Having already extended Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry this month, the Raptors completed a third important contract extension today, according to a press release from the team. This deal wasn’t for a player, but rather for Alex McKechnie, who had been the team’s director of sports science and assistant coach.
McKechnie was widely credited for developing the load-management program that helped Kawhi Leonard stay healthy for the 2018/19 season, which paid off in a major way when the Raptors won their first championship in June. While it wasn’t enough to convince Leonard to stick around, McKechnie’s work – and reputation – could be an asset for the team in future free agent pitches, notes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.
A former Lakers athletic performance coordinator, McKechnie received a promotion along with his extension, according to the Raptors. His new title is VP of player health and performance.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- Speaking to Justin Termine of SiriusXM Radio (video link), D’Angelo Russell admitted that he got the sense early in the free agent process that he wouldn’t be returning to the Nets. “I never knew exactly,” Russell said (hat tip to NetsDaily). “[But] you work with these guys every day. You see the same players, you see the same coaching staff, you see the same trainers every day. So when they start to act a little different, you recognize it.”
- Responding to an ESPN report that some Nets officials are concerned about Kyrie Irving‘s “mood swings,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said that – from his perspective – that notion is totally false (Twitter link via Ian Begley of SNY.tv).
- It looks like it might be another long season for the Knicks, but rookie RJ Barrett at least provides some hope for the future, writes Frank Isola of The Athletic.
- Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders explores whether the Celtics‘ four-year, $103MM+ investment in Jaylen Brown was worth the gamble.