It was GM Masai Ujiri who said the Raptors would eventually get a Canadian player. He was vaguely referring to Andrew Wiggins, the up-and-coming superstar in Minnesota, but it was a nice sentiment in general. We saw it a few years ago with Jamaal Magloire, by then at the end of his career. (Though he still has a role in the Raptors organization.) And now we're seeing it again with Cory Joseph, the Toronto-born, Pickering-grown guard.
As was reported into the night on Sunday, events went something like this:
The San Antonio Spurs withdrew their qualifying offer to Joseph, presumably to aid the signing of LaMarcus Aldridge. Immediately reports surfaced that the Raptors were interested. TSN1050's Josh Lewenberg said the Raptors would "kick the tires." And well, kick they did, signing Joseph to a 4-year deal worth $30 million. (Note: the fourth year is a player option.)
Joseph, 23, comes to Toronto after having spent four years in the Spurs system--including time with their D-League affiliate in Austin. Last season saw Joseph play in 79 games, including 14 starts, and average 6.8 points and 2.4 assists, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 36 percent from three.
For the Raptors, this represents a real boon. Setting aside the "Canadian Kid" angle (which admittedly, is great), Toronto is also getting a young, quality back-up guard, a solid defensive player, and, let's be honest, a talent that has just spent the last four years being honed by one of the best basketball organizations in the world. And if watching Kyle Lowry fall apart last year had you worried for the coming season, then Joseph should be seen as a huge relief.
We're only six days into free agency and the Raptors have remade most of the team. What do you guys think of this latest signing?