Immanuel Quickley

Raptors Notes: Poeltl, Olynyk, Quickley, Barnes, Porter

The Raptors expected to win a lot more than 25 games this season, but there’s more optimism than disappointment as players look to the future, writes Michael Grange of While a series of injuries led to a nosedive after the All-Star break, there’s a feeling that things will be different with a chance to start over this fall.

“I think for sure there’s a lot of things to be excited about,” said Jakob Poeltl, who missed the final 21 games with a dislocated finger. “You could see that at times when we had our guys out there on the court — we really had limited time playing together — but still it felt good, and it looked good, and the results were there. And I don’t think those were outliers; it was more that almost all of the losses were more of the outliers than when we were actually performing. 

“So that gives you a lot of confidence. That gives me a lot of hope looking forward to next season, to be able to show that more and to be able to show that from an overall talent perspective I don’t think we are where we’re supposed to be in the standings. To be able to show that will be cool.”

Grange notes that the team went through a major upheaval in the middle of the season, as seven players were traded away within six weeks, including franchise cornerstones Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. In addition to Poeltl, Scottie Barnes and Chris Boucher also suffered season-ending injuries, while the deaths of relatives took RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley away from the team for a while.

“The dominos just fell,” said Kelly Olynyk, who was acquired from Utah at the trade deadline. “Injury, injury, injury, obviously, personal stuff that you can’t discount, guys having to be away from the team, that was a tough stretch there.”

There’s more from Toronto:

  • Quickley sounds eager to re-sign with the Raptors in free agency this summer, Grange adds. The 24-year-old guard averaged a career-best 18.6 PPG after being acquired from New York in late December. “I’ve absolutely loved Toronto since the day I got here,” Quickley said. “They’ve done nothing but show me love. Love is an action word. It’s not just something you just throw around. They’ve done that from the day I got here to today. So obviously the team and my agent have to handle everything, but I love being here in Toronto absolutely.” The Raptors can make Quickley a restricted free agent by submitting an $8.5MM qualifying offer.
  • The most encouraging thing to come from Toronto’s season was the progress of Barnes, who reached a new level before a broken finger put him out of action on March 1, observes Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. “I played against Scottie when I was younger,” Barrett said. “But seeing it up close and personal every day, it’s amazing what he does. He does everything.”
  • The Raptors issued a statement after the NBA announced Jontay Porter‘s lifetime ban for his involvement in a gambling scandal, Lewenberg tweets. “The Raptors are fully supportive of the league’s decision to ban Jontay Porter from the NBA and are grateful for the swift resolution to this investigation,” it reads. “We will continue to cooperate with all ongoing inquiries.”

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Hield, Holiday, Quickley

Third-year Nets shooting guard Cam Thomas is hoping to show the league at large that he is capable of being a two-way force in the NBA, reports C.J. Holmes of The New York Daily News.

“My numbers are up there with some of the best of them, honestly,” Thomas told Holmes. “Mine are just overlooked because not that many people know me, I’m not the most vocal, talking and all that stuff. But if you just look at my numbers, my numbers are up there with some of the best of them… I think I just go under the radar a little bit because I’m not really on social media as much.”

Across 66 bouts this season (51 starts), the 6’4″ wing out of LSU posted a career-high 22.5 points per game on .442/.364/.856 shooting, along with 3.2 RPG, 2.9 APG and 0.7 SPG.

“I feel like I have so much more room to grow,” Thomas said. “I just want people to see that I have the potential to do that instead of just trying to keep me low.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers shooting guard Buddy Hield is nearing his first-ever playoffs, writes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Philadelphia still needs to advance beyond the play-in tournament to officially make the playoffs, however. As Smith notes, Hield is currently the active player with the most games played who has yet to appear in the playoffs. His 631 regular season contests represent the fourth-most ever for a player without a single playoff appearance.
  • Further details have emerged regarding Celtics combo guard Jrue Holiday‘s lucrative new contract extension, Smith tweets. It’s a fully-guaranteed, four-year, $134.4MM deal, which will not include any bonuses or incentives. The two-time All-Star will earn $30MM in his first season under this new contract (2024/25), and $37.2MM in his last (2027/28).
  • Newly-acquired Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley will be a restricted free agent this summer and is comfortable with the idea of sticking with his new team going forward. “Obviously the team and my agent have to handle everything but I love being here in Toronto,” Quickley said, per Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter link). “Since the day I got here they’ve done nothing but show me love.”

Raptors Notes: Trent, Quickley, Porter, Draft Pick, More

Last June, after Gary Trent Jr. picked up his player option for 2023/24, there were reports suggesting that he and the Raptors were nearing an agreement on a multiyear extension. That deal never come to fruition, so Trent played out the year on an expiring contract and is on track to reach unrestricted free agency this summer.

