Marc Gasol

Raptors Notes: Anunoby, Powell, Free Agents

While the Raptors‘ veteran free agents – Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka – will receive much of the attention this offseason, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star points out that the front office has key decisions to make on a couple other players who were part of the team’s top seven in 2019/20.

OG Anunoby will be eligible for a rookie scale contract extension this offseason, and while he earned an offer with his strong play in his third professional season, Smith anticipates the Raptors will wait until the forward reaches restricted free agency in 2021 in order to maintain cap flexibility.

Meanwhile, swingman Norman Powell is coming off the best season of his career and is entering a potential contract year (he has a player option for 2021/22), prompting Smith to suggest that the Raptors should think about gauging his value on the trade market.

As Smith writes, Powell is one of the team’s more intriguing chips and could be used to acquire a big man who would be a longer-term piece than Gasol or Ibaka. However, the Toronto Star scribe ultimately expects Powell to be back with the Raptors next season.

Here’s more out of Toronto:

  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic makes predictions for which Raptors are most and least likely to stick with the team through the offseason, speculating that Fred VanVleet (73.8%) is a better bet to return than Serge Ibaka (48.8%) or Marc Gasol (42.3%).
  • Elsewhere at The Athletic, Eric Koreen digs into whether re-signing VanVleet is essential for the Raptors’ future success. In Koreen’s view, it seems far more likely that the team will pay to retain the former undrafted free agent, rather than letting him walk and hoping its player development group can strike gold again on a long-term replacement.
  • In case you missed it, Nick Nurse‘s new contract extension with Toronto is reportedly worth about $8MM per year. That item and many others can be found on our Raptors team page.

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Lowry, Durant, Paul

The Raptors might offer Marc Gasol a one-year deal, but he’ll likely have more pursuers, according to The Toronto Star’s Doug Smith. Although Gasol didn’t have a notable impact in the postseason, the Raptors can re-sign the veteran center to a short-team deal and preserve cap space for next summer. However, he might get a multi-year offer elsewhere or play overseas.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry will become an unrestricted free agent after next season and it’s quite possible he could finish his career elsewhere, Smith writes in a separate story. It’s unlikely the Raptors will offer him an extension beforehand, since they’re hoping to keep their options open in 2021 free agency. Lowry, who will make $30.5MM next season, has shown he has plenty left in the tank. But his long run with the team could eventually end if Fred VanVleet is re-signed this summer.
  • Kevin Durant has been working out and playing full court with Nets teammates in Los Angeles, Net Income of NetsDaily relays. Durant, who sat out this season rehabbing his ruptured Achilles, says he feels “like myself” but still has a long way to go to reach his previous level. “I’m in a stage now where we’re just hooping every day,” Durant said on Joe Budden’s podcast. “I feel good waiting for next season to get back.”
  • How could Chris Paul land in Philadelphia? A number of Athletic writers explore various trade possibilities with either Paul or fellow Thunder guard Dennis Schroder – or even both – winding up with the Sixers.

Raptors Notes: Ujiri, Webster, VanVleet, Ibaka, Gasol

The “strong rumble” in the Walt Disney World bubble was that the Raptors were nearing new long-term extensions for president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, general manager Bobby Webster, and head coach Nick Nurse, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

Toronto announced a multiyear extension for Nurse earlier this week, but Ujiri told reporters today that he hasn’t engaged in contract discussions with Raptors ownership yet. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays (via Twitter), Ujiri said he wanted to prioritize new deals for his leadership team, including Nurse and Webster. He said an extension for Webster is “close,” per Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As for his own contract, Ujiri offered the following assessment, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link): I think it will come. When it comes we’ll deal with it face on. But as for now I’m focused on other things. When that time comes I will deal with it.”

