Archive for the ‘ Toronto Raptors Blog ’ Category

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.

The Toronto Raptors’ Norman Powell and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Powell helped the Raptors to a 6-2 record behind averages of 15.3 points (tops in the Eastern Conference), 4.4 rebounds (seventh), 2.5 assists (tied-fifth) and 1.4 steals (third). He scored in double figures in six of eight games and shot 54.8 percent from the field. In Toronto’s regular-season finale, Powell scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting (including 5-of-6 from three-point range) and added nine rebounds and five assists during the Raptors’ 103-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Towns becomes the first player to sweep a season of Kia NBA Rookie of the Month awards since the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard in 2012-13. In April, Towns helped the Timberwolves to a 4-3 mark as he led all rookies in scoring (18.9 ppg), rebounding ( 11.7 rpg), blocks (1.7 bpg) and minutes (35.6 mpg). Towns capped his first NBA season with his 51st double-double (third most in the NBA) when he tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds during Minnesota’s 144-109 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on April 13.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay, New York’s Jerian Grant, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Utah’s Trey Lyles.

Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting on Raptors small forward DeMarre Carroll, who missed much of this season due to injury but is back in action and feels he’s ready for an increased role on the playoff-bound squad:

DeMarre Carroll feels he is ready for more minutes

He made his return in Atlanta last Thursday, was sat the next night at home against Indiana to avoid playing on back to back nights, will likely play Tuesday in the regular season home finale against Philadelphia and then likely sit again with another back-to-back to finish the season on Wednesday in Brooklyn.

Carroll likes where he is at having played 15 minutes in Atlanta and 17 in New York. He believes he is moving well and believes he is ready to ramp up the action even more, although that is not his call.

“It’s up to the medical staff and coach and Masai (Ujiri), so we’ll see,” Carroll said Monday following practice. “I’m just playing my role and whenever they give me the OK …”

As for his own review of his play, Carroll has been pretty happy.

Small forward DeMarre Carroll was supposed to be a big part of the Toronto Raptors this season, but he has played just 22 games, averaging 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists on 39% shooting. Developing chemistry on a new team can take time, so those numbers likely would have improved as the season went along. But it isn’t clear if the team will learn more about this until next season. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

Unclear if DeMarre Carroll will play again this season

The elephant in the room, where the Raptors are concerned, is the status of DeMarre Carroll.

The prized free agent signing, who is also the team’s highest-paid player, appeared close to a return a few weeks ago when he was driving to the hoop against assistant coaches and launching three-pointers. The next step was clearance for contact. But then all went dark. Carroll’s been in Atlanta tending to some personal matters (he is due back this week), the team has kept tight-lipped, but every indication from talking to various people is there has been some sort of set-back and his return this season is very much in doubt. Quietly, the team has taken the belief that he will need more time, and only a deep playoff run would let him return this season.

One thing that appears to be clear is that the plantar fasciitis Carroll had earlier this year made him compensate a bit and that led to the knee trouble that required surgery.

Raptors going for win No. 50

After dropping consecutive games to the Celtics and Rockets, the Raptors got back in the win column on Saturday against the Pelicans. Toronto’s 49th victory tied the franchise record for wins in a season, set in 2014-15. The first crack at 50 comes tonight when the Raptors host the streaking Thunder, which has won seven straight, including Saturday’s 111-92 win over the Spurs. Toronto (49-23) trails Cleveland (52-21) by 2.5 games for the top spot in the East, and has a six-game lead over the Hawks (44-30) for third place. The Raptors are one road victory shy of matching the franchise record (22), set in 2013-14 and matched last season. They play five of their remaining 10 games on the road.

– NBA Broadcasters Bulletin

Raptors having excellent season

The Toronto Raptors (44-20) are closing in on the franchise’s first 50-win season and third consecutive trip to the playoffs. They are also within striking distance of the Cavaliers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Toronto trails Cleveland (47-18) by 2.5 games but owns the head-to-head tiebreaker after winning the season series 2-1. The Raptors have won nine of 11 and wrap up a seven-game homestand tonight against Chicago (7:30 p.m. ET) before playing 10 of 17 on the road to close the season. The Cavaliers have eight home and nine road contests remaining among their 17 games, beginning tonight at Utah (10:30 p.m., ESPN) in the finale of a four-game road trip.

Raptors sign Jason Thompson, release Anthony Bennett

The Toronto Raptors have signed NBA veteran power forward Jason Thompson.

To make room on the roster the Raptors released forward Anthony Bennett. Bennett appeared in 19 games, totaling 28 points, 23 rebounds and 84 minutes.

Thompson, 6-foot-11, 250 pounds, is in his eighth season. He has appeared in 569 career regular season games, averaging 9.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 25.5 minutes.

“We are pleased to add a player like Jason who has logged quality minutes in more than 500 career games,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri.

A first-round selection (12th overall) by Sacramento in 2008, Thompson spent seven seasons with the Kings before joining Golden State this season. His best statistical campaign came in 2009-10 when he averaged 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 31.4 minutes.

“We thank Anthony for his professionalism and for his service to our team and community,” said Ujiri. “We know he’s on his way to becoming an excellent NBA player but as we approach the end of the season Jason will provide us with a veteran presence that we need.”

Kyle Lowry scores 43 points vs Cavs

Friday night in Toronto, the Raptors beat the Cavaliers 99-97. Awesome in the win was Raptors guard Kyle Lowry: 15-of-20 shooting for 43 points, five rebounds, nine assists and four steals, plus the game-winning shot. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Kyle Lowry scores 43 points vs Cavs

Lowry’s jumper with 3.8 seconds left over an outstretched Matthew Dellavedova gave the Raptors a 99-97 victory over the Cavaliers on Friday night, shaving the Cavs’ lead for the top seed in the conference to just two games and more importantly giving the Raptors the tiebreaker.

The Raptors won the season series 2-1.

The Cavs gave away leads of 12 and 14 points and lost for the second time in their last three games despite LeBron James playing the entire second half.
The Cavs had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but James’ 3-pointer missed everything.

Kevin Love’s initial inbounds pass was batted back toward him by Bismack Biyombo. Love narrowly got out of the way of the ball touching him, which would’ve given possession back to the Raptors. The Cavs were awarded the ball again after a lengthy review and Love quickly inbounded to James, who is shooting under 28 percent from 3-point range this season. James shot an airball from the top of the perimeter, which deftly summed up the Cavs’ evening.

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