Archive for the ‘ Toronto Raptors Blog ’ Category

The Raptors 905 G League team issued the following statement today:

On Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, Raptors 905 guard Kay Felder was charged by police in connection with an allegation of domestic violence.

Raptors 905 have waived Felder, effective immediately.

As this matter is before the courts, Raptors 905 will not comment further.

Norman Powell out with shoulder injury

Toronto Raptors guard/forward Norman Powell will be out indefinitely due to a subluxation of the left shoulder.

The injury occurred in the second quarter of Monday night’s win against the Jazz in Utah. Powell is averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 14.9 minutes in 11 games (two starts) this season.

There is no timetable for Powell’s return to basketball activity. His status will be updated as appropriate.

Raptors exercise contract options on Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby

The Toronto Raptors have exercised the fourth-year team option on the rookie scale contract of forward Pascal Siakam and the third-year team option on the rookie scale contract of forward OG Anunoby.

The contracts for Anunoby and Siakam are now guaranteed through the 2019-20 season.

In accordance with the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Raptors had until Oct. 31, 2018 to exercise their option on both players.

Siakam, 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, is averaging 10.9 points 7.0 rebounds and 26.0 minutes in eight games (seven starts) this season. He set career highs with 22 points Oct. 29 at Milwaukee, and 15 rebounds Oct. 30 vs. Philadelphia.

Siakam was picked by Toronto 27th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. He has averaged 6.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 19.1 minutes in 144 games (50 starts) with the Raptors.

Anunoby, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, was selected by the Raptors with the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He has averaged 7.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 24.2 minutes in five games this season.

Anunoby averaged 5.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 20.0 minutes in 74 games (62 starts) last season. He ranked seventh among rookies in field goal percentage (.471) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.371). Anunoby scored in double figures 10 times with two 20-point performances.

Eyes around the league will be on the Raptors as the new season begins, partially because they’re a good team but primarily to see how Kawhi Leonard looks wearing his new uniform. And how he plays in that uniform. Mostly how he plays. Here’s the Toronto Star discussing the talk of the town up North:

If one was to lock a group of mad basketball scientists in a room and tell them to design the kind of player they’d want for the current NBA era, it’s not hard to figure what they would eventually come up with.

They’d want someone “long” to use one of the euphemisms of the day, lanky with arms that hang down around the knees, a 6-foot-7 frame that’s at the same time muscular and lithe.

They’d want someone capable of defending multiple positions and playing them on offence, a wing who could check some bigs, a big who could score against slower players and physically dominate smaller ones. Someone who can shoot three-pointers and attack the basket because multi-faceted is the way the game is going.

They’d want someone who can be considered low maintenance, someone “coachable” who can be plugged into a system and thrive.

It wouldn’t take long for those great minds to come up with what they want and they’d emerge unscathed and with a player in mind.

A player like Kawhi Leonard.

Full article

Raptors convert Chris Boucher contract into a two-way contract

The Toronto Raptors have exercised the two-way player conversion option on forward Chris Boucher.

What this means is Boucher will spend the majority of the season playing in the G League.

Boucher totaled nine points, two rebounds, four blocks and 19 minutes in four games during the preseason. He shot .429 (3-for-7) from three-point range.

Boucher, 6-foot-10, 200 pounds, spent last season with Golden State as a two-way player. He appeared in one game with the Warriors and averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 22.2 minutes in 20 contests with Santa Cruz, their NBA G League affiliate.

Boucher, who grew up in Montreal, played collegiately at Oregon (2015-17) and was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and was a Pac-12 All-Conference Honourable Mention as both a junior and senior.

The Raptors open the 2018-19 regular season Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:30 p.m.

Raptors waive Kyle Collinsworth, Kay Felder, Deng Adel and Eric Moreland

The Toronto Raptors have waived guards Kyle Collinsworth and Kay Felder, forward Deng Adel and centrer Eric Moreland.

