As you read this, Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster, the leaders of Toronto Raptors management, are hard at work. It’ll be them working the phones tonight, along with others on their staff, trying to clarify the team’s situation with a bunch of current free agents — on their own team and around the league. At the strike of six this evening, the NBA’s free agency period begins, setting off what’s likely to be a whirlwind of activity leading up to the opening of training camp on December 1st.
First and foremost, they have to decide the future of Fred VanVleet. Can they re-sign? Will they re-sign him? We could find out very soon.
Second, what does the future hold for Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol? Since the 2019-20 season ended, the thought has been that the Raptors may not be able to afford both. But maybe they can? Maybe they will?
Third, down the roster, there’s also Chris Boucher and Oshae Brissett, two players who were each offered their qualifying offers, making them restricted free agents of interest to the Raptors. Will Toronto be able to work out reasonable deals for both? One? Neither?
Fourth, have we seen the last of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Malcolm Miller? For the former, it seems like Rondae may have played himself into a richer contract thatn the Raptors are willing to pay. The latter seems to have played himself off the team already, with Toronto renouncing any restricted free agency control.
And finally, are there any other players of interest to Toronto? We’ve gotten into some speculation involving Montrezl Harrell and Tristan Thompson, even played the betting game with some other bigger names like Danilo Gallinari and Goran Dragic. Could the Raptors be in play for any of those players?
Questions abound! Get ready, because we will have answers soon.
To catch up Toronto’s salary cap situation, our guy Daniel Hackett has some explainers:
Conor McCreery also reviewed some possible signings and moves for the Raptors.
OK, all ready? Now, let’s go!
6:00pm Start Time
So far, other than the Bucks bumbling through the Bogdan Bogdanovic move (he’s going to explore restricted free agency), and the Blazers deciding to give Enes Kanter a try (once again, they’re desperate for frontcourt help), nothing much has changed today.
All quiet on the Raptors’ front, as expected.
That’s our starting point. We’ll check in here as news breaks. Get loose in the comments!
Where to begin? Let’s run through the tweets of, who else, Woj and Shams to get us going.
To really set the mood, let’s start with whatever is going on in Boston with Gordon Hayward. Apparently he’s set to opt out of the last year of his deal, and is now angling for a sign-and-trade with the Pacers. This is not a Woj or Shams tweet, but it sums up the situation nicely. To be honest, this is probably going to work out just fine for the Celtics — unfortunately.
Now right from the jump, Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard made it clear they would be returning to the NBA Finalist Miami Heat.
The Meyers Leonard two-year deal with Miami is worth nearly $20M, @caa_sports agents Aaron Mintz and Dave Spahn tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 20, 2020
Dragic is not much of a surprise here — he is essentially their Kyle Lowry and was due to be taken care of — but the Leonard signing is an interesting turn. He’s not really worth $20 million (or approx. $9-10 million per year) but that sets something of a floor for a possible Serge Ibaka contract.
Don’t look now, but we know that Fred VanVleet plans to meet with the Raptors — and some other suitors.
Jumping from the East to the West is Wes Matthews, striking another blow to whatever the hell it is the Bucks are doing right now. Can’t say I don’t enjoy this one, even if it means the Lakers are further buttressed against future failure.
Meanwhile, also out west, De’Aaron Fox is set to stay with the Kings for... a lot of money. Good for Fox. (Also, is this a thing now, Shams pointedly tagging the agents who “negotiated” the deal? Man, access journalism is a trip.)
Flipping back over to Woj, some signings in escalating order:
- The Nuggets have signed a guy named Facundo Campazzo, from Real Madrid;
- Drew Eubanks is hanging in with the Spurs on a three-year deal; and
- Mason Plumlee is joining the Pistons for three years and $25 million. That sounds wild, hopefully nothing else weird is happening in Detroit—
Free agent center Jahlil Okafor has agreed to a two-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Prayers up for Dwane Casey. (Also, this has to mean that Christian Wood is out of there; and maybe there’s a Blake Griffin move cooking?)
Still in the Western Conference, apparently the Jazz are bringing the band back together in a bigger way than we thought. Jordan Clarkson will stay in Utah for some pretty big money (and there were also reports that Derrick Favors was set to return to the Jazz, but Shams appears to have deleted that tweet — nevertheless, the deal is on).
Free agent Jordan Clarkson has agreed to a four-year, $52M deal with the Utah Jazz, his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Also, uh, Dwight Howard is out there, you know, considering.
Update: Dwight Howard continues to consider all of his options. No deal done.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 21, 2020
Finally, we’ll end this update on the latest for Ibaka: as it turns out, he’s in demand! The Raptors have a “strong interest” but we’ll see if that’s enough to bring the Ma Fuzzy Chef back to Toronto.
Among contenders in both conferences, an aggressive early pursuit to lure free agent Serge Ibaka out of Toronto, sources tell ESPN. Of course, the Raptors have strong interest in keep him too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Free agent F Danilo Gallinari is finalizing a three-year, $61.5M contract with the Atlanta Hawks, his agent Michael Tellem of CAA Sports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Then we get into a two-shot of intrigue:
- Frank Isola tweeted that Christian Wood was signing with the Rockets for 3-years/$27 million, which seemed low. NBA Twitter lost its mind, and then Shams tweeted that Wood was still weighing his options. In my best Larry David voice, I must ask: do you respect Wood?
