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Raptors sign rookie Delon Wright

Raptors sign rookie Delon Wright

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.

All first-round draft picks are guaranteed to receive a contract from the team that drafted them, assuming they wish to come to the NBA right away. So, this is a standard, routine signing.

Wright, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, was named the 2015 recipient of the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard. A first-team All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive Team selection, Wright averaged 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 35 games last season. As a junior, he contributed 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals in 33 contests earning first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honours.

Wright is the brother of Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright.

Wright will join the team for Samsung NBA Summer League 2015 in Las Vegas. The Raptors will open the preliminary round of the tournament Friday, July 10 against the reigning Summer League champion Sacramento Kings at Thomas & Mack Center (3:30 p.m. PT / 6:30 p.m. ET).

DeMarre Carroll will sign with Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are about to get better, while the Hawks take a step backward. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution blog reporting that a key member of the Hawks is leaving as a free agent and headed North to sign with the Toronto:

DeMarre Carroll will sign with Raptors

The Junkyard Dog is headed north.

DeMarre Carroll announced via social media that he will play for the Toronto Raptors.

Carroll tweeted: “#WeThe North I will be playing for Toronto Raptors next year!!!! I’m Blessed for this Opportunity!”

Carroll will sign a four-year, $60 million deal as an unrestricted free agent.

In an Eastern conference where second place — behind the Cleveland Cavaliers — is wide open for the taking, this is a full-priced but still very nice move for Toronto.

And here’s the Toronto Star on the Carroll/Raptors news:

Carroll, 28, was a key member of the 60-win Hawks team last season, primarily because of the level of toughness and defence he brought. While a solid scorer — he averaged 12.6 points per game in the regular season and more than 17 per game in the playoffs — the six-foot-eight forward’s reputation is as a defender.

Does he consider himself tough?

“If you see me in a fight with a bear, you’d better help that bear,” he famously said last season.

Carroll broke the news of his own signing on social media, putting a note on his Twitter account that included an Instagram photo of him and family members beaming next to Ujiri, Casey and Toronto executive vice-president Jeff Weltman.

The Toronto Raptors selected University of Utah guard Delon Wright with the 20th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The club also acquired a protected future first-round draft choice (originally belonging to the Los Angeles Clippers) and the draft rights to the 46th overall selection, UCLA guard Norman Powell, from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Greivis Vasquez.

Wright, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, was named the 2015 recipient of the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard. A first-team All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive Team selection, Wright averaged 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 35 games last season. As a junior, he contributed 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals in 33 contests earning first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honours.

Wright is the brother of Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright.

According to Raptors.com, “we’re excited to get him,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s one of the guys that has tremendous upside as a point guard in the NBA. [He] reminds me a lot of Nate McMillan, as far as big and long point guard we had in Seattle. [He] can defend multiple positions so he really fits well in what we’re trying to do. It goes right into the plan with our young group to grow.” “He’s grown up around the NBA,” Casey said. “He’s been to numerous NBA games, worked out with NBA players. He’s not going to come in shellshocked to go against guys in practice.”

Powell, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, averaged 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 36 games in 2014-15. He was named first-team All-Pac-12 and an Honourable Mention selection on the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team.

Vasquez averaged 9.5 points, 3.7 assists and 23.1 minutes in 143 games (34 starts) with the Raptors. He was acquired from Sacramento on December 9, 2013 and re-signed July 17, 2014.

Raptors could be team in transition

Toronto Raptors could be team in transition

The Toronto Raptors finished the regular season with an impressive 49-33 record, only to be swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Washington Wizards. Here’s the National Post with more:

One of the most frustrating aspects of last year’s Raptors season, other than the post-February collapse, was sending Caboclo down to Fort Wayne, a team shared with 12 other teams, only to watch him languish on the bench.

It is clear that the Raptors’ current position might change by opening night in October — or even by July. Amir Johnson and Lou Williams are free agents, while the team’s core was wholly disappointing in the post-season, with no exceptions. The composition of the Raptors’ roster today is guaranteed a makeover. The only question is how extreme it will be.

Arizona swingman Rondae Hollis Jefferson, a defensive terror without a jumper, and Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant, a true point guard who struggles to finish around the rim, headlined the Raptors’ first workout on Wednesday. Both are projected to be selected around where the Raptors will pick, and it is hard to say one is a much superior fit for Toronto. The Raptors do not have one specific obvious need, because a single move could address something while opening up another hole. And if you are looking for immediate answers with the 20th pick, you will probably still be looking when training camp opens.