Ujiri and Webster have one year remaining on their current contracts.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Re-signing unrestricted free agent Fred VanVleet will be a “big-time priority” for the Raptors this offseason, Ujiri said today (Twitter link via Murphy). He added that the club has a good sense of where its free agents still have room to grow or develop.
  • Ujiri also called free agent big men Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol priorities for the Raptors, though he acknowledged the challenges inherent in balancing the club’s short-term interests and long-term flexibility (Twitter link via Lewenberg). Toronto is expected to try to maximize its cap flexibility for the summer of 2021 as best it can.
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic ranks the players on the Raptors’ roster by trade value, starting with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.
  • In case you missed it, we explained on Wednesday how Siakam’s All-NBA Second Team berth will affect the forward’s earnings going forward. Because Siakam’s extension will begin at 28% of the 2020/21 cap instead of 25%, the Raptors now project to have about $3.5MM less cap space during the summer of 2021, assuming the cap for ’20/21 stays the same as in ’19/20.

Marc Gasol May Consider Return To Europe

Raptors center Marc Gasol may consider finishing his professional basketball career in Europe, according to Xavi Saiso Garcia of radio Ser Catalunya.

Saiso Garcia adds that if the 35-year-old decides to play overseas, it would be for family reasons. Before joining the Grizzlies in 2008/09, Gasol spent five seasons overseas with FC Barcelona Lassa and Sant Josep Girona.

The 7’1″ big man will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason after spending the last two seasons in Toronto. This season with the Raptors, Gasol averaged 7.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 3.3 APG in 26.4 MPG.

If the 13-year NBA veteran decided to play in Europe, it would not be the first time that we saw a player of his stature do so. Last offseason, Nikola Mirotic, who was an unrestricted free agent, signed a deal with EuroLeague club Barcelona. The veteran forward reportedly would’ve received offers ranging between $45-50MM in NBA free agency.

Raptors Notes: VanVleet, Gasol, Ibaka, Anunoby

Now that the offseason has arrived for the Raptors, their attention will turn to re-signing Fred VanVleet, who will be one of the top names on the free agent market, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. After making a name for himself by hitting big shots in last year’s playoffs, VanVleet became a full -time starter and turned in his best NBA season, averaging career highs with 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game.

At 26, the fourth-year guard will be part of the Raptors’ foundation if he stays in Toronto, and he said he had plenty of time to consider his situation while the league was on hiatus.

“Being at home for that long, it gives you a lot of time to reflect on things,” VanVleet said. “I’m sure — like all of us, everybody’s jobs were in jeopardy — I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the league. I wasn’t sure about next year with the cap and what the numbers would look like, so it put a lot of things in perspective. It changed the way you would view everything and makes you appreciate things a lot more. … I’m not looking ahead, or I was never looking ahead all year. I was focused on trying to win a championship with this team. And we got the opportunity to come back here in the bubble and give ourselves a chance, and that’s all you can ask for.”

There’s more on the Raptors:

  • Toronto faces difficult decisions on free agents Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Injuries limited Gasol to 44 games this year and he averaged a career-low 7.5 PPG. Gasol will turn 36 in January, but Marks expects him to have a future in the league, probably making $6-8MM less than his $25.5MM salary this season. Ibaka averaged a career-best 15.4 PPG and Marks believes he will get offers at the $9.3MM midlevel exception from playoff teams without cap space. He mentions the Mavericks and Trail Blazers as possibilities, but guesses that Toronto may offer a one-year deal at $18MM to keep Ibaka and preserve cap space for the summer of 2021.
  • Another important decision involves OG Anunoby, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension, Marks adds in the same story. Anunoby has a free-agent cap hold for 2021 of $11.7MM, and any extension above that number will eat into the team’s cap space next year. He will become a restricted free agent next summer if he’s not extended, and Marks points out that his value could be much higher by then.
  • Pascal Siakam never rediscovered his shot once the shutdown ended, which was a big factor in the series loss to Boston, notes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Siakam said he accepts “a lot of the blame” for the defeat, but Kyle Lowry had a prediction for his teammate. “I think this is only going to make him a better basketball player, a better man, a better everything,” Lowry said. “I would not be surprised to see him come back even more hungry and destroying people.”

