Josh Jackson

Justin Champagnie Earns Raptors’ 15th Roster Spot

Justin Champagnie has won the training camp battle for the Raptors‘ 15th and final standard roster spot, sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet (Twitter link).

Toronto has waived the three other contenders for the last spot on the 15-man roster, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Those players are Josh Jackson, D.J. Wilson and Gabe Brown, and they’ll clear waivers on Monday, assuming they go unclaimed.

Champagnie, 21, went undrafted last year after starring in two college seasons at Pitt. He signed a two-way deal with the Raptors as a rookie, averaging 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per night in 36 games last season.

Though his role with the NBA club was modest, Champagnie averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 boards, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks on .489/.409/.778 shooting in 14 regular season games (35.9 minutes) for the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate, and clearly made a strong impression on the organization. His contract was previously partially guaranteed for $325K, but now he’s set to have his $1,637,966 deal for 2022/23 fully guaranteed.

Wilson had a $250K partial guarantee on his deal, and the Raptors will be on the hook for that amount. Jackson’s deal was non-guaranteed, as was Brown’s, but unlike Jackson, Brown signed an Exhibit 10 contract, so he will earn a $50K bonus if he spends at least 60 days with the Raptors 905.

Raptors Notes: Roster Battle, Boucher, Porter, J. Jackson, Achiuwa

With Dalano Banton likely to make the team after a strong preseason, the Raptors appear to have a three-man battle for their final roster spot, writes Lori Ewing of The Toronto StarJustin ChampagnieJosh Jackson and D.J. Wilson are all in the running and Friday’s preseason finale is their last chance to make an impression.

The competition is particularly stressful for Champagnie, who missed the first three preseason games with pain in his hip, Ewing notes. He played only eight minutes Sunday, recording one point and one rebound. Champagnie, who appeared in 36 games for Toronto as a rookie last season, estimates that he is 90 to 95 percent recovered from the hip issue.

“I sensed some urgency from Justin,” coach Nick Nurse said. “I think some other guys just kind of let their game each day do what it does. It’s hard to get all excited one game and be not so excited the next because they play good and then not so good. Then they come back in practice and light it up again and get you thinking again. (Making cuts) is always a tricky thing. We’ll see how it all shakes out. I think there are still a lot of questions to be answered.”

There’s more from Toronto:

  • A hamstring injury will keep Chris Boucher out of the lineup for Friday’s game, which is in his hometown of Montreal, Ewing adds. Free agency addition Otto Porter Jr. will also miss the game with an injured hamstring, and Nurse said he’s not certain if either player will be ready for the regular season opener next Wednesday.
  • Jackson is hoping to revive his career with the Raptors after playing for four teams in his first five NBA seasons, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Jackson takes responsibility for not living up to the expectations that came along with being the fourth pick in the 2017 draft. “I can’t say that every organization that I’ve been a part of has been great in helping its players succeed but, with that, what I have learned is you’ve got to be the one to make sure that you’re getting everything that you need,” he said. “You have to make sure you’re working on the things you need to work on because, at the end of the day, it is your career, it’s not theirs.”
  • Sixth Man of the Year or Most Improved Player honors might be within reach for Precious Achiuwa after his impressive performance during the second half of last season, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “[The accolades are] something that [will] just happen based on how I play,” Achiuwa said. “Control what I can control. Your shots aren’t always going to go in but being able to play defense and bring effort, that’s something you can control every game.”

Raptors Notes: Starting Lineup, VanVleet, Last Roster Spot, Barnes

When the Raptors face opponents with bigger frontcourts, they may switch up their lineup, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby will start most nights but it “doesn’t mean you always have to start your five best,” according to head coach Nick Nurse said.

“Do we really want Scottie, Pascal or OG guarding a really good, big five to start the game?” Nurse said. “I don’t think we do, so we’re going to have to make some adjustments to that, or it’s just going to be three minutes and we’re sending in a guy.”

