About Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association. The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA’s expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, to become the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA. They originally played their home games at the SkyDome, before moving to the Air Canada Centre in 1999.
Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league attendance records and made the NBA Playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to a franchise high 47 wins and their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress and he was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader, but they continued to struggle. However, with the appointment of Bryan Colangelo as Raptors President and General Manager, the first overall NBA draft selection of Andrea Bargnani, and a revamp of the roster for the 2006–07 season, they qualified for their first playoff berth in five years and captured the Atlantic Division title with 47 wins. In the 2007–08 season, they advanced to the playoffs again but failed to make the playoffs in the following season. In a bid to persuade Bosh to stay beyond the final year of his contract, Colangelo overhauled the team roster for the 2009–10 season. However, Toronto’s descent down the standings, coinciding with Bosh’s injuries after the All-Star break, meant a second consecutive season of failing to make the playoffs. Bosh signed with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in a new era for the Raptors with Bargnani becoming the new face of the franchise.
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