NEW YORK, N.Y. – Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo considers Toronto’s eighth pick in the NBA draft lottery neither a loss nor a victory.
“We didn’t move back, we didn’t move up,” said Colangelo after the lottery Wednesday when the New Orleans Hornets were awarded the first overall pick.
What Colangelo does see in his team’s pick is an asset that gives the Raptors some options and flexibility. The GM didn’t come out and say whether the pick is for sale, but says he will definitely listen to offers.
“I don’t think there’s any option we shouldn’t look at,” he said. “And some of that would come in the form of trades that might entail packaging assets. Maybe that’s the best way to obtain a veteran NBA player with a contract. We have that cap flexibility that we can take on contracts.”
Creating that financial flexibility for this summer’s free agency period is something the Raptors have been working towards. The team traded guard Leandro Barbosa to the Indiana Pacers in mid-March for a second-round draft pick and cash.
The Raptors have about $10.5 million to go to market when free agency opens July 1.
“We have the flexibility to explore all options and that’s something that we worked hard to get,” Colangelo said. “We’re one of the few teams that can do that.”
With Toronto’s fifth overall pick from last year — seven-foot centre Jonas Valanciunas — likely to make his NBA debut next season, the Raptors will be thinking hard about keeping all their picks.
The team is already considerably young and bringing more prospects is something Colangelo and the coaching staff will evaluate in the coming month.
“Adding three young draft prospects is not the end of the world but I wouldn’t say it’s the best situation either for our coaching staff,” Colangelo said. “Especially for a coaching staff looking to take a step forward.”
New Orleans moved up from fourth to first overall, knocking the Bobcats to second. Charlotte went 7-59 last season for the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Washington will pick third and Cleveland fell one spot to fourth.