Adel averaged 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 12.3 minutes in two preseason games. He recorded 13 points and three rebounds Oct. 5 against Melbourne United.

Collinsworth saw action in four preseason games with one start, totaling three points, four rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes.

Felder averaged 7.7 points, 2.0 assists and 13.8 minutes in three preseason contests. He finished with 15 points and a team high-tying six assists Oct. 11 at New Orleans.

Moreland appeared in three preseason games, averaging 4.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 13.6 minutes. He had 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds Oct. 11 at New Orleans.

The Raptors open the 2018-19 regular season Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:30 p.m.

On the Raptors lineup

DeMar DeRozan is out, Kawhi Leonard is in. That’s the big Raptors news that dominated the offseason and will be the main thought in mind when watching the team this season. And while Leonard and guard Kyle Lowry are sure to start, some lineup questions do exist. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting from today’s Raptors open practice:

The team’s annual open practice was highlighted by a fast-paced scrimmage that gave head coach Nick Nurse another look at potential lineups.

While all-stars Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard stayed together on one squad all morning, others like Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, Danny Green, Fred VanVleet and C.J. Miles alternated as the scrimmage went on.

It is still unclear what the starting group will look like and OG Anunoby, potentially the starting power forward, has been absent to deal with a family matter. Anunoby is now back with the team and will travel to Montreal for the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.

Business as usual, says Kyle Lowry

For a long time, the Raptors were Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and company. Now they’re Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and company. How does Lowry feel about the change? Here’s the Toronto Star from Raptors media day:

[Lowry] was hurt by the trade which sent DeRozan packing last July in return for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. But in his first public utterances about it Monday, the 32-year-old said he’ll simply do what he does.

“You know how it is, I come to work, no matter what,” Lowry said at the team’s annual media day at the Scotiabank Arena. “This is a business. I understand the business. I’ve been traded before, I’ve had a point guard drafted (supposedly to take his job) on draft night. It’s a business. I’ve always understood that.

“We come in here, come to work, and understand that’s what it is. Me, I have to come in and be in the best shape I can be, the best player I can be, the best individual talent I can be to help my teammates and to help our team win a championship.” …

That Lowry didn’t speak on the DeRozan trade until Monday isn’t surprising — he never does a lot of summer time media in any circumstances, and as long as he performs when practices and games arrive, what else matters?

Full article

Raptors sign Eric Moreland

The Toronto Raptors have signed center Eric Moreland.

Moreland, 6-foot-10, 238 pounds, owns career averages of 2.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 11.0 minutes in 78 NBA games with Sacramento and Detroit. He is shooting .543 (70-129) from the field and has scored in double digits three times.

A native of Houston, Texas, Moreland averaged 2.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 12.0 minutes in 67 contests (three starts) with the Pistons last season. He recorded career highs of 16 points and 17 rebounds in 41 minutes Apr. 11 at Chicago.

Moreland played four collegiate seasons at Oregon State (2010-14). He averaged 7.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 25.0 minutes in 89 career games. Moreland left as the school’s all-time leader in total blocks (184) and ranked fifth in total rebounds (762).

The latest on Kawhi Leonard

Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting on new Raptors addition Kawhi Leonard, whose health is of interest not just to Toronto but to the entire NBA world:

Leonard, a former NBA Finals MVP and two-time defensive player of the year, was only able to suit up for nine games in his final season in Texas, but by all accounts has looked superb in summer workouts.

Ujiri would not commit to Leonard being ready to go full steam ahead by the time training camp opens in just over a week, but he sounded encouraged.

“Everything you hear (about his workouts) is unbelievable. He’s very well, no verdict has been made, but he’s ramping it up,” Ujiri told Wojnarowski, adding that Leonard’s status will depend on both what he and the medical staff say.

Full article

Raptors sign Kay Felder

The Toronto Raptors signed guard Kay Felder today.

