Delon Wright

Raptors Notes: Leonard, Siakam, Wright

Raptors fans have reasons to be both optimistic and pessimistic about the upcoming season, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star explains. The addition of Kawhi Leonard lands on both of Armstrong’s lists.

The former NBA Finals MVP is a premier talent, who has the ability to lead Toronto to the NBA Finals (something multiple members of our staff predict will happen). However, Leonard is also a reason for pessimism since he could walk after the season when he hits free agency.

Here’s more from Toronto:

  • Kyle Lowry was upset when the Raptors traded away his friend, DeMar DeRozan, and Armstrong (same piece) wonders how the point guard will react if the team faces adversity. The scribe argues that any anger Lowry still has could fuel his play but it could also lead to trouble within the team.
  • Pascal Siakam could be a breakout star for the Raptors this season, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. “His handle has kind of been there,” coach Nick Nurse said of Siakam. “It’s just giving him the freedom to do it and that comes with everybody realizing he can do it.”
  • The Raptors and Delon Wright didn’t come to an agreement on an extension by this year’s deadline. GM Bobby Webster said it was a “mutual thing,” as Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Star tweets. Webster added that he expects Wright to improve on his impressive 2017/18 season and the team will talk deals with the guard after the season when he’s eligible for restricted free agency.

Roster, Contract Deadlines Loom For NBA Teams

Monday, October 15 is the last day of the 2018 NBA offseason and serves as the deadline for a number of roster- and contract-related decisions. Here are the deadlines that teams around the NBA are facing on Monday:

  • Roster limits decrease from 20 players to 15 (plus two two-way players).
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a rookie scale extension. [RELATED: Players eligible for rookie scale extensions]
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a veteran extension in certain scenarios. Extension-eligible veteran contracts with more than one season remaining can’t be extended after October 15; designated veteran extensions can’t be signed after October 15.
  • Last day for teams to complete sign-and-trade deals.
  • Last day for teams to convert an Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way contract.

While Monday is technically the roster cutdown deadline, many clubs will make their final moves today. That’s because players on non-guaranteed contracts must clear waivers before the first day of the regular season to avoid having their salaries begin to count against a team’s cap.

For instance, if the Suns were to keep non-guaranteed vets Isaiah Canaan and Richaun Holmes on their roster until Monday, then cut them, the team would be on the hook for a couple days’ worth of salary for each player, since the duo wouldn’t clear waivers until Wednesday. That’s not a huge chunk of money, but if clubs have already made their roster decisions, they’re more likely to just make their cuts today.

Teams who plan on releasing players with full or partial guarantees are more likely to wait until Sunday or Monday, since those salaries will count against their cap either way.

Outside of roster cuts, it will be interesting to see how many more teams reach rookie scale extension agreements with their fourth-year players by Monday night. Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Justise Winslow have signed new deals already, but 20 players remain eligible.

Larry Nance Jr. (Cavaliers), Bobby Portis (Bulls), Myles Turner (Pacers), and Delon Wright (Raptors) are among the strongest candidates for rookie scale extensions in the coming days, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe details. Lowe views Nance and Portis as the best bets in that group, though he also hears from sources that Wright’s agent – Greg Lawrence – will be in Toronto this weekend for some “last-minute meetings.” If those players and the rest who are eligible for rookie scale extensions don’t sign new contracts by Monday, they’ll be on track for restricted free agency in 2019.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider-only link), there are also 30 extension-eligible players on veteran contracts who won’t be able to get an in-season extension after Monday’s deadline passes. If an extension-eligible veteran has just one year remaining on his contract, he remains extension-eligible through Monday. But for players with multiple years left, Monday is the 2018/19 deadline. Draymond Green (Warriors), Eric Gordon (Rockets), Jae Crowder (Jazz), and E’Twaun Moore (Pelicans) are among the players in that group, per Marks, who says not to expect a new deal for Green.

