Chris Boucher

Raptors’ Chris Boucher Has Partial MCL Tear

Raptors big man Chris Boucher has a partial MCL tear in his right knee, Michael Grange of Sportsnet relays via a team press release (Twitter link).

He will undergo further evaluation by specialists but isn’t expected to require surgery, Grange adds. Still, any sort of MCL tear typically results in a multi-week absence.

Boucher was injured during the final second of regulation when he made a tip-in to force overtime against Portland on Saturday. Boucher finished that contest with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in a season-high 31 minutes. He had 11 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes against Phoenix on Thursday.

Overall, Boucher has appeared in 50 games, averaging 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per night. He has been a part of Toronto’s rotation, mostly off the bench, for five seasons.

Boucher is in the second season of a front-loaded three-year, $35.25MM contract. He’s making $11.75MM this season and will take in $10.81MM in the final year of the deal.

Boucher joins Scottie Barnes (hand) and Jakob Poeltl (finger) as injured Raptors who don’t have a set timeline for a return.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Raptors, Reed, Nurse, Maxey, Celtics

After missing four games with knee inflammation, Bruce Brown hopes to be able to play against his former team when the Raptors visit Denver tonight, writes Michael Grange of Brown, who played an important role in the Nuggets’ title run last season, has been increasing his workload recently and hopes he’ll receive medical clearance to take the court.

This will be Brown’s second visit to Denver, which is rare for a player in the opposite conference. He picked up his championship ring on January 14 when he was still with the Pacers, three days before being shipped to Toronto in the Pascal Siakam trade.

I always looking forward to coming back here,” Brown said. “Great fans, great fan base, excited to see my previous teammates. It will be great to see everyone.”

Brown is officially questionable for Monday’s contest, while Immanuel Quickley (left hip flexor strain), Chris Boucher (right knee contusion) and Gary Trent Jr. (groin strain) are all out, according to Grange (Twitter links). RJ Barrett, who missed Saturday’s loss to Portland with an illness, is probable.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Sixers big man Paul Reed criticized the officiating following Friday’s loss to New Orleans, per Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter video link). “Just knowing that the referees are going to be the referees, and we’re going to have to beat them too. So we got to already be expecting that,” Reed said. Philadelphia was victorious on Sunday vs. New York, with Reed recording 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. The team was plus-13 in his 28 minutes in the ugly 79-73 win.
  • While Reed lamented the officiating, head coach Nick Nurse was more unhappy with the Sixers‘ effort in the first half of Friday’s game, calling their offensive approach “soft,” writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required). “We tried to jump-shoot our way to a lead early, and you can’t count on that,” Nurse said. “ … That’s not good enough. You’ve got to play tougher than that. You’ve got to put your nose in there and drive it in the paint and try to get to the foul line and draw some defense and kick it out to somebody who’s open.” Nurse also said he’s still evaluating the make-shift rotation following a number of injuries, most notably to reigning MVP Joel Embiid.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has missed the past four games while in the NBA’s concussion protocol, but he has been cleared to return on Tuesday against the Knicks, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The first-time All-Star is set to hit restricted free agency this summer and will likely command a massive payday.
  • The Celtics‘ entire starting lineup is on the injury report for tonight’s game in Portland, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Jaylen Brown (sacroiliac strain), Jrue Holiday (left knee tendinopathy), Jayson Tatum (right ankle impingement) and Derrick White (left hand sprain) are questionable, while Kristaps Porzingis will miss his second straight game with right hamstring tightness.
    [Update: Brown, Tatum and White are active, but Holiday will be out, Smith tweets.]
  • Heading into Saturday’s contest vs. Phoenix, the Celtics had dropped two straight games for only the second time during the 2023/24 season. They responded with a victory they badly wanted, as Jay King of The Athletic writes. “Just not letting it snowball effect, right,” said Tatum, who specifically asked to play the entire second half. “We’re not perfect. We try to be. We really do try. But we make mistakes and things like that. This is a tough league. The other teams are really good, got great players. So it’s all about how you respond. If you want to be a special team, you have to do a really good job of responding. Especially winning on the road is tough, being away from home for 10, 12 days or whatever. So this is a great way to come out here and get a win against a team that’s been playing well lately.”

