I don’t blame the Raptors for maybe not being as good as maybe some people (not me) maybe thought they should be. Maybe. Having to play all your “home” games in Tampa, and not being able to actually live in your actual residence in Toronto, that’s gotta be tough. Living out of a hotel is cool for, like, 2 weeks at absolute most. Then you start to lose it. The Raptors players are probably enjoying the fact that it’s not so gosh-darn cold all the time like it is in Toronto (I’m too lazy to look at their current weather but it’s safe to say that it’s not particularly warm today), but the benefits stop there. Does Tampa even have culture? Like, any culture at all? Probably not. They have a team that’s playing in the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t count as culture.
That said, the Raptors, even when they come back to Canada next season, don’t really have a path forward to winning another championship, unless they somehow manage to reacquire Kawhi Leonard. Having Alex Len be the Kawhi replacement didn’t work out, and there’s not another viable replacement on the roster. Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t walking through that door. You know where I’m going with this. There’s only one possible course of action to take at this point if you’re Masai Ujiri, and that course of action involves donning a WW1-era combat helmet, jauntily holding a fat Cuban cigar in your mouth, acquiring some MREs from the military surplus store (do they have those in Canada?) and driving a tank right through the front doors of the Scotiabank Arena.
Chris Boucher can be the tank commander, Matt Thomas can be his second in command, and Yuta Watanabe can pledge Japanese support for the tank operation. Everyone else, whatever. Buh-bye. There are some veteran pieces hanging around that should be able to get a nice return on the trade market. Kyle Lowry still has value. Pascal Siakam may be somehow broken this year, but still: late second-round pick at least. Fred VanVleet? No team can pass on a guy who can score 50 while being a hobbit. Stanley Johnson? Just chuck him in an unmarked van, drive up to Yellowknife, leave him in a snowbank behind the grodiest bar you can find, there. Problem solved. You don’t get assets for him, but the real asset is not having Stanley Johnson anymore.
I am fully confident in Boucher’s ability to be a tank commander. He’s a good player, but he’s very far from being good enough to win you any games as the first option and with no help. He can put up some stats (maybe he can watch what Jerami Grant is doing for the Pistons this season for some inspiration), shoot some trebuchet threes, and Raptors fans can all talk about how good the Raptors’ development program is for the millionth time.