Finally, while I don’t think we’ll see any sign-and-trade deals within the next couple days, Monday’s deadline is worth noting for a player like restricted free agent Patrick McCaw. Talks between McCaw and the Warriors still appear to be at a stalemate, so a sign-and-trade arrangement could be a viable option for both sides. However, that can’t happen after Monday.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers Culture, Rozier, Wright

Love or hate The Process, it produced a Sixers team that is every bit an Eastern Conference contender. Beyond the roster loaded with talent, however, is a strong culture, one that ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz points out is far more developed and nuanced than we all assumed while they were losing historically.

All of that was a time of learning, a time of progression, a time of really seeing the type of person you can become when you endure hard time,” said Sixers forward Robert Covington. “That journey made us who we are. The 18-win season, the 10-win season. All that, it built us up for this moment.

A mainstay for the team during those lean years is a tradition of having players give presentations about topics that resonate with them on a monthly basis. The result? A series of PowerPoint speeches over which Sixers staffers and stars have been connecting.

Arnovitz breaks down the motivation behind the Sixers’ discussions, which range from Covington’s lecture on snakes to Dario Saric‘s lesson on the Balkan conflict that shaped his childhood. If you dive into one #LongRead today, make it this one.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Consider David Lee a supporter of the notion that the Knicks should hire Mark Jackson. Lee played in New York and later for Jackson in Golden State. “Mark understands the difference in New York basketball. He’s from there,” Lee told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He understands the politics, the fans, things involved unique to the Knicks. That’s an advantage he has.
  • A pair of Atlantic Division point guards have developed slowly over time. Now, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer wonders if Delon Wright and Terry Rozier could eventually leave the Raptors and Celtics for a chance to play a bigger role on another squad. Both players will be eligible for extensions this offseason, and Toronto and Boston may not have the cap flexibility to invest in them for the long term.
  • The Nets have seen a trend of development in players that they’ve had for two or more seasons. Tom Dowd of the team’s official website writes that all eyes will be on D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and Jarrett Allen to see if they’ll show similar improvements when they reach their second year under the tutelage of head coach Kenny Atkinson.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Russell, Hardaway Jr.

The Nets roster boasts two of the top-three 2015 draft picks but neither are currently in the lineup, nor are they expected to be in the near future. Brian Lewis of the New York Post confirms that while D’Angelo Russell is five weeks into his recovery from arthroscopic surgery last month, he’s still a couple of weeks away.

Jahlil Okafor, on the other hand, is out for a different reason. Prior to his acquisition on December 7, Okafor was seldom used by the Sixers, seeing action in just two games for Philly. The big man played for the Nets last week but has been held out since.

I’d hate to put an exact date on [when Okafor will play again]. Depending on how he feels, we’re going day-to-day,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said. “I’d assume he’s still probably a week-and-a-half or two weeks away from where he feels comfortable out there and be able to play at the pace in which coach Kenny Atkinson and his staff want to play at.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • While they still haven’t released a timetable for his return, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has made progress in his recovery from a leg injury, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. The swingman can push off of his leg a little bit and will be re-evaluated again next week.
  • The versatile contributions of Delon Wright have served the Raptors well, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. The 25-year-old is long and athletic, capable of both running with the squad and being patient when they need him to be. Wright has averaged 7.7 points and 2.4 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season.
  • The Celtics have been said to be interested in acquiring Anthony Davis. One C’s writer, however, doesn’t want the club to go all in on the Pelicans‘ superstar. D.J. Bean of NBC Sports Boston writes that giving up Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum may be too much, especially considering that the Warriors are going to be a formidable contender to seriously compete with over the next few seasons.

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Okafor, Whitehead

Nearly a month after dislocating his shoulder injury, Delon Wright will make his return to the Raptors lineup, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Wright last saw action on November 16.

Prior to the injury, Wright had been enjoying a solid season serving as a vital part of a Raptors second-unit that has yielded plenty of credit this season. While his absence was noticeable, third-string guard Fred VanVleet filled in admirably as the primary backup.

