Archive for the ‘ Toronto Raptors Blog ’ Category

Here’s the Toronto Star reporting on Raptors forward James Johnson, who isn’t spending much time on the court these days:

Little playing time in Toronto for James Johnson

James Johnson was in a long conversation with Raptors assistant general manager Jeff Weltman on Friday morning when the media was ushered into practice, one of a series of chats between management, coaches and the seemingly disgruntled forward over the previous 30 hours or so.

Johnson didn’t talk with reporters after that conversation and neither did anyone from management, but coach Dwane Casey said Johnson’s mid-week Twitter description of himself as “under-utilized” has been dealt with internally and the matter has been put to rest.

“In today’s NBA, you’re not surprised by anything,” Casey said. “It’s not a big deal, he tweeted something he probably shouldn’t have tweeted. We talked to James and handled it internally. Everybody understands their role and what his job is. We’ll move on.”

Johnson stepped back from his initial tweet hours later on Thursday, but the central issue is there just isn’t a lot of playing time available to him.

Raptors assign Delon Wright to D-League

Raptors assign Delon Wright to D-League

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have assigned guard Delon Wright to Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Raptors. Wright is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday when Raptors 905 hosts the Idaho Stampede at Hershey Centre at 7:30 p.m.

Wright has appeared in four games with the Raptors this season, totaling four rebounds in 10 minutes of action. Wright was selected 20th overall by Toronto in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Wright will continue to be included on the Raptors’ roster and will remain on the team’s inactive list.

Jonas Valanciunas injured in Raptors win

Here’s the Toronto Star reporting good news but also bad news on the 8-6 Raptors, who center Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 12.7 ppg and 9.3 rpg in 27.3 minutes per game this season:

Jonas Valanciunas injured in Raptors win

Big win. Big loss.

Unleashing a barrage of three-point shots against a woefully inept opponent, the Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak with a 102-91 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night but the victory came at a substantial cost.

Jonas Valanciunas could be lost for a substantial stretch after suffering a broken finger on his left hand when he was fouled by Kobe Bryant driving to the basket in the final minute of the second quarter.

The team said he suffered a fractured finger on his left, non-shooting hand and that he will have further testing before any timeline for rehabilitation or a return is offered.

Terrence Ross suffers thumb injury

terrence ross thumb injury

Raptors forward-guard Terrence Ross sustained a ligament injury to his left thumb during a Monday workout session. There is no timetable for his return to basketball activity. His status will be updated as appropriate.

Ross has averaged 6.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 17.5 minutes in seven appearances as a reserve this season. He had a season-high 21 points October 30 at Boston.

The Raptors return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia. (TSN/Sportsnet 590 The FAN).

Raptors 905 jerseys revealed

Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, unveiled Wednesday the club’s home and away uniforms for its inaugural season. Both uniforms, revealed in partnership with BMO Bank of Montreal, feature the ‘905’ moniker prominently across the chest of the jerseys in tribute to the Greater Toronto Area.

“With our uniform unveiling, it’s a sign that we’re getting closer to making history as the first Canadian team in the NBA D-League,” said Raptors 905 General Manager Dan Tolzman. “Our team is excited to bring a high level of basketball to Hershey Centre and the 905, and we’re looking forward to seeing our fans come out to support this team, starting with the preseason games later this week.”

For its first season, Raptors 905 will don white home uniforms and red away uniforms, consistent with the regular home and away uniforms of its NBA parent club. The home white uniforms will have red trim and black numbering, while the red away uniforms will have black trim and white numbering. The shorts on both Raptors 905 uniforms will feature the Raptors primary logo on the left leg and a Raptors 905 emblem on the right leg.

Raptors 905 begins its 2015 preseason schedule Thursday, November 5 when the team visits the Windsor Express (National Basketball League of Canada) at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario at 7:30 p.m. The first home preseason contest is scheduled for Sunday, November 8 as Raptors 905 plays host to the Erie BayHawks at Hershey Centre in Mississauga at 2 p.m. Raptors 905 wraps up its preseason Monday, November 9 with a special season seat holder and mini-pack/flex-plan customer only game at its Mississauga Sports Complex Practice Court against the London Lightning (NBLC) at 7:30 p.m.

Raptors sign Terrence Ross to contract extension

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have signed forward-guard Terrence Ross to a multi-year contract extension.

According to Yahoo Sports, it is a “three-year, nearly $33 million contract” extension.

