Bad news came down the line for Alfonzo McKinnie last night: The Toronto Raptors will waive the forward before Wednesday night, when McKinnie’s $1.4 million salary for next season was set to become guaranteed.
Sources: The Toronto Raptors plan to waive forward Alfonzo McKinnie ahead of $1.4M guarantee date on Wednesday. McKinnie signed a multiyear deal with Toronto last offseason.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 16, 2018
The news isn’t a shock. The Raptors’ payroll already puts them into the luxury tax this upcoming season, and they’ll be looking to save money on the edges of the roster when and where they can. (Though it’s important to note, they’ll likely have to replace him with a player on a similar minimum deal to make the minimum roster construction, so the savings will ultimately be negligible.)
Masai Ujiri has also shown he likes to maintain as much flexibility with the roster as possible, and locking in McKinnie would have run counter to that method of operation.
McKinnie had the opportunity to make this a difficult choice for the Raptors: He was on the summer league roster and he played in all six games, averaging almost 24 minutes per contest (good for third on the team behind OG Anunoby and Malachi Richardson).
But McKinnie didn’t make the most of the opportunity, averaging a mere 7.5 points per game (7th on the team) and shooting a paltry 26% from the field, including 5-for-26 from downtown. For a guy that has the size, speed and length to be a 3-and-D wing, those are pretty disappointing numbers.
McKinnie played in 35 games for the Raptors 905 last season, averaging 14 points (on 45% shooting) and 7.5 rebounds, helping the team reach the G-League Finals for the second year in a row. He appeared in 14 games with the Raptors, where he shot a very respectable 8-of-15 in 53 total minutes.
That 905 production will likely help him land on another G-League roster for the upcoming season where he can continue to work on his shooting.
As for the Raptors, they have three open roster spots, and two two-way contracts, available. If you’re looking for summer league standouts to fill them, Chris Boucher, Rawle Alkins and Giddy Potts come to mind, but we probably won’t see any deals inked until training camp.
Update 07/17/18 11:45: As I was writing this, the Raptors made the move official: