Chris Boucher

Raptors Notes: Dick, Boucher, Rajakovic, Anunoby

Raptors first-round pick Gradey Dick has quickly become a fan favorite and he’s enjoying the vibe he’s gotten in Toronto, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes.

“I’ve talked about it a lot, this team stuff — and even before the draft. I wanted to be in an organization where I could find that good fit in it, but also be in a winning culture with a fan base that’s not like anybody else, and I think I hit the jackpot … coming here,” Dick said. “Walking down the street and families coming up, the first thing they say is: ‘Welcome to Toronto. We’re glad to have you.’ And I think that’s what we like to hear the most, rather than a quick: ‘Hi, bye.’”

The Kansas product, who was selected with the No. 13 overall pick, is expected to appear in some Summer League contests in Las Vegas.

We have more on the Raptors:

  • Dick adds an element that the team has lacked in recent seasons, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. They needed a natural shot-maker and Dick, who’s more versatile than a typical corner shooter, fits that bill. However, he has to prove he’s a capable defender in order to stay on the floor for long stretches.
  • Big man Chris Boucher believes Darko Rajakovic was a perfect choice to replace Nick Nurse, he told Smith, believing he’ll relate to the players very well. Nurse reportedly had strained relationships with some of his players. “He’s definitely a special coach. You can tell he’s probably going to change a lot of stuff, but it seems like it’s something we needed,” Boucher said. “He’s really focusing on the players and making sure that we’re good. The first thing he said — he said it every day that I saw him — (is) it’s not about (him), it’s about you guys. And I think that’s something that will really help us get better.”
  • Forward OG Anunoby is changing representatives, as he’s decided to leave Klutch Sports, according to Marc Stein in his latest Substack post. The Raptors continue to resist trade inquiries for Anunoby.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Jeffries, Raptors, Boucher, Dedmon

Since trading away three players in their deal for Josh Hart at this month’s trade deadline, the Knicks have been carrying just 13 players on standard contracts. The NBA-mandated minimum is technically 14, but teams are permitted to be below that minimum for up to two weeks at a time.

It has been nine days since the trade deadline, meaning New York has five more days to fill at least one of its two open roster spots. And according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, one contender to claim one of the Knicks’ roster openings is two-way player DaQuan Jeffries.

Jeffries isn’t a prototypical candidate for a promotion from a two-way contract. Not only has he not been a part of the Knicks’ rotation so far this season — he hasn’t even appeared in a single game at the NBA level since signing his two-way deal in November.

However, the 25-year-old swingman has had a strong season in the G League for New York’s affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. In 32 total games (Showcase Cup and regular season), he has averaged 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks on .485/.328/.691 shooting in 33.5 minutes per contest. If there aren’t any free agents who appeal to the Knicks, it might make sense to lock up Jeffries to a team-friendly deal that includes non-guaranteed money beyond this season.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While the Raptors‘ trade deadline may have been quieter than widely expected, Toronto’s front office would push back on the notion that the team didn’t do anything “big” last week, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. As Smith explains, the Raptors believed they had three pressing needs (size, depth, and shooting) and addressed two of them (size and depth) with their acquisition of Jakob Poeltl.
  • Within the same story, Smith notes that the Raptors may have a tough time avoiding the luxury tax next season if they’re intent on re-signing Poeltl, Gary Trent Jr., and Fred VanVleet. According to Smith, the club believes it could move off Otto Porter Jr.‘s guaranteed $6.3MM salary for next season if necessary, but isn’t enthusiastic about the idea of trading Chris Boucher (who is owed $11.75MM). “Sure, we could,” a team source told Smith when asked about the possibility of dealing Boucher to help cut costs. “But why? We like him a lot.”
  • One of Dewayne Dedmon‘s first NBA contracts, a 10-day deal, came back in 2014 with a 19-63 Sixers team that had just launched “The Process.” Back in Philadelphia nine years later and with over 500 NBA games under his belt, Dedmon appreciates how far both he and the team have come since then. “It’s great growth for the organization, you know what I’m saying?” Dedmon said, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Doing big things. Just the whole processing years have turned out some really good things going on here. And for myself, just keep working and it’s paying off. I’m back here now and I’m ready to win.”

Atlantic Notes: Thibodeau, Knicks, Grousbeck, Boucher

During an interview Friday with WFAN, Knicks owner James Dolan said reaching the playoffs will “definitely be a benchmark” for this season, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Dolan didn’t specify what will happen if the team falls short, but Bondy suggests the repercussions will likely be directed at head coach Tom Thibodeau, who is in his third season with the team.