“Terrence has shown growth with each season,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri. “We are excited that he will be part of what we are building in Toronto. He is a great teammate and has worked hard to become one of our best shooters.”

Currently in his fourth season with the Raptors, the 24-year-old Ross has averaged 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and made 377 three-pointers in 239 career games. Ross tied the franchise record with a 51-point outing January 25, 2014 against the Los Angeles Clippers at Air Canada Centre. He also set career highs for field goals made (16), three-pointers made (10), free throws made (9) and minutes played (44) in that game.

Ross was selected eighth overall by Toronto in the 2012 NBA Draft and averaged 6.4 points and 2.0 rebounds, making 65 three-pointers, in 73 games his rookie season. He followed that with career highs of 10.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 81 games. He also posted career bests in three-point field goal percentage (.395) and three-point field goals made (161) in 2013-14.

Last season, Ross appeared in all 82 games averaging 9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds with 145 three-pointers as the Raptors won a franchise-best 49 games. In 11 career playoff appearances, he has averaged 5.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 24.1 minutes.

The Portland, Oregon native has represented Toronto twice in the Sprite Slam Dunk during All-Star Weekend. He won the 2013 event in Houston and was a member of the winning team along with Washington’s John Wall and Indiana’s Paul George at the 2014 contest in New Orleans.

Raptors set opening night roster

Raptors set opening night roster

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday their roster for Wednesday’s regular season opener against the Indiana Pacers at Air Canada Centre (TSN/Sportsnet 590 The FAN, 7:30 p.m.).

The Raptors waived Michael (Michael) Kyser, Ronald Roberts, Shannon Scott and Axel Toupane (too-PON) Saturday to get to the league roster limit of 15 players.

Toronto recorded a club-record 49 wins and earned its second consecutive Atlantic Division crown last season.

Toronto returns eight players that ended last season with the team. Newcomers to the roster are Canadian Anthony Bennett (Minnesota), Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte), DeMarre Carroll (Atlanta), Canadian Cory Joseph (San Antonio), Norman Powell (UCLA), Luis Scola (Indiana) and Delon Wright (Utah, first-round draft pick).

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday they have waived free-agent guard Shannon Scott, guard-forward Axel Toupane (too-PON) and forwards Michale (Michael) Kyser and Ronald Roberts.

Scott totaled two points, four rebounds, two assists and 16 minutes in two outings.

Toupane appeared in two games where he was scoreless with two rebounds in 21 minutes.

Kyser was held scoreless with two rebounds in five minutes in his lone preseason appearance.

Roberts saw action in three preseason contests recording 10 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes.

The Raptors finished their 2015 preseason schedule with a 5-2 mark. They will open the 2015-16 regular season Wednesday at Air Canada Centre at 7:30 p.m. when they play host to the Indiana Pacers.

Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting on Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who is going wild lately. It’s just preseason, but this is still a good sign:

Kyle Lowry continued his torrid pre-season play, bettering his previous two outings, which were quite impressive themselves with a ridiculous 40-point performance in 28 minutes in Toronto’s 112-107 victory.

“He was hot as a firecracker. We aren’t running a lot of plays for him, but the ball is finding him,” Casey said.

Only Vince Carter (38 points) had ever topped 35 in a pre-season contest, but Lowry caught fire in the third quarter, adding 18 points, to his first-half total of 22. Lowry 6-of-7 three-point attempts, before missing a couple of heat checks later on.

Not that he was impressed.

“Not a damn thing,” was Lowry’s response after he was informed about the accomplishment.

“It’s only pre-season … for me, it’s about maintaining. Start off well, finish well.”

The Toronto Raptors will continue their preseason preparations with an open practice on Wednesday, October 21 at Hershey Centre in Mississauga. At this free event, Raptors fans will have an opportunity to preview the team during an intra-squad game, win one of many exciting giveaways and interact with Raptors alumni.

The open practice will also include team introductions plus performances by the Raptors Dance Pak and the Raptors mascot. Every fan in attendance will receive a free Raptors t-shirt. Doors open at 5 p.m. with the event starting at 6 p.m.

Hershey Centre will be home to Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, for the team’s inaugural season. The club will play 22 regular season games in Mississauga with the home opener set for Thursday, November 19 versus the Maine Red Claws.

