Marc Gasol

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.

And-Ones: Pistons, Morris, Harris, Gasol

The Pistons have made some interesting moves over the past few weeks, trading away Andre Drummond and agreeing to buyouts with both Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris. The franchise appears to be in the midst of a tear-down, and as ESPN’s Bobby Marks explains (Twitter link), this offseason will be a test to see if the team has the stomach to be patient and rebuild.

Detroit is projected to have approximately $36MM in cap space this summer and what the organization does with that flexibility will go a long way toward identifying the team’s actual plans.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Lakers appear to be the favorite to sign Morris, though as Marks tweets, other teams are eligible to claim the power forward off waivers, which would void the buyout. The new team would be on the hook for his player option next season if they claim Morris. Marks adds that teams can use a trade exception to claim the veteran and the Rockets are among the teams with a large enough TPE.
  • Joe Harris hopes to re-sign with the Nets, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Harris spoke about his desire to play alongside Kevin Durant, who hasn’t suited up since signing with Brooklyn.
  • Marc Gasol could miss additional time with his lingering hamstring injury, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). The Raptors want to make sure the big man is fully healthy before putting him back out on the court.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Gasol, Raptors, Nets, C’s

As Sixers general manager Elton Brand weighs possible trade scenarios this week, the final pre-deadline look he got at his roster came on Monday, when Philadelphia was run off the court by Miami in a 137-106 blowout. The Heat’s dominant win extended the 76ers’ losing streak to three games and drew some criticism from All-Star guard Ben Simmons.

“We were soft,” Simmons said of the Sixers, per ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “… The physicality side of things, we gotta step that up. That comes with experience, also just comes with personality. Don’t get bullied.”

While Simmons’ comments likely won’t have any direct impact on what Brand does at the deadline, Wolfe points out that the former No. 1 pick also called the Sixers “soft” last January. The club’s deal for Tobias Harris came a few weeks later.

This time around, the Sixers aren’t as well-equipped to make a blockbuster trade, so a move around the edges – possibly for a shooter – is more realistic. For the most part, it’ll be up to the current group to get out of its latest slump, which has dropped Philadelphia’s road record to 9-18 for the season.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • It sounds like Raptors center Marc Gasol, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, will likely be sidelined through the All-Star break, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Gasol’s hamstring isn’t viewed as a serious issue, but the club wants to be cautious.
  • There are several reasons why the Raptors are unlikely to make a major trade at this season’s deadline, including the way their roster is constructed and their intrigue with the pieces they already have, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.
  • The Nets also look like a long shot to make a splash on the trade market this week, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Everything that Lewis is hearing from team and league sources points toward Brooklyn doing something relatively minor if the team makes a move at all. Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa, Theo Pinson, and Wilson Chandler are among the Nets’ trade candidates, in Lewis’ view.
  • The Celtics‘ trade deadline plans could be affected to some extent by what they expect Gordon Hayward to do with his $34MM player option this summer, says Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Boston has a few different paths this offseason depending on whether Hayward opts in, leaves in free agency, or signs a new long-term deal with the C’s. As Bulpett relays, the veteran forward isn’t ready to make a decision on that option. “I haven’t thought about it at all,” Hayward said.

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Ibaka, Jordan, Nets, Sixers

After getting two injured players – Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell – back on Sunday, the Raptors will get more reinforcements on Wednesday, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who tweets that Marc Gasol is set to return to the team. The big man has been sidelined since December 18 due to a hamstring injury.

With Gasol healthy again, the Raptors will have a decision to make. Gasol was the team’s starting center before going on the injured list, but Serge Ibaka has been playing some of his best basketball in years during Gasol’s absence, averaging 18.1 PPG and 10.3 RPG with a .541 FG% and a .441 3PT% in 12 games as a starter.

According to Raptors lead assistant coach Adrian Griffin, head coach Nick Nurse will make the decision on who will start at center (Twitter link via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun). Nurse likes to experiment with his lineups and may try different combinations when Gasol returns, but I’d be surprised if the former Defensive Player of the Year doesn’t reclaim his starting spot, either right away or down the road.

Gasol and Ibaka are on expiring contracts, so both veteran Raptors centers will be motivated to finish the season strong.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In an interesting piece for ESPN.com, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com examines how DeAndre Jordan‘s gregarious personality and positive locker-room presence factored into the Nets‘ decision to invest $40MM in him this past summer. “We knew we were wading through some uncharted waters where we’ve never been before — where expectations are a little bit bigger,” GM Sean Marks said. “To have a guy like DJ, who can hopefully keep the mood light behind the scenes is — it’s really important.”
  • Within Andrews’ article, Marks acknowledged that the Nets expect to become a taxpaying team next season. The GM suggested that Brooklyn’s investment in Jordan was related to the fact that 2019 was one of the last opportunities the club will have for a while to use cap room. “We’re going to be a tax team,” Marks said. “We are married to that. There’s a limited amount of times and ways you can continue to add to your team. You better do it now. You’re gearing up for a run.”
  • Derek Bodner and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic list 19 potential trade targets for the Sixers at the deadline, including some backup fours, catch-and-shoot players, and combo guards. Meanwhile, David Aldridge of The Athletic makes the case for why acquiring another point guard should be the 76ers’ top priority in trade talks.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Siakam, Gallinari, C’s, Sixers

While some pundits still believe the Raptors might target future assets at the deadline, that’s clearly not the plan, according to Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star, who argues that the team should prioritize upgrading its roster and securing its spot among the Eastern Conference contenders.

