NBA: 5 Polarizing teams that must decide to add or rebuild before the trade deadline

Not every team in the NBA is a contender. Some teams are built to compete for years. Other franchises elect to take the win-now approach. There are those teams that are in the process of rebuilding. However, there are some teams at a crossroads that need to decide if they should make one more run at an NBA title - or start a rebuild.

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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3. Toronto Raptors

Since winning the NBA Championship in 2019, the Toronto Raptors haven’t finished higher than 5th in the East – outside of a surprising 2nd seed finished in 2020. That was after losing 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Raptors have lost other key pieces of that championship team in recent years. Kyle Lowry is now with the Miami Heat. Fred VanVleet signed with the Houston Rockets ahead of this season. Norman Powell is a Clipper. Serge Ibaka is playing in Europe. Marc Gasol has retired. Danny Green may soon too.

Hell, head coach Nick Nurse is now leading the Philadelphia 76ers. Pascal Siakam is the only key player from the Raptors 2019 championship team. He too may soon be on the move.

Raptors President Masai Ujiri now has a much younger roster to work with. They have talented key players such as Siakam, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent, Dennis Schroder, and Jakob Poeltl. Three of those five key players can be free agents after this season. 

Toronto has been falling in the Eastern Conference standings over the past three seasons going from 48 wins to 41 wins, and are on pace to finish under .500 this season. Toronto has not shown flashes of being anything more than a Play-In contender.

I’m sure being a perennial play-in contender is not what Ujiri wants this Raptors team to be. Siakam will likely be moved by the trade deadline. He may not be the only one. My guess is that the Raptors will soon be rebuilding.