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Raptors Notes: Boucher, Olynyk, Poeltl, Quickley, Banton

Entering Thursday’s contest in Phoenix, Raptors big man Chris Boucher hadn’t played more than 12 minutes in a game since January. However, he scored 11 points in nearly 24 minutes of action vs. the Suns, and after Toronto quickly fell behind by double-digits in the opening minutes in Portland on Saturday, another opportunity emerged for Boucher, who helped lead a fourth-quarter comeback that sent the game to overtime

Although the Raptors ultimately lost the game, Boucher finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, and three blocked shots in a season-high 31 minutes. Speaking to reporters later in the night, Boucher said that head coach Darko Rajavkoic has been open with him as his minutes have fluctuated this season, adding that he understands why his role hasn’t been consistent.

“We talk. He knows me and knows what I can bring and all,” Boucher said, per Michael Grange of “Sometimes things don’t go the way you want. The team’s had a lot of changes and I got caught in the middle. I know they know what I’m able to do, and everyone knows that I can change the game and all. I don’t think anyone thinks I can’t play, it’s about more than me.”

Boucher is under contract with the Raptors for one more season beyond this one, with a $10.81MM guaranteed salary for 2024/25. However, it’s possible – especially following last month’s acquisition of Kelly Olynyk – that he’ll emerge as a trade candidate this summer.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • From a team-building perspective, the Raptors might prefer that their top two centers – Jakob Poeltl and Olynyk – were a little younger, but having those two veterans under contract for at least the next two seasons gives the club some certainty and stability at the position, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who notes that the team will be able to focus its efforts and resources on upgrading other positions.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Koreen highlights Immanuel Quickley‘s recent strong play, writing that the guard is increasing his price tag ahead of restricted free agency. In nine games since the All-Star break, Quickley is averaging 21.8 points, 8.1 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per contest while making 43.0% of his three-point attempts.
  • Former Raptor Dalano Banton helped lead the Blazers to a victory on Saturday, racking up 25 points in 42 minutes against his old team. As Josh Lewenberg of tweets, one of Masai Ujiri‘s gripes about the previous coaching staff was that it didn’t do enough to develop its young players, including Banton. With that in mind, it was a little surprising that Toronto didn’t do more last summer to retain Banton – who could have been a restricted free agent if the Raptors had given him a qualifying offer – in order to see how he might’ve developed under Rajakovic, Lewenberg observes.

Trade Rumors: Tate, Mavs, Rockets, Suns, Porter, Raptors

The Mavericks and Rockets spoke recently about Houston forward Jae’Sean Tate, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. However, league sources tell Iko that Dallas only offered a pair of second-round picks and Houston insisted on three, so the two sides didn’t reach a deal.

As Iko writes, if they do trade Tate, the Rockets would prefer to get a player who could contribute right away, but there was a belief that they could potentially reroute those second-round picks to land that sort of player.

With the trade deadline just over two hours away, the Rockets remain in the market for shooting help and a backup center, Iko reports. Houston traded for Steven Adams last week, but he’s out for the season, so the team wouldn’t mind acquiring a big man who could help in the short term.

Here a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • According to Iko, the Rockets have received some inquiries on guard Aaron Holiday and forward Jeff Green, but won’t be looking to dump those players for minor returns, since they’ve established roles and have good relationships with head coach Ime Udoka.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) has heard veteran wing Otto Porter mentioned as a possible fallback trade option for the Suns. Toronto agreed to trade Porter to Utah earlier today, but there’s no guarantee the Jazz will keep him. Phoenix has no interest in Bulls center Andre Drummond, however, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • A league source tells Michael Grange of (Twitter link) that there has been “not a peep” on Raptors trade candidates Bruce Brown, Chris Boucher, and Gary Trent Jr. so far today. However, it remains possible that will change in the next couple hours.

Raptors Notes: Boucher, Brown, Trade Deadline, Temple

Chris Boucher has fallen out of the Raptors rotation and he’d be “cool” with a change of scenery, he told Michael Grange of Sportnet.

“I mean, everything has to end, right? So if that’s what’s gonna happen, then cool,” Boucher said. “Hopefully it will [put me] in a better position. But … you never know what could happen. With what’s been going on this year, obviously, I just got to wait my turn, I guess. If a better situation shows up and they decide to send me somewhere else, so be it.”

Boucher has another year left on his contract. Bruce Brown, recently acquired from Indiana, is more likely to be moved. He’s trying to ignore the trade rumors.

“Not even thinking about it, to be honest,” Brown said. “I’m just trying to control what I can control, and I can’t control that end of it.”