New York is in seventh place in the East at 27-24 following Saturday’s loss to Brooklyn, so the prospects for at least the play-in tournament appear good. Thibodeau acknowledged Dolan’s statement, but said it won’t change his approach to running the team.

“I never worry about that stuff. Hey look, for me, I look at (Dolan) as — is he giving us everything we need to be successful? Yes,” Thibodeau said. “So, go out there and give him everything we have. Hopefully, we have the team that does that, so we want him to have belief in the team. I think that’s good.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are focused mainly on adding bench depth before the trade deadline, Ian Begley of SNY.TV states in a mailbag column. Begley adds that the front office appears committed to building a contender around the current core group and doesn’t view a full-scale rebuilding project as a viable option.
  • The Celtics will approach the trade deadline with a philosophy of trying to win the title this season, owner Wyc Grousbeck said in an interview with NBC Sports Boston (video link). When asked about his message to president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, Grousbeck responded, “It’s about this year. It’s not about ‘this will pay dividends in three years or this will do this next year. It’s this year; muscle up and let’s go get the job done.’ … If there’s anything to do, we’ll do it. If not, we love this team. We’re top of the league right now.”
  • Friday’s trip to Golden State brought back memories for Raptors big man Chris Boucher, who started his NBA career by appearing in one game for the Warriors in 2018, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Boucher faced an uncertain NBA future at the time, but he ultimately landed a rotation role with the Raptors. “I’m a lot older, I say that. I think I take things a lot differently than I used to,” Boucher said. “(I’m) less emotional, sensitive and (can) take criticism and not thinking that it’s all about me and everybody’s pointing fingers at me and all that. More able to see my mistakes and being able to fix them by myself, trying to be a better player every time I step on the floor.”

21 More NBA Players Become Trade-Eligible

Today is Sunday, January 15, which means that nearly two dozen players who signed free agent contracts meeting specific criteria this past offseason are now eligible to be traded.

Most offseason signees became trade-eligible on December 15, but players who met the following criteria were ineligible to be moved for an extra month:

  1. The player re-signed with his previous team.
  2. He got a raise of at least 20%.
  3. His salary is worth more than the minimum.
  4. His team was over the cap and used Bird or Early Bird rights to sign him.

The following players met that criteria and are eligible to be traded as of Sunday:

(* Players marked with an asterisk have the ability to veto trades.)

Most of the players on NBA rosters are now eligible to be moved, though a small handful still can’t be dealt. That group includes Thunder guard Isaiah Joe, who becomes trade-eligible on Monday, Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton (trade-eligible on Wednesday), and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams (trade-eligible on Friday).

There are also several players who won’t become trade-eligible before this season’s February 9 deadline, including Lakers star LeBron James. Players on 10-day contracts are also ineligible to be dealt.

Raptors Notes: Achiuwa, Boucher, VanVleet, Koloko

Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa appears to be on the verge of returning from a right ankle injury. He was put through a vigorous on-court workout after the team’s practice today, according to Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter links), who notes that Achiuwa has been upgraded to questionable for Thursday’s game vs. Memphis.

Despite the change in Achiuwa’s status on the injury report, Lewenberg believes the former first-round pick is more likely to return for Friday’s game vs. Phoenix. Achiuwa hasn’t played since November 9.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Raptors big man Chris Boucher has logged just 22 total minutes in the last three games and has scored only two points during that stretch. Asked if Achiuwa’s return could benefit Boucher, head coach Nick Nurse simply stated, Chris needs to play better (Twitter link via Lewenberg).
  • After leaving Tuesday’s game due to lower back stiffness, Fred VanVleet is listed as questionable for Thursday, tweets Blake Murphy of The Raptors’ starting point guard is dealing with back spasms, according to Nurse (Twitter link via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps). If VanVleet has to miss any time, Malachi Flynn has earned the opportunity to play a larger role, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.
  • Rookie center Christian Koloko, also listed as questionable for Thursday’s game, is getting an MRI on his sore right knee today, tweets Michael Grange of
  • Both Grange and Lewenberg explored what it meant to have Clippers forwards Kawhi Leonard and Norman Powell – two members of the Raptors’ 2019 championship team – back in the building on Tuesday. Despite Leonard’s reputation for being “notoriously stoic,” even the former Finals MVP was feeling a little nostalgic, according to Grange. With the Clippers still managing his knee, Leonard was given the choice of sitting out Monday’s game in Detroit or Tuesday in Toronto — he opted to face the Raptors. “It’s always great memories coming in this arena,” Kawhi said. “And if I was going to sit a game I’d rather give the fans in Toronto a chance to see me play again.”

Atlantic Notes: Trent Jr., Siakam, Robinson, Irving, Williams

Gary Trent Jr., who has been out of the Raptors lineup since Nov. 12 due to a hip injury and an illness, is expected to play on Wednesday, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports.

