Complicated questions loom for Toronto Raptors in wake of playoff ouster

Ruben Hill
May 20, 2017

We wanted Pawcho to be both a story and coloring book in one, and at no point did we want the narrative to feel forced or unnecessary.

Irving put Cleveland back on top with a three-pointer and with 5:34 to play made two free throws to give Cleveland a four-point lead. If the Wizards win, the Cavs will host the first two games.

"It's one of those things people ask, but you don't know, you don't know", Tucker said of playing the hindsight game.

And then, after a tougher-than-it-needed-to-be first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks, it all ended so quickly. Even if the Raptors renounce their cap holds and let them walk, they'll have about only $9.5 million to spend on free agents, according to And having competed against LeBron James and the Cavs, Tucker is fully aware of how far Cleveland, the NBA's reigning champions, can go this spring. "The whole experience has been unbelievable, I've had a great time".

Can he get one with the Raptors? The Cavs swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, as well.

Kyle Lowry has made the worst-kept secret around the Toronto Raptors public.

That's a question for Adam Silver.

Building a sustainable victor was Ujiri's primary goal when he took the Raptors job back in the summer of 2013, and he's done that, more so than anyone had in the franchise's uninspiring history. There's no easy answer and there might not be a right answer either, because James will continue to be in the way for the foreseeable future.

The Raptors can trade Valanciunas and hope a second-year Jakob Poeltl is ready to assume starting duties. But is contending for a title the end-all, be-all in the National Basketball Association, where seven franchises have won 33 of the last 37 championships?

Cleveland won 10 straight to begin the playoffs past year.

No, you don't want to be on "the treadmill of mediocrity" in this league, but the Raptors are not mediocre.

The Raptors fought back gamely in the fourth, actually taking a lead midway through, but this is not a Cavs team that is going to expend any more energy than they have to before the expected meeting with Golden State in the final. On the other hand, fans love him in the city, and maybe he will consider staying even though he may not get more money. The Cavs took advantage of DeMar DeRozan's reliance on the midrange game to squeeze Toronto into tight spaces, and Dwane Casey took a little too long to adjust to the pace of the series with his lineup combinations.

"I don't know when his prime is going to stop", Lowry told The Vertical. He's also connected on 46.8 percent of his attempts from three-point range, a massive jump from his 36.3 percent mark during the regular season. But DeRozan is under contract for at least three more years.

Of course, Lowry is an interesting person to follow these days, as he becomes a free agent this summer.

The Raptors' outlook is complicated. Some of that difference is just the normal flow of the game in basketball, but for stretches of the third and fourth quarters, the Cavaliers did get away from their offense a bit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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