The Toronto Raptors made franchise history this postseason reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. One of the key players is center Bismack Biyombo and NBA rumors out of Toronto is that the Raptors may now consider trading Jonas Valancinuas and make Biyombo the starter if they re-sign him in free agency this summer.
Valancinuas struggled with injuries in the series versus the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. He played in the final two games of the East finals but struggled to get his normal minutes and numbers. Without him, the Raptors had Biyombo starting at center and he got career-best numbers.
In Game 4 vs. Miami, Biyombo had 13 points and 13 rebounds with 2 blocks. In Game 7 also against Miami, he had 17 points, 16 rebounds and 2 blocks. In Game 3 vs. Cleveland, he had 26 rebounds and 4 blocks in helping the Raptors get their first win in the East Finals.
Valanciunas is still the better offensive player than Biyombo but the latter has showed that he is the better defensive player and rebounder. If the Raptors retain DeMar DeRozan in free agency and with Kyle Lowry still under contract next season, it looks like the defensive-minded Biyombo is the better fit for these Raptors squad which pushed the Cavaliers to six games in the conference finals.
This will fuel NBA rumors that the Raptors might want to re-sign Biyombo, who is looking for a long-term lucrative contract and trade Valanciunas, who will earn about $15 million per season starting next season.
The Raptors will also have to address DeRozan’s free agency with reports that other teams with salary cap space like the Los Angeles Lakers will try to steal him this summer. Biyombo’s value also increased this postseason and he opted out of his contract in Toronto to get a bigger salary this 2016 offseason.
The Raptors will be one of the most watched teams this offseason with NBA rumors linking DeRozan and Biyombo to various teams. Are they better off just letting Biyombo to another team and stick with Valanciunas?