Toronto Raptors’ free agency big board: Patrick Williams, Tyus Jones and more

The Toronto Raptors’ offseason is unclear right now. That is an understatement. There are a few reasons for this.

1. The Raptors won’t find out until May 12, the date of the draft lottery, if they will have their own draft pick. If they keep it, it can either be first, second, third, fourth or sixth. That player would likely make somewhere between $7.5 million and $12.6 million, depending on where the pick falls, assuming the team pays 120 percent of the rookie scale, which is the norm. That would chip away at the Raptors’ spending power in free agency. The Raptors enter the draft lottery with a 45.8 percent chance of keeping their pick. If the Raptors fall in the lottery, they lose the pick to San Antonio.

2. The Raptors have a $23-million team option on Bruce Brown. He would not make that on the open market, but he is a valuable player who the Raptors might want to keep to a) trade him later; or b) play for them next year and help the team win.

3. Immanuel Quickley is a restricted free agent who will count against the books for $12.5 million until he signs a new deal. That gives the Raptors added flexibility, but they also must mind the luxury tax. If the Raptors retain Brown and free agent Gary Trent Jr. (for simplicity’s sake, let’s say he makes the same amount of money as this past season, $18.6 million), the Raptors would have $130.7 million committed to 10 players under guaranteed contracts for next year, Quickley’s cap hold plus the $100,000 guarantee for Javon Freeman-Liberty and the salary of the 19th-overall pick. That would put the Raptors just below the salary cap. Add $12 million more to Quickley’s contract plus and the use of the full mid-level exception on another free agent and the Raptors would comfortably be above-the-cap, below-the-tax team. Add the first-overall pick? The Raptors would be flirting with the tax.

With that in mind, I have done my best to look at the list of pending free agents and find fits for the Raptors. This is not simply a list of the best players the Raptors could sign, nor is it a list of the most likely players the Raptors will sign. Instead, it is an attempt to combine talent, fit and likelihood in terms of what would make sense for the Raptors.

It is crucial to remember that unless the Raptors decline Brown’s player option and allow Trent to leave in free agency, they will not have spending power significantly above the mid-level exception, which comes with a starting salary of around $12.86 million. Accordingly, there are only a few players for whom it would make sense to chase above that threshold, as doing so would cost them both players. That math has also factored into this list.

I don’t expect there to be much of a consensus here.

Likely too expensive to consider regardless of the path the Raptors take: Paul George (player option), James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James (player option), Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Tyrese Maxey (restricted)

(Ages as of October 2024; stats from 2023-24 regular season; I have excluded players who I believe will pick up their options or those who will have their team options exercised)

1. Patrick Williams | forward | 23 years old | restricted
6-foot-7 | 215 pounds | four seasons
43 games | 10.0 points per game | 3.9 rebounds per game | 39.9 3-point percentage

Williams is coming off a foot injury that, as of January, wasn’t supposed to be fully healed until the summer. He has not fulfilled the Chicago Bulls’ hopes when they drafted him fourth overall in 2020. Injuries have derailed two of his four NBA seasons. However, he is the prototype of a player the Raptors could use: a multi-positional defender who can knock down 3s at a high clip. He wouldn’t bring much offensively aside from shooting, but he would be a nice fifth starter alongside Scottie Barnes, Quickley, RJ Barrett and Jakob Poeltl. Given his age, it would be worth testing the Bulls to see how willing they would be to match his contract.

Attainability rating (out of 5): 1.5

2. Caleb Martin | wing | 29 | player option ($7.1 million)
6-foot-5 | 205 pounds | five seasons
64 games | 10.0 PPG | 4.4 RPG | 34.9 3P%

The Raptors could use a little more size on the wing, but Martin is tough and feisty. He likely does not have many admirers among Raptors fans, given a foul on Barnes from a few years back, but he would give the Raptors some edge they don’t have. Despite his past playoff exploits, he does not need the ball and has a history playing in many different types of defence.

Attainability: 4

3. Tyus Jones | guard | 28 | unrestricted
6-foot-1 | 196 pounds | nine seasons
66 games | 12.0 PPG | 7.3 APG | 41.4 3P%

One of the easiest ways for the Raptors to raise their floor is to pay for competence and depth at point guard, which has been lacking since Kyle Lowry left Toronto. Jones is smart, reliable and more than capable of filling in as a starter for extended minutes. Jones has bumped up his 3-point rate as his career has progressed. It is fair to wonder whether paying full mid-level money or more for a backup point guard is a smart expenditure given that Quickley and Barnes are both headed for raises. At his position and role, Jones is as good as is available this summer.

