On Pro Bball Report recently: Team Canada, NBA Free Agency, Raptors, Cory Joseph, Knicks, Lakers, Amir Johnson, DeMarre Carroll, Bismack Biyombo, Raptors905, Tristan Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, David Lee, Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Luke Ridnour and more.
With so many of Canada’s stars embroiled in NBA free agency and upcoming NBA Summer League games, it should not come as much of a surprise that the big names like Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and Andrew Wiggins won’t be there.
In a totally predicable scenario, once the Spurs landed LaMarcus Aldridge, the Raptors would be able to land their defensive-minded guard of choice, Canadian Cory Joseph. What’s been next for the Raptors this summer has been getting head coach Dwane Casey defense-oriented players that fit the style he likes to play.
Pretty much all is fair when millionaire players are extracting their next massive contract from billionaire owners during free agency, but are the once powerful Knicks and Lakers being used and abused during the process this time around?
Amir Johnson will be missed in Toronto. He wasn’t always a star on the court, but he was bigger than life and more generous than expected with the Raptors fans over his six seasons there. An unrestricted free agent who said he would like to return, but didn’t realistically expect to be back, Johnson agreed to a two-year $24 million deal with the Celtics.
Amir Johnson, one of the nicest guys to grace a Toronto Raptors locker room says, “see you later.”
The Remake Of The Toronto Raptors Has Begun
By Frank McLean
July 1st, 2015 will be remembered as the day the remake of the Toronto Raptors began. It was a day of addition and subtraction. The addition is forward DeMarre Carroll from the Atlanta Hawks. The subtraction is that of forward Amir Johnson.
Now Ujiri heads into free agency with $24.6 million in salary cap space before cap holds and the flexibility to make a serious offer to just about any free agent he believes could help his team. It should be assumed Ujiri didn’t trade Vasquez away without knowing who that free agent target or targets are. There’s a plan here that should become very obvious fairly quickly after free agency opens on July 1st.
Toronto has won the Atlantic Division back-to-back with a starting lineup of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas. The 9 point 6 rebound Johnson is an unrestricted free agent and not expected to return, however, DeRozan, Ross and Valanciunas are all young players that Ujiri expects – nay requires – to take another step in their development over the summer. The Raptors can seriously argue that they are just one player away from contention.
Carroll is a huge get for the Raptors Ujiri. Called a “Junkyard Dog” in college, Carroll is a Coach Casey style player, someone known for playing hard on every possession. At 6’8, Carroll has the size to play against the bigger small forwards in the NBA, something the Raptors have been lacking in their last two playoff appearances and with a 39.5 three-point field goal percentage, he can stretch the floor.
“The game has kind of slowed down for me,” Biyombo told Pro Bball Report at the end of the season. “I understand the game better. I know how I can help the team on defense. Help different guys on the floor to cover weaknesses and help them play to their strengths on offense.”
So all that noise about the Raptors meeting with free agent power forward LaMarcus Aldridge turned into smoke as President and General Manger, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri was actually meeting with the Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll first and the Raptors GM wasted no time in getting a deal done.
Leave to Ujiri’s imagination to still find a homerun if the Raptors lose Aldridge to the crowd pursuing him, nothing should surprise Toronto fans at this point.
The need for the Raptors to own and control their own Development team became obvious last season when the Fort Wayne Mad Ants limited the minutes of rookie Bruno Caboclo and their head coach didn’t even play Caboclo in several D-League games after he was sent down to gain some badly needed playing time and experience.
Conservatively starting at $15.5 million per season, the luxury tax bill for keeping this young rebounding energy guy in Cleveland could look something like this: $16.25 million for the first $5 million, $18.75 million for the next $5 million and $21.25 million for the last $5 million in salary. Adding the luxury tax bill up and Griffin could be paying over $70 million in salary and luxury tax in order to keep Thompson next season.
Sources say that veteran point guard Kyle Lowry may have been in Aldridge’s ear a little to help secure the sit down. The Raptors dumped off the contract of Greivis Vásquez to ensure they had a full max salary slot to offer and are pitching the “one player” away concept. The fact that both Lowry and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan are said to be actively recruiting helps the Raptors since both are well respected by other NBA players.
It’s only the second morning of free agency, but the wait seemed to take forever as news trickled out about which teams had made an impression on LaMarcus Aldridge. It seems the initial reaction after every meeting so far has been it went well, at least until someone that hasn’t been schooled in diplomacy leaks out some unconfirmed detail.
So LaMarcus Aldridge can’t make up his mind. The experts all think he should just sign with the iconic Spurs and the rationale is sound, but it hasn’t happened yet. He’s a perfect fit in Houston beside Dwight Howard. Tim Duncan on the Spurs gives him a chance at the Finals next season. Even the Suns look very solid with him on the team.
The wait is finally over, the most coveted NBA unrestricted free agent actually available, LaMarcus Aldridge, has decided to sign with the San Antonio Spurs.
NBA teams have committed billions on the first day of free agency with mega-deals for all the top names that signed, but the Pacers big man David West should be the most wanted free agent left on the board for a select group of teams because he doesn’t want your money.
All of a sudden, the noise surrounding the stalled negotiations with the Cavs Canadian power forward Tristan Thompson has started to take on new meaning. Thompson wants a max deal this summer and it looked like he was about to get something very close to that from Cleveland a few days ago, but unexpectedly things started to change.
The Raptors and the rest of the NBA are not in the business of helping the Warriors save money, but Toronto does have some very good reasons for trying to make a deal happen.
“He is a little older than your normal 19 or 20-year-old coming in today, but that’s good,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s a kid that’s been around the NBA, knows the NBA, talked about the NBA with his brother.”
The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have signed guard Delon Wright from the University of Utah to his rookie scale contract. He is under contract through the 2016-17 season, with two team option years to follow. The Raptors selected Wright with the 20th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
In the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors took an athletic scorer and defender in ULCA shooting guard Norman Powell. This kid seems to be more NBA ready than the typical rookie coming into the pros and has the potential to surprise if he is given the chance.
President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri got in on the Ridnour free-for-all by trading with the Thunder for the 34-year-old veteran and getting cash plus a whole lot of flexibility during free agency. Ridnour can be waived at no cost until July 10th.
• Big Stories From The Previous Week
Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri didn’t take any risks this time as he drafts Utah Senior, 23-year-old, Delon Wright. Averaging 15 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.1 blocks, Wright was a two-time All PAC-12 Conference First Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team choice over his two seasons in Utah.
The Toronto Raptors have traded veteran point guard Greivis Vasquez to the Bucks for salary cap space, a future first round draft pick and a second round pick. This move can give Toronto the room to go after a max contract free agent this summer.
Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri has admitted several times now to being too complacent at the trade deadline and has suggested the Raptors are open for business now.