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Raptors Roster Taking Shape Ahead of 2020-21 Season

Sign of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, home of the Toronto Raptors.

With the next NBA season set to kick off on December 22nd thanks to the long COVID-19 hiatus that interrupted the 2019-20 season, the official free agent negotiation period began on November 20. Several members of the Toronto Raptors’ 2018-19 championship roster were 2020 free agents, including Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet.

Retaining VanVleet was a top priority for the Raptors front office, who have reportedly achieved their goal.

After reaching an agreement with VanVleet, the next order of business for Toronto was keeping big men Gasol and Ibaka. They were unable to retain either. “MaFuzzy Chef” will be cooking with the Los Angeles Clippers after making a two-year deal. The Raptors reportedly offered Ibaka a higher salary on a one-year deal, but he apparently was looking for a second guaranteed year. This was likely a no-go for Toronto as the team is looking to maintain salary cap flexibility for the 2021 free agency class.

The Spaniard Gasol, who had previously been rumored to be interested in finishing his basketball career in his homeland, is coming to terms with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Losing both of the frontcourt players who played the most minutes last year was a nerve-wracking moment for Raptors fans. However, the signing of Aron Baynes and re-signing of Chris Boucher means fans won’t be seeing OG Anunoby starting at the 5 in a permanent small-ball lineup.

Baynes looks like a very interesting 3 and D acquisition and should fit in well.

Toronto has also reportedly picked up DeAndre’ Bembry as a bench piece.

More moves are likely yet to come, as teams prepare for training camps expected to open on December 1.

Due to COVID-19 travel quarantines imposed by the Canadian government, the Raptors will open their 2020-21 season playing home games in Tampa Bay, Florida. Casual NBA fans may be tempted to refer to the team as the Tampa Bay Raptors, but that would be wrong. The team remains under majority ownership of Canadian media giants Bell Canada and Rogers and its identity remains tied to the “We the North” branding.

Featured Image: Sign of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, home of the Toronto Raptors by JHVEPhoto /

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