Archive for the ‘ Toronto Raptors Blog ’ Category

Raptors hire Patrick Mutombo and Jim Sann as assistant coaches

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have hired Patrick Mutombo and Jim Sann as assistant coaches on Head Coach Dwane Casey’s staff. In addition, assistant coach Jama Mahlalela (JAM-ah MAH-la-LAY-la) has been promoted and will move to the front of the bench for the upcoming season.

Kalamian enters his second season with the Raptors, while Nurse returns for his fourth campaign with the club.

“I am pleased to add Patrick and Jim to our coaching staff,” said Casey. “Both possess a tremendous work ethic and a wealth of basketball experience that with help our players improve.

“Jama has done a great job for us in the area of player development and game preparation the last several seasons and is deserving of this recognition.”

Mutombo joins the Raptors after one season as an assistant coach with the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League. Prior to joining the Spurs, Mutombo spent four seasons with the Denver Nuggets (2011-15), including the last three as an assistant coach.

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mutombo played professionally in Europe for six seasons (2003-09), before signing with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA D-League. He appeared in 29 games for the Jam, averaging 5.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 22.0 minutes.
Mutombo played collegiately at Metropolitan State University (1999-2003), helping the Roadrunners win the NCAA Division II championship in 2000 and 2002.

Sann rejoins the Raptors where he served as an assistant coach on Kevin O’Neill’s staff during the 2003-04 season. He spent the last three seasons as assistant coach/advance scout with the Brooklyn Nets. Sann was also with the Nets organization for five seasons (2005-10) as an assistant coach/coaching associate.
From 2010-12, Sann was a member of the Chicago Bulls staff, serving as an assistant coach/video coordinator. He was also an assistant coach/advance scout for the Houston Rockets during the 2004-05 season. Sann began his professional basketball career with the New York Knicks, holding various positions over 11 seasons, eventually rising to director of basketball administration.

Sann graduated from the University of Colorado in 1991.

Mahlalela enters his fourth season as an assistant coach. He moved to the bench following two seasons working in the Raptors’ front office as director of player development.

Mahlalela started with the Raptors in 2006 as a member of the community development staff, leading the Raptors Basketball Academy and various clinics throughout Canada. He was named director of basketball operations for NBA Asia in 2009 and oversaw the League’s clinics, youth programs and elite-level development from his base in Hong Kong.

Mahlalela played collegiately at the University of British Columbia and served as assistant coach at the University of Toronto for four seasons.

Raptors sign Brady Heslip

The Raptors have signed Canadian free-agent guard Brady Heslip.

Toronto will open training camp September 27 in Vancouver. The roster stands at 20 players.

Heslip, a native of Burlington, Ontario and a member of the Canadian Men’s Senior National Team, spent the 2015-16 season with Acqua Vitasnella Cantu (Serie-A) in Italy, averaging 12.7 points and shooting .455 from three-point range in 29 games.

He averaged 13.0 points and 1.2 rebounds for Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and 10.7 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City.
Heslip was selected 11th overall by Reno in the 2014 NBA D-League Draft and averaged 24.5 points in 20 games with the Bighorns. He set an NBA D-League record by making 13 three-point field goals November 29, 2014 at Idaho as part of a 45-point performance.

D-League: Jerry Stackhouse hired as Raptors 905 head coach

The Raptors have announced that former NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse is the new head coach of their NBA D-League affiliate, Raptors 905. Stackhouse served as an assistant coach with the Raptors last season. He replaces Jesse Mermuys, who was named to the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching staff.

“We are very excited to name Jerry Stackhouse our new head coach,” said Raptors 905 General Manager, Dan Tolzman. “The basketball pedigree that he brings to the 905 bench is as good as it gets in the D-League. We believe that his experience as a successful NBA player along with his year spent learning under Coach Casey on the Raptors staff will go a long way in helping teach the young players within our system what it takes to thrive at the next level.”

“I am honoured to have the opportunity and challenge to lead our D-League team,” said Stackhouse. “I appreciate the confidence Masai (Raptors President Masai Ujiri) and Dan have shown in me to continue the development of our younger players.”

Stackhouse played 18 seasons in the NBA, averaging 16.9 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 31.2 minutes in 970 regular season games (564 starts). He also appeared in 75 playoffs contests and reached the NBA Finals in 2006 with Dallas.

