Title: LeBron’s Torching of Raptors Sends Toronto into Difficult Offseason
Date: May 8, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about the Raptors being swept by the Cavaliers, and what comes next.
LeBron James cares not for the best efforts of the Toronto Raptors. Or anyone else outside of Oakland, for that matter. On Sunday, the Raptors took their latest best shot against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, coming up short in a 109-102 final, a 4-0 series sweep, and the latest chapter in James’ perennial and inevitable march to the NBA Finals.
The Raptors know this position, though the ending wasn’t this bitter a year ago. The questions that now face them weren’t as biting, either.
A year ago, the Raptors finally overcame a number of franchise-long hurdles, exorcising demons that littered the halls of the Air Canada Centre and hung over every near-term success like a black cloud. They won a seven-game series. They advanced past the second round. They took a legitimate shot at the eventual NBA champions, and even if James himself downplayed the threat Toronto posed when the Eastern Conference final was locked 2-2, the Raptors earned a great deal of respect.
The building of that organizational equity was important and valuable, and so the Raptors took a swing at closing the gap. Their hands mostly tied in free agency, they rolled the core back and tweaked around the periphery. When that appeared a substandard approach, they pushed a few (but to their credit, not too many) chips in to the center of the table and acquired fortification in the form of P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka.