Chris Boucher

Deveney’s Latest: A. Davis, Schröder, Bulls, Knicks

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said last week that “numerous” league executives suggested to him that Lakers star Anthony Davis doesn’t have significant trade value due to his injury history. However, execs who spoke to Sean Deveney of scoffed at that idea.

One general manager told Deveney that there would be “29 teams ready with offers” if the Lakers made Davis available. An Eastern Conference executive said the idea of Davis not having much value is “crazy.”

“Look, it is beauty in the eye of the beholder. But he is an elite talent and he is 29 years old,” the East exec told Deveney. “Everybody wants him, everybody thinks that if they get their hands on him, they can keep him healthy, etc., etc.

“Now, can you get the kind of offer the Lakers gave up when they traded for him (in 2019)? No, of course not. But a team like Chicago, where he is from, they would bend over backwards to get him. Dallas, putting him with Luka (Doncic)? Of course, they would. Phoenix, Miami, any team that really wants to take that next step. The injury is a risk, but the payoff you get if you can keep him on the floor is worth it.”

While there seems to be no real consensus on Davis’ value, it may be a moot point this offseason, since there’s no indication the Lakers would consider moving him.

Here’s more from Deveney:

  • It’s possible the Rockets will re-sign free agent point guard Dennis Schröder and then look to trade him during the 2022/23 season, like Boston did this past year, a source tells Deveney. Although Deveney suggests Houston could use part of its mid-level exception to retain Schröder, the Non-Bird exception would allow an offer up to about $7MM, which could be enough. It’s also worth pointing out that signing a one-year deal with the Rockets would give Schröder the ability to veto a trade next season.
  • The Bulls are one team to watch as a potential free agent suitor for Schröder, but probably only if they trade Coby White, according to Deveney, who notes that Schröder had his best year playing for Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City in 2019/20.
  • Executives around the NBA believe the Knicks – who added Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker last summer – are more likely to pursue “young-ish” players with some upside this offseason rather than going after veterans again. Deveney mentions Tyus Jones, Mohamed Bamba, Chris Boucher, and Schröder as possible targets, though he acknowledges that some of those players aren’t particularly young.

Raptors Notes: Offseason, Nurse, Roster Needs

During his end-of-season press conference on Tuesday, Raptors president and vice chairman Masai Ujiri spoke about potentially adding a reliable backup point guard to help ease the burden on Fred VanVleet, per Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star. Ujiri also said Toronto could use a center who can shoot, defend the rim, and switch defensively. However, he acknowledged that finding those players won’t be easy, given what the team asks of its rotation players — especially on defense.

“Yes, it is a high standard … we want to play on both sides of the court, that’s really important, and there’s a fine line,” Ujiri said. “There’s a lot of luck to it when you’re trying to find those guys that actually fit, that really, really fit. We’re hoping. I trust our scouts, our player personnel guys, they’ve done an excellent job. If we can’t find then, we’ll develop them. That’s what we’re hoping.”

As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, the Raptors will have to decide this summer how much long-term money they’re willing to add to their books. VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. could be in line for raises as soon as 2023, while Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby can become free agents in 2024. In other words, the team will have to be wary about how it approaches multiyear commitments for free agents, including Chris Boucher and Thaddeus Young.

“I think there are things we’re really going to evaluate the next few days,” Ujiri said when asked about possible multiyear deals. “This is what you guys making me do this press conference right after the season (causes). If you’d waited three weeks, then I’d (have) been able to tell you what all our meetings (yielded) and all the things that we want to do. But right now, I don’t have an answer for you.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Addressing the report that Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is a top target for the Lakers, Ujiri dismissed that rumor, according to Koreen. “No team has contacted me, and I see all the stuff you see.” Ujiri said. “I dream like they dream. I want (Lionel) Messi. I want (Cristiano) Ronaldo. I want Kobe Bryant. So they can keep dreaming. I dream, too.”
  • Contrary to popular belief, Toronto’s biggest need isn’t at center, but on the perimeter, contends Josh Lewenberg of While the Raptors would certainly inquire if a big man like Rudy Gobert or Myles Turner become available, they don’t want to commit to a lesser center who doesn’t fit their system, according to Lewenberg, who says the club “desperately” needs more shooting and possibly another shot creator.
  • Toronto hasn’t historically been a marquee NBA free agent destination, but Nurse – who spoke this week about wanting to add more catch-and-shoot players and athletic wings – sees no reason why the Raptors shouldn’t be able to attract talent.I think we got a lot to offer here,” Nurse said (Twitter link via Eric Koreen of The Athletic). “We’ve got a winning team, great fans, first-class organization. I’d want to play here.”
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype previews some of the big decisions facing the Raptors this offseason, while Drew Maresca of takes a look at how the team retooled its roster following Kawhi Leonard‘s 2019 departure.

