The Toronto Raptors will now shift its focus on improving the rest of their roster as well as maintaining flexibility in their cap after re-signing Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka to huge contracts. The Raptors' general manager Masai Ujiri decides to bring back the band together in hope of topping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference within a three-year window.

However, retaining key stars on bloated contracts entails problems on the financial side. The Raptors are millions over the luxury tax threshold, and only a salary dump or another power move can justify Masai’s latest free agency shopping spree.

Trading DeMarre Carroll or Jonas Valanciunas

Dave Zarum of SportsNet Canada recently wrote a piece about how the Raptors would solve their current financial woes and at the same time improve their standings in the East. The Raptors, who are now $33 million over the salary cap of $99 million for the 2017-18 NBA season, will have to pay $26 million if the front office doesn't address the issue. Moreover, the rise of several playoffs teams in the East such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Washington Wizards is expected to make the competition harder in a conference where the Cavaliers remain the favorite.

According to Zarum, Ujiri has several options in front of him to fix the prevailing problem.

One of which apparently is to shop tradable commodities like DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas. The SportsNet analyst added that between the two starting players Valanciunas is the more appealing trade target. The Lithuanian big man is coming off his best statistical year, averaging 12.0 points on 55.7 percent shooting with 9.5 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per contest.

At 25, Valanciunas has plenty of years left to reach his ceiling and that makes him a nice target on the trading block. There have been rumblings that Ujiri is kicking the tires for a potential Marc Gasol trade. As promising as Valanciunas can get, he would be an enticing piece of a trade package for the All-Star bruiser.

Carroll plummeting stock

As far as Carroll’s trade stock goes, the 30-year old blue collar player had another disappointing year with the Raptors. He hasn’t made any significant stride since signing a four-year, $60 million deal with the Raps in 2015. Carroll averaged 8.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per game last season. And clearly, he hasn’t lived up to his billing as a 3-and-D specialist with a 34 percent clip from three-point territory. Still, Zarum believes the Raptors can still flip him for valuable assets by letting him have a strong showing through the first half of the 2017-18 season.