Chris Boucher, who hasn’t played since Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness, and Trent took part in Monday’s light workout and should both be available against the Nets this Wednesday.

In another promising development, Pascal Siakam also participated in the practice on a limited basis. He has missed eight games due to an adductor strain.

“We certainly needed to survive here and Pascal was out there today in practice,” coach Nick Nurse said. “Well, not a whole lot of people in contact (practices) these days when the numbers are what they are, so he was out there moving around. So we shouldn’t be awfully far away from him being back.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson didn’t have much of an impact in his return to action, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. Robinson, who suffered a sprained right knee on Nov. 4 against the Sixers, finished with two points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in 17 minutes against Phoenix on Sunday. “I don’t feel that far behind,” Robinson said. “I feel like I’m way better than I was last year as far as conditioning-wise. But since this happened, I’ve got to build it back up.” Jericho Sims, who filled in for Robinson, will likely drop out of the rotation.
  • Kyrie Irving had his suspension lifted on Sunday and the Players’ Association will not file a grievance for the games he missed, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets. Executive director Tamika Tremaglio said the union opted not to file a grievance with the league against the Nets on behalf of  Irving, who missed eight games without pay.
  • Celtics center Robert Williams has progressed to 3-on-3 work, another step in his knee rehab, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports. “We’re happy with him as far as his progression and the work he’s put in toward coming back,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “He’s picking it up on the court a little bit. … He looks good. He’s healthy and responding well to it. He’s in a good space as far as patience, and he’s doing the work he needs to do.” There’s no set timetable for Williams’ return to full practices and games.

Injury Updates: Magic, Bulls, Celtics, Raptors, Heat, Hayward, More

The Magic will be getting some reinforcements for Friday’s game in Chicago, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Veteran guard Gary Harris has been cleared to make his regular season debut following offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Price reports. Additionally, starting center Wendell Carter Jr. will be back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to a strained right plantar fascia.

Orlando’s opponents also got some good injury-related news on Friday. As Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Bulls guard Coby White (left quad contusion) and forward Patrick Williams (right ankle sprain) both said at Friday’s shootaround that they’ll be able to play against the Magic. White has missed the last eight games as a result of his injury; Williams sprained his ankle on Wednesday, but it appears the injury won’t cost him any games.

Here are several more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon will be available on Friday vs. New Orleans after missing four games with a hamstring injury. However, the team announced that Marcus Smart (right ankle inflammation) will miss a second straight game (Twitter link).
  • The already shorthanded Raptors will be missing Gary Trent Jr. and Chris Boucher on Saturday vs. Atlanta due to non-COVID illnesses, tweets Josh Lewenberg of However, Eric Koreen of The Athletic tweets that Dalano Banton‘s ankle sprain isn’t as serious as initially feared and Pascal Siakam (adductor strain) has resumed on-court activity. Another update on Siakam is expected in a week or so, Koreen adds.
  • Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee soreness) has been ruled out for Friday’s game against Washington and it’s possible that Bam Adebayo (knee contusion) won’t be available either, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is currently listed as questionable.
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who has been on the shelf since November 2 due to a left shoulder contusion, has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Friday’s game vs. Cleveland, according to the team (Twitter link).
  • Pacers sharpshooter Chris Duarte isn’t expected to be available during the team’s upcoming four-game home stand, but could return from his ankle sprain at some point in the subsequent seven-game road trip, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. That trip begins on November 27 and runs through December 7.
  • Sixers guard Jaden Springer, currently assigned to the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League, will miss at least one week due to a right quadriceps strain, tweets Kyle Neubeck of

Raptors Notes: Barnes, Trent, Porter, Boucher, Koloko

The Raptors haven’t missed a beat with All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet (back) unavailable for the last two games, recording blowout wins over Atlanta and San Antonio. Reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes has been the team’s primary de facto point guard, recording a season-high eight assists on Monday vs. Atlanta and five more in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Barnes has displayed improvement as both a shooter and a play-maker in the early parts of the 2022/23 season, showing that his development after last year’s impressive debut is right on track, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

As Michael Grange of writes, the Raptors’ strong performances this week – along with Barnes’ strides as a play-maker – are proof that the team should be able to cut back VanVleet’s minutes a little when he returns, even without a reliable traditional point guard on the depth chart behind him.

