What will the Toronto Raptors do with their unused roster spot?
The Toronto Raptors spent a good portion of the preseason figuring out how to fill out the back end of the roster, ultimately choosing to waive players like Ishamil Wainright and Freddie Gillespie to get to 15 players. While Sam Dekker, Yuta Watanabe, and Isaac Bonga made the final roster, they haven’t provided a ton of tangible impact.
Watanabe has played as many minutes as you and I this season due to an injury, Bonga has only seen spot duty in a very limited role, and Dekker was waived to make sure that the Raptors are under the luxury tax. Goran Dragic’s contract was just too much of an albatross.
The Raptors are currently operating with one open roster spot, and while adding a player to fill that spot sounds like a good idea, the financial handicaps that this team is trying to dance around are making it very difficult to get anything done.
With Dekker no longer in Toronto, where do the Raptors go from here? Finishing the entire season with 14 players sounds like something that could be foolish, so Toronto might need to get creative here.
How will the Toronto Raptors fill their final roster spot?
Sign a free agent
The entire reason that Dekker was waived was to get under the luxury tax, so this move may not be likely in the short term. However, if Toronto ends up on the fringes of the postseason and finds a veteran willing to take less to fill a need, they could go down this path.
The market isn’t exactly saturated right now, as players like Wesley Matthews and Jeff Teague are some of the more noteworthy names on this list. Still, Masai Ujiri is going to explore all potential avenues for improving this team, and signing a free agent should not be discarded as a potential avenue.
Convert a two-way player
The Raptors have two of these players in Justin Champagnie and David Johnson. While Champagnie has had some encouraging minutes during very brief cameos with the Raptors, neither of them has done enough to earn a new contract just yet.
However, the Raptors did convert Watanabe’s deal into an NBA deal last year, so Ujiri is willing to supplement his team with this method.
Hold on until a Dragic trade happens
If the Raptors want to trace Dragic, they should expect multiple players coming back in return due to the Slovenian’s salary. If any sort of trade gets made in the next few months, Toronto could take on a few different contracts to beef up their bench.
Perhaps someone like Dwight Powell or Willie Cauley-Stein could be on the move?
The Raptors don’t need to fix this issue instantly, but this is something that Toronto needs to get a jump on, as it could help differentiate themselves against the rest of the playoff competitors.