have been in recent years.
According to Brian Windhorst, Tucker took less money spread over more years in order to join James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston:
Perhaps it was not Tucker’s desire to be dragged into the vortex that is Raptors basketball, where new players and new contracts and shifting conference hierarchies do absolutely nothing for their dreams of one day playing well in the playoffs and at least throwing a scare into the eventual conference champion. The Raptors are 2-8 against the Cavs in the playoffs the last two seasons. The year before they were swept out of the first round by the lower-seeded Wizards. They’ve won 48, 49, 56, and 51 regular season games over the last four seasons, and there is no one left on the planet who any longer believes their potential is greater than what they’ve achieved.
Toronto was reportedly shopping Jonas Valanciunas around prior to the draft, but apparently didn’t get real far. Barring any big moves, go ahead and pencil the Raptors in for 47 to 54 wins, a bottom-five assists total, and an offensive rating that goes in the tank the very moment the playoffs start. There are worse things!