Somehow Masai Ujiri scooped the NBA world again. As has now been reported, the Raptors have signed free agent Jared Sullinger to a one-year deal worth
$6 million the Mid-Level Exception (MLE) or about $5.6 million. But for a few minutes the only information we had on the former Boston Celtics forward Sullinger's signing was from his own Twitter account:
WE THE NORTH #0— Jared Sullinger (@Jared_Sully0) July 11, 2016
Then, came the inevitable Wojbomb:
Free agent Jared Sullinger has agreed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Raptors, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 11, 2016
There was chatter yesterday that signing Sullinger made some sense for the Raptors, at the right price. The 24-year-old was the 21st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and checks in at 6'9'' and a robust 260 pounds. Sullinger put up 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game for the Celtics last year, averaging 23.6 minutes per game as a starter. He shot 46 percent from the field, including 28 percent from three (though his number of attempts from deep has gone from 3.2 to 1.3 in subsequent years).
For a Raptors team looking for depth at the forward spot, Sullinger provides some excellent defensive rebounding skills and a presence on both ends in the post. That said, he's not exactly the prototypical new-age power forward, able to protect the rim and chase guys around on the perimeter, what with his weight and conditioning concerns. But he's got scoring skills, good hands, a nice passing ability, and more shooting range than the average forward. And, for what it's worth, he's killed the Raptors in the past with his talents.
For the Raptors, Sully makes sense as the starting power forward, with Patrick Patterson coming off the bench (and playing in the crunch time lineups) much like last year. The defensive pairing with Jonas Valanciunas may be a struggle, but if nothing else, Sullinger provides an upgrade at the spot over the outgoing Luis Scola (who, let the record show, is the more skilled player, but also a dozen years older).
But the best part of this story so far is definitely this:
As @Jared_Sully0 shared on his twitter account already, of course.....— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 11, 2016
Welcome to Toronto, Jared.