We have more on the Raptors:

  • Fred VanVleet believes there’s good chemistry in the locker room, Michael Grange of SportsNet.ca writes. “I think you have to give credit to management and coaching staff. They have their hands full in terms of putting together a locker room that works before we even step on the court,” said VanVleet. “I think we have done a good job of building that back up. It feels more like a Raptors team now.”
  • Nurse may weigh potential offensive contributions a little more heavily when it comes to deciding which player gets the 15th spot on the roster, Grange tweetsJustin ChampagnieD.J. WilsonJosh Jackson and Gabe Brown are the candidates.
  • Barnes has been a little slow getting up to speed and there’s a good reason for that — the reigning Rookie of the Year was held out of training for the last three weeks prior to camp with a mild ankle sprain, Grange tweets. Nurse commented on that subject. “He’s playing a little bit of catch-up and it’s noticeable,” Nurse said, as relayed via a Lewenberg tweet. “I don’t think he’s shown a whole lot in the preseason… I think he’s just behind a little bit, conditioning-wise, feel-wise. We need to keep plugging away and get him feeling (like himself).”

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Melton, Raptors, G. Williams

Asked by Joe Vardon of The Athletic if he believes he’s gotten the proper credit for taking a pay cut this season in order to allow the Sixers to sign other players, including P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, James Harden shook his head.

“Nope, but guess what? I don’t care,” Harden said. “There’s like a stereotype (of Harden) where people always want to talk. People don’t really know me, so they feel like they can just say anything. One thing I won’t do is give them any attention. I won’t say anything, media-wise, publicly. I don’t care, because I’m comfortable and I’m confident in the things I do on and off the court.”

Harden turned down a player option worth more than $47MM and accepted a $33MM salary for 2022/23, with a player option worth $35.64MM for ’23/24. Having sacrificed some short-term money for the good of the team, the former MVP told Vardon he intends to take the same approach with his on-court statistics this season.

“At this point, (big) numbers are great, but whether I’m averaging 22 or 28 (points per game), I think it’s more that I’m making an impact on the game each and every night,” Harden said. “I don’t really think about numbers. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about numbers, honestly. … Ultimately, it’s winning a championship. The numbers don’t really mean anything, individually.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • De’Anthony Melton is looking forward to showing what he can bring this season to the Sixers and is grateful that Grizzlies head of basketball operations Zach Kleiman traded him to a favorable landing spot, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Zach and I have a good relationship to where I know he wouldn’t send me to a bad situation,” Melton said. “He wouldn’t do anything that he doesn’t feel like is a good situation for his organization and for me. You don’t get that in a lot of GMs. So that’s why the care factor was there. I could be wrong. I could be right, but that’s what I felt, given the situation.”
  • Dalano Banton‘s place on the Raptors‘ regular season roster looks increasingly secure after another solid performance vs. Chicago on Sunday, but the team’s 15th spot remains very much up in the air, says Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. As Grange notes, Justin Champagnie got a late start to the preseason, but hasn’t fallen far behind in the battle for the No. 15 spot, since none of D.J. Wilson, Josh Jackson, and Gabe Brown have run away with it.
  • In a mailbag for NBC Sports Boston, Chris Forsberg makes a case for why the Celtics and Grant Williams should be able to get a rookie scale extension done before next Monday’s deadline, arguing that a deal in the range of $12-13MM per year would allow Williams to earn more than the mid-level and let the team lock up another member of its core.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Simmons, Korkmaz, J. Jackson

The Nets are hoping to move past a chaotic offseason, but they looked completely out of sync in Thursday’s 29-point loss to the Heat, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “I didn’t like anything,” Kevin Durant said after Brooklyn committed 26 turnovers while shooting 39.2% from the field and 5-of-28 from three-point range. Coach Steve Nash agreed, saying a lot of improvement is needed before the regular season begins.