As Michael Grange of writes, it’s unclear whether or not Trent will continue his career in Toronto or head elsewhere once he becomes a free agent. According to Grange, it appears both sides are open to extending the relationship, but they’ll have to agree on a salary and a role, with the latter perhaps representing the more difficult discussion.

“To be honest, it’s really not my choice,” Trent said when asked about potentially staying with the Raptors. “They gotta want me, so I could say I want to come here, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t want me here. So again, at the end of the day, I would love to be anywhere I’m wanted, anywhere I can help contribute towards winning, anywhere that can see me as part of their future or sees me as part of something they got going on that would be great to be a part of.”

No player has appeared in more games (70) for Toronto this season than Trent, who averaged 13.7 points per game with a .393 3PT%. He’s wrapping up a three-year, $52MM deal that paid him approximately $18.6MM in 2023/24, and the Raptors will hold his Bird rights in the offseason, giving them the ability to go over the cap to re-sign him or to sign-and-trade him to a new team.

Here’s more from out of Toronto:

  • Immanuel Quickley has solidified his place in the Raptors’ future and positioned himself for a nice payday as a restricted free agent this summer, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who suggests a salary in the range of $25MM annually seems likely for the 24-year-old.
  • In addition to being investigated by the NBA, Raptors big man Jontay Porter is also the subject of an inquiry by the Colorado Division of Gaming, who have asked sportsbooks in the state to look into whether they have any accounts connected to Porter and whether those accounts wagered on any “NBA affiliated games.” David Purdum of ESPN has the story.
  • As a result of Friday’s loss to Miami, the Raptors are locked into sixth place in the draft lottery standings, meaning they’ll have a 45.8% chance of keeping their first-round pick, which will be sent to San Antonio if it’s not in the top six. According to Josh Lewenberg of, the front office has privately insisted it doesn’t have a strong preference either way — a top-six pick would put Toronto in position to add another building block to its young core, but the 2024 draft class is considered weak, and losing the pick now rather than rolling it over to 2025 would free up all the team’s future first-rounders to trade.
  • From a lawsuit implicating him in stealing data from a division rival to a betting scandal involving one of his players, Darko Rajakovic has had to deal with an unprecedented amount of chaos in his first season as a head coach. As Lewenberg details for, Rajakovic’s players praised him for the way he has handled that drama and the job he has done amidst a major roster upheaval.
  • Once known for their strong player development program, the Raptors have had fewer under-the-radar success stories in recent years, but Javon Freeman-Liberty‘s progress as a rookie two-way player this season is a step in the right direction, says Blake Murphy of Freeman-Liberty received a lightly guaranteed minimum salary for 2024/25 when he was promoted to the 15-man roster last month.

Raptors Notes: Dick, Quickley, Freeman-Liberty, Barnes, Temple, Porter

Raptors rookie guard Gradey Dick, the 13th overall pick in the 2023 draft, began his first season in the league bouncing in and out of the rotation. However, he has been firmly entrenched as a rotation player since Jan. 20 and is averaging 11.2 points per game while shooting 39.3% from beyond the arc since then.’s Michael Grange details how Dick underwent a mid-year turnaround and became one of the bright points in an otherwise disappointing Raptors season.

The rookie sharpshooter struggled in the fall, shooting just 24.4% from three in his first 14 games and going through G League assignments. According to Grange, a mid-January meeting with head coach Darko Rajakovic led to a plan to save Dick’s rookie season — a plan that included more intense, hands-on trainings. Since then, he has looked like the player the Raptors thought they were getting when they selected him in last year’s draft out of Kansas.

I told somebody just the other day: He’s progressed the most as a rookie — easily — on the court, as anyone I’ve seen,” teammate Garrett Temple said. “His game play, his ability to accept coaching and put it into play, the defensive things that he’s able to do now versus what he was able to do to begin his season. On court, he’s been even more impressive than just off-court in my opinion because he progressed so much and you know, I’m really proud of him for that. He’s gonna be a player in this league, no question. He’ll be fine in this league for a long time.