Attainability: 3

4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope | wing | 31 | player option ($15.4 million)
6-foot-5 | 204 pounds | 11 seasons
76 games | 10.1 PPG | 2.4 APG | 40.6 3P%

There are obstacles here. Caldwell-Pope might not be able to get more than he is set to make on his player option next year in free agency — although, at 31, he might want to lock into a long-term deal if possible. Also, the Denver Nuggets would surely want him to stick around, as he is proven to be an important and malleable piece for the defending champions. That is also a reason to go after him. Caldwell-Pope is the type of player who ties lineups together. As with Martin, the Raptors would prefer a younger, bigger option, but Caldwell-Pope is a stylistic fit.

Attainability: 1

5. Royce O’Neale | wing | 31 | unrestricted
6-foot-6 | 226 pounds | seven seasons
79 games | 7.7 PPG | 4.8 RPG | 37.0 3P%

O’Neale’s defensive reputation is a bit overrated due to him being by far the best option on the perimeter for the Utah Jazz for years. He is solid on that end, and a fine 3-point shooter — 38.1 percent for his career. A theme is emerging: He is older than you would like, but for the right duration, he would make sense as the fifth option in the starting lineup who could be an innings eater defensively.

Attainability: 2

6. Malik Monk | guard | 26 | unrestricted
6-foot-3 | 200 pounds | seven seasons
72 games | 15.4 PPG | 5.1 APG | 35 3P%

Some of the above-listed players are not as productive as Monk, but this is where the financials come in. Coming off two good seasons in Sacramento, Monk is young enough that I would expect many teams to be aggressive in pursuing him. Monk would cost the Raptors Trent and Brown, plus a rich contract. He has developed into a nice playmaker as well as a good scorer, but starting in a backcourt with Quickley would make the Raptors very small, putting tons of pressure on Barnes and Poeltl to clean up some messes. Monk is among the best players who could change teams in free agency, but I’m not sure he’s worth it for the Raptors.

Attainability: 2

7. Isaac Okoro | wing | 23 | restricted
6-foot-5 | 225 pounds | four seasons
69 games | 9.4 PPG | 3.0 RPG | 39.1 3P%

Okoro had a career year from 3, and that makes him more attractive than he would have been at this point last year. He is young enough that the Raptors could reasonably hope there is a chance of significant improvement, and he is already a rotation-level player, if not the starter the Cavaliers tried to make him for most of his career. He is an age fit and a low-usage player, a good combination for the Raptors.

Attainability: 1.5

8. Kyle Anderson | forward | 31 | unrestricted
6-foot-9 | 230 pounds | 10 seasons
79 games | 6.4 PPG | 3.5 RPG | 4.2 APG

Anderson’s main value, strangely, would come on defence for the Raptors. He isn’t a point-of-attack defender but is big enough to toggle across the forward spots. His offence would be trickier. He isn’t much of a shooter. His passing would work well with coach Darko Rajaković’s preferences, but he shares many similarities with Kelly Olynyk. That combination would make for a slow-footed front line.

Attainability: 5

9. Haywood Highsmith | wing | 27 | restricted
6-foot-5 | 200 pounds | four seasons
66 games | 6.1 PPG | 3.2 RPG | 39.6 3P%

Highsmith played in Germany for two years and has still been treated as an afterthought beyond the arc despite a good percentage (on low volume) in the playoffs. Highsmith has bounce and toughness, though. If Miami declines to qualify him to save on a potential tax bill, I would hope the Raptors go after him aggressively. Even as a restricted free agent, his combination of defence and athleticism would be a nice addition to the roster.

Attainability: 2.5

10. De’Anthony Melton | guard | 26 | unrestricted
6-foot-3 | 200 pounds | six seasons
38 games | 11.1 PPG | 3.0 APG | 36 3P%

Melton would be an ideal player to sign if they draft a lead guard in June. He isn’t a pure point guard, but could do it in a pinch. He’s more of a jack-of-all-trades player. Melton battling a back injury this year is disconcerting, but this was the first year he has been truly limited by an injury. There are competitive teams that will go after him harder than the Raptors, but Melton is a nice player to have around.