“We were second best in every category,” Nash said. “The mentality Miami brought, as we know they play physical, they’re going to get into you, and we allowed them to win that battle. All those little battles: Space, time, poise, screening, not screening, getting cut, no vision, not boxing out, not getting loose balls. You can go down the list, but really it starts with the mentality. They showed it and we’ve got to try to match that going forward.”

Ben Simmons struggled with playmaking duties in his second game after sitting out all of last season. Nash wants him to be more aggressive in attacking the basket, particularly against smaller defenders, but he managed just four points and four assists Thursday while turning the ball over six times.

“Get them out of the way now. Gotta get them out now. So that’s something I can be conscious of it and fix that I’m not too worried about that. I mean, it’s just the second game back in like a year,” Simmons said. “… I can’t be turning the ball over. I’m the point guard, so I’ve got to take responsibility in terms of that. But I’d rather figure out my angles and time the passes now and then in the regular season.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets were on the brink of disaster this summer, but they still haven’t gone over the edge, John Hollinger of the Athletic states in his preview of the team. Although there was high drama involving Durant and Kyrie Irving, Hollinger points out that Brooklyn didn’t make an offseason roster move involving anyone earning more than $10MM.
  • Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz blames nerve damage in his right arm for what he calls a “horrible” 2021/22 season, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The injury affected his shot and Korkmaz fell out of the team’s rotation after hitting a career-low 28.9% on three-pointers. “I want to show the people again what I’m capable of,” he said. “Because, at the end of the day, whatever you do, people remember the end (of the season).”
  • After signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Raptors this summer, Josh Jackson is making a strong bid for a roster spot, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.

Raptors Notes: Banton, Champagnie, Wilson, Jackson, Siakam

From all appearances, Dalano Banton will have his contract guaranteed and a spot on the Raptors’ opening night roster, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. That would leave forwards Justin Champagnie, D.J. Wilson and Josh Jackson fighting for one job during the preseason.

Coach Nick Nurse has spelled out the parameters of what he’s looking for at the end of his bench.

“Are they going to be able to understand what we’re doing, know what we’re doing, not make too many mistakes, be opportunity-type scorers?” he said. “Being on the same page out there, and being able to execute so that you’re fitting in, is always right at the top of the list. Competitive fire and drive, (playing) super hard is always 1, 1 and 1A. It’ll be interesting. It’s a battle, for sure.”

We have more on the Raptors:

  • Banton, a 2021 second-round selection, had nine points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Jazz in the preseason opener. Fred VanVleet notes how much Banton has learned since joining the team, Smith writes. “There’s a progression to the game slowing down for guys as they gain experience and you can see that with him,” VanVleet said of his young teammate. “Picking his spots, knowing where to attack, getting stronger and being able to finish at the rim. Last year he came in with amazing pace and that height at 6-9 but for him to really read the floor and know the system and kind of run the team a bit, I think that’s where he’s probably grown most and will continue to grow.”
  • A Siakam will bide his time with the team’s NBA G League affiliate this season. Christian Siakam, the older brother of the star forward, has been added to the Raptors 905 coaching staff, according to The Star. He worked with the club last season and played professionally for Bahrain Club and the Malaysian club KL Dragons.
  • Pascal Siakam aspires to reach the superstar level, prompting both Michael Grange of Sportsnet and Eric Koreen of The Athletic to explore how he could elevate his game to new heights.

Atlantic Notes: J. Jackson, Barrett, Harden, Harrell, Sixers

Josh Jackson‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Raptors is non-guaranteed for now, but would become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before October 17, the day before the regular season tips off, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Jackson is one of several Raptors players who has a significant financial incentive to make the team’s opening night roster. Dalano Banton, Justin Champagnie, and D.J. Wilson would also receive full guarantees if they’re still under contract at that point.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • RJ Barrett‘s four-year contract extension with the Knicks includes exactly $107MM in guaranteed money and $13MM in total incentives, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Like Barrett’s base salaries, his annual incentives increase by 8% a year, starting at $2,901,790 in 2023/24 and rising to $3,598,209 by ’26/27. Barrett’s starting base salary in year one of the extension is $23,883,929 — that figure will increase to $29,616,071 by ’26/27.
  • Sixers star James Harden played a major role in recruiting his former Rockets teammate Montrezl Harrell to Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). As Wojnarowski observes, Harden’s pay cut also created room under the hard cap for the 76ers to fit in Harrell’s minimum-salary contract.
  • In his latest mailbag, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com explores the possibility of the Sixers making a trade with the Jazz, evaluates De’Anthony Melton‘s potential role, considers how Philadelphia matches up with the new-look Cavs, and discusses several other 76ers-related topics.

