Jalen Harris

Suspended Jalen Harris Signs With Italian Team

Jalen Harris, who has been suspended by the NBA for violating its anti-drug program, has signed a one-year deal with Italy’s Vanoli Cremona, the Italian team tweets (hat tip to Sportando).

The NBA dismissed and disqualified Harris on July 1 and he’ll have to wait a year to apply for reinstatement.

Harris played for the Raptors on a two-way contract last season after being selected with the 59th pick in the 2020 draft out of the University of Nevada. He averaged 7.4 PPG in 13 games and was a standout on the Raptors’ G League team in his seven games with the 905, averaging 17.6 PPG on 50% shooting from 3-point distance.

The day after the suspension was announced, the Raptors waived Harris, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Thus, Toronto no longer holds his rights and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent if and when he’s eventually approved for reinstatement.

Jalen Harris Dismissed, Disqualified From NBA For Drug Violation

6:23pm: Harris’ dismissal is official, NBA Communications tweets. He’ll be eligible to apply for reinstatement in one year.

3:29pm: Raptors guard Jalen Harris has been dismissed and disqualified from the NBA due to violating terms of the league’s anti-drug program, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. According to Charania, Harris is able to apply for reinstatement in one year.

Harris was selected with the 59th pick in the 2020 draft out of the University of Nevada and averaged 7.4 PPG in 13 games as a 22-year-old rookie. He was a standout on the Raptors’ G League team in his seven games with the 905, averaging 17.6 PPG on 50% shooting from three.

The manner of dismissal suggests that the violation was due to drug abuse, not use of performance enhancing drugs. As Blake Murphy of The Athletic points out in his tweet thread containing the list of substances that fall into the category of drugs of abuse, this renders Harris’ contract null, though the Raptors will retain his rights and have a chance to bring him back upon reinstatement if they so desire.

The details of the violation are unclear, but the penalty is similar to ones received by Tyreke Evans in 2019O.J. Mayo in 2016, and Chris Anderson in 2006. Anderson was able to return to the league two years later, but Mayo has never been reinstated. Evans is eligible to apply for reinstatement this summer.

Raptors Notes: Birch, Trent, Anunoby, Harris, More

Fourth-year center Khem Birch will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, giving him the freedom to sign with any team, but his comments following Sunday’s regular season finale made it sound as if he’d like to stick with the Raptors, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who tweets that Birch said fit is as important as money in free agency.

“I got lucky,” Birch said of his late-season move from the Magic to the Raptors. “If I would’ve stayed in Orlando people probably would’ve thought I’m just a regular bench big who can’t score. I’m fortunate these guys believed in me.”

After averaging 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 188 total games in Orlando (16.5 MPG), Birch put up 11.6 PPG and 7.2 RPG in 18 games (29.8 MPG) with Toronto and didn’t sacrifice efficiency — his field-goal percentage increased to 55.8% despite the fact that he was attempting a career-high 1.6 threes per game as a Raptor.

Here’s more on the Raptors, who missed the postseason for the first time since 2013:

  • As a restricted free agent who was a key trade-deadline acquisition for the Raptors, Gary Trent Jr. is a good bet to remain with the team, though he indicated today that he’s prepared for any scenario. According to Lewenberg (Twitter link), Trent said he understands that the NBA is a business and that – as an RFA – his future isn’t fully in his hands, but said he’d “definitely” be open to being a Raptor going forward.
  • OG Anunoby said that his injured calf is getting better and that he’s looking forward to carrying over his work this season into the summer, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Anunoby missed the final eight games of the season due to that calf issue.
  • With so many regular contributors injured or resting near the end of the season, many of the Raptors’ bench players have had a chance to shine. As Holly MacKenzie writes for the team’s official site, Stanley Johnson and Jalen Harris each established a new career-high for points in a game in the season’s final week (Harris did it twice).
  • Harris and Malachi Flynn didn’t receive a ton of attention this season compared to other members of the 2020/21 rookie class, but both players look like good fits in the Raptors’ culture and could stick around for a while, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

Atlantic Notes: Randle, Raptors, Nesmith, Harris

A major factor in the blossoming of Knicks forward Julius Randle into an All-Star has been his improved passing, contends Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Randle is averaging a career-best 5.9 APG this season.

