Khem Birch Waived By Magic, Eyeing Raptors

2:49pm: The Magic have officially released Birch, the team announced in a press release. He’ll clear waivers on Saturday afternoon if no team places a claim.

9:15am: The Magic intend to waive center Khem Birch in order to give him an opportunity to play more elsewhere, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), who reports – with Shams Charania – that Birch is a good bet to end up with the Raptors.

Birch, 28, was a key part of the Magic’s rotation earlier in the season, serving as Nikola Vucevic‘s primary backup and averaging 6.9 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 22.0 minutes per game through his first 28 contests.

However, his role has been reduced since then, partly due to a dip in production (3.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, .314 FG% in his last 20 games) and also because Orlando is focused on developing former lottery picks Wendell Carter and Mohamed Bamba.

Assuming he’s officially released today or tomorrow, Birch will retain his postseason eligibility for a new club. Teams with $3MM in cap room or a trade exception worth at least $3MM would have the opportunity to nab the big man off waivers, but if he goes unclaimed, it sounds like Toronto would be his top choice.

While the Raptors aren’t a title contender, the fit would make sense for a couple reasons. For one, Birch is a Canadian, having been born in Montreal and attended high school in Ontario, so – even though they’re playing in Tampa this season – the Raptors are essentially his hometown team.

Additionally, Toronto has been on the lookout for help at the five since losing Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in free agency last fall, so Birch would have the opportunity to play right away. The Raptors are also still just two games back of the No. 10 seed in the East, so Birch could help them push for a spot in the play-in tournament.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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27 thoughts on “Khem Birch Waived By Magic, Eyeing Raptors

    • Magic 24/7

      That comment is trash.

      ORL is letting him go to a team where he’ll be able to get minutes. He won’t play much in ORL behind WCJr and Bamba. Plus he’s an unrestricted free agent who the Magic won’t re-sign because they already have two young centers.

      + He played for Nurse with Canadian team.

  1. Lionel Muggeridge

    About time! The front office had to send this guy elsewhere because the coach kept playing him and not giving Bamba some burn to help develop

    • Magic 24/7

      This is totally incorrect. People need to stop echoing media and fans that don’t actually watch the Magic play.

      Bamba was Clifford’s primary back up C every game he was healthy in his first 2 seasons:

      (18-19) 47 g / 16.3 mpg
      (19-20) 62 g / 14.2 mpg

      This season Bamba had Covid issues that kept him out for the first couple months of the season, then just as he was beginning to re-integrate back into the rotation he failed covid protocol losing another two weeks. He’s been playing primary back up C minutes ever since.

      FYI, more than half of Birch’s minutes have been at PF NOT center.

  2. hiflew

    If the guy was born in Montreal, then how is Toronto his “hometown team?” They are fairly far apart. Just because they are both in the same country is kind of meaningless. That would about be the same as saying that a person born in Pittsburgh and went to high school in upstate New York should claim New York City as his “hometown team.”

    • Luke Adams

      If New York was the only team in the U.S. and the other 29 teams were in Canada, he probably would!

    • Corporal Foxtrot

      You are joking with this question right? Quebec is the province, Canada is the country! Yes Ontario is a different province from Quebec, but it’s all in Canada!

      • myaccount

        That is a horribly stupid way of looking at it. So does a guy from Vancouver consider the Raptors his hometown team? The Seattle Mariners have had numerous players from BC play for them and they have called the M’s their home team… but wait, Toronto is the only Canadian team. How does that work?

        • Edawg

          I am Canadian, and we tend to be very proud of the few teams we have. The Raptors are Canada’s team. One of the amazing things about playing for the Raptors is that here, you play for our country. You get almost 30 million fans. All of Canada came together for our championship, including many people in Vancouver and Halifax. It’s just how we roll. If you actually watch a Mariners game (pre-COVID) you would see thousands upon thousands of Jays fans (all living in BC) in the stands. Call it what you will, it’s just how we Canadian

    • Sirsleepit

      Does Canada have more than 1 professional basketball team in the NBA? No? Then by default Toronto is home town team. Similar to how North Dakota doesn’t have a team, so Minnesota is the “home town team.” Also with the world how it is today there are a million more things worth being triggered over lol

      • hiflew

        Who said I was triggered? I was just asking a question. It is possible to ask what someone meant without it being the most important thing in the world. It is also possible to disagree with someone’s opinion without it being the most important thing in the world.

        Obviously it seems that my opinion is different than several others. I’m not changing my mind because of it, but I respect the right of others to feel differently.

        I live in Kentucky, that doesn’t mean I am going to consider the Indiana Pacers my hometown team just because they are the closest team to my home. I simply don’t have a hometown team. But like I said, that’s just my opinion.

        • Otogar

          If you had attended high-school in, say, Evansville perhaps you would…

          • hiflew

            I would not. By the time you are in high school, you already have a home town. Maybe if you moved there at age 6 or something, but by 14 you are almost an adult.

        • Corporal Foxtrot

          Everyone is triggered according to folks who just turned 21…

      • Corporal Foxtrot

        Man you dudes born past 1999 need to expand your vocabulary. The only response you got in your bag is “triggered” or “butthurt”. Didn’t the ivy league school teach you anything??? Weren’t you th know it all kid??? Yet you seem to know so little. Maybe the encyclopedia can help your childish mindset.

        • hiflew

          That’s just funny. Butthurt is one my least favorite “words” of all time.

        • Johnny Dollar

          Totally agree with everything you said this goof
          Must be a casual

  3. Luc 3

    Most Canadians consider the Raptors their “hometown” team no matter where they are in Canada

  4. sasori

    Vancouver grizzlies for life dont matter if they are in memphis. Its like seattle supersonics for life!

      • x%sure

        What then?

        Foxtrot fun argument, now please list alternatives. Your soap box.

        I think those are social media words… kind of risky in person, especially as they set up a quick retort if offense is taken.
        And newish. Of course “kids today” may be stuck at home a lot.

        • Corporal Foxtrot

          So you commend those words in a discussion about basketball? @ x%sure

  5. formerlyz

    Former multi time Heat summer league, training camp, g league guy. I remember wanting them to add him several years ago, I believe the year after Lebron left, and having a couple of arguments about him being an NBA player on here. Always paid attention to him. Good defender, can protect the rim, and knows how to be a rim running big offensively. If he were slightly bigger, he would be so much more valuable. Obviously, this year he has tried to work on that outside shot, which brought his FG% down a bit, but he has still been productive. Makes sense for Toronto as well. Gives them a dynamic at that spot they could have used all year, behind Boucher

  6. Knicks should consider claiming him, just need to release Pelle or Henson from the 10 day. Doubt Pelle will be renewed in any event.

  7. burrow_is_a_bust2.0

    Nets shld consider since they sign everyone tht gets cut or bought out

    • thed-5

      Yeah man cuz the nets nabbed Drummond, rivers, parker, teague, poirier….

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