We have more on the Raptors:

  • Speaking of the trade deadline, Blake Murphy of Sportnet believes Brown is the player most likely to be dealt. He speculates that Toronto would take a decent second round pick to shed Boucher’s contract. Murphy also evaluates the potential market for Dennis Schröder, Gary Trent Jr, Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young.
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic argues the Raptors should take whatever they can get for the above-mentioned players, as well as Kira Lewis Jr, Jalen McDaniels and Garrett Temple.
  • In a separate story, Koreen emphasizes the need for the organization to avoid a lengthy rebuild and developing a loser’s mentality.
  • Temple would like to keep playing beyond this year but knows that at age 37, he may have difficulty getting another contract. “I know people around the team understand how important veterans are, and I think teams (across the league) do honestly. But at the end of the day, it’s still a numbers game, and I learned that part of the business in my first year,” he told Grange.

Trade Rumors: Gafford, Grimes, Wizards, Raptors, Jazz, Bridges

The Wizards are among the teams with interest in Knicks wing Quentin Grimes, according to Ian Begley of, who also confirms that Washington center Daniel Gafford remains on New York’s radar. A report a couple weeks ago indicated that the Knicks had inquired on Gafford.

With Isaiah Hartenstein playing well in a starting role, Precious Achiuwa and Jericho Sims providing depth at the five, and Mitchell Robinson possibly on track to return before the season is over, the Knicks might already be set up front.

However, Robinson’s return this season isn’t a certainty and Hartenstein has missed the past two games with an injury of his own (left Achilles tendinopathy), so it sounds as if the Knicks haven’t ruled out the possibility of pursuing another frontcourt player. Still, if Hartenstein is back in the lineup within a week or so and feels good, I wouldn’t expect a center – especially one like Gafford, who wouldn’t be cheap – to be a focus at the deadline.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

Raptors Notes: Poeltl, Deadline Primer, Trade Tiers, Quickley

Raptors center Jakob Poeltl was able to go through portions of Wednesday’s practice but he still hasn’t been cleared for contact work, tweets Josh Lewenberg of Head coach Darko Rajakovic said Poeltl is working on his conditioning after being out since January 7 with a left ankle sprain, and the Austrian big man is considered day-to-day.

Toronto reacquired Poeltl last February, when the team sent out its 2024 first-round pick (top-six protected) to San Antonio. Poeltl, who has averaged 10.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.5 APG and 1.4 BPG in 36 games this season, re-signed with the Raptors on a four-year, $78MM deal last summer.

The roster looks a lot different now than it did last year, with veterans Fred VanVleet (signed with Houston in free agency), OG Anunoby (traded to New York) and Pascal Siakam (traded to Indiana) all on new teams. Poeltl said it was difficult to see Siakam go, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link).

“It was tough because he was the guy I was closest to on this team,” Poeltl said of Siakam. “… I guess I was mentally prepared for it a little bit already because there were so many rumors… but it’s still really sad for me to basically lose my best friend on the team.”

With Toronto now focused on developing its young players rather than competing for a playoff spot, Lewenberg asked Poeltl if the team’s change of direction made him question the decision to re-sign or ponder his future with the Raptors (Twitter link).

Not necessarily,” Poeltl said. “The only thing that was important to me is that I was on a team that could play competitive basketball. As long as it’s not a team that was really actively trying to tank, I guess, was the thing for me. Like, I want to play on a team that’s trying to win every night.

So, for me, even though had some changes and we lost some really good players, I think we’re still on a course where we’re trying to build around this team right now and were not hunting for a No. 1 draft pick, you know what I mean? So as long as that’s the case, I think I’m going to be happy here and I’m hoping to contribute to this new Raptors team, this new project that we’re starting.”

Here’s more on the Raptors, who are currently 16-28 after dropping seven of their past eight games:

  • On a related topic, Michael Grange of wonders if fans should be cheering for the Raptors to lose for the remainder of 2023/24 in order to keep their first-round pick. As previously mentioned, Toronto will only keep the pick if it lands in the top six of the upcoming draft; in that scenario, the Spurs would be owed the Raptors’ 2025 first-rounder, with the same top-six protection. On the other hand, Grange notes that the 2025 draft is viewed by scouts and executives as having more top-end talent compared to 2024; the No. 7 or No. 8 pick in ’25 could be end up being quite a bit more valuable than a top-six pick this year.
  • Blake Murphy of recently released a trade deadline primer that covers Toronto’s cap situation, draft assets, player assets, exceptions, restrictions (newly acquired players can’t be aggregated with other salaries), and more.
  • The only “untouchable” player on Toronto’s roster is Scottie Barnes, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who believes the third-year forward will sign a rookie scale max extension this summer. Koreen also thinks “it would be aggressively weird” if RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Gradey Dick, Jordan Nwora or Kira Lewis were traded. Veterans like Bruce Brown, Gary Trent Jr., Dennis Schröder, Chris Boucher and Poeltl fall into Koreen’s “Selling with hopes of a return” trade tier, though he doesn’t think Poeltl will actually be moved.
  • Starting guard Quickley has been ruled out for Friday’s contest with the Clippers due to a thigh bruise, Murphy tweets. Quickley, acquired from New York in the Anunoby deal, is averaging 16.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 6.1 APG through 12 games (31.8 MPG) as a Raptor. The 24-year-old will be traveling on the upcoming six-game road trip, per Doug Smith of The Toronto Star (Twitter link), which suggests it may be a short-term injury.

