It took three-quarters of a season, but the Toronto Raptors finally found a cure for their frontcourt woes with Freddie Gillespie and Khem Birch. And now Gillespie, who signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors on April 8, looks to be sticking around for a while.
According to a report from The Athletic’s Blake Murphy, Gillespie will sign a second 10-day contract tomorrow:
Freddie Gillespie will sign a second 10-day contract with the Raptors tomorrow, per a source.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) April 17, 2021
No surprise. He played a lot by 10-day standards, impressed, and had Nick Nurse publicly vouch.
Would think a partial guarantee through 2021-22 comes Apr 28, barring the unforeseen. https://t.co/IHxdNlOcd6
Per Blake’s note, Gillespie has played a heck of a lot; circumstances certainly dictated part of it — the Raptors have been shorthanded and have played five games in the past nine days — but Gillespie’s play has absolutely factored in.
In those five games, Gillespie has averaged 5.8 points on 62% shooting along with 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game. He scored a career-high 10 points last night in Toronto’s win over the Orlando Magic, which followed career highs in boards (8) and blocks (2) in Toronto’s win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
All told, this is great news for the 23-year-old Gillespie. He parlayed his solid G-League Bubble play (10.5 pts, 10.3 boards in 15 games with the Memphis Hustle) into one 10-day, and then made the most of it with Toronto. His energy, good hands and defensive prowess are much welcome for a team that has suffered through some pretty sub-par centre play in the 2020-21 season.
As for what comes next? As Murphy notes, a partial guarantee seems pretty likely as well (teams can only sign players to two 10-day contracts). It's low-risk for the Raptors, and high-reward for Gillespie on a team that desperately needs his skillset.
Gillespie and the Raptors are back in action tomorrow as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Tampa.