Raptors Notes: Practice, Sabonis, Turner, Achiuwa, Banton

Like the Pacers, the Raptors opted to cancel their practice on Thursday due to an “abundance of caution” related to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic.

As was the case with Indiana, Toronto didn’t provide any additional details to explain the decision. However, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) hears that it’s “not a player issue,” which suggests that perhaps a staff member either tested positive for COVID-19 or is a close contact of someone who did.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors will have to decide in the coming weeks whether they intend to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, Grange writes for Sportsnet.ca. As Grange observes, upgrading the center spot or adding a reliable backup point guard could help make Toronto a more legitimate playoff contender, but the team could also decided to take a longer-term view toward the future and shop a couple veterans.
  • A league source tells Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca that the Raptors have had “their eyes on” Pacers big men Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner for years, so they’ll likely at least kick the tires on the two veteran centers. Doug Smith of The Toronto Star (subscribers only) argues that Toronto should seriously pursue either Sabonis or Turner in an effort to solidify the five spot.
  • Raptors center Precious Achiuwa is once again sidelined due to shoulder tendinitis, and head coach Nick Nurse isn’t sure how long Achiuwa will be out, writes Lewenberg. “Obviously, it’s aggravated again,” Nurse said of the injury. “I don’t know what to say. Hopefully it’s short-term, but you never know.”
  • Rookie guard Dalano Banton is pulling double duty this season, playing frequently for both the Raptors in the NBA and the Raptors 905 in the G League. As Smith writes for The Toronto Star, Banton welcomes that challenge, knowing that current Raptors stars like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam spent plenty of time with the 905 when they first entered the league. “I’m not getting tired of it,” Banton said. “I’m just kind of trusting in the process that they have going on for me. … I trust in the development of the Raptors and I’ve seen it countless times of guys who came before me.”
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic addressed a handful of Raptors-related topics in his latest mailbag, including Yuta Watanabe‘s future and what the team could get back in a trade involving Chris Boucher.
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