NBA Free Agents 2012: 5 Players Who Can Change the Toronto Raptors' Franchise

Patrick BrittonAnalyst IMay 25, 2012

NBA Free Agents 2012: 5 Players Who Can Change the Toronto Raptors' Franchise

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    After another season without playoff basketball, the Toronto Raptors need to do something big in the offseason to reverse that trend next year. I have put together a list of five free agents who if the Raptors were able to sign, would put them on the right track to reaching the postseason.

    While the majority of these free agents are not favorites to sign in Toronto, the Raptors have cap space and if they were willing to overpay, may have a chance of landing one of them. 

1. Deron Williams

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    If the Raptors were somehow able to sign Deron Williams, they would become a playoff team next year. Williams is a top-five point guard in this league because he can score, pass and defend.

    A huge upgrade over Jose Calderon, Williams would also help elevate Andrea Bargnani’s game, similar to what he did in New Jersey with Kris Humphries and in Utah with Carlos Boozer.

    Finally, he would make the Raptors a better defensive team as he is a much better defender than Calderon, as well as giving them more offense at the point guard position. 

2. Eric Gordon

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    While Eric Gordon is an injury-prone player, he is still one of the most talented young guards in the NBA, when healthy. He has great offensive potential, averaging 20.6 points per game this year for the New Orleans Hornets.

    While it would cost a lot of money to sign him to an offer sheet, the Raptors have a lot of cap space and Gordon would be worth the contract if he was able to stay healthy for the majority of it. 

3. Steve Nash

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    There is hope among Raptor fans that Nash will come to Toronto, as he is a Canadian citizen. Although it is likely that Nash will finish his career with a team who can win a title within the next couple years, the Raptors should still attempt to sign Nash this summer.

    While he is not a strong defender, Nash makes everyone on the court better. He has two MVP awards to show for it and is always among the league leaders in assists. Nash would make all the young Raptors better and allow them to contend for a playoff position next year. 

4. Ray Allen

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    While Ray Allen’s game has diminished the past few years, he is still one of the best shooters in the league and would be a great option off the bench.

    After trading Leandro Barbosa to Indiana at the trade deadline, the Raptors seriously lacked a go-to scorer off the bench. Allen would bring veteran leadership along with championship experience to a young team that has not experienced much success. 

5. Nicolas Batum

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    One of two RFA’s on this list, Batum has the potential to be the best player on the Raptors if they were able to sign him. Batum would just be the small forward the Raptors need.

    He is an excellent three-point shooter (.391 percentage this year) and is a good defender because of his long arms. He averaged 13.9 points per game last game last year despite having to battle with playing time with Gerald Wallace before he was traded to the New Jersey Nets.