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NBA Free Agency Open Thread, Day 3: Rounding out the weekend with the Raptors

There’s good and bad news for Toronto, and still questions for the rest of the roster. Meanwhile, the NBA continues to churn with deals coming and going every which way.

Toronto Raptors Practice Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

As we continue through Day 3 of the league’s wild free agency period, much has happened — in the NBA as a whole, and with the Raptors in particular. We’ll get into all of the league’s events over the past 12 hours or so, but first let’s sum up what has gone down with Toronto.

For one, the Raptors brought back their starting guard Fred VanVleet — hooray. He’s a guy who has come to personify Toronto’s basketball brand for the past few years and it’s nice to see he’ll be back at it for a few more starting this December. For two, sadly, the Raptors were unable to retain the skills of their backup — and sometimes starting — centre and all-around culture maven, Serge Ibaka. Like Kawhi Leonard’s departure last year, this stings for two reasons: it’s a shame to lose another piece of the Raptors’ 2019 championship team; and it sucks that Serge’s new team is the Los Angeles Clippers, one of the most swagless franchises around.

But we shall not remain bitter! And nor shall we dwell. There are still moves for the Raptors to make, money to spend, and roster spots to fill. What will they do? We can only guess based on what has already happened. So let’s review.

11:30am Update

This is an update, but also a recap. In our Day 2 Open Thread, we ended off with the Hawks’ comical signing of Rajon Rondo, a grumpy ronin in search of a situation to solve. After that, a few more players made moves and more money was tossed around.

We’ll start with some local Atlantic Division news, the Celtics adding two names to their roster:

As reported, Thompson is going to Boston for two years and $19 million and offers the Celtics an unfortunately good option at centre in the coming season. Pairing him with Daniel Theis, also solid, is a good fit for them. Damn. (Teague is also a nice backup point guard option, which they needed given Kemba Walker’s up-and-down health and the departure of someone else we’ll get to in a second.)

Moving on, here are some other reported free agent deals:

(I suppose we could add the JaKarr Sampson deal with the Indiana Pacers here; it happened not ten minutes ago and will see the forward return to the team for a minimum one-year deal. Good for him!)

Naturally, we’ll end on this note: the Raptors lost Ibaka to the Clippers. He’s signing for two years and $19 million, with that second year coming in as a player option. If I had to guess, this is likely where the Raptors and Ibaka disagreed. The team probably wanted to keep that second year as a team option which unfortunately didn’t sit well with Ibaka. This is conjecture, but given the deal he signed with L.A., it certainly feels like he was still gettable for Toronto. Ah well. We’ll miss him here, but now we must turn our attention elsewhere as the Raptors’ search for frontcourt help continues..

On that issue, apparently the Warriors are interested in Marc Gasol:

That’s where we’ll leave things for now. The Raptors still need to decide who will be in their frontcourt rotation for the coming season. Ibaka is out, Gasol is still in play, and maybe there’s something else in the works — Harry Giles? Chris Boucher? Some other player?

We’ll see!

3:00pm Update

For those clinging to every update as it pertains to the Raptors front court situation, the last few hours have been... trying. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve google searched “best Euro League” big men since last we posted and update. One notable (and perhaps the ideal) Raptors targets is off the board, and the noise around Marc Gasol’s free agency suggest heavy competition from, you guessed it, a team in Los Angeles.

Here’s the latest:

  • First, the most recent report from Shams: the Lakers and Raptors seem to be the finalists to land Gasol, with the Lakers looking to offload some money somewhere in order to beef up their offer. Toronto can offer Gasol essentially whatever it wants, and after the Fred VanVleet signing sit around $19 million under the luxury tax. Marc Stein followed that report up with a suggestion that Markieff Morriss may be of interest to the Raptrs, which, ugh. We’ll keep an eye on this, obviously.
  • One of the sexier big man options out there, Harry Giles, is going to Portland on a one-year minimum, which suggests the Raptors were probably never really involved anyway. Oh well.
  • Milwaukee made a couple marginal signings, adding light-shooting defensive wing Torrey Craig from the Nuggets and guard Bryn Forbes, formerly of the Spurs — both of him will surely play too many minutes with Giannis on the bench in the second round.
  • Atlanta finally revealed the worst-kept secret of all time, officially throwing an offer shoot worth $72 million over four years at Bogdan Bogdanovic. I, frankly, am floored.
  • Donovan Mitchell also re-upped to the max contract everyone knew he’d get.

There will surely be more to come this afternoon, so stay tuned!


Another big man off the table for the Raptors.

7:30pm Update:

We’re into the dog days of the free agency period, which means this will be our last update to any sort of threads. Look for Raptors-centric signings to get their own post (of course) and may that be the end of it. (Gasol making the Raps wait is not helping matters — or my mood.)

In that spirit, let’s round up the last bunch of signings and such:

And finally, we must opening lament the re-signing of Bismack Biyombo in Charlotte. The Raptors were never going to bring him back, not even on a modest one-year deal. But still, it would have been fun to cheer for Biz one more time — even if we have to do it remotely. Congrats to whatever it is the Hornets are doing.

There were also some big extension deals signed. First, as mentioned above, a whopper $163-million 5-year deal with the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell that could bounce up to $195 million if he hits some criteria. And second, our old friend Jayson Tatum got roughly the same from the Celtics. It’ll be interesting to see how those pan out for both teams. Feels like they are fair deals, but we’ll see if either can lead their team all the way to a title. Worth the gamble, in any case.

Is one year of Austin Rivers in New York also worth the gamble? Because, hey, it’s happening!

To prove we’re really reaching the bottom here, Woj just went on a mini-tear with three tweets (two meaningful ones, and one correction) about a deal involving forward TJ Leaf, whom no one has ever thought about in the NBA since he joined the league. (He’s getting traded to the Thunder for, get this, picks.)

Meanwhile, poor Ed Davis, who was just vanquished to New York, is now slingshotting back out to Minnesota as part of a deal for Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans. No joke!

Boss Davis is a good dude and here’s hoping he can help the Timberwolves out.

There are probably some other transactions we’re missing here, but the ones we’re definitely not missing are those involving the Raptors because, gasp, they haven’t happened yet. Having lost Ibaka, and with Gasol apparently taking his time to choose between Toronto and the Lakers (and/or maybe Dallas?), Toronto is now behind on matters when it comes to getting their frontcourt rotation worked out.

Not exactly a comforting thought to end on, but end we must. We’ll see you Monday morning, and we’ll be ready to report and reflect on what comes next for the Raptors.