Toronto Raptors sign forward Isaac Bonga

The Toronto Raptors have signed free agent forward Isaac Bonga.

Bonga, a native of Neuweid, Germany, has appeared in 128 games with the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards over the past three seasons. He holds career averages of 3.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 14.1 minutes. Bonga spent the 2020-21 campaign with Washington, averaging 2.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 40 games.

Bong was originally selected 39th overall by Philadelphia in the 2018 NBA Draft following two seasons with Skyliners Frankfurt in Germany.

Toronto Raptors sign Sam Dekker

The Toronto Raptors have signed free agent forward Sam Dekker.

Dekker, a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was selected 18th overall by Houston in the 2015 NBA Draft and played four seasons with the Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards. He holds career averages of 5.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 15.1 minutes in 200 NBA appearances. Dekker has spent the past two seasons overseas, playing in Russia for PBC Lokomotiv Kuban in the VTB United League and most recently Turk Telekom in the Turkish Super League.

Dekker played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin for three seasons, where he heled the Badgers reach the NCAA Tournament championship game in 2015.

Raptors sign Ishmail Wainright and Justin Champagnie

The Toronto Raptors yesterday signed free agent forwards Ishmail Wainright to a multi-year contract and Justin Champagnie (Sham-Penny) to a two-way contract.

Wainwright, 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, played two seasons in Germany (2018-20) before joining Strasbourg (France) last season where he averaged 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 27.9 minutes in 50 games. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Wainwright played four collegiate seasons at Baylor (2013-17) earning Big-12 All-Defensive Team honours as a senior.

Champagnie, 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, posted averages of 18.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 34.4 minutes in 20 games as a sophomore at Pittsburgh last season. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in rebounding and was the first Pitt player to average at least 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds since Billy Knight in 1973-74. A Brooklyn native, Champagnie was named to the All-ACC First Team and was an AP All-American Honourable Mention.

Toronto Raptors sign rookie Scottie Barnes

The Toronto Raptors announced Sunday they have signed guard-forward Scottie Barnes to a rookie scale contract. Barnes is under contract through the 2022-23 season, with two team option years to follow.

The Raptors selected Barnes fourth overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Barnes, 6-foot-9, 227 pounds, averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 24.7 minutes in 24 games as a freshman at Florida State last season. He was named ACC Freshman and Sixth Man of the Year, earned All-ACC Third Team honours and was among the 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, Barnes scored a career-high 21 points in the ACC Tournament championship game against Georgia Tech.

Toronto Raptors sign-and-trade Kyle Lowry to Miami Heat

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have acquired guard Goran Dragic and forward Precious Achiuwa from the Miami Heat as part of a sign-and-trade for six-time All-Star guard Kyle Lowry.

“Kyle Lowry is a great leader and an exceptional defender,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “As a point guard, he will bring important skills to run the offense, score the ball and defend with the very best.”

Lowry is Toronto’s all-time leader in assists (4,277), steals (873), three-pointers made (1,518) and triple-doubles (16). He is one of two players (along with DeMar DeRozan) to represent the Raptors in nine different seasons, accumulating 365 regular season wins and 44 playoff victories to make him the winningest player in franchise history. Lowry averaged 17.5 points, 7.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 34.6 minutes, while shooting .425 from the field (3,376-7,944) and .377 from three-point range (1,518-4,031) in 601 regular season contests.

Lowry was acquired July 11, 2012 from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Gary Forbes and a first-round draft pick. During his second season (2013-14) Lowry played a key role in leading the Raptors to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. This sparked a streak of seven consecutive playoff appearances (2014-20), six Atlantic Division titles, five 50-win seasons, two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and the Raptors’ first NBA championship title in 2019. In the series-clinching victory June 13, 2019 at Golden State, Lowry scored Toronto’s first 11 points of the game and finished with a team-high 26 points.

Lowry had a personal streak of six consecutive NBA All-Star selections (2015-20) during this period, including being voted in as a starter twice (2015 and 2016). He earned third team All-NBA honours during the 2015-16 campaign after averaging 21.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and leading Toronto to a then franchise-record 56 wins.

