Four reasons Raptors fans should watch the Chicago "bubble" league
The NBA is reportedly closing in on creating a "bubble" league in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to Orlando, according to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan.
Though details have yet to be finalized, the plan will reportedly include the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and Minnesota Timberwolves competing in a glorified training camp. For Toronto Raptors fans, there are a few reasons to pay attention to this league.
1: Canadian Basketball Players
For Canadian Basketball fans, this league will presumably include a handful of Canadians, most notably the Knicks' Canadian rookie R.J. Barrett.
The 20-year-old, former third overall pick is coming off a good rookie season. He averaged 14.3 points, five rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game this year. He did, however, struggle with his efficiency, shooting just 40% from the field and 32% from 3-point range.
His shot chart this past year wasn't very pretty.
With bigger rosters and presumably more time to develop younger players, the Knicks might also give fellow Canadian Ignas Brazdeikis some increased playing time.
Brazdeikis averaged 20.9 points and seven rebounds in 24 games with the Knicks' G-League team this year.
2: 2020 Free Agents to Watch
The Toronto Raptors have three key players heading into free agency this offseason in Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol. Toronto will likely look to resign two or three them, but with an eye toward maintaining cap space in 2021 and potentially reeling in Giannis Antetokounmpo, it's possible the Raptors will have to look at a few less expensive players this offseason.
Cleveland's Tristan Thompson and Charlotte's Bismack Biyombo are two bigs heading toward unrestricted free agency that Toronto might look at to replace one or both of Ibaka and Gasol.
Chicago's Kris Dunn is heading into restricted free agency, but could see an offer from the Raptors if VanVleet departs this fall.
3: Vince Carter un-retirement?
Just a week after the NBA world said goodbye to Vince Carter, it's possible the Hawks season isn't over quite yet and the former Raptors star might get a few more games to wrap up his career.
Carter played his last game on March 11 against the Knicks and hit what is assumed to be the final shot of his career.
4: It's basketball
Trae Young and Steph Curry are wont to put on a show with the basketball and there presumably will be a lot of playing time for some interesting prospects.
Truthfully, it might not be the prettiest basketball, but it's still basketball.
- Aaron Rose covers the Toronto Raptors and Canadian basketball for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter @aaronbenrose or on Facebook @AllRaptors.