Last night, the Toronto Raptors playoff journey came to an end. After taking the Celtics to Game 7, they were unable to get the better of them in the must-win game. Throughout the series, they were let down by their best player, Pascal Siakam. He had a poor series against the Celtics, averaging just 14.9 points per game while shooting a disastrous 12.5% from the three-point line
During the post-game press conference, teammate Kyle Lowry had some advice for him. He spoke about his own playoff struggles from the past. He said, “When we got swept by the Wizards I read every single article. I read every single thing that was said about me – good, bad, evil, terrible, awesome, and I used it as motivation. And that’s what (Siakam) is going to do. That’s the advice I would give him.”
Lowry believes that Siakam is only going to get stronger and better from this slump. He said, “I think this is a learning experience. I think it’s only going to make him a better basketball player, a better man, a better everything. And I would not be surprised to see him come back even hungrier and destroying people.”
What’s next for the Toronto Raptors?
Entering into the 2020-21 season, the Raptors have six players who won’t be on the books. The biggest names out of the six are Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and Fred VanVleet. While Gasol is old and could settle on a smaller deal, VanVleet will be hot property in this weak Free Agency class. Ibaka could also end up getting better offers than what the Raptors can afford.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher are also free agents but they’re likely to return. Boucher is a restricted free agent and the Raptors would be silly to not match any offers for him. Jefferson has proved to be a solid player in the rotation and could also return to Toronto for the upcoming season.
The two max contracts of Siakam and Lowry suffocate their cap space and leaves little room for the rest. Since the start of the season, there have been many rumors linking them to Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. But for that, the Raptors would have to give up Siakam in the 2021 Free Agency if they attempt to pursue Giannis.
After Siakam’s poor playoff run, the Raptors might be willing to let him go to welcome a potential two-time MVP. Although Giannis might have a lot more attractive offers, the Raptors charm for international players and how they have developed many foreign talents will be a factor that would appeal to Giannis.