Terrence Ross undergoes ankle surgery

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday forward-guard Terrence Ross underwent surgery yesterday in Van Nuys, California to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from his left ankle. The procedure was performed by Dr. Richard Ferkel at the Southern California Orthopaedic Institute.

Ross will conduct his rehabilitation in Toronto. No timetable has been set for a return to basketball activities.

Ross averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 25.3 minutes in a career-best 82 games this past season. He owns career averages of 9.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 23.3 minutes in 236 games. He has shot .373 (371-994) from three-point range.

Paul Pierce making life difficult for Raptors

Here’s the Boston.com blog reporting on Washington Wizards small forward Paul Pierce, who is doing mean things to the Toronto Raptors in their first-round playoff series:

Paul Pierce making life difficult for Raptors

Paul Pierce continues to make life miserable for the Toronto Raptors.

The former Celtics star scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of three-pointers in crunch time to help clinch a 106-99 win for his Washington Wizards over the Raptors on Friday night. The win gives Washington a commanding 3-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Truth finished the night shooting 5 of 9 from the field, including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc in just 27 minutes of action. Wizards’ coach Randy Wittman limited Pierce’s minutes so the veteran could be fresh in the fourth quarter and the move paid major dividends.

Lou Williams wins 2014-2015 NBA Sixth Man of Year award

Toronto Raptors guard Lou Williams, who averaged a career-high 15.5 points this season and helped Toronto win a franchise-record 49 games, is the winner of the 2014-15 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award as the league’s best player in a reserve role, the NBA announced today. The 6-1 guard becomes the first Raptors player to earn the honor.

Williams, in his 10th NBA season and first with the Raptors, amassed 78 first-place votes and 502 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics finished second with 324 points (33 first-place votes), and two-time winner Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers was third with 131 points (eight first-place votes).

Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. To be eligible for the award, players had to have come off the bench in more games than they started.

Williams came off the bench in all 80 of his appearances and averaged 25.2 minutes. He led or tied for the team lead in scoring 18 times, second most in the league for a reserve, and the Raptors went 14-4 in those games. The 28-year-old also led the Raptors in free throw percentage (86.1) and made a career-high 152 three-pointers, nearly double his previous high of 88 set with the 76ers in 2010-11. On March 4, Williams set a Toronto record for points in a quarter with 21 in the fourth period against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fan reaction/discussion: Lou Williams wins 6th man of the year

Raptors assign Lucas Nogueira to D-League

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have assigned center Lucas Nogueira (No-GARE-uh) to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. Nogueira will continue to be included on the Raptors’ roster and will remain on the team’s inactive list. He is expected to be in uniform for the Mad Ants on Saturday when they play host to the Delaware 87ers at 7:30 p.m.

Nogueira made his NBA debut November 21 versus Milwaukee and grabbed a season-high five rebounds in nine minutes of action. He has played a total of 23 minutes in six games with Toronto this season, recording six points and 11 rebounds.

A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nogueira was selected 16th overall by Boston in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Raptors acquired his rights June 30, 2014 from Atlanta. He spent the 2013-14 season with Estudiantes Madrid in the Spanish Liga Endesa and averaged 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 16.0 minutes in 18 games.

Raptors racking up nice wins lately

The Toronto Raptors are doing big things lately. And making regular appearances in the win column. Here’s the Canadian Press reporting:

James Johnson poured in a season-high 20 points to lift the Raptors to an 87-82 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Toronto’s eighth victory in 10 outings.

DeMar DeRozan added 18 points, while Amir Johnson had 15 and Kyle Lowry had 12. Jonas Valanciunas grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds in one of Toronto’s best defensive efforts of the season.

The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors (35-17) were coming off a huge 123-107 win over the Clippers on Friday that saw them claw their way back from an early 20-point deficit.

They never led by more than 10 in Sunday’s dogfight, and went into the fourth quarter up 64-58 in front of an Air Canada Centre capacity crowd of 19,800 that included Toronto FC’s newest acquisition Sebastian Giovinco.

Raptors assign Bruno Caboclo to D-League

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have assigned forward Bruno Caboclo (cuh-BO-clo) to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. Caboclo will continue to be included on the Raptors’ roster and will remain on the team’s inactive list. He is expected to be in uniform for the Mad Ants on Saturday when they face the Iowa Energy in Des Moines, Iowa (8 p.m. ET).