Felder, 5-foot-9, 176 pounds, averaged 3.6 points, 1.3 assists and 8.8 minutes in 16 games with Chicago and Detroit last season. He also appeared in 20 games with Grand Rapids in the NBA G League, posting averages of 16.8 points, 5.8 assists and 30.1 minutes.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Felder owns career averages of 3.8 points, 1.3 assists and 9.1 minutes in 58 NBA games with Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit. He was picked in the second-round (54th overall) by Atlanta in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Felder played three collegiate seasons at Oakland (2013-16) where he averaged 17.5 points, 7.8 assists and 35.9 minutes in 101 appearances. As a junior, Felder led the NCAA in assists per game (9.2) and was named Horizon League Player of the Year. He left the Golden Grizzlies as the Horizon League’s all-time leader with 788 career assists.

Raptors sign center Greg Monroe

Raptors sign center Greg Monroe

The Toronto Raptors’ signing of center Greg Monroe became official today.

Per multiple reports, it’s just a one-year deal.

“Greg is a proven big man in this league,” said Raptors General Manager Bobby Webster. “We believe Greg’s experience will be a great addition to not only our frontcourt, but to our team culture as we continue to build towards our goal of an NBA championship.”

Monroe is capable of delivering some instant offense, but isn’t known for his defense. He will likely play backup to starting center Jonas Valanciunas, and perhaps play some limited minutes as a backup to power forward Serge Ibaka.

Standing 6-foot-11, 265 pounds, Monroe averaged 10.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 20.4 minutes in 51 games (14 starts) with Milwaukee, Phoenix and Boston last season. He shot .565 (218-386) from the field and recorded nine double-doubles. Monroe appeared in 11 postseason games with the Celtics, averaging 4.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 9.5 minutes.

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Monroe owns career averages of 13.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 28.9 minutes in 589 NBA games (415 starts) with Detroit, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Boston. He has averaged at least 10.0 points in each of the last seven seasons.

Monroe was originally selected by the Pistons with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He played collegiately at Georgetown, posting averages of 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 32.6 minutes in 65 career games (2008-10). Monroe was named First Team All-Big East as a sophomore and selected Big East Rookie of the Year his freshman season.

The big Raptors story of the summer was their trade of DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. And one of the biggest stories entering the season will be if Leonard is healthy and if he’s as effective as he was prior to injury.

Raptors sign Jordan Loyd to two-way contract

The Toronto Raptors today signed guard Jordan Loyd to a two-way contract.

Loyd, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, averaged 17.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 33.3 minutes in 38 games last season with Hapoel Eilat in Israel. He shot .482 (219-454) from the field and .399 (75-188) from three-point range.

Loyd spent the 2016-17 season with Fort Wayne of the NBA G League. He averaged 15.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 28.4 minutes in 49 games. Loyd was picked 48th overall by the Mad Ants in the 2016 NBA G League Draft.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Loyd played three seasons at Indianapolis (2013-16) after transferring from Furman (2012-13). He was selected to the All-GLVC First Team and All-GLVC Defensive Team as a senior with the Greyhounds.

Loyd recently participated with the Raptors’ entry at NBA Summer League 2018 in Las Vegas, averaging of 8.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 17.3 minutes in four games.

Raptors hire Adrian Griffin, Phil Handy, Sergio Scariolo and Nate Bjorkgren as assistant coaches

The Toronto Raptors have hired Adrian Griffin, Sergio Scariolo, Nate Bjorkgren and Phil Handy as assistant coaches. The group will join Patrick Mutumbo, Jim Sann and Eric Khoury to form head coach Nick Nurse’s staff for the 2018-19 season.

“Adrian, Sergio, Nate and Phil each bring something different to our staff and our team. They have a blend of experiences that will give our team a unique perspective,” Nurse said. “We’ve already had substantive conversations about where Raptors basketball is and where we intend to go, and we can’t wait to get to work in earnest.”

