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.
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:
The Celtics will sign Jeff Teague to a one-year deal, according to a league source.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) November 22, 2020
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:
- Paul Millsap has agreed to return to the Nuggets for one year and $10 million;
- Carmelo Anthony will stay in Portland on a one-year deal too;
- The Mavericks grabbed Wes Iwundu (for two years), which is a deal I would also do;
- Whatever spell (or hex?) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has cast over the Lakers continues on as he is signing a three-year, $40 million deal to return;
- Elfrid Payton and Nerlens Noel are going to team up on the Knicks, both on one-year deals. (The Knicks keeping their cap space open for 2021 will never not be adorable.);
- Jevon Carter is staying with the Suns for $11.5 million! Write that down;
- As hinted at, Brad Wanamaker is taking his talents out west to the Warriors (who also applied for a Disabled Player Exception on behalf of Klay Thompson, which is a bummer). Wanamaker is down for one year and $2.25 million;
- Finally, here’s a fun one: Jeff Green (yes, Jeff Green!) is apparently signing with the Brooklyn Nets. This guy is immortal;
(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:
Another Western Conference team showing interest in signing Marc Gasol, sources tell ESPN: Golden State. https://t.co/L2uGswJn82— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
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?
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!
LAST MINUTE UPDATE:
Another big man off the table for the Raptors.
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:
- The Hernangomez brothers both got taken care of, with Willy signing with the Pelicans (one-year minimum) and Juancho signing with the Timberwolves (three years, $21 million). Awkward!;
- Damian Jones, another centre, is on his way to the Suns on a two-year deal. It’s fine;
- Phoenix is also adding E’Twaun Moore on a one-year, $2.4 million contract;
- Sterling Brown is off to the Rockets on a one-year deal because he knows something about the Bucks now;
- Isaiah Hartenstein, another centre of modest note, is jumping over to the Nuggets;
- Then there’s this Zhaire Smith and Tony Bradley trade because, I think, the Pistons realized they had a lot of centres. Maybe the Raps could give them a call?
The 76ers are trading G Zhaire Smith to the Pistons for C Tony Bradley, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
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!
Free agent Austin Rivers has agreed to deal with Knicks, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
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!
Minnesota is trading Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans and a future second-round pick to New York for F Ed Davis, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
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.