Caboclo made his NBA debut November 21 versus Milwaukee and scored a season-high eight points in 12 minutes of action. He shot two-for-three from beyond the arc with a rebound and a block against the Bucks. He has played a total of 15 minutes in three games with Toronto this season, recording eight points and two rebounds.

A native of Osasco, Brazil, Caboclo was selected 20th overall by Toronto in the 2014 NBA Draft. He appeared in 16 Brazil League games for Pinheiros/Sky last season, averaging 4.9 points and 3.1 rebounds. Caboclo was the MVP of the 2013 Basketball Without Borders South America camp in Buenos Aires.

Samuel Dalembert fined by NBA for elbowing Jonas Valanciunas

New York Knicks center Samuel Dalembert has been fined $15,000 for elbowing Jonas Valanciunas of the Toronto Raptors in the face during the Raptors’ 118-108 victory over the Knicks on Sunday, Dec. 21, at Air Canada Centre, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

Dalembert’s actions, which resulted in a Flagrant Foul 2 and his subsequent ejection, occurred with 10:59 remaining in the third quarter of the game.

Dalembert this season is averaging just 3.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game for New York, who have the second worst winning percentage in the NBA through Sunday’s games.

New Toronto Raptors logo

New Toronto Raptors logo revealed

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, the Toronto Raptors already had an accepted, cool logo, but they decided on an update, which was revealed today.

Last April, the Raptors launched a “We The North” campaign. Today the team took the next step in redefining the Raptors’ identity with the launch of its new primary logo, a circular shield with a ball torn by the unmistakable attack of a Raptor.

The new logo will be introduced in time for the 2015-16 NBA season. New uniforms haven’t been revealed yet.

“Last year during the playoffs, ‘We The North’ became a rallying cry for this team, and all of our fans,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri. “Our new logo represents that attitude and will be an important part of our identity starting next season.”

The new Raptors logo features the team’s primary colours of red, black, white and silver with an alternate version in black and gold.

Team merchandise featuring the new Raptors logo will be in stores next Fall prior to the start of the NBA season.

The logo was designed by Sid Lee, the same creative services agency that developed the “We The North” campaign.

Super-quick InsideHoops.com reaction: It’s a very cool logo. It looks a lot like the Brooklyn Nets logo, though.

DeMar DeRozan injured with torn left adductor longus tendon (groin)

DeMar DeRozan injured with torn left adductor longus tendon

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan left Friday’s game versus Dallas at the 8:23 mark of the third quarter and did not return. Test results revealed a torn left adductor longus tendon (the Raptors tell InsideHoops.com it’s a groin injury). There is no timetable for his return to basketball activity. His status will be updated as appropriate.

DeRozan has averaged a team-high 19.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and a team-best 33.6 minutes in 16 contests this season. He has paced the club in scoring on eight occasions.
The Raptors return to action Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers (9:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet/Sportsnet 590 The FAN).

louis williams

Toronto Raptors guard Lou Williams and Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 17, through Sunday, Nov. 23.

Williams helped the Raptors to a 3-0 week, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference with 23.7 ppg and ninth with 2.0 spg. He scored a career-high 36 points and matched his career high with 15 free-throws made, becoming the first player in team history to come off the bench to shoot 15-for-15 from the line, in a 110-93 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 22. He connected 10 of his 19 attempts from three-point range. Williams has sparked the Raptors to their best start in franchise history and an Eastern Conference-best 11-2 record.

demarcus cousins

Cousins led the Kings to a 2-1 week and paced the league in rebounding (16.3). He averaged 25.7 points (second in the league) on .577 shooting (30-for-52) and tallied five blocks. On Nov. 22, he recorded his sixth consecutive double-double with 31 points and 18 rebounds, matching his season high, in a 113-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Denver’s Ty Lawson, Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, Miami’s Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Phoenix’s Markieff Morris.

Video: Vince Carter tribute in Toronto

Vince Carter, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, gets emotional after a nice tribute last night from the Raptors celebrating his time in Toronto. Video:

Raptors forward James Johnson suffers severe ankle sprain

James Johnson suffers severe ankle sprain

Toronto Raptors forward James Johnson sustained a severe right ankle sprain during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game versus Utah. There is no timetable yet for his return to basketball activity.