Raptors Notes: Brown, Rebuilding, Barrett, Quickley, Boucher

Bruce Brown‘s life has been a whirlwind over the past week and it might not slow down for a while, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. After picking up his championship ring January 14 in Denver, Brown arrived at Pacers’ practice on Wednesday and learned he had been traded to Toronto. He took his physical a day later and played that night. On Friday, he was on a plane with his new teammates for Saturday’s game in New York.

Brown may be on the move again, as he’s still a popular trade target ahead of the February 8 deadline. He told Grange that he expected to remain with Indiana all season, but he knew the contract he signed last summer, which includes a $23MM team option for 2024/25, made him a candidate to be dealt.

“Did I think I was gonna be [in Indiana] the whole year? Yes,” Brown said. “But obviously, the second year is a team option. But signing the deal I knew it was going to be maybe I stay, maybe they get off the deal. I knew at some point, something would happen. But when the season started I knew something would happen just because of how good [the Pacers] were doing and how they’re trying to maximize [Tyrese Haliburton’s] time there. I was told they weren’t trying to move me, but I was a big part of the deal [for Pascal Siakam], so …”

There’s more from Toronto:

  • The Raptors will need to be patient after trading Siakam for what amounts to future assets, observes Blake Murphy of Sportsnet. While Brown has immediate value, there’s no guarantee he’ll be with the organization past the deadline. Jordan Nwora and Kira Lewis provide bench depth, but they’re both young and will need consistent minutes to develop into reliable players. Murphy adds that while the organization isn’t embarking on a traditional rebuilding process, the 2025/26 season is probably the earliest that it will be playoff relevant again.
  • RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and OG Anunoby all seem to be in better spots in the wake of last month’s trade with the Knicks, observes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. After the teams met Saturday in New York, Koreen noted that Anunoby’s three-and-D skills fit best on a contender, while Barrett and Quickley can take on a larger role in the offense without having to accommodate Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.
  • Toronto is exploring trades involving Chris Boucher, who is the last player remaining from the 2019 title team, Murphy said on “The Raptors Show” pocdast (Twitter link from Evan Sidery of Forbes Sports).

Celtics Notes: Trade Exception, Roster, Queta, Brissett

Speaking to Jay King of The Athletic and other reporters this week, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens suggested that the team’s trade options at this season’s deadline will be limited, since Boston only has six players earning north of $5MM this season and all of them are starters or key rotation pieces.

As a result, the Celtics’ $6.2MM traded player exception is “really the No. 1 tool” the club has at its disposal as it explores the trade market, according to Stevens, who cautions that the exception is “not big.”

“It’s a small number of people (who would fit into the exception),” Stevens said, per King. “A lot of the people that are in that (salary tier) were signed to minimums or smaller contracts, or are on their rookie scale deals that teams aren’t exactly excited to move on from yet. So it’s a very small group of people, but we’re going to exhaust it, we’re going to look at it.”

Players whose salaries don’t fit into that trade exception may not be realistic trade targets for the Celtics.