Attainability: 3

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De’Anthony Melton is versatile enough that he could fit with the Raptors. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

11. Jalen Smith | forward/centre | 24 | player option ($5.0 million)
6-foot-9 | 215 pounds | four seasons
61 games | 9.9 PPG | 5.5 RPG | 42.4 3P%

The Raptors famously could not get any notable prospects in the Pascal Siakam trade, with Smith among those players the Raptors could not wiggle loose. Well, the Pacers need to re-sign Siakam to a huge new contract, and Smith could very well be a luxury for the historically cost-conscious team. Smith’s shooting came out of nowhere this season, with him hitting 61 of his 144 attempts from deep. If that is real, it makes his potential offensive fit with the current roster better than some other potential frontcourt options

Attainability: 3

12. Kris Dunn | guard | 30 | unrestricted
6-foot-3 | 205 pounds | eight seasons
66 games | 5.4 PPG | 3.8 APG | 36.9 3P%

Dunn’s emergence as a quality rotation player after a rough ride as a lottery pick has been one of the nicer stories in the league over the past two years. Dunn excelled with the Utah Jazz — at least before they waved the white flag in both years. He is a defensive menace and turned himself into enough of a shooter to have value off the ball. His perimeter defence would be an awesome fit for the Raptors, even if his offensive fit is tougher to imagine.

Attainability: 3

13. Derrick Jones Jr. | forward | 27 | unrestricted
6-foot-6 | 210 pounds | eight seasons
76 games | 8.6 PPG | 3.3 RPG | 34.3 3P%

He had a nice year playing next to Luka Dončić, but the Raptors do not have that sort of playmaker on the roster, as few teams do. The Mavericks got him for the minimum; the Raptors would likely have to pay more than that. Jones is a great athlete and a defensive plus, but he’s probably not someone you want to overcommit to in terms of length of contract. They could use his above-the-rim bounce.

Attainability: 5

14. Nic Claxton | center | 25 | unrestricted
6-foot-11 | 215 pounds | five seasons
71 games | 11.8 PPG | 9.9 RPG | 2.1 blocks per game

Claxton has been linked with the Raptors for a while. Realistically, the roster would need a big change for this to make sense — namely, Poeltl would probably need to be traded. Claxton still works as an age fit, and would give the Raptors more athleticism and play-making defense along the front line. It’s an interesting idea, although likely unworkable for practical reasons.

Attainability: 1.5

15. Isaiah Hartenstein | center | 26 | unrestricted
7-feet | 250 pounds | six seasons
75 games | 7.5 PPG | 8.3 RPG | 2.5 RPG

Remember when the Raptors signed Otto Porter Jr., for part of the mid-level exception in 2022? Well, they could have gone after Hartenstein with an aggressive offer — he signed with the Knicks for $16 million over two years over two seasons — and then maybe it would have been unnecessary to make the Poeltl trade. Oh well! Anyway, I imagine the Knicks will try to keep Hartenstein, but both he and Precious Achiuwa are due for new deals, and Mitchell Robinson is already under contract. Again, the Raptors aren’t likely to add Hartenstein to a roster with both Poeltl and Olynyk on it, but Hartenstein is good.

Attainability: 2

16. Obi Toppin | forward | 26 | restricted
6-foot-9 | 220 pounds | four years
82 games | 10.3 PPG | 3.9 RPG | 40.3 3P%

From afar, Toppin looks like the type of player who would help the Raptors. He has excellent size and athleticism. He shot the ball well this past season. However, this was by far his best shooting year from deep, and he was surely getting cleaner looks playing next to Tyrese Haliburton than he will get in Toronto. Also, he was part of a wretched defence before the arrival of Siakam. He is intriguing, depending on the price.

Attainability: 1.5

17. Monte Morris | guard | 29 | unrestricted
6-foot-2 | 183 pounds | seven seasons
33 games | 5.0 PPG | 2.1 APG | 38.6 3P%

Morris is a decision-making machine. He has more than five assists for every turnover in his career. Backup point guards are all about setting a floor, and Morris is as stable as they come — assuming he’s healthy. He missed three months of the season this year with a quad strain, which was quietly a big part of the Detroit Pistons’ struggles. He is now in Minnesota, and the Timberwolves will have some complicated decisions to make this offseason because of the luxury tax.

Attainability: 3.5

18. Oshae Brissett | forward | 26 | player option ($2.3 million)
6-foot-7 | 210 pounds | five seasons
55 games | 3.7 PPG | 2.9 RPG | 27.3 3P%

It will be interesting to see whether or not Brissett exercises his player option, as a guaranteed contract might be enough for him. Alternatively, Brissett might want a clearer path to playing time, and the former Raptor could be in line for significant minutes off the bench as one of the team’s better defensive options. Playing in Boston has to have helped Brissett, as the Celtics move the ball around very well. He has had to find a way to function within that system despite his shot not coming along. He could be an affordable flyer with defensive upside.