Dragic, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds is a 13-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 13.9 points, 4.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 67 regular-season games with Phoenix, Houston and Miami. He averaged a career-best 20.3 points and 5.9 assists during the 2013-14 season with Phoenix and was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Dragic also earned third-team All-NBA honors for the 2013-14 campaign. In 2016-17 with Miami he averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists and was named to the 2018 Eastern Conference All-Star Team.

Achiuwa, 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, was picked 20th overall by Miami in the 2020 NBA Draft. He averaged 5.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 12.1 minutes in 61 games (four starts) during his rookie season. Achiuwa scored a season-high 23 points in the regular-season finale May 16 at Detroit and recorded three double-doubles.

A native of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Achiuwa played one season at the University of Memphis, where he averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds (led AAC) and 30.4 minutes in 31 contests. For his efforts, he was named American Athletic Conference Player and Freshman (AAC) of the Year.

Raptors re-sign center Khem Birch

The Toronto Raptors have re-signed center Khem Birch to a multi-year contract.

Birch, 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, averaged career highs of 7.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 22.8 minutes in 67 games (22 starts) with Toronto and Orlando last season. He shot .497 (189-380) from the field and scored in double figures 18 times, which included six double-doubles.

A native of Montreal, Quebec, Birch joined the Raptors as a free agent April 10, and averaged 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 19 games. He is averaging 5.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 17.7 minutes in 207 career games (47 starts) during four seasons with Orlando and Toronto. After going undrafted in 2014, Birch played with Sioux Falls of the NBA G League (2014-15) and overseas in Turkey (2015-16) and Greece (2016-17) prior to signing with the Magic as a free agent in the summer of 2017.

Birch played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh (2011-12) and UNLV (2012-14) where he was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year back-to-back seasons. On the international stage, Birch represented Canada at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. He was also a member of Canada’s U-18 National Team that captured a bronze medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship.

Masai Ujiri gets multi-year contract as Toronto Raptors vice-chairman and team president

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday that they have signed Masai Ujiri to a multi-year contract as Toronto Raptors vice-chairman and team president. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

“Great sportsmen impact their games. Great leaders impact their communities. Masai Ujiri does both, and we’re very pleased he is returning to the Raptors as vice-chairman and president,” Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum said. “Masai and MLSE share the goals of bringing another NBA Championship to Toronto, and off the court, working towards making our city, country and world a better place. These are exciting times, and we look forward to all that comes next for our team, for Masai and for his family. Masai, we’re glad you’re staying home.”

Ujiri has led the Raptors since 2013. During his tenure, the Raptors have moved into their state-of-the-art practice facility at OVO Athletic Centre, hosted an NBA All-Star Game, formed Raptors 905, their G League franchise, and in 2019 won the NBA Championship, the first team outside the United States to accomplish the feat.

“On the court, our goal is clear: to bring another championship to Toronto. Our team is united in that mission. Nothing else will do. We will bring young talent to this city. We will value the veteran players who got us here,” Ujiri said. “I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: We will win in Toronto.”

Ujiri’s commitment to his work off the court remains unwavering. He continues as president of Giants of Africa, the non-profit he co-founded in 2003, which urges youth to Dream Big and uses sports as a tool for advancement. This summer, he will travel to Africa to unveil new GOA-funded sports infrastructures, so youth there will have access to quality facilities.

In addition to his work with GOA, Ujiri intends to take on new challenges, including advocating for equality and fair treatment for marginalized people in the justice system, and focusing on the issue of child soldiers and peace. In 2020, Masai launched, inspired by his experiences and the lessons learned from leaders like Nelson Mandela. His non-profit interests will be represented by WME.

“To be able to stand with Larry Tanenbaum and the MLSE board as we confront these challenges is huge,” Ujiri said. “To share a vision of what we believe can be possible, and understand the work we have to do to get there, is a huge reason I’m so glad to be back in Toronto. I am very grateful for their confidence and their support.”

