In September the Raptors and rapper Drake agreed to a partnership in preparation for the Raptors 20th anniversary and the 2016 All-Star game. A product of that partnership was tonight’s game being labeled “Drake Night” featuring among other festivities, Drake announcing Toronto’s starting line up. Prior to the evening, Drake held a press conference in which he disclosed (Twitter Link) to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that he has weekly discussions with Raptors GM Masai Ujiri and CEO Tim Leiweke. Whether Drake is the one advising the Raptors to “start from the bottom” and draft Andrew Wiggins next summer is still to be seen.
- Speaking of Raptors transactions, Sean Highkin of USA Today describes how Toronto has changed for the better since the Rudy Gay trade. Additionally, Highkin points out the Raptors aren’t the only one doing better as Gay himself has improved since joining the Kings.
- Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times examined the contract situations for the impact players on the Sixers to preview what next year’s lineup could look like. Moore is of the belief that the current roster, two lottery picks, and $30MM in available free agency money isn’t enough to solve the Sixers missing pieces.
- Now that the dust has settled from the Cavaliers trade for Luol Deng, Bob Finnan of The News-Herald details what Deng will be seeking in free agency next summer. Finnan believes the Cavaliers won’t be able to keep Deng around if he becomes an unrestricted free agent so Cleveland will have to try their best to extend Deng for the maximum three-years, $49.5MM before June 30th. Deng has already shown by turning down Chicago’s extension offer that he believes his value is above $10MM per year but has repeatedly denied ever asking for a deal near $15MM a year.
- Finnan also evaluates what Andrew Bynum‘s options may be with his upcoming free agent decision. It looks like the Heat may still be a favorite. The Pacers and Rockets are also being rumored as options according to Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer.
- Cavaliers GM Chris Grant didn’t rule out the possibility of another trade prior to the deadline but he did tell Boyer of The Plain Dealer that his preference is to not be active and let the guys “settle in and learn”. In relation to settling in, Boyer also believes the Cavs plan to stick long term with both Anthony Bennett and Anderson Varejao.