Raptors sign forward E.J. Singler

The Raptors signed forward E.J. Singler today. He is the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler.

Until we hear otherwise, we will assume this is a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings E.J. to Raptors training camp.

E.J., who is 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, played with the Raptors’ entry in Summer League 2016 in Las Vegas, where he averaged 6.4 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 19.3 minutes in five games (four starts). He shot .480 (12-for-25) from the field and .412 (7-for-17) from three-point range.

Singler split last season between Raptors 905 and the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League. He was acquired from the Stampede on March 4 and averaged 14.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 30.9 minutes in 10 games with Raptors 905.

Singler owns career D-league averages of 10.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 25.4 minutes in 68 games (12 starts) with Idaho (2013-14, 2015-16) and Raptors 905. He won the 2014 Boost Mobile NBA D-League Three-Point Competition.

Singler played four seasons at Oregon (2009-13), averaging 10.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 29.3 minutes. He became just the eighth player in school history to total 1,500 career points and 500 career rebounds. Singler finished his collegiate career as the winningest player in school history with 89 victories.

The Raptors on Friday signed President Masai Ujiri to a multi-year contract extension and promoted Jeff Weltman to general manager and Bobby Webster to assistant general manager/vice-president basketball strategy. Ujiri will continue to oversee basketball operations as president of the club.

“I am grateful to the Board and Mr. Tanenbaum for the opportunity to continue our progress to build the Raptors into one of the top franchises in the NBA,” said Ujiri. “I’m also excited that Jeff and Bobby are being rewarded for their hard work and valuable contributions to our program.

“My family thanks the NBA, Raptors players and coaches, staff, Raptors fans, the city of Toronto and Canada for this opportunity. Toronto is home for us.”

In their three seasons with the Raptors, Ujiri, Weltman and Webster have helped to build a team that has won three consecutive Atlantic Division titles, advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, posted three straight seasons with franchise-high victories, including 56 wins this past season, and compiled a 153-93 (.622) mark – the best record in the Eastern Conference in that span.

“The gratitude and respect we hold for Masai and our Raptors senior management team are reflected in our Board’s action to extend Masai’s contract,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of the Board. “We are excited to build on our team’s success and to give Masai our full support in delivering to our fans and to our country the Toronto Raptors’ first NBA championship.”

Ujiri was named president and general manager May 31, 2013. In addition to his role with the Raptors, Ujiri has been tireless in his efforts to promote and develop the game of basketball throughout Africa. He is the founder of the Giants of Africa Foundation, which launched the Top 50 and Big Man camps in his homeland. He has also served as the director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program since 2002.

The Raptors will play a pair of 2016 NBA preseason games in Vancouver and Calgary.

Their opponents will be the Warriors and Nuggets.

Even though it’s just preseason, that Warriors game will be Kevin Durant’s debut on the squad and is therefore worth watching.

And as for Canada in general, any games outside of Toronto should certainly be attended by fans who don’t get to see NBA players with their own eyes on a regular basis.

Here’s more info: http://www.insidehoops.com/canada-nba-preseason-games-083016.shtml

Delon Wright undergoes shoulder surgery

Raptors guard Delon Wright underwent arthroscopic shoulder stabilization today to fix a labral tear in his right shoulder. The procedure was performed by Dr. Riley Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Wright sustained the injury July 16 in the fourth quarter of a Las Vegas Summer League game versus Minnesota. X-rays taken on-site at Thomas & Mack Center were negative for a fracture and his dislocated shoulder was put back in place. Additional testing revealed a torn labrum.

Wright is expected to be sidelined a minimum of four months.

Wright, the 20th overall pick by the Raptors in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, averaged 3.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 8.5 minutes in 27 appearances last season.

Raptors sign Fred VanVleet

The Raptors have signed guard Fred VanVleet to a multi-year contract.

It’s surprising to us that the team says it’s a multi-year contract. We will guess that it’s a non-guaranteed deal.

VanVleet, 6-foot, 195 pounds, recently participated with the Raptors’ entry in NBA Summer League 2016 in Las Vegas, averaging 6.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 16.0 minutes in five games. He shot .417 (10-for-24) from the field and .545 (6-for-11) from three-point range.