Ujiri grew up in Zaria, Nigeria. He played college basketball in the United States, and began his career in professional sports as a scout. Ujiri was appointed general manager of the Denver Nuggets in 2011, becoming the first African GM in pro sports, and won the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year award. In Toronto, he has also served as director of global scouting and assistant general manager.

Toronto Raptors waive Rodney Hood, DeAndre’ Bembry and Paul Watson

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that they have waived guard DeAndre’ Bembry, forward Rodney Hood and forward Paul Watson.

Bembry appeared in 51 games for the Raptors during the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 5.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 19.1 minutes. He originally signed as a free agent Nov. 29, 2020.

Hood averaged 3.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 12.7 minutes during 17 games for Toronto in 2020-21. He was acquired Mar. 25, 2021 along with Gary Trent Jr. from Portland in exchange for Norman Powell.

Watson averaged 4.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in 25 games for Toronto over the past two seasons. He joined the Raptors on two-way contract in Jan. 15, 2020 and signed a full NBA contract Dec. 19, 2021.

Toronto Raptors hire Trevor Gleeson, Nathaniel Mitchell and Earl Watson as assistant coaches

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday that Trevor Gleeson, Nathaniel Mitchell and Earl Watson have been added to Head Coach Nick Nurse’s staff as assistant coaches. Eric Khoury will return to the team as an assistant coach after two seasons with Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate.

Lead assistant Adrian Griffin will return to the Toronto bench for a fourth season, along with assistant coaches John Corbacio, Jon Goodwillie, Jim Sann, and player development consultant Jamaal Magloire.

“This staff brings different coaching backgrounds to our team, and I think that’s really important. There’s a diversity of thought, there’s a bunch of varying opinions, and that leads to creativity on the court and off,” Nurse said. “I think that’s going to serve the Raptors really well and we’re looking forward to getting out on the court together with our team.”

Gleeson joins the Raptors following eight successful seasons (2013-21) as head coach of the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) where he accumulated a record of 171-98 (.636). Gleeson captured five NBL championships with the Wildcats (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020) and was named the NBL 2021 Coach of the Year.

A native of Warrnambool, Victoria, Gleeson received his first coaching opportunity in the NBL as a development coach with the Brisbane Bullets (1997-2000). He had coaching stints in the Continental Basketball Association (2000-04) and South Korea (2004-06) before returning to Australia with the Townsville Crocodiles (2006-11) and Melbourne Tigers (2011-12). Gleeson led the Crocodiles to consecutive semi-final appearances and for his efforts was named the 2011 NBL Coach of the Year.

On the international stage, Gleeson has served as an assistant with the Australia Boomers (2014-16) and was part of the 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics.

Mitchell spent the last three seasons (2018-21) as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets. Prior to joining the Hornets, he was an assistant in the NBA G League with Raptors 905 (2015-18) and the Maine Red Claws (2014-15). Mitchell began his coaching career as graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team at Fresno State (2013-14). A native of Toronto, Mitchell has been part of Canada’s senior men’s national team staff since 2016.

Watson enjoyed a 13-year (2001-2014) NBA playing career with Seattle/Oklahoma City, Memphis, Denver, Indiana, Utah and Portland. He was chosen 40th overall by the SuperSonics in the 2001 NBA Draft.

A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Watson began his coaching career as an assistant with the Austin Spurs (2014-15) in the NBA G League. He served as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns the following season before being named interim head coach midway through the 2016-17 campaign. The Suns retained Watson as their head coach at the end of the year where he led Phoenix for parts of three seasons before being relieved of his duties early into the 2017-18 season.

Watson graduated from UCLA in 2019 with a degree in history, and was named Alumni of the Year by the UCLA Latino Alumni Association. He founded the Earl Watson Elite AAU program – now West Coast Elite – and co-founded the Earl Watson Early Childhood Centre in his hometown of Kansas City. He worked as a broadcaster with NBA TV and the Pac-12 Networks from 2017 to 2021.