For instance, in the latest episode of his No Cap Room podcast (Twitter video link), Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports mentions Raptors big man Chris Boucher as a player Boston has liked for a while. But without giving up one of their top six players, the Celtics would have to send out at least five smaller salaries for matching purposes in a deal for Boucher and his $11.75MM salary, which likely isn’t viable.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • While Stevens didn’t rule out the possibility of acquiring another big man, he said he’s been happy with what the Celtics have gotten from their frontcourt players and would be more inclined to add one more big wing who could crack the rotation or simply provide depth, according to King. “And I think that could be from within,” Stevens said, “and I also think that we’ll continue to monitor free agency and trades.”
  • If the Celtics do add another frontcourt player, they’d want someone who would happy to accept a very limited role, according to Stevens: “What you look at is guys that can play, guys that can add value but, like I said last year, don’t need to play. They are over themselves, and I think that that’s important. That’s what we have right now, and we’ve gotten obviously good play out of … great play out of Kristaps (Porzingis), I think Al (Horford)‘s been good. I think Luke (Kornet) and (Neemias Queta), when called upon, have both added great value.”
  • Queta, who is on a two-way contract, has been a pleasant surprise off the bench and could be a candidate later in the season to get a promotion to the standard roster. However, he’s still eligible to play in 37 more games as a two-way player, and it doesn’t sound like the Celtics are in any rush to fill their final 15-man roster spot by converting his contract, per Brian Robb of “We have discussions every day about how we’re going to move forward with those other spots on our roster,” Stevens said. “We have one open spot right now. You have to carry 14. I think it’s helpful to go into a trade deadline or whatever with a little bit of flexibility from a roster standpoint.”
  • Fifth-year wing Oshae Brissett hasn’t played a significant role off the bench for the Celtics this season, but he has gotten more opportunities as of late, including 20 minutes of action in Saturday’s victory over Indiana. Brissett had eight points and eight rebounds against his former team, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “I was extremely happy for him, just building off of what he did (Friday) night at Utah,” Jayson Tatum said. “I know (the win over the Jazz) was a blowout, but I can only imagine a team trading you and you get to come back and you want to play good against them, you want to beat them. He was a big part of that success we had in the fourth quarter, just creating second and third chance opportunities. That was big for us.”

Atlantic Notes: Rajakovic, Boucher, Randle, Simmons

The Raptors defeated the Timberwolves on Wednesday in the team’s opening game and new coach Darko Rajakovic‘s impact on Toronto was immediately apparent, writes The Athletic’s Eric Koreen. Even if things didn’t go perfectly, the Raptors tried to adhere to Rajakovic’s style, playing fast in transition, taking just 10 shots between the three-point line and the paint, and moving the ball.

There are still things the Raptors need to clean up, including the fact they scored just 97 points in the win, Koreen observes. But Rajakovic played 10 players and was quick to adapt his rotation as the game went on.

I thought we still needed to play faster. What I mean by that is there were moments that we were coming past half court, and then we did not get into offense early enough and quickly enough,” Rajakovic said. “That’s something that we are still going to work on. It’s one of those things [where] we cannot just be watching each other. We’ve gotta be able to cut and drive and collapse [the opposing] defense and find open people.

It’s been a long journey to Rajakovic’s first NBA win, as detailed in a lengthy piece from’s Michael Grange. Despite that, he’s focusing on the now.

I’m really staying with both feet on the ground,” Rajakovic said. “This is [an] amazing opportunity that I have to represent my country, to represent European basketball. But all I can do is my preparation for the next thing that is coming. I am struggling [against] making something really big out of it. I’m trying to stay with both feet on the ground and to be present.

Rajakovic began his coaching career at 16 years old as a youth coach before coaching in Spain, the then-NBA D-League, and eventually as an assistant in the NBA, where he had stints with the Thunder, Suns and Grizzlies.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Grange further explores Rajakovic’s path to becoming the Raptors head coach, interviewing several of his former players. “I love picking apart the game, IQ-wise, and he has an extremely, extremely high basketball IQ,” current Wizards and former Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones said. “In games, practices, whenever we had a chance. He loves the game … and knows how to get the best out of people. I love Darko.” I recommend checking out Grange’s piece in full here.
  • Koreen notes that Chris Boucher was the odd man out of Rajakovic’s 10-man rotation on Wednesday, with Jalen McDaniels, Malachi Flynn and Gradey Dick the last three off the bench for the Raptors.
  • Knicks forward Julius Randle technically left money on the table two years ago by signing a four-year extension worth up to $117MM, as he would have been eligible to sign a five-year, $207MM deal by waiting a year, writes the New York Post’s Stefan Bondy. Then again, he had a disappointing 2021/22 season following a ’20/21 season in which he was All-NBA Second Team and would’ve been eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2022, so he may not have earned as much money by waiting anyway. Regardless, Randle has no regrets and is happy with the direction his decision sent the front office in. “I’ve always said, I want to win a championship here. Bring a championship here,” Randle said.
  • Nets guard Ben Simmons finished with 10 rebounds and nine assists in Brooklyn’s opener, looking effective for most of the night, The New York Post’s Brian Lewis writes. Even still, Simmons was benched in the fourth quarter of Brooklyn’s loss to the Cavaliers. Ultimately, head coach Jacque Vaughn played Dennis Smith Jr. over Simmons in crunch time. “Overall [Smith] was a part of that stretch that really got us back in the game,” Vaughn said. “It was the physicality which he played with that kind of permeated through the group.