Malachi Flynn

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 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.

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Nets, Drummond, Flynn

In the absence of injured veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has provided Toronto a glimpse of the next era of its core leadership, per Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star. The 34-year-old Lowry has served as the longtime emotional center driving Toronto. He will be an unrestricted free agent when the season ends. The Raptors have posted an encouraging 16-2 record without Lowry over the past two seasons.

VanVleet has averaged 22.0 PPG and 7.1 APG across 15 Raptors games without Lowry during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, Feschuk goes on to note.

“Any time a guy goes down, it’s that next-man-up mentality that we have always had around here and something that I have tried to continue to do is just increase my level of play when he’s out,” VanVleet said of adjusting to the absence of his current Raptors backcourt mate. “I thought the entire team just picked it up a notch when he went down and that’s what you like to see.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • A strained left hamstring will continue to sideline Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant as Brooklyn takes on the Lakers in a TNT bout tonight, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets that the other injured Nets All-Star, guard Kyrie Irving, will be returning to action for Brooklyn tonight. Irving missed the Nets’ latest game, a 128-124 thriller against the Suns on Tuesday night, due to a lower back injury.
  • Now that the Cavaliers have established they are officially benching center Andre Drummond ahead of a trade or possible buyout, the Knicks should consider adding the big man to their ranks via trade, argues Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman notes that New York considered trading for Drummond last season before he was ultimately shipped to Cleveland by the Pistons.
  • The Raptors are recalling rookie point guard Malachi Flynn from their G League affiliate, Raptors 905, per Blake Murphy of The Athletic (via Twitter). Murphy adds that Flynn is available to play for the club tonight (Twitter link) in its current contest against the Bucks.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Ntilikina, Rose, Quickley, Flynn

Sixers center Joel Embiid is having the best season of his career and has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. In addition to anchoring a defense that ranks first in the Eastern Conference with a 107.4 rating, Embiid is having his best offensive season, with career highs in points per game (29.3), field-goal percentage (55.3%), and three-point percentage (39.0%), among other categories.

Even if he doesn’t earn MVP honors, Embiid is on track to be named to one of the league’s three All-NBA teams, which would bode well for his future earnings. If he earns an All-NBA spot this season, the Sixers star would become eligible to sign a super-max contract extension that would start at 35% of the 2023/24 salary cap instead of his standard limit of 30%.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina has been ruled out for Tuesday due to entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per the team (Twitter link). Ntilikina hasn’t tested positive, but is subject to contact tracing after having been in proximity to someone who tested positive, reports Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link). If Ntilikina is determined to have been a close contact of that person, he may be sidelined for the next week.
  • While there’s some concern among Knicks fans that newly-acquired point guard Derrick Rose will steal minutes from promising rookie Immanuel Quickley, the two guards have already begun to bond, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “First of all he gave me his number — said anything I need just hit him,” Quickley said of Rose on Tuesday. “But he sat down with me a little bit, me and Obi (Toppin) actually, just told us he’s here to help us, he’s here to help us grow and things like that.”
  • As he heads to the G League bubble to gain regular playing time and experience, Malachi Flynn is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet, who won an NBAGL title as a rookie before emerging as a key player for an NBA championship team two years later. Blake Murphy of The Athletic has the story.

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: Embiid, Curry, Celtics, Raptors

Sixers star Joel Embiid is widely expected to make the All-Star team this season, but the 26-year-old wouldn’t commit to playing in the game when asked about it on Thursday, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Embiid is currently enjoying a career-best season, averaging 29.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest. He’s made the All-Star Game in each of his last three campaigns.

“I am not sure if I am going to make it, but hopefully I get the chance to be part of it once again,” Embiid said. “I have always been conservative. I have always voiced my opinion since the pandemic started, starting with the bubble, wasn’t really all [for it] and then the season.”

Embiid isn’t the first player to seemingly voice concerns over the All-Star Game being held, with Kings star De’Aaron Fox recently opposing the decision and Lakers superstar LeBron James also speaking out against the idea on Thursday night. The game is currently set be held on March 7 in Atlanta.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines how Seth Curry‘s recovery from COVID-19 has impacted his performance. Curry was acquired by the Sixers last offseason, most recently going scoreless in the team’s loss on Thursday (0-for-1 shooting in 12 minutes). He also didn’t record a point on Wednesday, shooting 0-for-3 in nearly 29 minutes.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores the Celtics‘ 10 most valuable trade assets. Boston has several young players on its roster and a $28.5MM trade exception, making them a team worth watching ahead of the March 25 trade deadline. The club is currently 11-9.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic examines topics related to Raptors guard Malachi Flynn, trade scenarios and Plan B’s in his latest mailbag. Toronto has opened the season with a 9-12 record, though the team is 6-4 in its last 10 games.

Atlantic Notes: Bembry, Perry, Flynn, Celtics

After not cracking the Toronto rotation for the club’s first 20 games, fifth-year Raptors reserve swingman DeAndre’ Bembry has finally managed to etch out consistent minutes lately, writes Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Bembry is a new addition to the team this year, having inked a partially-guaranteed two-year, $3.7MM veteran’s minimum contract during the offseason.