Atlantic Notes: Boucher, Lillard, Knicks, Ainge, Celtics, Bassey

Raptors big man Chris Boucher is set to enter unrestricted free agency this summer, but he hasn’t thought much about it to this point. Boucher ended his season with a 25-point, 10-rebound effort off the bench in Game 6, telling reporters how much he h as valued the Raptors and Toronto.

“I love Toronto and Toronto did a lot for me …. from the player I was to where I am now, I owe it all to Toronto,” he said, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet (Twitter link).

As Grange notes, it’s clear where Boucher’s heart lies. However, he’ll likely receive interest from multiple teams on the open market, as he averaged 9.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 21.1 minutes per game this season. He also shot 46% from the floor and played 80 games.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, long considered a potential Knicks trade target, is no longer intrigued by New York’s plan, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. The Knicks finished with the 11th-best record in the East at 37-45 this season after finishing fourth in the East at 41-31 last season. Instead of targeting Lillard, New York could shift its focus to Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, whose team was recently eliminated in the first round.
  • Despite taking a job with the Jazz, Danny Ainge still keeps tabs on the Celtics, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes. Ainge left the Celtics last June and joined the Jazz as CEO last December. He worked in the Celtics’ front office for 18 years.
  • Sixers rookie Charles Bassey practiced in full with the team on Saturday, Kyle Neubeck of tweets. Bassey has been dealing with a shoulder sprain. The 21-year-old big man could be available for the club’s series against Miami, which could be important with Joel Embiid out indefinitely. Bassey averaged 18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 blocks for the team’s G League affiliate this season, playing 28.6 minutes per contest.

Raptors Notes: Barnes, Offseason, Young, Achiuwa

The Raptors were unable to complete a historic comeback after falling behind 3-0 in their first-round series with the Sixers, getting blown out in the second half of Thursday’s Game 6. Still, Toronto exceeded expectations this season, having come into the year as a projected lottery team.

“I think we took a lot of steps,” standout forward Pascal Siakam said after Thursday’s loss, per Josh Lewenberg of “We got a lot better over the season. It was obviously up and down, but we did get better. Knowing this team and our front office and the people that we have in the organization, I know that the goal is to continue to get better and improve and be a way better team next year.”

Besides getting an impressive bounce-back season from Siakam, who is a legitimate All-NBA candidate, the Raptors saw players like Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Gary Trent Jr. take another step forward and Precious Achiuwa evolve from a roll of the dice into a potential long-term cornerstone.

The team’s biggest win, according to Lewenberg, was the selection of Scottie Barnes in last year’s draft — it’s “impossible to overstate his importance” to the team and its future on the heels of his Rookie of the Year debut, Lewenberg writes.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Despite the strides the Raptors made in 2021/22, there are important areas that need to be addressed. In particular, the club needs to add more shooting, writes Michael Grange of Toronto’s lack of shooting was its undoing against Philadelphia, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who notes that the team made just 7-of-35 (20.0%) three-pointers in Game 6 and 29.9% for the series. While Fred VanVleet‘s injury absence contributed to those struggles, the team could still use another outside threat or two.
  • Upgrading the bench will be another top priority for the Raptors this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) writes in his offseason preview. Toronto has Bird rights on both Thaddeus Young and Chris Boucher and could re-sign them without dipping into its mid-level exception. The front office has also shown a knack for identifying young talent outside of the draft lottery, Marks adds, so the No. 33 pick could be useful for adding an inexpensive contributor.
  • Within his preview, Marks notes that VanVleet will become extension-eligible in July and Siakam will become eligible for a new deal in October. Both players are on contracts that run through 2024, though VanVleet has a player option for 2023/24 and could theoretically become a free agent in ’23.
  • Speaking on Friday to reporters, Young conveyed how impressed he was with the Raptors after coming over from San Antonio at February’s trade deadline. This organization is elite,” Young said, per Lewenberg (Twitter link). “One of the top I’ve ever been a part of… I loved everything about this experience. As far as the team, the sky is the limit… This team can be really, really scary.” Young added that his family will be his top priority as he enters free agency and didn’t rule out the possibility of undergoing surgery on his injured thumb (Twitter links via Koreen and Grange).
  • The pairing of Achiuwa and the Raptors represents a perfect marriage between a player and an organizational philosophy, Koreen writes for The Athletic. The team’s willingness to experiment with Achiuwa rather than trying to rein him in or pigeonhole him has paid dividends so far, says Koreen.