For more information about open practice tickets please visit

DeMar DeRozan looking for bounce-back year

Here’s the National Post (Canada) reporting on Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who reportedly spent extra time this summer working on his 3-point shooting:

DeMar DeRozan looking for bounce-back year

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

He went on to say that he knows if he performs well, and the team performs well, the money will take care of itself, which is true. It is also where things get interesting. DeRozan remains as polarizing as any marquee player in the league.

DeRozan followed his all-star season in 2013-14 with arguably his most dispiriting season. He missed 21 games early in the year with a groin injury, and had trouble finding his form when he returned. He shot 39 per cent on pull-up, catch-and-shoot two-pointers, and 36 per cent on pull-up two-pointers — down from 47 and 37 per cent, respectively, a year ago. DeRozan’s game, in the words of new assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse, is “an aberration” in today’s NBA because he focuses on his mid-range game. He still got to the free-throw line 7.4 times per 36 minutes, but it was not enough to prop up his falling percentages to match the efficiency of a year ago.

With that in mind, he put extra work into his three-point shot this summer, and not for the first time. DeRozan has always insisted that he could shoot the three-pointer, but he has just chosen to focus on other parts of his offensive game. Whatever the reason, he has never shot better than 31 per cent from long distance.

Raptors exercise options on Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have exercised the third-year team options on the Rookie Scale Contracts of forward Bruno Caboclo and center Lucas Nogueira. The contracts for Caboclo and Nogueira are now guaranteed through the 2016-17 season. In accordance with the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Raptors had until October 31 to exercise their option on both players. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Caboclo, 6-foot-9, 218 pounds, was selected by Toronto with the 20th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The native of Brazil split last season between the Raptors and Fort Wayne in the NBA D-League. He averaged 1.3 points, 0.3 rebounds and 2.9 minutes in eight outings with Toronto and 3.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 8.9 minutes in seven games with Fort Wayne.

Nogueira, 7-foot, 241 pounds was acquired from Atlanta on June 30, 2014. He saw action with the Raptors and Fort Wayne in the NBA D-League last season. He averaged 1.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.5 minutes in six outings with Toronto and 8.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 20.0 minutes in four contests with Fort Wayne.

The native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was taken 16th overall by Boston in the 2013 Draft. He played three seasons in Spain before joining the Raptors.

Raptors sign Anthony Bennett

Raptors sign Anthony Bennett

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed free-agent forward Anthony Bennett.

As a former first overall NBA Draft pick, Bennett has been a bust so far in the NBA. He will have to prove his value in the league fairly soon, or else he may wind up having to play overseas in the future.

Bennett, 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, averaged 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 15.7 minutes in 57 games last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He scored in double figures on eight occasions, including a stretch of four consecutive games. He recorded a career-best 20 points, with career highs of three steals and 32 minutes, November 21 versus San Antonio.

Bennett has appeared in 109 career NBA games, averaging 4.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 14.3 minutes. He grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds at Philadelphia as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 18, 2014.

The native of Toronto was the first Canadian-born player selected with the top pick in the NBA Draft when he went number one overall to Cleveland in 2013. He was dealt August 23, 2014 to Minnesota in a three-team trade.

Bennett was named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year following his lone collegiate season at UNLV. He averaged 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 27.1 minutes in 35 games (32 starts). He shot .533 percent from the field, including a team-best .375 mark from the three-point line.

Anthony Bennett makes sense for Raptors

Anthony Bennett makes sense for Raptors

Here’s the Toronto Sun on the addition of Anthony Bennett to the Raptors:

Anthony Bennett makes sense for Raptors

Signing Anthony Bennett to a league minimum contract — something that will happen any time now, according to sources in the know — was nearly a no-brainer for the Raptors. For Bennett himself, it was less of a slam dunk, though likely still a pretty easy call. Other than possibly having to drown out some outside noise from the fanbase, Masai Ujiri and the Raptors don’t have much to lose on this low-cost gambit. Power forward is the team’s weakest position, with Patrick Patterson the presumptive starter and veteran Luis Scola slated to back him up. James Johnson and DeMarre Carroll also could see some time there, but Bennett provides another option for Dwane Casey — an above-the-rim, open court threat who starred at UNLV and this past summer for Canada. Bennett will never live up to the expectations of being drafted No. 1 overall, but he definitely has the talent and athleticism to be an NBA contributor, provided he is healthy and engaged, which granted, are not certainties based on past history.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on OKC Thunder shooting guard Dion Waiters, who presents the deal with a difficult decision:

Deadline looms for Dion Waiters extension

The NBA season is rapidly approaching, much to the delight of NBA fans everywhere. As if NBA front offices didn’t have enough on their plates going into the season, they face another deadline. Teams have until Nov. 2 (normally Oct. 31, but that date falls on a Saturday this season) to extend the rookie scale contracts of players selected in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft.