Attainability: 3.5 

19. Bol Bol | forward/centre | 24 | unrestricted
7-foot-3 | 220 pounds | five seasons
43 games | 5.2 PPG | 3.2 RPG | 42.3 3P%

At this point, Bol is mostly a highlight waiting to happen. Are we sure he cannot be more than that, though? He has shown flashes of being a competent shooter and handler. If the Raptors want to get experimental in free agency, there are worse players to gamble on. They’d have to be able to live through a lot of growing pains as he learned Rajaković’s system, and they were not willing to do that with Achiuwa — albeit in a much more high-leverage case than this would be.

Attainability: 4.5

20. Gary Harris | wing | 30 | unrestricted
6-foot-4 | 210 pounds | 10 seasons
54 games | 6.9 PPG | 1.7 RPG | 37.1 3P%

I’m calling shenanigans on Harris turning 30 in September. How is that possible? Harris is a nice glue guy, doing a little bit of everything. He has also missed 15 or more games in nine of his 10 seasons. He would be a better fit than Brown on the Raptors, and would be on a cheaper annual salary. I’m just not sure he would be worth the roster machinations needed to make that happen.

Attainability: 2.5

21. Max Christie | guard | 21 | restricted
6-foot-5 | 190 pounds | two seasons
67 games | 4.2 PPG | 2.1 RPG | 35.6 3P%

Lakers prospects are notoriously overrated — how is your Talen Horton-Tucker stock doing? Christie is young, and he has had flashes of rotation-level play. The Lakers need all the young assets they can get, so he is not going anywhere unless something truly bizarre happens. Bizarre things sometimes happen with the Lakers.

Attainability: 1.5

22. Kelly Oubre Jr. | wing | 28 | unrestricted
6-foot-7 | 203 pounds | nine seasons
68 games | 15.4 PPG | 5.0 RPG | 31.1 3P%

Oubre has had trouble fitting in well in offences built around movement, most notably with Golden State a few years back. He is a very talented offensive player. He won’t be available for a bargain as he was this past year, as he has excelled in Philadelphia. His maturity has been called into question often in his career, so he might not be the personality you want to add to a young team still trying to find its identity. He can hoop, though.

Attainability: 3 

23. Delon Wright | guard | 32 | unrestricted
6-foot-5 | 185 pounds | nine seasons
47 games | 4.5 PPG | 2.5 APG | 36.8 3P%

Full disclosure: Wright is among my favourite role players in the league. As Raptors fans remember, he is a toolsy guard who will help with perimeter defence. I’m not sure he’s the best fit with Rajaković’s offence, though: He has typically been a slower decision-maker for his position, and the Raptors coach wants the ball popping. Still, Wright helps teams perform better, as has been evident in his short time in Miami after a buyout from Washington.

Attainability: 3.5

24. Buddy Hield | wing | 31 | unrestricted
6-foot-4 | 220 pounds | eight seasons
84 games | 12.1 PPG | 3.2 RPG | 38.6 3P%

Hield is one of the most dangerous high-volume 3-point shooters in the league. That alone makes him valuable to the Raptors, or any other team. He is limited aside from that, which probably makes it more sensible to ride with Trent over Hield, long-term, unless there is a huge disparity in contract price or length.

Attainability: 2.5

25. Kyle Lowry | guard | 38 | unrestricted
6 feet | 196 pounds | 18 seasons
60 games | 8.1 PPG | 4.2 APG | 39.2 3P%

If he didn’t have so much history with the Raptors, I’d argue Lowry would be a great player to bring in. He has already been one of the better buyout signings ever, filling a meaningful need in Philadelphia. On the court, he has not struggled with the idea of giving up the ball and helping organize things. His play rubs off on his teammates. I’m sure he wants to play for championships at this point, and the Raptors would be hesitant to bring in somebody who would take up so much oxygen in the locker room. (Frankly, I don’t think that would be a bad thing for this team, but I digress.) It won’t happen, but it’s fun to think about.

Attainability: 2.5

Other names to monitor: Tobias Harris, Klay Thompson, Saddiq Bey (restricted and injured), Gordon Hayward, Jonas Valančiūnas, Malik Beasley, Xavier Tillman Sr., Alec Burks, Nicolas Batum, Achiuwa (restricted), Josh Richardson, Taurean Prince, Markelle Fultz, Doug McDermott, Luke Kennard (team option), James Wiseman, Cedi Osman, Chuma Okeke (restricted), Simone Fontecchio (restricted), Josh Okogie, Dennis Smith Jr., Luke Kornet, Kenyon Martin Jr.

(Top photo of Patrick Williams: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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