VanVleet played four seasons at Wichita State (2012-16), averaging 10.2 points, 4.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 26.8 minutes in 141 career games (102 starts). He ranks first all-time in school history in assists (637), steals (225) and assists-to-turnover ratio (3.08). VanVleet helped the Shockers to three Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) titles, three MVC regular season titles and nine NCAA Tournament victories in four trips.

VanVleet’s conference honours include MVC Player of the Year twice (2014, 2016), First Team All-MVC three times (2014, 2015, 2016) and MVC All-Defensive Team three times (2014, 2015, 2016). He was also a two-time finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (2014, 2015), given to the nation’s top point guard.

Nets sign Anthony Bennett

Nets sign Anthony Bennett

The Nets have signed free agent forward Anthony Bennett.

Bennett has done little so far in the NBA. The Toronto native was originally selected with the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by Cleveland, becoming the first Canadian ever selected with the top pick in the draft. He wasn’t expected to be selected that high, and has not lived up to being a No. 1 overall draft pick. Which isn’t really his fault.

“We have been excited to watch Anthony’s progress this summer with his national team, and look forward to the opportunity of having Kenny and his staff work with him to continue his development,” said Nets’ General Manager Sean Marks.

Bennett joins the Nets after spending the 2015-16 season with the Toronto Raptors. In 19 games, Bennett recorded averages of 1.5 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.4 minutes per game. In 128 games in three NBA seasons split between Toronto, Minnesota (2014-15) and Cleveland (2013-14), the 23-year-old holds career averages of 4.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game.

Prior to the NBA, Bennett spent one season at UNLV, registering averages of 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game in 35 games (32 starts) en route to Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year honors, as well as Associated Press honorable mention All-American recognition. Bennett is a member of the Canadian national team.

Raptors re-sign DeMar DeRozan

Raptors re-sign DeMar DeRozan

The Raptors have re-signed guard DeMar DeRozan.

“Our top priority in the offseason was to make sure DeMar remained a Raptor,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri. “He has been a foundation for our franchise, a leader who exemplifies the culture we are developing and a key contributor in our success.

“We are delighted that after seven seasons DeMar wanted to remain in Toronto to help us continue to build a championship program.”

The deal is reportedly a $139 million dollar contract, over five years.

DeRozan played a major role in last season’s franchise-record 56 regular season wins and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

DeRozan, point guard Kyle Lowry, and center Jonas Valanciunas are the heart of the team. Where they go, the team goes.

DeRozan, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, averaged a career and team-best 23.5 points (tied for eighth in the NBA) with 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 35.9 minutes (eighth in the NBA) in 78 contests in 2015-16. He shot career bests of .338 (47-139) from three-point range and .850 (555-653) at the foul line, a sixth consecutive season above 80 per cent. His 555 free throws made and 653 free throw attempts were career highs and franchise records. He ranked second in the league in free throws made and third in attempts
DeRozan paced the club in scoring 47 times and in assists a career-high 16 outings. He scored 20 or more points 54 times and 30-plus on 14 occasions. He led the team with a season high-tying 38 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists March 12 versus Miami for his 10th career double-double. He also had 38 points March 4 vs. Portland, setting a franchise record with 24 made free throws before intentionally missing his 25th attempt to seal the victory.

DeRozan appeared in his second All-Star Game on February 14 in Toronto, finishing with 18 points in 19 minutes as a reserve. He was named co-winner for Eastern Conference Player of the Month in January along with teammate Kyle Lowry, averaging 23.9 points in 14 games with eight games of 20-plus points.

Raptors sign Jared Sullinger

Raptors sign Jared Sullinger

The Raptors have signed free-agent power forward Jared Sullinger.

“We are delighted that Jared chose to join the Raptors,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri. “He provides us with another experienced front court player that can rebound and score.”

Sullinger’s deal is reportedly a $5.6 million dollar contract, just for one year.

Sullinger, 6-foot-9, 260 pounds, averaged 10.3 points, a career-high 8.3 rebounds and 23.6 minutes in a career-best 81 games with Boston last season. He holds career averages of 11.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 24.9 minutes in 258 games, all with the Celtics. In the playoffs, Sullinger has averaged 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 16.1 minutes in 10 contests.

Sullinger was drafted 21st overall by Boston in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Jared Sullinger to join Raptors

The Raptors are adding some rebounding. Here’s the Toronto Star reporting:

Jared Sullinger to join Raptors

In another low-risk, high-reward gamble, Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri has dipped into the NBA freeagent pool.

