The Ronald Dupree signing announced yesterday has the HQ scratching their collective heads a bit...
Like clockwork, every time I leave the city, something Raptors-related goes down.
It's almost uncanny.
Nova Scotia in August, Julian Wright ends up on the door-step.
PEI last summer, in come Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems.
And yesterday I left for Montreal literally minutes before receiving the email from the Raptors' PR folks regarding the signing of Dupri.
Of course, with only "Four Corners" holding down the DJ starting line-up, it made sense that the Raps would go after the former So So Def CEO.
Plus that whole Janet Jackson fiasco didn't work out so well, and neither have Bow Wow, Da Brat or...
The Raptors' signed RONALD DUPREE?
I mean yeah, Dupree played well during Summer League and we actually thought there was a chance both he and Bobby Brown would find roster spots this season with the Dinos. But he's not exactly great in any one area, and is one of those well-tread NBA vets who's seen 154 games of NBA action with the likes of Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago and Seattle. Yep, the good ol' Sonics.
His best attribute might be his defense, he's a decent defender at the wing position, has some size (6-7, about 210), and showed some pretty solid athleticism in Vegas throwing down a few nasty dunks.
But didn't Toronto already cover these areas with the acquisition of Julian Wright?
And, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this signing now give the Raptors 16 players on their training camp roster?
Indeed it does, and that's what makes this signing slightly suspicious. There were no financial details released by the Raps regarding the Dupree signing but you have to think it's for at least the season. And if so, then who gets cut? The league max for rosters is 15, with each team having 3 inactives for each game.
Looking over Toronto's roster though, it's hard to see just who goes.
Joey Dorsey is probably the most obvious option but I'd argue he's needed more than Dupree at this stage until we hear more about this MRI on Ed Davis' knee.
A Reggie Evans buy-out then?
A Jose Calderon deal in the works?
There just isn't anything too obvious since most of the players on this team are either potential building blocks (Weems, DeRozan, Davis, Alabi etc), or just came over to the team this off-season via trade!
The only thing I can think of unfortunately comes back to Davis.
If he's going to miss some time with this knee situation, then perhaps the Dupree signing is only a short-term one, as under NBA rules, "replacement players can be signed to 10-day contracts (or three games, whichever is the later) and can be signed to two 10-day contracts a season."
So maybe the Dupree contract is simply a temp one to bridge the gap until Davis returns. Dupree isn't really a power forward of course, but maybe the idea is that Kleiza sees time at that spot and Dorsey and Alabi get some pre-season run while Davis heals up.
Here's the scary thing though.
If it turns out that Dupree's contract is for the season, there's a good chance Davis is done for a while. Again, under NBA rules, "further use of said replacement player requires the player to be signed for the remainder of the season."
There's no sense jumping to conclusions but the bottom line is that when we know the full details of Dupree's contract, we should have a better idea of what the rationale behind the signing was. I'd be disappointed to see the team cut Dorsey, but I don't see much wiggle room with the rest of the roster right now if Dupree's contract is for at least the upcoming season.
Regardless, should fans expect to see much from Ronald this year?
I doubt it.
His offensive skills are pretty rough (career 43% field goal shooter, 56% free-throw shooter) and while he can nail the 3, it's really on D that he might get some spot looks. (His advanced stats around rebounding are essentially identical to Julian Wright's.) When he was on the court in Vegas with Weems the two did a very good job of hounding the opponent's ball-handlers and locked things up pretty tight at times.
So yes, there's some marginal use here in limited minutes I'd say.
However I'd also say that signing Jermaine Dupri could have moved Toronto's off-season report card up a few notches as well...