TUESDAY, 12:07pm: The moves are official, the Raptors announced via press release.
“We thank Anthony for his professionalism and for his service to our team and community,” Ujiri said. “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.”
MONDAY, 1:39pm: The Raptors are waiving Anthony Bennett to clear the way for a deal with Jason Thompson that covers the rest of the season, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The addition of Thompson helps fill a need at power forward for Toronto, but it’s nonetheless surprising to see the Raptors cut ties with Bennett, the former No. 1 overall pick whom GM Masai Ujiri had suggested would be with the team beyond this season in spite of his one-year contract. Bennett is on a minimum-salary deal, and the same will be true for Thompson, since that’s all Toronto can give. The full season salary for Bennett will stick on Toronto’s books unless another team claims him off waivers.
Thompson was also reportedly drawing the eye of the Heat in the wake of his release from the Warriors last week, a cut that came so that Golden State could sign Anderson Varejao. The Raptors reportedly had interest in trading for a handful of power forwards, including Ryan Anderson, Thaddeus Young, Kenneth Faried and Markieff Morris, but instead it appears they end up with Thompson, who started 63 games for the Kings last season but averaged just 6.4 minutes per contest with the Warriors.
Bennett, the NBA’s top pick in 2013, is hitting waivers for the second time in barely more than five months, after he and the Timberwolves reached a buyout agreement in late September. The Sixers and Blazers reportedly had interest at the time, but he wound up signing with the Raptors, his hometown team. The 22-year-old’s defense initially impressed coach Dwane Casey, but Bennett failed to convince Casey that he deserved more playing time, totaling just 84 minutes all season.
Who do you think is the bigger bust, Bennett or fellow former No. 1 pick Greg Oden? Leave a comment to have your say.