Raptors Sign Josh Jackson To Non-Guaranteed Deal

3:00pm: Jackson’s contract is non-guaranteed, a source tells Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link).


2:26pm: The Raptors have signed free agent swingman Josh Jackson, the team announced (via Twitter). While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, it would be surprising if Jackson received a fully guaranteed contract.

The No. 4 overall pick of the 2017 draft after one season at Kansas, Jackson has struggled to gain traction in the NBA after being a highly touted but raw prospect.

Jackson was drafted by Phoenix, where he spent his first two seasons, then was traded to Memphis in the 2019 offseason. Memphis declined the team option on the fourth year of his rookie contract, so despite being a high pick, he only spent three of a possible four years on his rookie deal.

Jackson signed a two-year, $9.77MM contract with Detroit ahead of the 2020/21 season, but his on-court results were a mixed bag. He was in and out of the Pistons’ rotation last season and was later traded to the Kings at the February deadline in the four-team deal that sent Marvin Bagley III to Detroit.

Unfortunately, Jackson played even less for Sacramento than he had for Detroit, appearing in just 12 games for a total of 123 minutes.

In 291 career games, including 92 starts (23.1 MPG), the 25-year-old holds averages of 11.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.8 APG on .416/.292/.680 shooting. Jackson has good size (6’8″, 207 pounds) and above-average athleticism for a wing, but struggles to score efficiently, turns the ball over a lot (two more turnovers than assists in his career), and isn’t a great defender even though he has the tools for it.

The Raptors currently have 17 players on standard deals, including 13 with fully guaranteed contracts, according to our roster count. Jackson will likely be among the group that includes Dalano Banton, Justin Champagnie and D.J. Wilson as players battling for the final spots on the 15-man roster.

DiVincenzo To Kings, Bagley To Pistons In Four-Team Trade

7:14pm: The four-team deal is official, according to a Kings press release.

A press release from the Clippers notes that L.A. also received the draft rights to Vanja Marinkovic from Sacramento in the deal, sending the draft rights to David Michineau to the Kings. The cash going to Milwaukee in the trade comes from the Clippers.

As we previously relayed, the Kings waived Jahmi’us Ramsey and Robert Woodard to complete the move.


10:47am: The Kings are trading former No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III to the Pistons, sources tell Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), that move will be part of a four-team trade that sends Bucks wing Donte DiVincenzo to Sacramento.

The Clippers will be the fourth club involved in the deal, as Charania reports (via Twitter) that big man Serge Ibaka is headed to Milwaukee. Los Angeles is acquiring swingman Rodney Hood and forward Semi Ojeleye from the Bucks, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

Sacramento is receiving Pistons forwards Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles along with DiVincenzo, per Charania (via Twitter), while Detroit is also sending out multiple second-round picks, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Woj (via Twitter) breaks the deal down as follows:

  • Kings acquire DiVincenzo, Jackson, and Lyles.
  • Pistons acquire Bagley.
  • Clippers acquire Hood and Ojeleye.
  • Bucks acquire Ibaka, two second-round picks, and cash.

The Kings continue to reshape their roster after acquiring Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb in a trade with the Pacers Tuesday. DiVincenzo ($4.7MM this season) is eligible for restricted free agency in 2022 if Sacramento chooses to give him a qualifying offer, while Jackson ($3MM) is on an expiring deal. Lyles, however, earns $2.5MM this season and has a club option for next season at $2.6MM, giving the Kings some added flexibility.

