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.