The big Raptors change this offseason was the recent trade of DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. It is presumed that Leonard actually will play for the Raptors, but speculation looms that there’s a chance he could be traded again before the start of the 2018-19 regular season. But for now, Leonard is a Raptor. He joins guard Kyle Lowry as the team’s main stars, with a supporting cast that includes center Jonas Valanciunas, power forward Serge Ibaka and shooting guard Danny Green, who was part of that same Spurs-Raptors trade.

As for the team’s new assistant coaches, Griffin joins the Raptors following two seasons as an assistant coach with Oklahoma City (2016-18). In addition to the Thunder, Griffin has previous assistant coaching stints with Orlando (2015-16), Chicago (2010-15) and Milwaukee (2008-10). He began his coaching career as assistant coach/player development with the Bucks. During the summer of 2014, Griffin also worked with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team that captured the gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Griffin played nine NBA seasons with Boston, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Seattle. He averaged 4.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 16.8 minutes in 477 regular-season appearances. Griffin also played in 48 playoff games and was part of the 2006 Dallas team that reached the NBA Finals. Prior to the NBA, Griffin played for the Atlantic City Seagulls (USBL), Connecticut Pride (CBA), Roseto (Italy) and Long Island Surf (USBL). In 1998-99, he was named CBA Most Valuable Player and Finals MVP while leading Connecticut to the championship. Griffin played collegiately for four seasons at Seton Hall (1992-94) and was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

Scariolo joins the Raptors following a successful coaching career in Europe that spans 20 years. Since 2009, he has led the Spanish National Team as head coach and guided the program to a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio. Spain has also won the FIBA Eurobasket tournament three times (2009, 2011 and 2015) under his watch.

A native of Brescia, Italy, Scariolo got his first head coaching job in 1989 with Vuelle Pesaro and led the club to the 1990 Italian League championship. He was also named Italian League Coach of the Year in 1994 with Fortitudo Bologna. In 1997, Scariolo moved to Spain and led Tau Ceramica to the 1999 Spanish Cup before joining Real Madrid later that year. He went on to claim the Spanish Cup and the Spanish League title during his first season at Real Madrid and was named Spanish League AEEB Coach of the Year in 2000. In 2003, Scariolo joined Unicaja and led the club to the 2005 Spanish Cup, 2006 Spanish League title and an appearance in the 2007 EuroLeague Final Four. Scariolo has also coached Khimki Moscow (2008-10), Olimpia Milano (2011-13) and Saski Baskonia (2013-14).

Bjorkgren joined the Raptors as an advance scout during the 2017-18 season following two seasons as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns (2015-17). Prior to joining the Suns, he had a successful tenure as a head coach in the NBA G League, amassing a 126-74 (.630) record in four seasons with the Bakersfield Jam (2014-15), Iowa Energy (2013-14), Santa Cruz Warriors (2012-13) and Dakota Wizards (2011-12). Bjorkgren was as an assistant coach on Nurse’s staff in Iowa from 2007-11, helping the Energy win the 2010-11 NBA G League Championship.

A native of Storm Lake, Iowa, Bjorkgren played collegiately at Buena Vista University and the University of South Dakota. At Buena Vista, he led the Beavers to their first conference title in 21 years in 1997

Handy joins the Raptors following five seasons (2013-18) with the Cleveland Cavaliers as director, player development/assistant coach, and two seasons (2011-13) as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.

A native of San Leandro, California, Handy has strong ties to the Bay Area where he spent five years (2006-11) coaching young talent with the AAU Club Team 94 and training NBA players during the off-season. He ran his own basketball training business for over 13 years, working with top level talent in the from NBA, Europe and the collegiate ranks.

Handy was a standout at the University of Hawaii, earning WAC All-Defensive Player of the Year and All-Newcomer honours. He had two NBA stints as a player with Golden State and Portland.

His professional playing career also included stops in Israel, France, England, Germany, Italy and Australia.

The Toronto Raptors have re-signed guard Lorenzo Brown and have signed forward Chris Boucher.

