With a terrible iso possession by Fred VanVleet leading to an airball with 10 seconds left, the Raptors’ season has come to an end. There will be no championship. There will be no parade. What’s Drake up to? Who cares. It’s all over now.
VanVleet may have ended Toronto’s season in the most ridiculous way possible, but that doesn’t undo all the things he contributed to their championship run from last year, and it doesn’t undo all the things he did this year as one of the new leaders of the team. It was just one play. One very bad, hopes-terminating play, but still just one.
If anyone should be blamed for this series turning out the way it did, it should be Pascal Siakam. He really earned his “Cameroon Payne” nickname, a nickname that I wish I was smart enough to have come up with (I am not).
VanVleet is a free agent now. He can sign with any team he wants, heck, he doesn’t even have to stay in the NBA if he doesn’t want to, he could definitely average 50 in China. Obviously, there are some teams that are going to be better fits than others:
Boston Celtics – The hardest road.
Phoenix Suns – This one has been rumored for a while, and it makes sense, because the Suns don’t really have a “midget SG masquerading as a PG” of the future. Unless you count Jevon Carter as filling that role, and as being a significant part of the teams’ future. Which would be dumb.
Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks are rumored to be looking to move Eric Bledsoe, who just keeps choking in the playoffs. If they move him, they’ll need a replacement PG. They don’t want players who are good in the regular season only, and VanVleet is a known playoff performer (ignore that last possession, I’m sorry I showed it, that was mean of me) who is also a known Bucks killer. If you can’t beat them, have them join you in free agency.
New York Knicks – This is exactly the kind of pathetic non-needle-moving signing that the Knicks would come up with to try and show their fans that they really care about trying to win basketball games. It wouldn’t work at all, because VanVleet, while a nice, solid player, isn’t the type of guy to elevate a team by himself. This might be the most likely outcome, and I’m ready to enjoy Knicks fans’ desperate attempts to justify it.
Fujian Sturgeons – As I said, he could definitely average 50 in China. Just something to think about.
Toronto Raptors – This season ended poorly, but the Raptors still had a very reasonable path to the Finals. Why mess with success? Bring back the main guys, make a few tweaks to the rotation, hope some of the young players continue to improve, and see if you can do it again next year. The East is wide open, apparently.