Vorkunov credits Randle’s excellent aptitude for last-second passes, frequently distributed nanoseconds before he lands from his jumps. The extended timing is designed to attract defenders away from his passing targets. “A lot of coaches hate that,” Knicks reserve guard Derrick Rose said. “But I’m somebody [who has] been doing it for a while, too. As long as his turnover ratio isn’t greater than his assist ratio, I feel like it’s alright. He makes smart decisions. He’s delivering the ball.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors already appear to be playing with an eye towards next season as their play-in tournament odds continue to shrink, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. One sign is the team’s willingness to experiment. To wit, head coach Nick Nurse has tried new center Khem Birch as a fast-break ball handler of late. The club is 26-38, three games behind the 10th-seeded Wizards with just eight games left to make up ground.
  • After the Jazz defeated the Raptors 106-102 yesterday, the Knicks will officially at least make the league’s play-in tournament, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. This will mark the team’s first postseason appearance since 2013.
  • Though the Celtics anticipated that rookie first-round draft pick Aaron Nesmith could be an instant contributor as a shooter, he has made more of an impact with his hustle on both ends of the floor. A. Sherrod Blakely of the Boston Sports Journal examines the disparity between Nesmith’s anticipated skill set at the next level and the reality thus far. “I’m happy for him because it seems he has found a role with those guys now,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “It’s not the role we thought it would be or the role the Celtics thought it would be, but give him credit, he’s figured out a way to get on the floor which is huge for a rookie.”
  • Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said on Saturday that he appreciated the recent performance of Jalen Harris in limited minutes, and hopes to find more time for the rookie guard during the season’s home stretch, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports.

Raptors Notes: COVID Absences, Depth, Lowry, Harris

After playing without several key rotation players on Wednesday night vs. Detroit due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Raptors will be missing those same players on Thursday in Boston. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets, the club officially announced that Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn, and Patrick McCaw remain in the protocols and have been ruled out for tonight’s game.

Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell, the only starters unaffected by the protocols, combined to score 57 points on 19-of-31 shooting on Wednesday, but the rest of the Raptors contributed just 48 total points on 15-of-46 shooting. Toronto will need more from its supporting cast on Thursday if the club hopes to knock off the Celtics.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • While any team would struggle without three of its starters, the Raptors’ blowout loss to the lowly Pistons on Wednesday shone a light on the team’s lack of reliable depth, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. The absences of key players provided a chance for one or two role part-timers to step up and make a case for more minutes, but no one really seized that opportunity, Grange adds.
  • There are compelling reasons both for and against trading Kyle Lowry at the deadline, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who explores the dilemma facing the Raptors and notes that the team is under pressure to get the decision right.
  • The Raptors have reassigned rookie guard Jalen Harris to the Raptors 905 at Walt Disney World after recalling him for Wednesday’s game, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Harris now should have a chance to clear the G League bubble’s quarantine protocols in time to play for Toronto’s affiliate in the NBAGL postseason tournament next week.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Smart, Thibodeau, Sixers, Rose

There are positive signs that the PistonsRaptors game in Tampa will be played on Wednesday but Toronto will have to go without three starters. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby have been ruled out under the league’s health and safety protocols, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw will also be sidelined by the protocols. Jalen Harris and Donta Hall have been recalled from the G League bubble in Orlando, Lewenberg adds.

A majority of the coaching staff, including head coach Nick Nurse, will also miss the game, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. Those coaches were placed under the protocols prior to the team’s game on Friday. Sergio Scariolo will once again run the team on Wednesday. The Raptors, who had their game against Chicago on Sunday postponed, were originally scheduled to face Detroit on Tuesday.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Marcus Smart is “getting a lot closer” to returning to action, according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Mark Murphy of the Boston Globe tweets that Smart will benefit from additional team practice time after the All-Star break. Smart has been out since January 30 due to a Grade 1 left calf strain.
  • Tom Thibodeau has established himself as a serious candidate for Coach of the Year in his first season with the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Knicks players have been impressed with how hard the staff works and it has resulted in a winning record entering Tuesday’s game.
  • The Sixers have been given the go-ahead by the city of Philadelphia to bring back crowds in a limited capacity, the team tweets. The team will be allowed to have crowds at 15% capacity, or approximately 3,100 fans.
  • Knicks guard Derrick Rose missed the team’s game against San Antonio on Tuesday after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets.

Raptors Notes: Watanabe, Lowry, Drummond, G League

Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe has been able to eke out a consistent rotational role with Toronto this season, as Doug Smith of The Toronto Star details. Watanabe, who went undrafted in 2018 out of George Washington University, spent two seasons on a two-way deal with the Grizzlies before joining the Raptors at the start of the 2020/21 season. Watanabe is averaging 12.2 MPG with the club, converting 42.9% of his 1.6 three-point attempts.

All-Star teammate Kyle Lowry hailed the 6’9″ wing’s contributions: “He’s going to dive for loose balls, and he’s going to be at the right spot, and he’s going to give you everything (he’s) got. He just plays with an extreme hardness.”

Smith notes that Watanabe, currently on a two-way contract with Toronto, is likely to see his deal converted to a full NBA contract within the next month.

