What Does a Toronto Raptor Championship mean to the NBA?
Central Bureau Chief
On June 13th, 2019, basketball fans around the world sat or stood in awe to see the Raptors hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy. The Toronto Raptors waited for 24 years for a championship banner to be raised in the Air Canada Centre. Nevertheless, necessary trades, free-agent signings and new management were needed to change so the Raptors could become a power-hungry team.
In this year alone, Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports writes Toronto will receive Leonard and Danny Green in exchange for DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick.
Also, Bobby Marks of ESPN inscribes “The Memphis Grizzlies have traded center Marc Gasol to the Raptors in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a 2024 second-round draft pick.”
One of the most critical factors in the Raptors roster was adding Serge Ibaka in the starting line-up in 2017. Mike Prada from SBNation reports that “The Raptors, who targeted Ibaka before last year’s draft, will send back Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick.”
With all these pieces of the puzzle, it was only a matter of time to see if the Raptors would win. Until this year, the Raptors franchise was considered a joke. They would rarely make the playoffs, consistently draft players that were injury prone, and had no clue how to build a team from within.
You could say they’re like the New Orleans Pelicans, Washington Wizards, and the Atlanta Hawks. However, the win for the Toronto Raptors gives the NBA a way of change of how we may see the upcoming ways.
A Toronto Raptors win means a Golden State Warriors loss. Not just a championship, but a whole dynasty. After the fifth straight attempt for a championship, I think it’s clear that the Warriors dynasty has come to an end. Why? Well, when there are new trades and free agents coming and going, it’s hard to see how the Warriors can be consistently dominant. As Adrian Wojnarowski writes on ESPN, free-agent All-NBA star Kevin Durant plans to sign a four-year contract worth up to $164 million to play for the Brooklyn Nets.
Durant will join free agents Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, who also plan to sign with the franchise.” Not to mention, Rob Goldberg reports from Bleacher Report, “ Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson reportedly underwent successful surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair his torn ACL. The five-time All-Star is expected to make a full recovery, although there is no timetable for his return.” So, no longer having two of your dominant players, puts you down on a dynasty. Unless Curry and Green can step up while having D’Angelo Russell, time will only tell.
Basketball enthusiasts everywhere (except Oakland) should celebrate the Raptors on their victory. Sports radicals, in general, are sick of the same teams hoisting the championship banner such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Golden State Warriors. Honestly, seeing the same teams win, gradually makes me less interested in following the sport the following season.
Therefore, having Toronto undergo over 20 years of trial and tribulation to reach the highest plateau in basketball is awe-inspiring. Even though I’m a Boston Celtics fan, we root for the underdogs, and hope our rivals go down! Much like the 2019 NHL Champions, the St. Louis Blues, it’s great for the franchise, sport, and especially city to achieve a hard-hitting milestone.
As we close the book on a remarkable journey, it’s only time until we see who will step up and become the next NBA champions. Will the Raptors achieve back to back? Will the Warriors come back and defy expectations despite losing Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson? Or will there be a new team?