The Toronto Raptors are adding more front court depth to their 2021-22 roster by signing forward Sam Dekker as a free agent. That’s according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
After two seasons overseas, F Sam Dekker is returning to the NBA on a deal with the Toronto Raptors, his agents Andy Shiffman and Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2021
No terms have been reported at this time.
Dekker, who spent the past two seasons playing pro ball in Turkey and Russia, was drafted 18th overall by the Houston Rockets in 2015. A back injury cost him his rookie season but he played well in his sophomore year, averaging 6.5 points and 3.7 boards in 18 minutes per game. He was subsequently shipped to the Clippers, then the Cavs, and finally the Wizards, but never put up bigger numbers than he did in 2016-17.
In Europe, Dekker extended his shooting range, firing 4.5 three-pointers per game at a 45% clip during 28 games with Turk Telecom last season. Whether that shooting can transfer to the NBA game is a major question mark, and will likely be a big factor in determining his playing time.
As for his fit with the Raptors, well, Dekker is a 6’9” 229 lbs. forward, so he’ll slot in in exactly the same position as every other forward on the roster, pretty much. (Yes, that is a hint of pessimism you’re detecting there!)
The Raptors desperately need playmakers/shot creators, and a centre, and Dekker is neither of those things. So I don’t really think this one moves the needle in any significant way.
One hopes this is more of an end-of-bench, roster-filler move, and that Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster have more to come; on that note, hopefully we’ll hear more as the Raptors and Miami Heat iron out the details of the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade.
Update 12:25 p.m.: Per The Athletic’s Blake Murphy, Dekker’s “signing” is actually just a camp invite and a partial guarantee.
Dekker will be in camp on a partial guarantee competing for a roster spot, per a source. No use of any exception or anything like that.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) August 3, 2021
So that’s a confirmation of our supposition above that this is more of a roster filler move than anything. It doesn’t hurt to invite a guy who had a good year overseas to camp and see if that good year can translate back to the NBA!
If Dekker really can shoot it, and can defend up to Nick Nurse’s standards, then he’ll make the team and maybe get some minutes. If not, the Raptors pay him a small amount and they go their separate ways.