Raptors Notes: Roster Balance, Leonard, Ibaka

Speaking to Joshua Clipperton of The Canadian Press (link via Sportsnet.ca), former NBA commissioner David Stern acknowledged that the NBA’s move to Vancouver was one of the failures of his tenure. However, he said that he views the Raptors – Canada’s other 1995 expansion team – as a “great success” and says the idea that players don’t want to land in Toronto is outdated and died long ago.

“Toronto has the most wonderful array of sports assets and a cosmopolitan community and a great building,” Stern said. “It’s a pleasure to see that it is a destination city that players want to go to.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors’ summer blockbuster with the Spurs allowed Toronto to replace two non-shooters with two quintessential three-and-D wings in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Now, the rotation is loaded with versatile three-and-D players and the Raptors’ roster looks like a model for other teams to emulate, writes Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer.
  • Speaking of Leonard, Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes an early look at the relationship between the star forward and his new team, a topic that will get more and more attention as Kawhi’s 2019 free agency nears. As Murphy observes, the Raptors don’t want to put a full-court recruiting press on Leonard all season, preferring to let the team’s success be the primary selling point. With an 11-1 record so far, Toronto is off to a good start in that regard.
  • Serge Ibaka has reversed some worrying trends so far this season and looks like a rejuvenated player. Frank Urbina of HoopsHype explores what changed for Ibaka and whether those improvements are sustainable.
  • In other Raptors news, Norman Powell is expected to miss the next four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, as we relayed earlier this week.
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3 thoughts on “Raptors Notes: Roster Balance, Leonard, Ibaka

  1. Codeeg

    Serge Ibake channel of him feeding Derozen food dishes (bugs) on YouTube has to my new favorite video.

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  2. greg1

    I tend to agree that Toronto is no longer a no-no for FA’s, but Leonard staying would be the signing that makes that comment iron clad.

    I think the soft sell along with 60 wins and a real run in the playoffs will make it very attractive to stay for Claw, but I think the Clips are going to be a very enticing landing spot. Home town and two max slots are going to be tough to beat.

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  3. x%sure

    The Vancouver franchise was ruined by one inexperienced clueless GM and restrictive NBA entry rules that were never repeated. Seven last place finishes & off to Memphis, which offered less fan support.

    But I like that Stern feels guilty about it.
    He’s becoming a good interview subject.

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