Hello and Goodbye

Ever since the Toronto Raptors won the championship in 2019, the players from that winning roster have slowly been leaving the team. It began with Kawhi Leonard, who infamously left the team right after the Raptors won their championship. More recently, it was Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby. It’s 2024, and the Raptors find themselves in the middle of the pack for the third straight season – something had to be done. The wheels on a rebuild began turning the day OG Anunoby got traded to the New York Knicks. Finally, Pascal Siakam, the last remaining star from the 2019 championship team, was traded to the Indiana Pacers on January 18.

It’s a sad end to the story, but it’s a conclusion that fans have been anxiously waiting for over the past two years. President Masai Ujiri and General Manager Bobby Webster managed to salvage three first-round picks from the Pacers, along with Bruce Brown, for Pascal Siakam, who is in the final year of his contract. The Raptors hope to flip Bruce Brown at the trade deadline for another haul to add to their rebuild.

Considered by many to be a top-five Raptor all-time, Pascal Siakam has scored the fifth most points in Raptors history, along with the third most rebounds and 30-point games. Now, it might sound like this is turning into an obituary. Still, the Raptors have truly lost something special with Siakam–a home-grown talent that blossomed into a star for the Raptors and was key to their 2019 championship win. Losing the last of that roster is a tough pill to swallow, but fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

The Toronto Raptors have said goodbye to Pascal Siakam and hello to a full rebuild. What does this mean for the rest of the season? Well, a spot in the playoffs looks increasingly less likely with each trade and each loss that the Raptors endure. With how this roster stands, fans should hope that the Raptors continue to lose games to ensure the highest possible spot in the draft lottery odds.

After the Siakam trade, the Raptors are poised to have three first-round picks in the upcoming draft. If their own pick is anywhere from 1-6, they won’t have to give it up to the San Antonio Spurs to complete last year’s trade for Jakob Poeltl. Scottie Barnes is already a star at 22 years old, and newly acquired RJ Barrett, and Immanual Quickley are both younger than 25.

As Black History Month approaches, the Raptors have celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Lincoln Alexander Day in January. RJ Barrett has emerged as a leader in the locker room in this regard, as he attended the bust unveiling ceremony of Hon. Lincoln M. Alexander, the first black member of Parliament. 

If you would like to support the Raptors’ Black History Month, they have put their BHM starter jacket on sale. 20 per cent of the net proceeds will be donated to the Jamaican Canadian Association. Additionally, you can expect the Raptors to continue their support of BHM throughout the month with special events, highlights, and ceremonies on and off the court.

Raptors Wrap-Up Columnist (Volume 50) — Justyn is in his final year at UTM studying CCIT, with minors in Professional Writing & Communication and Computer Science. Sports is his passion and he loves to keep in touch with nearly every single one. Justyn’s always watching sports games, managing his fantasy teams, and listening to music in the music room. You can connect with him on Instagram or LinkedIn.


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