Brown, 6-foot-5, 189 pounds, signed a two-way contract with the Raptors last July. He was named the 2017-18 NBA G League Most Valuable Player, averaging team highs of 18.8 points, 8.9 assists, 1.8 steals and 33.2 minutes in 32 games (all starts) for Raptors 905. He also played in 14 games with the Raptors, averaging 2.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 9.9 minutes.

A native of Roswell, Georgia, Brown is averaging 3.1 points, 2.0 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 12.6 minutes in 77 career NBA games with Philadelphia (2013-14), Minnesota (2014-15), Phoenix (2015-16) and Toronto. He was selected 52nd overall by the Timberwolves in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Brown played three seasons at North Carolina State (2010-13) and was named Second Team All-ACC his junior year.

Boucher, 6-foot-10, 200 pounds, recently participated with the Raptors’ entry in NBA Summer League 2018 in Las Vegas, averaging 10.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 20.8 minutes in four games. He shot .500 (15-for-30) from the field and .364 (4-11) from three-point range.

Boucher spent last season with the Golden State Warriors after signing a two-way contract with the club. He appeared in one game with the Warriors and averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 22.2 minutes in 20 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors, their NBA G League affiliate.

Boucher, who grew up in Montreal, Quebec, played collegiately at Oregon (2015-2017) and was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and was a Pac-12 All-Conference Honourable Mention as both a junior and senior.

The San Antonio Spurs have obtained guard DeMar DeRozan, center Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick from the Toronto Raptors in a trade for forward Kawhi Leonard and guard Danny Green.

DeRozan was named to the 2018 All-NBA Second Team after averaging 23.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 33.9 minutes in 80 games last season with Toronto. The 6-7, 220-pound guard shot .456 (645-1,413) from the field, .310 (89-287) from three-point range and .825 (461-559) from the free throw line. A four-time All-Star, DeRozan holds career averages of 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 675 games over nine NBA seasons. He earned All-NBA Third Team honors following the 2016-17 season when he ranked fifth in the league in scoring, averaging a career-best 27.3 points.

The ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, DeRozan is one of 10 players in the league to average 20-or-more points in each of the last five seasons and has been named to three straight NBA All-Star teams. A gold medalist on the 2016 USA Olympic Team, he has earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors nine times and has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month three times (April 2015, January 2016 and January 2018).

Appearing in all 82 games, Poeltl averaged 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.22 blocks in 18.6 minutes for Toronto during the 2017-18 season. Selected by the Raptors with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the 7-0, 230-pound center has appeared in 136 games in his two-year NBA career, averaging 5.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.8 minutes. Poeltl holds a career field goal percentage of .641 (320-499), which ranks fifth in the NBA among all players with at least 300 field goals made in the last two seasons.

Poeltl is both the first Austrian to be selected in the NBA Draft and to appear in an NBA game. He played two seasons at the University of Utah, earning All-American second team honors as a sophomore during the 2015-16 season. Poeltl was also named the 2016 Pac-10 Player of the Year and won the 2016 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award as the top center in college basketball.

Leonard is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016) and twice was named First Team All-NBA (2016, 2017).

Leonard joins the Raptors after spending his entire seven-year NBA career with San Antonio and helped the Spurs win the 2014 NBA Championship. He holds career averages of 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and a .386 three-point shooting percentage (529-1370) in 407 career games. The Los Angeles native averaged a career-best 25.5 points in 74 games during the 2016-17 season and was third in NBA Most Valuable Player voting. In 87 career playoff games, Leonard averaged 16.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and is shooting .427 from beyond the arc (125-293). He was named the MVP of the 2014 NBA Finals after averaging 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot .579 (11-for-19) in five games against Miami.