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wonders if Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry‘s charmed tenure with Toronto may be wrapping up soon. “There’s a time capsule for everybody and everything,” one Western Conference executive said, “and it’s probably just time to move on.” Lowry signed a one-year, $30.5MM extension with Toronto that will make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the current 2020/21 season. Though he has been his reliably excellent self, the team has stumbled out of the gate to a 10-13 record and the No. 9 seed in the East. Fischer points to several teams who could benefit from the still-productive lead guard’s services this season, including the Heat, Clippers, Pelicans and Magic.
  • After the Raptors’ title-winning frontcourt tandem of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol fled for championship-caliber rosters in sunny Los Angeles during the offseason, the club could still be mulling ways to fortify its center position. Sources tell The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor that the Raptors are among the teams interested in adding Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, currently earning $28.8MM this season on an expiring deal.
  • The Raptors are sending rookies Malachi Flynn and Jalen Harris to the NBAGL’s Orlando “bubble” campus to get some extended development this season. Doug Smith of The Toronto Star previews their upcoming adventure with Toronto’s G League affiliate, Raptors 905.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Pelle, Shumpert, Raptors G League, Walker, Smart

Kevin Knox‘s playing time has continued to diminish and his future with the Knicks organization is murkier than ever, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. The 2018 lottery pick never left the bench for the first time this season on Sunday. New York might look to deal Knox or even send him to Orlando to get some floor time with the G League’s Westchester Knicks. Knox’s rookie contract is guaranteed through next season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets signed Norvel Pelle and Iman Shumpert to non-guaranteed contracts to get up to the league minimum for roster spots but they may not last long, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates. With luxury tax issues, the Nets might open up those spots again as soon as February 10, then make the necessary additions when 10-day contracts are allowed on February 23. They could continue similar roster maneuvers right up to the March trade deadline, Hollinger adds.
  • Raptors 905 GM Chad Sanders is awaiting to hear the quarantine protocols regarding the shuttling of players between NBA teams and the G League bubble in Orlando, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. Two-way player Jalen Harris is already there but any additional assignments will hinge on those protocols, Murphy adds.
  • If the Celtics are truly going to contend for Eastern Conference supremacy this season, they’ll need more out of Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, Mark Medina of USA Today opines. At least one of those guards has to develop into a more consistent threat to help out the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Medina adds. Smart is currently sidelined by a calf strain.

Raptors Notes: Watanabe, Johnson, McCaw, Harris, 3-Point Shots

Yuta Watanabe and Stanley Johnson have emerged as key bench contributors for the Raptors, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star notes. “I think both (Watanabe) and Stanley have been doing a good job … when they check in to get our offense into another gear,” coach Nick Nurse said. Both players are trying to solidify the futures in the league. Johnson is headed to unrestricted free agency, while Watanabe is on a two-way deal.

We have more on the Raptors:

  • Patrick McCaw is showing some progress from his knee injury that has kept him out this season, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. McCaw participated in the non-contact portion of practice on Thursday. OG Anunoby (calf) and Norman Powell (quad) both missed Friday’s game against Sacramento.
  • Rookie guard Jalen Harris is joining Raptors 905 at the G League bubble in Orlando, Murphy adds in another tweet. The second-round pick from Nevada has appeared in two NBA games.
  • Toronto is on pace to take the second-most 3-pointers in league history and that may explain why the team is shooting fewer free throws, Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star notes. The Raptors were averaging 43.2 3-point attempts a game heading into Friday’s action but taking just 20.2 foul shots. The over-reliance on 3-point shots may help explain forward Pascal Siakam‘s slow start, Feschuk adds.

Raptors Sign Jalen Harris To Two-Way Deal, Re-Sign Oshae Brissett

The Raptors have officially filled out their training camp roster, having signed second-round pick Jalen Harris to a two-way contract and restricted free agent forward Oshae Brissett to a multiyear deal, per RealGM’s official log of NBA transactions.

Harris, who began his college career at Louisiana Tech, transferred to Nevada and had a huge year in 2019/20 as a junior, averaging 21.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 3.9 APG with a .446/.362/.823 shooting line in 30 games (33.0 MPG). The 22-year-old guard declared for the draft and was selected by the Raptors with the 59th overall pick. He’ll occupy one of the team’s two-way slots, while Paul Watson holds the other.

As for Brissett, he appeared in 19 games for the Raptors on a two-way contract as a rookie last season, playing mostly garbage-time minutes. The former Syracuse standout averaged 1.9 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 7.1 minutes per contest. In 30 G League games for the Raptors 905, he bumped those numbers to 14.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 27.8 MPG.

Brissett received a two-way qualifying offer from Toronto, but the two sides ended up negotiating a new standard contract instead — it’ll probably be a two-year deal worth the minimum salary. He’ll likely get a small partial guarantee in year one and will compete in training camp for a regular season roster spot, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic.

Brissett’s competitors for the 15th roster spot will be Henry Ellenson, Yuta Watanabe, and Alize Johnson. Their deals, which were reported on Friday, are all official now too, per RealGM.