VanVleet averaged a team-high 37.9 minutes per game last season and was slowed by injuries by the time the playoffs rolled around. In his first six contests this season, he averaged 38.0 MPG.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • With a player option in hand for 2023/24, Gary Trent Jr. is in a potential contract year and is off to a good start, Grange says in another story. While Grange doesn’t necessarily expect Trent to match the $120MM+ deals signed by Tyler Herro and Jordan Poole, who are more talented ball-handlers and play-makers, he notes that Trent is a good defender whose offensive stats (20.0 PPG on .450/.382/.783 shooting in eight games this season) continue to improve.
  • Otto Porter Jr. didn’t play a huge role in his Raptors debut on Wednesday, but head coach Nick Nurse is excited about what the team’s top offseason free agent addition can provide. “I’m just hoping he can do what he’s done, which is make open threes,” Nurse said on Wednesday, per Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star. “He’s a really good rebounder, especially positionally. He’s got some good length, so hopefully he can play some defense as well. But really, the perimeter shooting is his specialty and it’s something we could use.”
  • Chris Boucher, who also signed a multiyear free agent contract with Toronto over the summer, is a developmental success story for the Raptors, Koreen contends in a story for The Athletic. Considered a raw “tweener” when he first joined the team, Boucher has become one of the Raptors’ most reliable and productive reserves.
  • In the early part of the 2022/23 season, the Raptors rank first in the NBA in fast break points, steals per game, and defensive rebounding rate, using a terrific transition offense to make up for their subpar half-court production, as Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link) outlines.
  • In the same Insider article at ESPN, Lowe also touches on the early impact of rookie big man Christian Koloko. Toronto is allowing just 97 points per 100 possessions with Koloko on the floor, which is better than Milwaukee’s league-best rate of 101.3 points per 100 posessions.

Atlantic Notes: Brunson, Knicks, House, Embiid, Curry, Boucher

The Sixers were docked two second-round draft picks for holding early free agent discussions with forwards P.J. Tucker and Danuel House. The Knicks could be the next team to be penalized.

The league’s investigation into early contact regarding the Knicks’ pursuit of free agent Jalen Brunson remains ongoing, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. New York signed the former Dallas guard to a four-year, $104MM deal in July.

We have from the Atlantic Division:

  • House has played 15 or fewer minutes over the past three games. He was signed to a two-year, $8.4MM contract this summer. The Sixers forward taking the minutes reduction in stride, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “It’s a team game, so I can’t really get too overwhelmed and too locked into myself,” House said. “There’s too much going on for me to be thinking of myself. You’ve just got to sit back and play the game.”
  • Sixers star Joel Embiid isn’t playing in Monday’s game against Washington due to a non-COVID illness, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets.
  • Guard Seth Curry isn’t playing in the Nets’ game against Indiana on Monday due to left ankle injury management, the team tweets. Ben Simmons is also sidelined due to left knee soreness, ESPN’s Marc Spears tweets.
  • Raptors big man Chris Boucher has endeared himself to coach Nick Nurse and his teammates with his energetic performances, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “He’s been very professional,” Nurse said. “That’s one thing about Chris: First of all, he’s a guy that practices hard. He kind of just has a gear that he plays in and that is good. Even if it’s 5-on-0 he’s flying around in his mode. That, I think, is leading by example.” Boucher is in the first season of a three-year, $35.25MM contract.

Raptors Notes: Young, Porter, Boucher

Raptors reserve forward Thaddeus Young has seen his role reduced in the early going this season, having been a DNP-CD for a couple games. Head coach Nick Nurse discussed how he saw the vet fitting into the club’s rotation, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link).

“He’s gotta stay ready,” Nurse said. “I talked to him immediately after the Miami game and he [said], ‘Coach, I’m ready and I’ll always be ready’ and totally with what we’re doing, all that kind of stuff. I wouldn’t say that I planned on not using him [in] Miami that night, it’s just kinda how it turned out… We’re gonna need him, there’s just no doubt about it… It’s kinda a night-to-night thing.”

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • Nurse said that Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. will be unavailable “for a bit” due to undisclosed personal reasons, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link). Nurse suggested that the 6’8″ vet, who signed a two-year, $12.4MM contract with Toronto after winning a title with the Warriors last season, will be part of the team’s rotation once he makes his debut, Lewenberg adds (via Twitter).
  • Raptors reserve big man Chris Boucher has been a helpful change-of-pace figure for the club as a key backup, writes Lewenberg for “It’s important for me to bring energy and I think that’s a way to show that I’m ready to the coach and also to myself,” Boucher said. Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet likes the new dimension that his teammate brings to the court: “He just plays with a little bit more energy than the rest of us at times. Fresh legs and just being able to fly around, throw some corner-threes in, [grab] offensive rebounds. He just finds creases that a guy like him is skinny enough to slip through. He’s just a great presence for us out there.” 
  • In case you missed it, the Raptors were projected by Forbes as the NBA’s 11th-most valuable franchise, with an estimated worth of $3.1 billion.