Yesterday's shocking revelation that Raptor's star centre Jonas Valančiūnas was heading to the Grizzlies was a hard pill to swallow for some of the player's most passionate fans. Valančiūnas himself had even stated in a recent interview that he wished to stay in Toronto and was paying no mind to trade rumours. “I’ve been in rumours so many times I don’t even look at it,” he once said, according to TSN.
Tributes to the celebrated ex-Raptor have flooded social media, with Valančiūnas fans of praising him for his contribution to the team and the city as a whole. Valančiūnas was first drafted to the Raptors back in 2012 making his NBA debut with them on October 31st.
Although the many fans mourned the loss of Valančiūnas, there were also more than a few who considered his replacement former Grizzlies centre Marc Gasol, an exciting addition to the team.
His new teammates seemed equally as excited to see Gasol put on a Raptors jersey and get to work. “He’s one of the best fives in the league for a long time now,” gushed Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, according to TSN. “A perennial all-star, Defensive Player of the Year, so just really excited to see how we can acclimate him to what we do and see how much he can give us a boost. Obviously, we are very excited about that.”
From this...to this 🔥 pic.twitter.com/HHnb3soKAF— Raptors Nation™ (@WeTheNorth__) February 8, 2019
Lowry— Raptors Nation™ (@WeTheNorth__) February 7, 2019
It was no doubt a risky move for the Raptors to trade the 26-year old Valančiūnas for the 34-year old Gasol. However, despite the fact that Gasol is not the player that he used to be, his experience and record speak for itself and his new spot on the Raptors is sure to make things very interesting this season.