Green spent the last eight seasons with San Antonio, averaging 9.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists in 25.8 minutes per game. In 520 games with the Spurs, Green posted a .396 (959-2421) average from three-point range and was a key contributor to the team’s 2014 NBA Championship title. A native of New York, Green played 70 games (60 starts) for the Spurs last season averaging 8.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25.6 minutes. He was named to the NBA All Defensive Second Team during the 2016-17 campaign.

Raptors re-sign Fred VanVleet

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

The deal is reportedly a two-year, $18 million contract.

“We all know Fred’s personal motto is ‘Bet on Yourself.’ We know that Fred is no gamble – he’s hardworking, dedicated, and smart, and has been fantastic for us,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “We’re thrilled he’ll be a big part of the Toronto Raptors for seasons to come.”

VanVleet was a finalist for the 2018 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award after a season which saw him average a career-high 20.0 minutes, 8.6 points and 3.2 assists in 76 games.

He was a key contributor to the success of the Raptors’ reserve unit that ranked first in NBA scoring (44.3) after Jan. 1. VanVleet ranked first overall on the team with a .414 three-point shooting percentage and was 12th among reserves in the NBA with 108 three-pointers made. He scored a career-best 25 points on Jan. 28 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, beginning a streak of nine consecutive games in double-figure scoring. He averaged 12.8 points during this stretch. In all, VanVleet has appeared in 113 regular-season games over two seasons with Toronto, averaging 6.8 points, 2.5 assists and shooting .410 (119-for-290) from three-point range.

A native of Rockford, Illinois, VanVleet joined the Raptors as an undrafted free agent in 2016 following a four-year collegiate career at Wichita State University. He appeared in 37 games during his rookie season, averaging 2.9 points and 0.9 assists. VanVleet also appeared in 16 NBA G League games with Raptors 905, averaging 16.9 points, 7.6 assists and shot .407 (22-for-54) from long distance. In a decisive Game 3 of the NBA G League Finals, VanVleet recorded a double-double (28 points and 14 assists) to help Raptors 905 claim its first championship title.

Jama Mahlalela has been named head coach of Raptors 905, who are the Toronto Raptors’ G League affiliate. Mahlalela becomes the third head coach in team history and joins the club following five seasons as an assistant coach at the NBA level.

“We are very excited to add Jama as our new head coach,” said Raptors 905 General Manager, Dan Tolzman. “After proving himself as an assistant on the Raptors staff, having an opportunity to run his own team is a major step in his development as a coach. Jama has played a big part in developing our young Raptors core, and we look forward to him continuing to do so from the Raptors 905 sideline. He is an example of what homegrown talent can achieve in this growing global game.”

A native of Mbabane, Swaziland, Mahlalela grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and played collegiately for five years at the University of British Columbia. He served as an assistant coach at the University of Toronto and worked at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as a member of the community development staff, organizing Raptors Basketball Academy and various clinics throughout Canada. Mahlalela was later named director of basketball operations for NBA Asia and oversaw the League’s clinics, youth programs and elite-level development from his base in Hong Kong.

In 2011 Mahlalela joined the Raptors front office as director of player development, where he served for two seasons. He moved to the bench in 2013-14 helping with the team’s practice and game planning, individual player skill development and off-season programs. During the summers Mahlalela has been an active member in Masai Ujiri’s Giants of Africa camps and the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.

“I am excited and grateful for the wonderful opportunity to coach the Raptors 905 team,” said Mahlalela. “I am eager to share my passion for the development of this sport with our young players and hope to use my previous experience as a Raptors assistant coach to reinforce and strengthen the connection between the two programs. My family and I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster, Dan Tolzman, Larry Tanenbaum and the entire ownership group.”

Mahlalela takes over a Raptors 905 team that has appeared in the NBA G League Finals in back-to-back seasons. He will be a part of the Raptors coaching squad for the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League next month.

Raptors hire Nick Nurse as head coach

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have named Nick Nurse as the team’s new head coach.

Nurse becomes the ninth head coach in franchise history after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors along with successful coaching tenures in the NBA G League and overseas.