The Thunder is on the clock to lock up Dion Waiters, the fourth overall pick in that draft, to a long-term deal by that date.

Waiters’ play was erratic and uneven after his Jan. 5 arrival via a trade with Cleveland and New York. He averaged 11.0 points per game in his first 29 appearances for the Thunder, shooting 37.8 percent from the field and 28.3-percent from 3-point range. This wasn’t terribly unusual given that Waiters was still considered a raw talent and was trying to fit into a new team with revolving lineups.

Raptors 905 holds open tryouts

Here’s the Toronto Star reporting on the Raptors 905 D-League team, which recently gave anybody and everybody a chance to show they’re worthy of being on the squad:

At the open tryout for the Raptors 905 NBA D-League team, class shows quickly.

There’s Tut Ruach, a Mississauga high school hoops legend, stripping the ball from an overmatched guard and making the pass that leads to a basket. On an adjacent court at the University of Toronto Mississauga, former Dalhousie standout Robert Nortmann throws down a thunderous dunk over an opponent’s outstretched arms.

Other players’ lack of pedigree is revealed in seconds. A skinny guard with a bushy moustache spends nearly an entire scrimmage lingering beneath the goal, leaving his team shorthanded on defence and waiting on a pass he can flip into the goal. When he finally gets his shot, an opponent swats it away.

Seventy-five men answered the Raptors 905’s open casting call, with nearly as many skill levels on display Saturday. Coaches will winnow that pack to a more select group for further evaluation Sunday, and up to five players can leave this weekend with an invite to the Raptors farm team’s training camp in early November.

Raptors 905 name coaching staff

Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, announced Wednesday it has hired Tim Lewis, Nathaniel Mitchell and David Gale as assistant coaches on head coach Jesse Mermuys’ staff.

“This is an exciting time for Raptors 905 and all three coaches are eager to be part of building this program,” said Mermuys. “The staff we have assembled are proven professionals and committed to doing the right things each day to make Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Area proud.”

Lewis joins Raptors 905 after one season as an assistant coach with the Bakersfield Jam (NBA D-League), which finished second in the Western Conference with a 34-16 record. A native of Great Britain, Lewis has international coaching stops in Spain (Gran Canaria), Japan (Hitachi Sunrockers) and Germany (Ratiopharm Ulm). He spent six years as an assistant coach and performance analyst for the British Senior Men’s Olympic program and served as head coach of Great Britain’s U-20 National Basketball Team.

Mitchell joins Raptors 905 following one season with the Maine Red Claws (NBA D-League). A native of Toronto, Mitchell, along with Red Claws head coach Scott Morrison, of Prince Edward Island, guided Maine to a 35-15 mark, which tied Santa Cruz for the best regular-season record in the League.

In 2013 Mitchell served as a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team at Fresno State. He played collegiately at the University of the Cumberlands (Williamsburg, KY) where he helped the Patriots to the 2009 Mid-South Conference Championship and an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NAIA Tournament, while earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and human services. Additionally, Mitchell has coaching experience on the international level, having served in Canada’s national program.

Gale has been part of the Raptors organization since 2011 in the role of assistant video coordinator. The Sherman Oaks, California native assisted the Raptors coaching staff with defensive game-plans and identifying opponent play calls from the bench past two seasons. During the summers Gale was based in Los Angeles and helped organize workouts for DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and Bruno Caboclo.

Prior to joining Toronto, Gale spent four seasons as assistant video coordinator for the Los Angeles Clippers. He played collegiately at Loyola University Chicago and earned his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management.

Raptors sign Jonas Valanciunas to contract extension

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have signed center Jonas Valanciunas to a multi-year contract extension.

According to Yahoo Sports it is a four-year, $64 million extension.

“Jonas’ contributions continue to improve with each season and we view him as a significant part of what we are building in Toronto,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri.

In his three seasons with the Raptors, the 23-year-old Valanciunas has averaged 10.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 26.3 minutes in 223 career games, including 218 as a starter. He has shot .553 (936-1,694) from the field. In the postseason, he owns averages of 11.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in 11 contests, with a .575 (50-87) field goal percentage.