Before the Raptors make any roster changes, it would benefit the front office to see the team’s full roster in action, something that hasn’t happened much this season. Currently, four of Toronto’s top six players in minutes per game – Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, and Fred VanVleet – are sidelined, but the club may begin to clear its injured list soon.

Siakam, Gasol, and Powell all took part in practice on Friday on a limited basis, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hears that there’s hope Siakam could be back in the lineup within the next week or so. A Sunday return would be a bit ambitious for Siakam or Gasol, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said today, but Powell is on track to be back on Sunday (Twitter link via Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca).

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Danilo Gallinari is among the potential trade targets the Celtics have monitored, a source tells Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Pincus lays out how Boston could acquire a player like Gallinari or Andre Drummond, but since it would almost certainly involve moving Gordon Hayward or a package headed by Marcus Smart, I’m skeptical the C’s will seriously pursue either player.
  • The Sixers were victorious on Thursday in the first game of what could be a multi-week absence for Joel Embiid, but Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports argues the team should still be worried about not having its star center active. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Bobby Marks point out (via Twitter) that Norvel Pelle only has five NBA days left on his two-way contract and will have to return to the G League soon if Philadelphia doesn’t open up a 15-man roster spot for him.
  • After Kawhi Leonard denied having any offseason interest in the Knicks, the club found a way to put a positive spin on those comments, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Kawhi’s uncle Dennis Robertson was in touch with the Knicks in the summer and wanted Leonard to listen to the team’s pitch. The Knicks claimed they canceled their scheduled meeting because they felt they were long shots for Leonard and believe the forward’s recent comments validate that decision, Berman notes.

Atlantic Notes: LeVert, Irving, Siakam, Gasol, Leonard

Nets guard Caris LeVert made his highly-anticipated return against the Raptors on Saturday night, seeing his first in-game action with the team since November 10.

LeVert, who had missed the last 24 games after undergoing surgery to address ligament damage in his thumb, finished with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting off the bench despite being on a minutes restriction.

“I felt pretty good out there. Obviously we wanted to get a win, but just me personally, I felt pretty good,” LeVert said, as relayed by Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

LeVert is widely considered as one of the most talented players on the Nets when healthy, and it’s possible he’ll rejoin the team’s starting lineup in the coming weeks. He averaged 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in 40 contests last season.

“Just adds one of our best players to the lineup quite honestly,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said of LeVert’s return. “A dynamic player, athleticism, quickness, speed. A guy that knows our system too. It’s not like some guy we signed out of the blue. I feel comfortable once he gets his rhythm. He knows what we’re doing on both sides of the ball so that’s a big comfort level.”

The Nets have been plagued with injuries to start the season, playing without Kevin Durant (torn Achilles’ rehab), Kyrie Irving (right shoulder; 11 games played), LeVert and others. Brooklyn owns the seventh-best record in the East at 16-18.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic details what we know about Kyrie Irving‘s lingering right shoulder injury, which has forced the six-time All-Star to miss the past 23 games. Irving recently received a cortisone shot for the shoulder impingement, opting to go this route instead of having arthroscopic surgery — for now. “I’m in a better place now that it’s been some significant time,” Irving said. “I tried to go without any anti-inflammatories, which is why it took so long. Now I’m at a place where the next step was to either get a cortisone shot or get surgery. So that was the ultimatum I was fixed with. So now I’m just doing the best I can to live off this cortisone and move forward if I need surgery in the future.”
  • Raptors big men Pascal Siakam (groin) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) still aren’t close to returning to action, head coach Nick Nurse said, as relayed by Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). “I would still say, if I was guessing, the order of comeback would probably be Matt [Thomas] and Norm [Powell], Marc and then lastly Pascal if that’s the case,” Nurse said. “But I think we’re still, I mean, we’re still a ways away with Marc and Pascal. I think Norm and Matt are in the front-view mirror, let’s put it that way.”
  • Kawhi Leonard said he never considered joining the Knicks in free agency and denied scheduling a meeting with the team, Ian Begley of SNY.tv writes. “I never said I was considering going to the Knicks. Everybody knew where I wanted to go once I requested the trade so I don’t know where that came from,” Leonard said. New York lost out on Kawhi, who signed with the Clippers, as well as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who signed with the Nets. The Knicks claimed they pulled out of a scheduled meeting with Leonard.