“Nick is an innovative coach who has a tremendous basketball IQ, and a unique approach to the x’s and o’s. We’ve valued his creativity and dedication as he focused on making our offense one of the best in the NBA, and we believe that he will bring those qualities to his new role as head coach,” team president Masai Ujiri said. “This is an exciting and important season for the Raptors, and I believe Nick’s strong leadership and focus on winning are qualities which will help lead us to our ultimate goal, which is a championship.”

Nurse, 50, joined the Raptors in 2013 and helped construct an offensive system that ranked among in the NBA’s top 10 in three of five seasons. During the 2017-18 campaign the Raptors set franchise records for points per game (111.7) and three-pointers made (968).

“I’m proud to take on the role of head coach of the Toronto Raptors, and to continue to work with the exceptional players we have here,” Nurse said. “I’m grateful to Masai, Bobby, Larry Tanenbaum and the MLSE ownership for this opportunity. Toronto and the Raptors organization has been my home for the past five years, and I’ve watched this group grow and succeed together. I’m looking forward to more of that this season, and to working towards our shared goal, which is to earn the right to call ourselves NBA Champions.”

Prior to joining the Raptors, Nurse spent six seasons in the NBA G League as head coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2011-13) and the Iowa Energy (2007-11). He compiled a regular-season record of 183-117 (.610), which ranks second all-time in NBA G League history for most victories. Nurse also has the most playoff victories in the league’s history with a 15-6 (.714) record. He is the only coach to lead two different teams to an NBA G League Championship.

During his final season with Rio Grande Valley, Nurse led the Vipers to a 35-15 record and the 2012-13 NBA G League title. Before joining the Vipers, Nurse led Iowa to the 2010-11 G League Championship and was the recipient of the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award.

Nurse, a native of Carroll, Iowa, played collegiately at Northern Iowa and stayed on as an assistant coach during the 1989-90 season. He travelled overseas to become player-coach of the Derby Storm in the British Basketball League (BLL) for one season before being named head coach at Grand View College in Iowa.

Following two seasons as an assistant coach at South Dakota, Nurse returned to Great Britain where he coached the Birmingham Bullets (1995-96), Manchester Giants (1998-2000), London Towers (2000-01) and Brighton Bears (2000-06). He won two BLL championships in 1996 and 2000, and was named Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2003. Nurse also earned six all-star head coach selections.

Nurse also gained coaching experience in Italy, Belgium, the USBL and served as an assistant coach for the British National Team during the 2012 Olympics in London.

Raptors fire coach Dwane Casey

Despite finishing this regular season with the most wins in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors, recently swept 4-0 in the second round of the 2018 NBA playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers, fired head coach Dwane Casey today.

“After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take. As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level,” said Raptors President Masai Ujiri. “We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that.”

According to the Canadian Press, “Casey was fired two days after winning the Michael H. Goldberg coach of the year award, which is handed out by the National Basketball Coaches Association. The Raptors’ historic season came after Ujiri called for a “culture reset” last off-season. Toronto revamped its offence to focus on three-point shooting and better ball movement, and focused on developing the bench, which became the envy of the league.”

Casey on June 21, 2011 became the eighth head coach in Raptors history. His record over seven seasons was 320-238 (.573), and those seasons include the only three 50-win seasons in franchise history. Under Casey, the Raptors won four Atlantic Division titles and advanced to the postseason in a franchise record five consecutive seasons. He was the longest-tenured coach in team history and is the franchise’s all-time winningest coach.

In 2017-2018, the Raptors won a franchise record 59 games and earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in team history.

Per the Toronto Sun, “Casey had defended himself on Wednesday amid speculation he would be ousted, saying he was “an easy target.” “I take it. I’m a big boy. I’ve been through it. I know where we started here, I know what we’ve accomplished, I know the basketball world how they feel about us and respect us and what we’re doing, so it’s part of the territory,” Casey said at the time.”

Fan reaction and discussion of this news is here.

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