- Next, we’ve got the saga of Dwight Howard, who tweeted earlier that he was going to stay with the Lakers but then backed out on that idea. Out of nowhere, a new signing was confirmed for Howard:
The Sixers! Apparently Howard is ready to now be Joel Embiid’s backup. OK!
Two years, $19M-plus for Harrell, Paul says. Lakers use mid-level exception on former Clippers center. https://t.co/LGgEkDaHN6— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
So, if you’re keeping track, the two L.A. teams are in the midst of sorting out their frontcourt options. The Clippers had the Sixth Man of the Year, Montrezl Harrell, a loud centre of dubious defensive ability, who is now on the Lakers. Howard is out of the picture entirely for both teams, and Ibaka (as previously mentioned), along with the Raptors’ Marc Gasol, are definitely both of interest to the Lakers and the Clippers.
Marc Gasol has emerged as a free-agent target for the Lakers to fill the void created by Dwight Howard's departure to Philadelphia, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 21, 2020
So we don’t end on that note, here are some other deals for:
The bombs kept dropping after the Bertans signing. Let’s wrap ‘em up right quick:
First, the Pistons continued their run on signing every conceivable forward available (except, uh, Christian Wood) by bringing aboard Jerami Grant:
I have no idea what to make of that roster, or, honestly, how the Pistons have the money to make all these signings. We’ll see what the future holds for Blake Griffin! (It does not hold much for Dewayne Dedmon, at least not in Detroit.)
Meanwhile, the Nets, darlings of last year’s free agency, made their first FA move of this offseason, bringing back sharpshooter Joe Harris on a pricey deal:
Free agent guard Joe Harris has agreed to a four-year, $75M deal to return to the Brooklyn Nets, his agent Mark Bartelstein @PrioritySports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
That seems like a lot. But, perhaps, consider that the Nets may want some big salaries on the books for matching purposes, should they wish to trade for an unhappy superstar down the road...
Meanwhile, Garett Temple has agreed to a one-year deal in Chicago:
Free agent Garrett Temple has agreed to a one-year, $5M deal with Chicago, agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
I like Temple, and I like the fit, but I feel like he could have gotten more?
Down in Houston, the Christian Wood domino finally dropped:
Free agent F Christian Wood has agreed to a three-year, $41M deal with the Houston Rockets, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Houston does respect Wood!
We really have to wonder what happened here; it was reported earlier that Wood had agreed to a 3-year, $27 million dollar deal, and just when everyone was yelling “that’s great value! He’s underpaid!” Shams told us all there was no deal. Now it’s back on, but the price has been upped to a more reasonable (for Wood) $41 mil. Did Twitter speak this into existence??
It looks like Detroit isn’t done, incidentally; Woj is now reporting this Wood deal will be part of a sign-and-trade. We’ll update as we hear more.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest is making moves again as high-flying Derrick Jones is heading to Portland:
That’s a lot for 30 minutes! We’ve got at least one more update in us before lights-out, so if anything more happens, you’ll be able to read about it here.
Things have slowed down a little bit, but we do have one piece of news to share: John Wall, finally, wants out of Washington!
Remember, of course, that John Wall hasn’t played NBA basketball in two years and his average annual salary is $43 million over the next three years.
At least the Wizards will have... Rolo??
League source: Robin Lopez has agreed to terms with the Washington Wizards.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) November 21, 2020
Smart followed up to suggest it’s a one-year deal for just under the mid-level exception.
The Clippers, perhaps in shock after losing Montrezl Harrell earlier in the evening, somehow managed to hand over a 4-year, $64 million contract to Marcus Morris.
Deal: 4 years, $64M, per source. https://t.co/w8keZqg6hE— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
The Clippers remain, as ever, a completely unserious organization. (If there was any deal that needed a reverse Christian Wood scenario, where the team walks it back after seeing the Twitter reaction, it’s this one.)
Meanwhile, our guy James Edwards outta Detroit has an update on the Christian Wood deal:
Detroit also gets even more protections on the already heavily-protected first-round pick it sent to Houston, as well as an additional second-round pick, per source. https://t.co/xwCrKP6YZG— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) November 21, 2020
If you’ll reach your mind back to draft night, aka 18 million years ago, The Pistons sent a future first round pick to Houston for Trevor Ariza and the 16th pick. That all becomes part of the deal for Wood. So there you go.
30 minutes to go in Day 1. Apparently, Woj has announced on Sportscentre that he still expects a lot more deals to come tonight. Will the HQ staff be awake to see them, and write about them...? Stay tuned!
Last update for tonight! Unless Serge Ibaka signs while we’re brushing our teeth!
First, Orlando kept James Ennis off the board by bringing him back to Orlando:
Second, Justin Holiday agreed to stay in Indiana:
And then! Our guy Yak got paid!
Great deal for Jakob Poeltl, if a bit of a bummer for us, because let’s be honest, we were all kinda hoping the Yak&Skills team would reunite here in Toronto, weren’t we?
Meanwhile, in non-news, nothing doing on the Gordon Hayward front, with Marc Stein tracking the non-happenings:
The Knicks remain in the Hayward hunt with salary-cap space, league sources say, but have held firm on lower figures than Indiana's— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 21, 2020
Hayward has a huge admirer in Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks, I'm told, have shown some willingness tonight to go beyond an initial two-year offer
And finally: Pat Connaughton news? Pat Connaughton news!
Free agent G Pat Connaughton has agreed to a two-year, $8.3M deal to return to the Milwaukee Bucks, agents Jeff Schwartz and Jordan Gertler of @excelsm_bball tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
With that, we’re calling it night. Until tomorrow!