Bembry credits intense Raptors practices with keeping him engaged even when he wasn’t logging significant time on the court. “That pretty much just keeps me going,” Bembry said. “[G]oing against some of the other guys that’s not playing, we would play one-on-ones, two-on-twos, even fives against each other.” Bembry is currently averaging 8.9 MPG across 12 contests, though his minutes tally per game has been increasing lately.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have sent two-way forward Reggie Perry to their G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, ahead of the start of the NBAGL’s 2021 season, per a tweet from the G League club. The season is set to tip off in an Orlando “bubble” campus next week.
  • Raptors rookie point guard Malachi Flynn will have plenty of in-game opportunity to finesse his game while with the Raptors 905 in the NBA G League Orlando bubble this season, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.
  • During a conversation with Boston morning radio show Toucher and Rich on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub, Celtics team president Danny Ainge indicated that the team will probably look to use a chunk of its $28.5MM traded player exception around the NBA trade deadline, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). Referring to the March 25 deadline as the sweet spot for using that TPE, Ainge noted that the C’s would like to add “shooting with size.”

Raptors Notes: Lineup Changes, Powell, Flynn, Attendance

The smaller lineups that Raptors coach Nick Nurse experimented with Friday could become permanent, writes Steven Loung of Sportsnet. Toronto picked up just its second win of the season as center Alex Len started for the first time since joining the team, taking the place of Aron Baynes. However most of the playing time in the middle went to Chris Boucher, with OG Anunoby filling in there as well.

Baynes has been “underachieving” since signing with the Raptors in the offseason, according to Loung. The veteran center is averaging just 5.3 points and 5.7 rebounds through his first seven games. Nurse liked how the smaller group responded and indicated that he may stick with it.

“I think the biggest thing is playing small, it does a number of things for us, but the biggest thing it does for us is it enables us to switch all the pick-and-rolls which, late in games, that’s going down pretty much at both ends, it’s pick-and-roll basketball,” Nurse said. “And then secondly, it almost puts OG and Pascal (Siakam) in the handling and screening situations, which, you know, OG is a good screener and finisher in that stuff.”

There’s more on the Raptors:

  • Friday marked the second start of the season for shooting guard Norman Powell, Loung adds in the same story. Powell scored 22 points while filling in for Kyle Lowry, who missed the game for personal reasons. “Yeah, I would. I would,” Nurse responded when asked whether he would consider making Powell a full-time starter. “He’s had two really good games as a starter and I would hate to count how many not-so-good games coming off the bench. So I would consider that at this point.”
  • Lowry’s absence gave rookie point guard Malachi Flynn his first chance at extended playing time, notes Chris O’Leary of Flynn, who showed promise during the preseason, responded with 12 points, five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes. “I’m going to stay confident regardless, but having a game like this definitely helps,” Flynn said. “So just continue to have that mindset of being confident and hopefully have more games like this.” 
  • The Raptors won’t have fans at their temporary home in Tampa, Florida, until at least February 5, according to The Associated Press. Vinik Sports Group, which owns Amalie Arena, made the announcement today because COVID-19 cases in the region have “risen sharply.”

Raptors Notes: Thomas, Lowry, Flynn, Anunoby

Matt Thomas is off to a strong start as he seeks a larger role in the Raptors‘ rotation this season, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. The second-year shooting guard posted 16 points, five assists and two steals in Toronto’s preseason opener Saturday night while hitting 4-of-7 shots from three-point range.

Thomas played just 10.7 minutes per game as a rookie, and he’s trying to break through in a crowded wing rotation. The offseason signing of DeAndre’ Bembry adds to a bench group that already includes Norman Powell, Terence Davis and rookies Malachi Flynn and Jalen Harris.

“He’s a shooter, obviously, but he’s also a good player,” coach Nick Nurse said of Thomas. “He cuts and he moves. He does the right thing on defense. He’ll get overmatched once in a while size-wise or strength-wise or whatever. But I think for as much as he does at the other end, and his good decision-making at both ends, I’m wanting to lock him into a role this year where he’s a big factor.”

There’s more on the Raptors:

  • Kyle Lowry‘s absence isn’t a cause for concern, Grange adds in the same story. The veteran guard didn’t accompany the team for its two games in Charlotte, but the coaching staff is just being cautious as Lowry prepares for his 15th NBA season. “It’s basically load management and just not really (seeing) any need to have him on the trip,” Nurse explained.
  • Flynn turned in a solid debut, playing almost 20 minutes with nine points and four assists, notes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. The rookie also lived up to the defensive reputation that helped make him the 29th pick in this year’s draft. “It’s just adjusting on the fly,” Flynn said. “It’s a different game, they call it different, so really I’m just trying to see how they call it and adjust to it and I’m still doing those things, so I think it’ll just be a lot of adjusting throughout the year.”
  • As they try to preserve cap space for next year’s free agent market, the Raptors have an important decision upcoming on whether to extend OG Anunoby, writes John Hollinger of the Athletic in a season preview for the team. Anunoby only counts $11MM against the cap for 2021/22 as long as he remains unsigned, but Toronto risks having a team submit a huge offer sheet if he becomes a restricted free agent.

Raptors Sign Malachi Flynn To Rookie Contract

The Raptors have officially signed first-round pick Malachi Flynn to his rookie contract, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

Flynn, who transferred to San Diego State after starting his college career at Washington State, had a breakout season in 2019/20 a junior. The 6’1″ point guard averaged 17.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.8 SPG with a .441/.373/.857 shooting line in 32 games (33.4 MPG) for the Aztecs. He was named the Mountain West Player and Defensive Player of the Year.

On draft night on November 18, Flynn was the 29th player off the board, going to Toronto with the second-last pick of the first round. As a Raptors rookie, he’ll get to learn from All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry and the newly re-signed Fred VanVleet.

Assuming he signs for the full 120% of the rookie scale amount – as nearly every player does – Flynn will earn $1.95MM in 2020/21. If he plays out his full four-year rookie deal, its total value will exceed $10MM. The full breakdown on those numbers can be found right here.