Wright, who had averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season, is expected to be on somewhat of a minute restriction, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tonight is the night that recent Nets acquisitions Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas make their debut, Michael Grange of Sportsnet tweets. The pair, he adds, are expected to get a “healthy dose of playing time” in their first Brooklyn appearance.
  • The Celtics will be without Marcus Morris for at least a week. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that the forward who has missed four of the past five games with a lingering knee injury isn’t expected to be back until, perhaps, December 23 or Christmas Day.
  • Second-year Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead has changed his representation, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. The point guard and former Andy Miller client will now be represented by Sam Permut of Roc Nation.
  • The Knicks have thrived without Carmelo Anthony on board but veteran guard Courtney Lee doesn’t think that his absence is why the team is winning. “If Melo was here, we would’ve made that adjustment with him,” he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “So you can’t just pinpoint it at him and say, ‘Well he left and we made these adjustments.’ The style of play was going to be different from last year regardless.

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Nets, Booker

The Raptors will have a welcomed dilemma on their hands when Delon Wright returns from a shoulder injury. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes that initial third-string point guard Fred VanVleet has made a strong case for regular minutes.

VanVleet has become an integral part of the lineup the Raptors have been closing games with during their current five-game streak. The gritty, undrafted guard has been providing skills that Dwane Casey loves while shooting an impressive 8-17 from beyond the arc.

I think we have the opportunity with Delon, Fred, Norman Powell,” starting Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said of the fluctuating lineups. “We’ve got guys who can play basketball and guys who are very talented and play extremely hard. You never know, whoever has it going is going to finish the game.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets opted to take a flyer on Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas this week but the aspect of the trade that they’re most excited for could very well be the second round pick, Zach Lowe of ESPN says (via Nets Daily). General manager Sean Marks has been busy the last few years, acquiring second-rounders to replenish those that his predecessor traded away.
  • The latest addition to the Sixers considers himself to be a bigger version of a current fan favorite. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently caught up with Trevor Booker and asked him what he thinks he’ll be able to contribute to his new team. “I’ll bring a lot of passion; I’m a passionate player. I’m a guy that’s going to be aggressive, provide energy and be a pest on defense. I’m pretty much a bigger T.J. McConnell.

Raptors’ Delon Wright Expected To Miss One Month

Raptors point guard Delon Wright is expected to miss the next month with a dislocated shoulder, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That timeline would put Wright on track to return just before Christmas.

Although the Raptors will be without Kyle Lowry‘s primary backup for the next several weeks, the news could have been much worse for the club. The team announced today in a press release that, after Wright visited with a specialist in New York, it was determined that the third-year guard wouldn’t require surgery on his injured shoulder. As Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050 observes (via Twitter), Wright was sidelined for six months last year when he underwent surgery after dislocating the same shoulder.

Wright, the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, assumed backup point guard duties for the Raptors this season after the team traded Cory Joseph in July. The 25-year-old had been effective off the bench in his first 14 games this season, averaging 7.6 PPG and 2.6 APG with a .523 FG%.

With Wright on the shelf, the Raptors will lean on Fred VanVleet for a larger role off the bench. Norman Powell may also handle some ball-handling duties when he returns from a hip injury.

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Russell, Baynes

One month into his third NBA season and first as a regular member of the Raptors rotation, Delon Wright has dislocated his shoulder. As Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes, the guard suffered the injury in Thursday’s win over the Pelicans and will be out for an indefinite amount of time.

Wright had stepped up in the vacancy that Cory Joseph‘s free agency departure created. His 7.6 points and 2.6 assists per game were both career bests for the Raptors.

While there’s no guarantee that the 25-year-old will miss significant time for the Raptors, the injury comes on the same shoulder that he had surgery on in the summer of 2016, Josh Lewenberg of TSN says. In his first two NBA campaigns, Wright played just 27 games apiece.