Valanciunas, 7-foot, 270 pounds, averaged a career-best 12.0 points, with team highs of 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, in 80 contests last season. He finished second in the NBA with a .572 (373-652) field goal percentage. He paced the Raptors in double-doubles (22), rebounds (693) and blocks (95). He posted averages of 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in four playoff outings.

Valanciunas appeared in 81 games in the 2013-14 season, where he averaged 11.3 points and a team-leading 8.8 rebounds. He shot .531 (359-676) from the field and paced the team in rebounds (714) and double-doubles (26). In seven playoff games, he shot .633 (31-49) from the floor and contributed averages of 10.9 points and a team-best 9.7 rebounds.

The native of Lithuania was selected fifth overall by the Raptors in the 2011 Draft. He averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 23.9 minutes in 62 appearances in his rookie campaign. He ranked among the top-3 rookies for field goal percentage (.557), rebounds and blocks (1.3). He captured Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honours for March, averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and shooting .620 from the field in 15 outings.

Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, has selected the rights to 16 players in the 2015 NBA D-League Expansion Draft. Raptors 905 will hold the rights to these players for two seasons.

And now, a useful reminder from Just because a D-League team has the rights to a player doesn’t mean that player is definitely playing for that team. Some of these players may get an NBA contract, or sign overseas. But if they want to play in the D-League, they’ll be on the Raptor 905’s.

The players selected in today’s Expansion Draft will form Raptors 905’s Returning Player List in advance of the inaugural season. Each of the 2014-15 NBA D-League teams were able to protect the rights of up to 12 players as part of the draft process. Raptors 905 then selected from the pool of unprotected players from the 2013-14 and 2014-15 NBA D-League rosters, with no more than two selections coming from any one team.

Seven of the 16 players selected by Raptors 905 have NBA experience, including former first-round draft picks Earl Clark, Nolan Smith and Dahntay Jones.
Following are the complete results of the 2015 NBA D-League Expansion Draft:


Dee Bost Guard 6-3 176 Mississippi State Idaho Stampede (2013-14)

Earl Clark* Forward 6-10 234 Louisville Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2014-15)

Abdul Gaddy Guard 6-3 214 Washington Maine Red Claws (2013-14)

Luke Harangody* Forward 6-8 240 Notre Dame Texas Legends (2014-15)

Dahntay Jones* Guard 6-6 225 Duke Fort Wayne Mad Ants (2014-15)

Kevin Jones* Forward 6-8 250 West Virginia Canton Charge (2013-14)

Ricky Ledo* Guard 6-7 195 South Kent HS Texas Legends (2014-15)

C.J. Leslie Forward 6-9 209 North Carolina State Idaho Stampede (2013-14)

Ramone Moore Guard 6-6 190 Temple Delaware 87ers (2013-14)

Mustafa Shakur* Guard 6-3 190 Arizona Oklahoma City Blue (2013-14)

Will Sheehey Forward 6-7 200 Indiana Los Angeles D-Fenders (2014-15)

Nolan Smith* Guard 6-2 185 Duke Delaware 87ers (2014-15)

Scott Suggs Forward 6-6 190 Washington Santa Cruz Warriors (2013-14)

Ty Walker Centre 7-0 230 Wake Forest Reno Bighorns (2014-15)

Mitchell Watt Centre 6-10 225 Buffalo Santa Cruz Warriors (2014-15)

Michael Williams Guard 6-2 185 Cal State Fullerton Sioux Falls Skyforce (2014-15)

* - denotes players with NBA experience

Raptors announce front office promotions

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday the promotion of Teresa Resch to Vice President, Basketball Operations and Player Development and Dan Tolzman to Director, Player Personnel.
Resch joined the Raptors in 2013. She will continue her responsibilities for off-court player development programs and as a liaison between basketball and team business operations.
Resch has also played an instrumental role in overseeing plans for the team’s new practice facility slated to open in February, 2016.

Tolzman joined the Raptors in 2013 as Director of Scouting. In addition to input on personnel and roster decisions, he will continue to head all aspects of the team’s scouting department, including college and professional scouting, talent assessment and related data management.

On July 7, Tolzman was named the first general manager of the Raptors’ new NBA D-League affiliate, Raptors 905. As the club’s general manager, Tolzman will lead all basketball operations and player personnel matters, including roster management and development, player transactions, scouting and drafting.

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