Atlantic Notes: Hayward, Lowry, Ivey, Gasol

The Celtics’ Gordon Hayward has cleared the quarantine process in Orlando, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets, but it’s uncertain whether he’ll be able to play in the conference finals if his team advances on Friday. Hayward suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in the first round of the playoffs last month against the Sixers. He averaged 17.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 4.1 APG during the regular season.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Kyle Lowry doesn’t need any added incentive after leading the Raptors to a Game 7 showdown with Boston, but he’ll benefit monetarily if the Raptors reach the conference finals for the second consecutive season. Lowry will earn a $500K bonus if Toronto advances, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.
  • Knicks player development coach Royal Ivey is drawing interest from other teams, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. The Knicks aren’t sure whether they want to hold onto Ivey and it’s likely he’d be allowed out of his contract to pursue another job. At least one team was interested in giving Ivey a more prominent assistant’s role last season but the Knicks’ previous regime wouldn’t allow an interview. New York had plans to add a sixth assistant, but it’s unclear if that will happen, Begley adds.
  • Marc Gasol‘s stint with the Raptors is heading toward an unceremonious end, Michael Grange of Sportsnet Canada writes. The impending free agent center is averaging just 5.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 2.0 APG in the conference semifinals against Boston. Gasol is making $25.6MM in the final year of his contract.

Western Notes: Gasol, Doncic, Kings, Zion

Marc Gasol played the Grizzlies on Sunday for the first time since being traded to Toronto in February of 2019, though this isn’t how the veteran center envisioned his reunion would be, Josh Lewenberg of TSN writes. 

The Raptors and Grizzlies were originally slated to play each other twice late in the 2019/20 season, though COVID-19 naturally put a halt to these plans in March. Gasol didn’t get the chance this season to play in Memphis for the first time since the trade, with the city still holding a special place in his heart.

“I got there when I was 16 years old, it was my first time out of Spain,” Gasol said. “Imagine what it meant for me to go to high school there as a teenager and [then leave] as a father of two kids. My youngest actually is from Memphis. He was born in Memphis. And my daughter, their best friends are from Memphis and so on.”

“My ties to the city and my roots go pretty deep. My love for the people there, and what they mean [to me], and for the franchise, it’s forever.”

Gasol spent the first 10 1/2 seasons of his career with the Grizzlies, making three All-Star teams while leading the franchise to numerous playoff berths. He recorded 10 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes of action during the contest.

There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:

  • Several figures around the league raved about the performance from Mavericks star Luka Doncic on Saturday, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. Doncic finished with 36 points, 14 rebounds and 19 assists in a win over the Bucks, as he continues to prove his worth as an offensive superstar. “I clapped,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I applauded. I thought it was phenomenal. The sign of a great player, a truly great player, is the ability to pull off something like that against a team like Milwaukee, that gives up virtually nothing in the paint. We’re seeing more things all the time. Luka is not only a great basketball player, he’s a great performer. I’d pay money to watch him play. I don’t say that about a lot of players, but he’s really special.”
  • Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee explores the job security of Kings coach Luke Walton, general manager Vlade Divac, and more in his latest mailbag. Sacramento (29-40) is currently three games behind the No. 8 seed Grizzlies (33-38), losing four of their five games in Orlando. The team will be eliminated from playoff contention if it loses to the Rockets on Sunday.
  • NBA insiders at ESPN explore how Pelicans star Zion Williamson has played in Orlando and what it means for the team’s future. Williamson has seen his minutes reduced throughout the team’s games, even scoring a career-low seven points in just 14 minutes during his second game on the campus. Most of the writers agree that Williamson, despite his impressive athleticism and defensive potential, needs to show more effort on defense to reach the next level of his game and help the Pelicans succeed.

International Notes: Mirotic, Scola, M. Gasol, Rudez

Former NBA forward Nikola Mirotic has been named MVP of Liga ACB, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. It’s the second European MVP award for the 29-year-old, who is preparing for a semifinal playoff game tomorrow with his FC Barcelona team.

Mirotic made a surprising decision to return to Europe last summer after five NBA seasons. He was projected to land a contract somewhere in the range of $45MM over three years if he had remained in the NBA, and Johnson reports that he had an offer in place from the Jazz. Mirotic spent most of his career with the Bulls, and split last season between the Pelicans and Bucks.