Eastern Notes: Love, McConnell, Celtics, Raptors

There’s “fresh optimism” that the Cavaliers will be able to deal power forward Kevin Love before next month’s trade deadline, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Love recently expressed frustration regarding his long-term status with the franchise. Love is in the first year of a four-year, $120.4MM extension. He’s averaging 16.5 PPG and 10.6 RPG in 30.6 MPG this season.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Sixers let point guard T.J. McConnell walk in free agency but the Pacers reserve doesn’t harbor ill will toward his previous team, Mark Monteith of the Indianapolis Star relays. McConnell signed a two-year, $7MM with Indiana, though his salary for next season isn’t guaranteed. McConnell recorded his first double-double of the season against his former club with 11 points and 10 assists on Tuesday. “Nothing but respect,” he said of Philadelphia’s organization. “I would never hold any grudges.”
  • Celtics fans should not expect a trade to upgrade the frontcourt, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. It’s unlikely they’ll find a deal for a quality big man that doesn’t involve moving one of the team’s top five players, Forsberg continues. They could add a proven role player before the trade deadline but they might be better off waiting to see which players wind up in the buyout market, Forsberg adds.
  • The Raptors’ quick start puts them in a tricky position regarding the trade market, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated notes. It was generally assumed that Toronto would be a seller with the ability to dangle the expiring contracts of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. The one-year extension handed to Kyle Lowry was done in part to make the veteran point guard more tradeable. But now there’s a window for the club to make a run at another championship, Mannix adds.

Raptors Notes: Siakam, Gasol, Powell, VanVleet

The Raptors, who have already been without Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and a handful of role players for stretches this season, will now put their roster depth to its biggest test yet. The team announced on Thursday that Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring), and Norman Powell (shoulder) will all be sidelined indefinitely.

Siakam has been Toronto’s leading scorer and a borderline MVP candidate so far this season, while Gasol has been the team’s most valuable player on the defensive end. The loss of Powell shouldn’t be understated either — the 26-year-old swingman had been enjoying perhaps the best stretch of his career, averaging 16.8 PPG on .515/.423/.828 shooting in his last 20 games (30.8 MPG).

Here’s more on the Raptors as they look to fill the holes created by their latest series of injuries:

  • While the Raptors didn’t offer a definitive recovery timeline for any of their three newly-injured players, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Gasol is likely to miss a “period of weeks.” Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter links) suggests that Siakam’s injury will likely be the most short-term of the three, while Powell’s injury figures to keep him out the longest. Siakam’s groin issue is believed to be a mild strain that the club is handling with caution, Grange notes.
  • As both Grange and Eric Koreen of The Athletic point out, Powell’s shoulder subluxation sounds similar to an injury he suffered last season, which cost him six weeks. Koreen believes it will be a “best-case scenario” for Toronto if Gasol and Powell each only miss a few weeks.
  • Getting Fred VanVleet, Matt Thomas, and Stanley Johnson back soon would help the Raptors address their depth concerns, Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes in an in-depth look on the fallout of the team’s injury woes. There’s hope that VanVleet may be able to return as early as Friday, but Grange says Thomas will likely be out for another week or so.
  • Koreen, Murphy, and Grange all wonder if the Raptors might consider adding someone to their roster. The 15-man squad is currently full though, so in order to make room for someone new, Toronto would have to trade or waive a back-of-the-roster player — or qualify for a hardship exception, which appears unlikely for now.

Pascal Siakam Among Raptors Out Indefinitely

Earlier today, we passed along word that Marc Gasol will miss time with a hamstring injury and the news from The North has gotten worse. Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell are each out indefinitely, the Raptors announced in a press release.

Siakam sustained a stretched groin, per the team, after landing awkwardly during the Raptors’ tilt against the Pistons. Powell also left that game after colliding with another player and the wing has been diagnosed with subluxation of his left shoulder.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Gasol will miss “a period of weeks” with his injury. The team didn’t put a timetable on it, instead calling the big man out indefinitely as well. Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) hears that Siakam will likely be the quickest to return of the three.

After a summer that saw Toronto win an NBA championship and lose Kawhi Leonard, the team came back this year focused and it shows in the Raptors’ 19-8 record. The club sits fourth in the Eastern Conference as of this writing. However, it’ll be tough for the Raptors to remain to hold their position in the standings, given their injuries and the fact that the Sixers and Pacers are within a game of them.

Marc Gasol To Miss Time With Hamstring Injury

Marc Gasol will not be working during the holidays. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link) that the Raptors center will miss “a period of weeks” with a left hamstring strain.

The injury occurred during the first half of the team’s win over the Pistons on Wednesday. Gasol left the game and did not return.

While the timeline is vague, it’s safe to assume Gasol won’t be back before the new year. The Raptors will take on the Wizards, Mavs, Pacers, Celtics (twice), Thunder and Cavaliers before 2020 is upon us.

Serge Ibaka figures to step in as Toronto’s starting center with Gasol on the shelf.