Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Anthony, Karasev

The Raptors are strong favorites to repeat as Atlantic Division champs, as Hoops Rumors readers asserted last month, a feat that would be a first in franchise history. It’s easy for forget that a year ago, the team was on the verge of a tear-down as new GM Masai Ujiri was unsure about just what he had on the roster. The Raptors didn’t make any superstar additions in between now and then, and their sudden success story is a model that many other front offices would certainly like to duplicate. While we wait to see if Toronto can keep it up, here’s more on the Raptors and their rivals in the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors aren’t ready to commit to any of the three players seemingly competing for the final spot on the team’s regular season roster, coach Dwane Casey said, as Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun details. “We’re not in a hurry whatsoever,” Casey said. “All three men have done an excellent job in practice. Will Cherry is as tough a little competitor as you can find. Jordan Hamilton is a great scorer and really fighting on the defensive end and Greg Stiemsma is a solid, solid big man, veteran big man who has done some great things in the post. It may go down to the wire, the last day of camp because those guys have deserved it.”
  • Joel Anthony certainly had plenty of financial incentive when he opted into his $3.8MM salary this season, but he maintains that money wasn’t his primary motivation to stick with the Celtics, as Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald notes. “It was about wanting to get an opportunity to come into camp and get a chance to prove myself and get on the court,” Anthony said. “This was the best opportunity I had. I don’t know what would have happened in free agency or whatnot, but I just felt that coming back to the team after being here the last three months and knowing the coaches and knowing the players and everything like that, this was what was best for me. It just seemed like a better situation for me to come back here.”
  • The Nets had the chance to acquire a pair of second-round picks in this summer’s three-team trade with the Cavs and Celtics, but they insisted that they receive Sergey Karasev instead, NetsDaily’s Robert Windrem tweets.

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