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NBA Free Agency Open Thread: The Raptors are now on the clock

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With a bevy of free agents on the market, the Raptors will have to make some quick decisions this weekend, starting tonight at 6pm. Let’s watch.

2019 NBA Finals - Practice and Media Availability Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

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.

So what do the Raptors have to do? After our review yesterday, let’s answer that question with some more questions.

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!

8:00pm Update

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.

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:

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?)

Don’t worry though, the Clippers are planning to keep Patrick Patterson in the fold for another year. What a life.

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).

Also, uh, Dwight Howard is out there, you know, considering.

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.

10:00pm Update

First, some news items, both big and small: Josh Jackson is joining the Pistons. Good luck to him. Meanwhile, Danilo Gallinari is confirmed going to the Hawks on a sizable deal.

Back in the Western Conference, Rodney Hood is going back to the Blazers, while Trey Burke is staying with the Mavericks.

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!

The twist and turns keep coming, after it was confirmed that Malik Beasley was returning to the Timberwolves on a sweet $60 million deal, we got the hammer announcement:

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.

So we don’t end on that note, here are some other deals for:

10:30pm Update

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:

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:

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:

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.

11:30pm Update

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??

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.

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:

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!

12:15am Update

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:

And finally: Pat Connaughton news? Pat Connaughton news!

With that, we’re calling it night. Until tomorrow!