DiVincenzo has been a solid defender, rebounder, and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He’s had a slow start to this season after recovering from ankle surgery and then entering the health and safety protocols, but he’s a young, controllable asset who likely won’t be too expensive going forward. Sacramento tried to acquire him prior to last season in the botched sign-and-trade that would have sent Bogdan Bogdanovic to the Bucks, but the deal was nullified due to “gun-jumping.” The Bucks ended up forfeiting a second-rounder in the process.

The Kings had reportedly been shopping Bagley for well over a year, as he was drafted by the previous front office regime and was publicly unhappy with the franchise. As a three-for-one trade, the Kings will have to waive two players, unless they make subsequent moves prior to the deal becoming official.

The Pistons are taking a gamble on Bagley, a good athlete who failed to develop in his time in Sacramento. Still just 22, Bagley could have untapped upside and figures to see more minutes on a rebuilding Pistons team. Like DiVincenzo, Bagley will be a restricted free agent in 2022. He’s earning $11.3MM in the final year of his rookie contract this season.

James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link) reports that the Pistons will be sending Sacramento’s 2024 second-round pick and either Cleveland’s or Golden State’s 2023 second-rounder (whichever is less favorable) to the Bucks.

For the Clippers, it’s a cost-cutting move that will save them approximately $30MM in luxury tax payments, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). In order for the deal to work, Ibaka will need to amend a portion of his 15% trade bonus, Marks tweets, which Los Angeles will be responsible for.

Greif reports (Twitter link) that the Clips have been interested in Hood and Ojeleye in the past. Both players are on veteran minimum deals that expire this summer. Moving Ibaka gives more clarity to a crowded center rotation featuring Ivica Zubac, Isaiah Hartenstein, and newly-acquired Robert Covington (in small-ball looks).

By adding Ibaka’s $9.7MM contract and sending out three players, the defending champion Bucks will have three open roster spots (not including Greg Monroe, who’s on a 10-day deal) and add $6MM towards the luxury tax, Marks tweets. The cash they’re receiving will help offset the additional luxury tax payment. The Bucks had been searching for a center for a few months due to Brook Lopez‘s back injury; their starting center has suited for just one game this season.

Ibaka is having a down year after undergoing back surgery himself last summer, but he’s a smart, proven veteran who can space the floor and protect the paint when healthy. The two-second round picks will be key assets for a Bucks team that could be facing the repeater tax for multiple seasons as they contend for more titles.

Rory Maher contributed to this story.

Scotto’s Latest: A. Holiday, LeVert, Cronin, Pistons, Simmons

Wizards guard Aaron Holiday is considered to be available via trade, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who said on the latest HoopsHype Podcast that multiple teams have checked in on Holiday’s price tag.

The Wizards acquired Holiday from Indiana in the five-team offseason trade that sent Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles. As the team’s backup point guard this season, the ex-Pacer has averaged 6.2 PPG and 1.9 APG on .475/.382/.808 shooting in 35 games (16.2 MPG). He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency during the 2022 offseason.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Most executives around the league believe Caris LeVert is now the most likely Pacers player to be traded, in the wake of Myles Turner‘s foot injury, says Scotto. There’s a sense that teams may lower their offers for Turner or back off pursuing him entirely, Scotto adds.
  • A number of rival execs believe Trail Blazers interim general manager Joe Cronin has a chance to keep the job on a permanent basis, according to Scotto. Interestingly, Portland announced a series of front office hires and promotions today — none of those moves impacts the very top of the team’s basketball operations department, but the fact that the franchise is actively adding and promoting executives under an interim GM is noteworthy.
  • On Tuesday, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested that the Pistons offered Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey, Kelly Olynyk, and a first-round pick for Ben Simmons earlier in the season, and the Sixers weren’t enthusiastic about the concept. Scotto has heard that Detroit’s offer, which was turned down by Philadelphia, actually consisted of Grant, Bey, and Josh Jackson.