Raptors Notes: Delayed Game, VanVleet, Boucher

The Raptors have faced some odd circumstances over the past two years, but nobody had seen anything like what happened Saturday night, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN. About four minutes before halftime in a game with the Pacers, emergency workers began clearing fans from a section of Scotiabank Arena after an electrical fire broke out in an overhead speaker. Eventually, all the spectators had to leave and the players finished the game without fans after a delay of about an hour.

“I started sneezing and that’s when I was like, ‘There’s something in the air,’” Precious Achiuwa said. “That’s when I heard about the fire.”

Achiuwa said several Pacers players talked about unusual it felt to play with no one in the stands, but the Raptors have plenty of experience with adjusting to strange surroundings, Lewenberg adds. They played their home games in Tampa, Florida, last season — sometimes with no fans at all and other times with a crowd that barely cared about them — and they’re the only team still operating under attendance restrictions.

“Just add it to the list,” coach Nick Nurse said after Saturday’s game. “Another weird night.”

There’s more from Toronto:

  • The Raptors need to win as often as possible to avoid the play-in tournament, but they have to be careful with Fred VanVleet‘s aching right knee, says Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. VanVleet, who logged just 17 minutes on Saturday, doesn’t expect to be fully healthy for the postseason, but he’s doing as much as he can to get the knee ready. “I haven’t played consistently since before the All-Star (break),” he said. “With my knee, there’s not much I can do outside of playing to get back in shape. I’m trying to keep the load as low as possible on off-days. Just trying to ramp back up and get back in shape and find my spots.”
  • Chris Boucher has turned his season around after a disastrous performance December 26 in Cleveland, observes Michael Grange of Boucher was the main option on offense that night for a team whose roster was depleted by health and safety protocols, but he made just 6-of-19 shots and was a minus-30 for the game. “It definitely changed my life, it changed my perspective,” Boucher said. “I realized I never want to be in that position again and [that] I just wanted to become a better player.”
  • The Raptors believe VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby provide a reliable veteran foundation to lead them into the playoffs, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

Lakers Sought Trades With Knicks, Raptors, Celtics

Rival executives tried to take advantage of the Lakers’ predicament, which ultimately led to VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka standing pat at the trade deadline, according to The Athletic’s Bill Oram.

Other teams wanted the Lakers to take on bad contracts or give up their limited draft capital, including their 2027 first round pick, to facilitate potential deals, according to Oram.

The Lakers were unable to gain any traction on a potential Russell Westbrook deal. They tried to put together some lower-level deals, including a proposed three-way trade with the Knicks and Raptors. Toronto big men Khem Birch and Chris Boucher and Knicks wing Cam Reddish could have been on the move, but those fell apart after the other two teams couldn’t agree on draft compensation.

The Lakers also mulled a possible reunion with Dennis Schröder, though there was some pushback from some members of the organization. The Lakers still pursued a deal with the Celtics but Boston’s high asking price ended those negotiations. The Celtics wound up trading Schröder to Houston.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis were consulted on potential trades and understood why Pelinka chose to stand pat, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“You can’t force another team to present yourself with a deal that is going to make your team be better. That’s up to them,” Pelinka said. “And throughout this process we had different things we looked at and like I’ve done in the past had conversations with LeBron and Anthony about it and I would say there’s alignment here. And that’s all that matters.”

The Lakers will monitor the buyout market but would have to waive a player since their roster is full.

Raptors Notes: Trade Options, Roster Flexibility, Trent, Boucher

The Raptors‘ front office, led by team president Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster, will have a variety of intriguing options ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, writes Michael Grange of Grange notes that Toronto, a team that has won six straight contests, could look to improve its current roster without wholly sacrificing its future.

The team can offload the $19.4MM expiring contract of veteran point guard Goran Dragic, who has not been with the Raptors since November. Future draft picks and the expiring deal of big man Chris Boucher could also be moved.

The Raptors clearly need to shore up their bench depth, per Grange, who observes that four of the team’s starters rank within the NBA’s top seven in minutes per game. Scoring and passing are particular areas in which Toronto could look to improve. Grange considers Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic and Rockets guard Eric Gordon to be potential targets.

