Raptors to rest Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, Norman Powell against Bulls
The Toronto Raptors are resting a slew of key players ahead of their preseason tilt with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night as a result of international travel following the team’s participation in the Japan Games.
Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports that Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell are all inactive:
Kyle Lowry won’t play. Neither will Ibaka, Siakam, Gasol, Powell, or VanVleet.
With Japan jet lag, it’s fully an audition night.
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 13, 2019
The Raptors lost to the Rockets in the finale of the Japan Games on Thursday, although the game saw extensive playing time delegated to stars like Russell Westbrook and James Harden as well as Siakam and Ibaka. However, Toronto will give their key players a breather with the NBA regular season just over a week away.
Each of the six inactives will have to take on a larger role for the Raptors this season.
Powell actually scored a team-high 22 points on Thursday while stating his claim for the starting shooting guard spot. VanVleet blossomed into a household name during the NBA Finals as he stifled Stephen Curry on the defensive end and showed no fear in taking–and making–big shots down the stretch in Game 6.
Siakam has already bloomed into one of the brightest young stars in the game. He won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award last season, and will likely take on a much higher usage rate without Kawhi Leonard in the rotation.
Lowry, Gasol and Ibaka are the veteran leaders.
Toronto rewarded Lowry for his contributions to the franchise with a one-year, $31 million extension, though some reports indicate that they gave him the extension so as to possibly increase his trade value.
Both Gasol and Ibaka are free agents at the end of this season.