Jared Sullinger, an intriguing big man with conditioning and health issues but talent that makes him an interesting addition to a team needing a power forward, announced his own signing with the Raptors on Monday afternoon.

The six-foot-nine, 260-pound big man, cut adrift Sunday by the Boston Celtics, will join Toronto on a one-year deal worth slightly under $6 million, a relatively cheap contract in this summer’s NBA free agent market.

jakob poeltl signs rookie contract

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday they have signed center Jakob Poeltl (YAH-cub PUHR-tuhl) and forward Pascal Siakam (Pass-CAL See-AH-kum) to rookie scale contracts. Both players are under contract through the 2017-18 season, with two team option years to follow. The Raptors selected Poeltl with the ninth pick and Siakam with the 27th selection in the 2016 NBA Draft.

All players selected in the first round of the draft are guaranteed to receive a contract, assuming they wish to start their NBA career right away. So, these signings are standard and were expected.

Poeltl, 7-foot, 248 pounds, played two seasons at Utah and one season (2013-14) for the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions in his native Austria. He was the 2016 Pac-12 Player of the Year, an Associated Press second-team All-America and the recipient of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award for the nation’s top centre. Poeltl averaged 17.2 points (second in the Pac-12), 9.1 rebounds (fourth in the conference) and 1.6 blocks (eighth in the Pac-12) in 36 games this past season. He ranked first in the Pac-12 and seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.646). As a freshman, he contributed 9.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 34 contests. He earned Pac-12 All-Freshman team honours and was named to the CBSSports.com Freshman All-American team. He led the conference and ranked fourth in the nation in field goal percentage (.681).

Siakam, 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, played two seasons at New Mexico State. He averaged 20.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 34 games in 2015-16 en route to unanimous Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year honours. He led the nation with 27 double-doubles. The native of Cameroon was the 2015 WAC Freshman of the Year, averaging 12.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 34 outings. He paced the conference in field goal percentage (.572) and blocked shots.

Magic sign Bismack Biyombo

Magic sign Bismack Biyombo

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent center Bismack Biyombo (bis-MOCK bee-OM-bo), General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. The deal was reported to be 4 years, $72 million.

“Bismack (Biyombo) is a tremendous competitor and athlete who excels on the defensive end of the floor,” said Hennigan. “He proved during the playoffs that he can rebound and protect the rim at an elite level, and he will bring toughness and winning fiber to our frontcourt. We are confident that his best basketball is ahead of him and we’re extremely excited to welcome him to the Orlando Magic family.”

Biyombo (6’9”, 255, 8/28/92) played in all 82 regular season games with Toronto last season (22 starts), averaging 5.5 ppg., a career-high 8.0 rpg. and a team-high 1.62 blkpg. in 22.0 minpg., while shooting .542 (156-288) from the floor. He ranked 13th in the NBA in blocked shots. Biyombo led (or tied) the Raptors in rebounding 32 times. He scored in double figures 17 times, including a career-high 16 points on Mar. 17 @ Indiana. Biyombo had nine double-doubles, recorded 10+ rebounds 23 times and pulled down 20+ rebounds twice, including a career-high and franchise-record 25 rebounds on Mar. 17 @ Indiana. He tied a career-high with seven blocked shots on Dec. 17 @ Charlotte.

During the 2016 NBA Playoffs, Biyombo appeared in all 20 games (10 starts), averaging 6.2 ppg., 9.4 rpg. and a team-high 1.35 blkpg. in 25.3 minpg., helping the Raptors reach the Eastern Conference Finals. He scored in double figures five times and had 10+ rebounds eight times during the postseason, including a franchise-playoff-record and career-playoff-high 26 rebounds in Game #3 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Cleveland on May 19.

Originally selected by Sacramento in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft, Biyombo has appeared in 366 career NBA regular season games (158 starts) with Charlotte and Toronto, averaging 4.6 ppg., 6.5 rpg. and 1.57 blkpg. in 21.2 minpg., while shooting .507 (630-1,242) from the floor. He has also played in 23 career NBA playoff contests (11 starts), averaging 5.7 ppg., 8.6 rpg. and 1.26 blkpg. in 24.1 minpg.