Johnson has averaged 7.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 19.4 minutes in 10 appearances as a reserve this season.

The Raptors return to action Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. versus Memphis at Air Canada Centre (TSN/Sportsnet 590 The FAN).

Like many players, Patrick Patterson not a fan of sleeved jerseys

Here’s the National Post in Canada reporting on Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson, who appreciates the ability to freely move his arms when playing basketball:

Patrick Patterson not a fan of sleeved jerseys

“For those guys who have broad shoulders, large muscles on their arms, per se, it tends to get tight, real snug,” Patterson said on Tuesday morning when asked what he thought about the Raptors’ alternate jerseys that feature sleeves. “A lot of guys are uncomfortable with it. I wish I would have known ahead of times we are wearing those, because I’d have prepared. It’s for a solid cause. I believe we’re doing it for the right reasons. At the end of the day, I don’t like sleeves.”

Raptors waive Jordan Hamilton and Will Cherry

Raptors waive Jordan Hamilton and Will Cherry

The Toronto Raptors have waived guard Will Cherry and forward-guard Jordan Hamilton.

The Raptors completed their preseason schedule last night with a 83-80 win over New York in Montreal. The club finished with a 7-1 mark, tying the franchise best record set in the 2006 preseason.

Cherry played in five contests, averaging 3.4 points, 1.6 assists and 13.9 minutes. Hamilton averaged 9.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 18.3 minutes in six outings.

The Raptors roster now stands at 15 players. The team’s regular season opener is Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks, taking place at Air Canada Centre at 7:30 p.m.

miami heat

The Miami HEAT announced today several front office hirings, including Keith Smart as Assistant Coach, Chris Quinn as Assistant Coach/Player Development, Brandon Gilliam as Assistant Trainer/Director of Rehabilitation, Wes Brown as Assistant Trainer and Eric Foran as Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Smart will bring over 25 years of professional basketball experience as a player and coach to the HEAT bench serving as Assistant Coach. His duties will include assisting in the areas of game management. He comes to Miami after serving as head coach for three different NBA franchises, including Sacramento, Golden State and Cleveland.

Quinn, who played three and a half seasons with the HEAT for both Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra, will join Spoelstra’s staff as an Assistant Coach/Player Development. The six-year NBA veteran will assist Miami in the areas of player development and will also have responsibilities with the HEAT’s NBA Development League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Quinn spent last season as Director of Player Development at Northwestern University.

Gilliam has been named Assistant Trainer/Director of Rehabilitation after spending the last eight years owning his own private practice that specialized in concierge physical training for entertainers and athletes. In addition to his duties as assistant trainer, Gilliam will oversee all player rehabilitation programs as he will work with each player individually during the recovery process.

Brown has been named Assistant Trainer after spending the last seven years at the University of Miami as associate athletic trainer. His duties will include managing the day-to-day health of HEAT players during the regular season, postseason and off-season. Brown is a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, certified Corrective Exercise specialist, certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner and a level 2 Fascial Stretch Therapist.

Foran, who spent the last two seasons with the HEAT as a strength & conditioning intern, has been named Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach. He is a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and a certified USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach. A University of Florida graduate and son of HEAT Assistant Coach/Strength & Conditioning Bill Foran, Eric was a four-year letter winner and an All-SEC pole vaulter on the track and field team that won two national championships during his tenure.

Additionally, the HEAT also named David Fizdale to Assistant Head Coach, Juwan Howard to Assistant Coach, Dan Craig to Assistant Coach/Director of Player Development and Octavio De La Grana to Player Development Coach/Director of Minor League Operations.

Toronto Raptors sign Greg Stiemsma

Toronto Raptors sign Greg Stiemsma

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have signed free-agent center Greg Stiemsma (STEEMS-muh).

Stiemsma, 6-foot-11, 260 pounds, averaged 2.9 points with career bests of 4.1 rebounds and 18.3 minutes in 55 games (20 starts) last season with New Orleans. He scored in double figures four times, including a season-high 12 points January 3 at Boston. He also recorded back-to-back double-digit rebound totals with 11 caroms at Cleveland on January 28 and a career-best 12 boards January 29 at Minnesota.

The University of Wisconsin product has played for New Orleans, Minnesota (2012-13) and Boston (2011-12). He owns career averages of 3.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 16.0 minutes in 186 NBA games (42 starts).

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