Sport Illustrated's Ian Thomsen responds to a reader's question about the Raptors below - and includes them in his list of 12 teams to watch at the deadline, synopsis here:

Raptors: Ownership threatened to make changes in Toronto, and Raptors president Bryan Colangelo responded by changing the franchise outlook with a trade for Rudy Gay. Colangelo is now talking about another deal for Andrea Bargnani -- not to dump his salary but to improve his own team.

"According to reports, the Raptors are still open for business. What's the end game here? Are they building something that can last or is Bryan Colangelo just rolling the dice in hopes of saving his job this summer?
-- Fallon, Toronto

I like what they're building, Fallon. I know Colangelo has mentioned the possibility of moving Bargnani, but if they were to keep him and Lowry then consider this core:

C Jonas Valanciunas, 20 years old
F Bargnani 27, Amir Johnson 25
F Rudy Gay 26, Landry Fields 24, Linas Kleiza 28
G DeMar DeRozan 23, Terrence Ross 22
G Kyle Lowry 26

This could be a highly promising team so long as they stick with it. I understand the frustrations ownership and fans might experience with Colangelo, but do they really want to start over again with a new team president, who hires a new coach, who then wants to replace the players? In my opinion this franchise should not let go of Casey. After a hard start he has this young team playing respectably, in spite of the latest injury to Bargnani. Casey emphasizes defense and he has been with a championship program in Dallas. Instead of starting anew yet again, the Raptors should maintain their investment in a coach who represents the right values for a young team with so much balance and promise across its roster."

Nice to see some Raptors coverage in the mainstream media that isn't 100% driven by a headline trade. (even if he lists Kleiza as a part of the core).

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