Raptors keeping DeMar DeRozan

Guard DeMar DeRozan averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game last season for the Raptors, and will extend his stay in Toronto alongside guard Kyle Lowry. Here’s the Toronto Star with more:

Raptors keeping DeMar DeRozan

Kevin Durant was never coming to Toronto. Well, that’s not entirely true. There was a brief flicker a few years ago when he very quietly signalled a willingness to keep the door open, just a crack. And then it closed.

In the end, there was no better option for the Raptors than DeMar DeRozan. If Durant wanted to come here, he would be here. They would send a private plane and give him anything he wanted. But this era’s premier scorer is entertaining offers in the Hamptons, king of whatever he deigns to survey.

DeRozan, however, has never gone away. The 26-year-old shooting guard has stayed a Raptor through the tough times, into the good times, and now he has signed the richest contract in Canadian sports history, thanks to the NBA’s summer of money. The Raptors met with DeRozan just after midnight eastern time in Los Angeles on July 1, their first opportunity, and he agreed to a five-year contract worth $137.5 million U.S. A full max deal — like those being handed out in this NBA as if they’re loot bags at a children’s party — would have run $153 million U.S.

Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting on the Raptors, who have decided that coach Dwane Casey is worth keeping around for the foreseeable future:

Giving Dwane Casey an extension was easy decision for Raptors

Masai Ujiri and Dwane Casey aren’t always in agreement, but if they were, it’s a good bet they wouldn’t have lasted so long together.

Ujiri, the Raptors’ president and general manager doesn’t want a yes-man as his head coach. Fortunately Casey is no yes-man.

The two paired up three years ago, Ujiri inheriting Casey from Bryan Colangelo of the previous regime.

He’s had a few chances to walk away from Casey but each and every time he has stayed with him.

The latest is a (finally) confirmed three-year deal that will pay Casey a well-earned $18 million over the length of the contract.

Ujiri made this decision before the playoffs started telling the media Casey was his coach going forward, so the extended playoff run had nothing to do with this.

DeMarre Carroll day-to-day with wrist injury

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday tests taken following Wednesday’s game on forward DeMarre Carroll’s left wrist were negative. Carroll left Game 5 versus Miami in the third quarter with a left wrist contusion.

He will be treated symptomatically and is questionable for Game 6 on Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Carroll has averaged 9.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 31.5 minutes in 12 playoff games this season. In five games versus the Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinal, he has averaged 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 35.7 minutes in five contests.

The Toronto Raptors announced yesterday that center Jonas Valanciunas will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff series versus Miami with a sprained right ankle.

This is a huge blow to the squad. Jonas has been one of their best performers this postseason.

Valanciunas sustained the injury during the third quarter of Saturday’s Game 3 in Miami. He has averaged 15.0 points, shooting .550 (61-111) from the field, with 12.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 28.5 minutes in 10 playoff games this season. In the series versus the Heat, he has averaged 18.3 points on .649 (24-37) percent from the floor, 12.7 rebounds, 1.33 blocks and 33.7 minutes in three contests.

Raptors win Game 3 vs Heat

Kyle Lowry got his game back at the perfect time for the Toronto Raptors.

And the Miami Heat are in all kinds of trouble.

Shaking off epic playoff struggles, Lowry scored 33 points - including five straight to break a late tie - in a duel with Dwyane Wade to lift the Raptors to a 95-91 victory over the Heat on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Raptors lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is in Miami on Monday night.

“I felt like it was just a matter of time,” Lowry said.

He was a career 34 percent playoff shooter coming into Saturday, and was shooting 31 percent in these playoffs. But he connected on 11 of 19 shots, 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

– AP

The Raptors and Pacers are tied 2-2 in their first round NBA playoff series. Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan haven’t been at their best, to put it lightly. Looking at this as Glass Half Full, things can only get better — right? We’ll see. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

Kyle Lowry can tell you to the third decimal what he is shooting in the playoffs.

And even if he’s not happy about that particular number he is not at liberty to grouse about it or let it affect him.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not upset at how I’m playing,” Lowry said. “But I’ve got to be positive. At the end of the day my teammates bank on me to be positive and lead these guys, and that’s what I’m going to do no matter how I’m shooting the ball, I’ve got to make sure my teammates are positive and confident.”

And on that front he has been for the most part successful.

DeRozan and Lowry both know they need to shoot the ball better but getting frustrated over it is not something either will allow himself.

“No, not at all. I’m not frustrated,” DeRozan said Sunday following practice.

Basketball blog