A press release from the Raptors’ media relations department says that the next step for Wright will be to travel with the team to New York City next week for a special consultation.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Among the numerous players stepping up for the Celtics this season is offseason free agent addition Aron Baynes, Nick Metallinos of ESPN writes. Baynes provides toughness and leadership for a Boston team that lacked size last season.
  • The “reality of the NBA” has forced the Nets to experiment with smaller lineups. That’s head coach Kenny Atkinson‘s justification for why Timofey Mozgov‘s role has shrunk over the course of the season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
  • Sidelined Nets guard D’Angelo Russell underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee today, the team’s official Twitter account tweets. Russell has been out of action since November 11. Expect the team to apply for a disabled player exception. Per Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, general manager Sean Marks says there’s “probably a good chance” that they do. A DPE would be designed to replace Jeremy Lin, rather than Russell, since Lin is out for the season.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Knicks, Hernangomez, Wright

Markelle Fultz‘s NBA career is off to an unusual start. After playing through shoulder pain for the first few games of the regular season, Fultz has been shut down by the Sixers for at least the next three contests after comments made by his agent to ESPN.

Given how cautions the Sixers have been in recent years with top picks, it’s fair to wonder why Fultz was on the court at all to start the year. However, as Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo insists there’s no structural damage to Fultz’s shoulder and that he was medically cleared to play.

Colangelo also suggested that Fultz’s shoulder pain may have been caused by the changes the rookie made to his shot mechanics, a hypothesis rejected by Fultz’s trainer, Keith Williams. Speaking to Sam Amick of USA Today, Williams stressed that the Sixers guard altered his jump shot as a way of coping with his shoulder pain, and that there would have been no reason to change his mechanics otherwise.

It’s an odd situation, one that Derek Bodner of The Athletic spent more than 3,500 words trying to sort out. In Bodner’s view, the statements from the Sixers and from Fultz’s camp don’t make sense unless there are nuggets of truth on both sides — perhaps the No. 1 overall pick slightly altered his shooting mechanics and his shoulder issue made things worse, forcing further changes to his form.

While we wait to see if Fultz can get healthy and recover his jump shot, let’s round up a few more Atlantic notes…

  • Acquiring Eric Bledsoe would be a classic Knicks move, and that’s not a good thing, argues Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney, who says a trade for Bledsoe would be ill-advised, suggests the club appears satisfied to be patient with its rebuild and avoid a deal for now.
  • Without Carmelo Anthony on the roster to provide “automatic offense,” the Knicks are struggling this season to adjust to Jeff Hornacek‘s new, post-triangle offense, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • In a separate article for The New York Post, Berman explores what Willy Hernangomez has to do to get back into the Knicks‘ rotation. Berman also notes that Joakim Noah will certainly have a role when he returns from his suspension, further crowding the frontcourt picture.
  • Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca takes an in-depth look at Delon Wright‘s path to the NBA and has development into a reliable bench player for the Raptors. As Grange notes, Toronto’s confidence in Wright – who will be extension-eligible in the 2018 offseason – allowed the team to trade backup point guard Cory Joseph to Indiana this summer.

Raptors Exercise Options On Wright, Poeltl, Siakam

The Raptors have exercised three team options for the 2018/19 season, announcing today in a press release that they’ve picked up Delon Wright‘s fourth year option, as well as third-year options for Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2018/19 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Wright, the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, appeared in just 27 games for the Raptors last season, with Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph ahead of him on the depth chart for most of the year. However, with Joseph no longer on the roster, Wright figures to be in line for a larger role as he and Fred VanVleet back up Lowry. His fourth-year option for 2018/19 will count for $2,536,898 on Toronto’s cap.

Poeltl and Siakam, meanwhile, will also be relied upon for more significant roles this season. The two 2016 first-rounders didn’t play a ton as rookies last season, but the offseason departures of Patrick Patterson, P.J. Tucker, and DeMarre Carroll will open up more frontcourt minutes in the Raptors’ rotation.

Poeltl, last year’s ninth overall pick, has the most expensive 2018/19 option of the three, at $2,947,320. Siakam’s is worth $1,544,951. The Raptors will have to decide next offseason on fourth-year options for 2019/20 for the duo. If those are exercised, Poeltl and Siakam will become extension-eligible in the summer of 2019, and would be on track to be restricted free agents in 2020.