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • Beyond seeking a ball-handler or shooter, the Raptors could also be on the prowl for a center at the trade deadline, opines Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Smith believes that the expiring contract of Dragic equips the club with significant leverage at the deadline. Today’s trades that saw players at the caliber of CJ McCollum, Domantas Sabonis and Tyrese Haliburton changing zip codes have apparently not impacted Toronto’s trade plans. “You always take a look at as far as setting the kind of market value, but I don’t think any of the deals have materially changed that.” Raptors GM Bobby Webster said. “I don’t feel like the value proposition has changed for many teams. They’re still interested in the deals or they’re still not interested.”
  • Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr. is much happier with the Raptors than he had been with the Trail Blazers, his father, Gary Trent Sr., told Alex Wong and William Lou of on The Raptors Show With Will Lou“My biggest thing when I’m watching my son play is the happiness and joy that he plays with now,” the elder Trent said. “My son was depressed and so down and so sad in Portland that watching him play actually used to hurt.”
  • Raptors big man Chris Boucher, a possible trade candidate for the club, could just be solidifying his place as a key reserve in the Toronto pecking order with his strong recent play, opines Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Boucher has honed his craft in his fifth NBA season. “He is a good rebounder, but he used to do it (by) just chasing the ball,” head coach Nick Nurse said. “And now we’ve asked him to put his body on people and do it a little bit more, I guess, fundamentally to make sure the other guy doesn’t get it… He’s hanging in there, and, well, he’s really playing well, and that’s a big improvement area for him to go find somebody to hit when a shot goes up.”

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, IT, Smart, Durant, Boucher, Carter, Kemba

Following 10-day stints with the Lakers and Mavericks, Isaiah Thomas is once again a free agent. Meanwhile, the Celtics have an open spot on their 15-man roster after waiving Jabari Parker. Appearing on the Toucher & Rich radio show in Boston, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens was asked whether a reunion with Thomas was possible, and while he didn’t rule it out, Stevens also didn’t suggest it’s something Boston is pursuing.

“I’m a huge Isaiah fan, always have been,” Stevens said, per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). “… Our roster situation right now is complicated enough that we’ve got to get through next month to see where it lands and what it looks like. We’ll make other decisions, whether we have spots or adds or whatever the case may be. Isaiah is everything everyone has made him out to be.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Celtics have ruled out Marcus Smart for Friday’s game in Philadelphia due to the health and safety protocols (Twitter link via Marc Stein). Smart had originally been listed as questionable, suggesting perhaps he registered an inconclusive or false positive COVID-19 test, but based on the latest update, it appears he had no luck testing out of the protocols.
  • The NBA announced today that the league has hit Nets star Kevin Durant with a $15K fine for using profane language during a media interview and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview as part of the review process.
  • In his latest rumor roundup, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report identified a pair of under-the-radar Atlantic trade candidates, writing that Raptors big man Chris Boucher is considered available and that the Nets are believed to be exploring the idea of trading guard Jevon Carter.
  • Although Knicks point guard Kemba Walker appears to be nearing a return from his knee soreness, there’s no guarantee that he’ll return to the starting lineup right away, and he may not play both parts of back-to-back sets again this season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Atlantic Notes: J. Harris, Knicks Trade Targets, Raptors, T. Harris

Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris still isn’t practicing yet after undergoing ankle surgery at the end of November, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays. There was a report last week indicating Harris was close to returning to practice and could return to games within a couple weeks, but that seems less likely based on Lewis’ update. Coach Steve Nash says Harris isn’t cleared for all activities.

Yeah so I think he’s … he’s not full [ramp-up mode],” Nash said. “He’s not fully cleared to do everything yet. He’s got to get back to that, and he’s got to get his high-intensity stuff in. So, he’s not there yet.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • The Knicks are among the teams interested in Hawks wing Cam Reddish, per Ian Begley of Begley also points to Myles Turner and Jalen Brunson as players the Knicks are known to be interested in.
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic believes the Raptors should be looking at acquiring a wing shooter prior to the trade deadline in order to shore up a weak spot in the roster.
  • Chris Boucher has improved over the course of the season and his strong play has helped the Raptors go 6-1 over their past seven games. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes that Boucher is learning his role is to provide energy and effort no matter how many minutes he receives. “He’s accepted whatever is there for playing time, whatever the lineup is, he’s accepted it with energy,” coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s played hard. There haven’t been a ton of offensive attempts, and that doesn’t seem to bother him either. He just keeps going and playing. He’s been really impactful.” Boucher is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter) that Sixers forward Tobias Harris has been playing through right shoulder bursitis and bicep tendinitis. Harris said he’s been dealing with shoulder soreness since a game against Utah, and that it’s an “irritating” type of pain rather than something severe, but it has been aggravated multiple times since original incident, tweets Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice.

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 (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 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 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.