“You can see it in my face, in my smile. It was a good surprise, it brightened my day,” he said in an interview with Eurohoops.net about winning the award. “The MVP award for me means a collective work of the team. This award goes to all my teammates who have helped me to be better every day. Each game has helped me to feel good. And of course to the coaching staff who have managed to put me in the best position that I feel effective. And also for all those who support us, the fans.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Luis Scola, who left Olympia Milano earlier this month, will remain in Italy and sign with Varese, a source tells Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The 40-year-old forward hopes to play one more season before ending his career with the Olympics next summer.
  • Raptors center Marc Gasol announced Friday that the club he owns in Spain, Girona Basket, will create the country’s first 3×3 professional team, according to Michael Houston of insidethegame.biz. Growing in popularity around the world, 3×3 basketball will make its Olympics debut next year in Tokyo.
  • Former Pacers, Timberwolves and Magic forward Damjan Rudez signed a two-year deal with Donar in the Netherlands, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Ibaka, Wanamaker, Sixers

While the Raptors should have some flexibility in free agency this offseason, they may ultimately have to decide between re-signing Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka, especially if they re-sign Fred VanVleet, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

As Koreen details, Ibaka – who is several years younger than Gasol – looks like the safer choice, particularly since Gasol has been slowed by health issues this season. However, considering the Raptors may prefer to hand out a big-money, one-year deal rather than make a multiyear commitment, age concerns may not be a major factor in the team’s decision, says Koreen.

After breaking down the Raptors’ numbers with each center on the court and noting Gasol’s abilities as a playmaker and as a positional defender, Koreen concludes that he’d probably prioritize Gasol over Ibaka if he were making the decision, since the Spaniard likely increases the team’s ceiling a little more — even if he comes with some added risk.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following up on a report by Chema De Lucas (Twitter link), Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link) confirms that Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker has no intention of leaving the NBA to return to Europe. Before joining Boston for the 2018/19 season, Wanamaker had built an impressive international résumé, winning multiple championships and several awards in Germany and Turkey.
  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic explores how the Sixers would be affected if the 2020/21 salary cap comes in lower than initially expected. As Bodner observes, a tighter cap would make it harder for Philadelphia to trade Al Horford or Tobias Harris if that’s an option the team wants to explore. It could also substantially increase the 76ers’ potential tax bill.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along a handful of Knicks and Nets notes earlier today.

Raptors Notes: Gasol, Ibaka, VanVleet, Powell

Lost revenue from the NBA’s hiatus has the Raptors in a position of financial uncertainty as they look ahead to the offseason, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Toronto has just nine players signed beyond this season, and only four of them are part of the rotation. Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet are all headed for free agency, and the Raptors aren’t sure how much cap room they’ll have available.

The league may lose hundreds of millions in projected earnings if it can’t salvage a significant portion of its remaining season. That’s on top of lost money resulting from the dispute with China. Smith points out that Pascal Siakam‘s new extension, which begins next season, is based on a percentage of the salary cap. While that might give the Raptors more money to work with than they were expecting, it adds to the muddled financial picture.

There’s more from Toronto:

  • The Raptors should prioritize re-signing Gasol over Ibaka if they decide not to keep both, argues Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Even though Ibaka is five years younger and a better scorer, Murphy sees Gasol as a superior passer, defender and floor spacer. He also suggests that Gasol may be more willing to accept a large one-year contract, which allows the team to remain competitive in a talented 2021 free agent class.
  • Murphy had expected VanVleet to get an offer beyond what Toronto is willing to pay, but he cautions that a lower salary cap might change the equation. He projected that the Raptors would offer the fourth-year guard a new deal in the range of $17MM to $20MM annually. Only five or six teams will have the money to top that, and several of them already have young point guards in place. Murphy states that VanVleet’s best strategy may be to accept a long-term deal in Toronto that takes advantage of his Bird rights.
  • Norman Powell‘s improvement this season may tempt the Raptors to hold onto his contract rather than trade it for cap relief, Murphy adds. Powell is owed nearly $10.9MM next season and has an $11.6MM player option for 2021/22.