In case you thought it was safe to go to sleep on this snowy Toronto Sunday, the Raptors are here with one more wake-up call: They’re signing small forward DeAndre’ Bembry, late of the Atlanta Hawks, to a two-year contract. ESPN’s Adam Shefter (!?) broke the news:
Mini : Former Hawks’ SF DeAndre’ Bembry has agreed to a two-year, $4 million deal with the Toronto Raptors, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 23, 2020
Shortly after that, The Athletic’s Blake Murphy offered some clarification:
Bembry's deal is not guaranteed for the second year, according to a source. It's also not 2/4, it's for a vet min, so the rest of the MLE is still available.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) November 23, 2020
(We’ll get our guy Daniel Hackett on the case to sort out the numbers! But once again, the second-year option shows that the Raptors remain focused on retaining flexibility in 2021.)
Bembry was the 21st pick in the 2016 draft, and spent the last four seasons with the Hawks (with some time in the G-League early on). He’s an athletic, energetic wing who can get into passing lanes and guard multiple positions; he isn’t much of a shooter and has room for improvement as a playmaker, but in those areas he should benefit greatly from some time with Toronto’s player development coaches. He adds depth to the wing and could see time in small-ball lineups with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby in the frontcourt.
Bembry averaged 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 21 minutes per game last season, shooting 46% from the floor but only 23% from downtown. (Hmm, sounds a bit early-Siakam-ish!) Bembry found himself out of the rotation in the second half of the year, and overall his numbers dipped from 2018-19 (8.4 points and 4.4 boards in 23.5 minutes).
All told, he’s the exact right type of player to take a flyer on for good value in what looks to be a transition year of sorts for the Raptors.
This move likely means the Raptors will not bring back Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is an unrestricted free agent (and whose bird rights the Raptors do not have).