We have more from the Raptors:

  • Immanuel Quickley is set to be the Raptors’ point guard of the future after arriving in the OG Anunoby trade alongside RJ Barrett, and he’s due for a major pay raise as he approaches restricted free agency this summer, Grange writes. Quickley has averaged 18.7 points and 6.8 assists per contestsince arriving in Toronto, and there’s little doubt he’s going to be the team’s long-term starter there, assuming he re-signs this offseason.
  • While there’s no wondering who the starter will be at point guard, there are more questions regarding who will back up Quickley moving forward. In the same piece, Grange points to Javon Freeman-Liberty as one potential option to monitor. “[Freeman-Liberty] is showing really good signs of willingness to be exposed, to be vulnerable, to learn, to fail and to grow through the process,” Rajakovic said. “I think it’s just the question a lot, a lot of repetition. He is going to have amazing summer, amazing opportunity ahead of him, another summer league opportunities. So it’s gonna be good opportunity for him to make that next jump.
  • After being ruled out for the season with a hand injury, it sounds as though Scottie Barnes is progressing well. According to Grange (Twitter link), Barnes is progressing to reconditioning and has gone through some controlled scrimmages. Grange adds that Barnes should be 100% healthy and available by the summer.
  • Jontay Porter remains away from the Raptors as he deals with an NBA investigation regarding betting irregularities surrounding his games. Temple, a vocal veteran voice for the team, said during an appearance on The Raptors Show (Twitter link) that he plans to reach out to Porter in the coming days. “In the days ahead I’ll probably send a text, ‘Just checking on you, seeing how you’re doing,‘” Temple said. “No reply is needed in those scenarios… just a situation to let guys know we didn’t forget about you.

How Starter Criteria Will Impact QOs For Potential 2024 RFAs

As we outlined in a glossary entry earlier today, the value of a qualifying offer for a player eligible for restricted free agency can increase or decrease depending on whether or not he meets the “starter criteria.”

A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency — or if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency.

In many cases, the difference in the qualifying offer amounts is negligible. For instance, since the Sixers will almost certainly sign Tyrese Maxey to a long-term, maximum-salary contract this summer, it doesn’t really matter that he has bumped the value of his qualifying offer a little by meeting the starter criteria.

But in other cases, the adjusted qualifying offer amount could have a real impact on how a player’s free agency plays out by making his team more or less likely to actually issue the QO — and by making the player more or less likely to accept it.

Here are the players whose projected qualifying offers will change as a result of the starter criteria this season:

Players drafted between Nos. 10 and 30 who met the starter criteria:

Bey, Maxey, and Quickley would have had qualifying offers worth $6,498,258, $6,259,588, and $6,128,004, respectively, if they had fallen short of the starter criteria. Instead, their QOs will each be worth $8,486,620.

As noted above, the QO change won’t have any effect on Maxey’s free agency. It’s unlikely to affect Quickley either, since the Raptors will be looking to sign him to a multiyear deal. But it could make a difference for Bey, who tore his ACL last month to bring an up-and-down season to an early end.

A healthy Bey would probably be a safe bet to to get his qualifying offer despite a disappointing season, but ACL recoveries are lengthy processes. If Bey isn’t going to play much – or at all – next season, will the Hawks want to risk him accepting a one-year qualifying offer worth $8.5MM that would set him up to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025?

That QO decision will likely depend on whether or not the Hawks envision Bey as part of their long-term future and whether they expect to reach a multiyear agreement with him.

Second-round picks or undrafted free agents who met the starter criteria:

An experienced veteran who will turn 29 later this year, Fontecchio spent the first part of his career playing in Europe and has just two years of NBA experience, so he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. His qualifying offer got bumped from $3,806,090 to $5,216,324 when he met the starter criteria.

Fontecchio has been a bright spot in Detroit, averaging 15.4 points per game with a .426 3PT% in 16 games as a Piston. Based on those numbers – and his solid first-half play in Utah – the Italian wing is probably in line for a salary exceeding $5.2MM, which means the QO bump shouldn’t be a difference-maker.

Top-14 picks who won’t meet the starter criteria:

As a former No. 2 overall pick, Wiseman would have been in line for a qualifying offer worth $15,815,870 if he had made at least 41 starts or played 2,000 minutes. Because he fell short, his actual QO will be worth less than half that ($7,744,600).

Wiseman hasn’t shown a whole lot in Detroit, averaging just 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game this season across 59 appearances. But the Pistons will have a ton of cap room this offseason — maybe they’d be comfortable bringing back Wiseman for one more year and trying again to unlock his full potential if the price is just $7.7MM instead of $15.8MM. I’m still skeptical he’ll get that qualifying offer, but it’ll at least be a tougher decision now.

Toppin’s qualifying offer, meanwhile, will drop from $9,170,460 to $7,744,600, but I think the Pacers would have extended it either way. The former No. 8 overall pick has had his best season in 2023/24 as a reserve in Indiana, establishing new career highs in points per game (10.1), field goal percentage (57.2%), and three-point percentage (40.3%), among other categories.

The qualifying offer change for Lewis is marginal — his QO will dip by less than $200K from $7,913,687. He’s unlikely to receive it either way.

It’s worth noting that three other top-14 picks from the 2020 draft met the starter criteria this season. The qualifying offers for Bulls forward Patrick Williams and Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro will remain at $12,973,527 and $11,828,974, respectively. Those aren’t cheap, but I’d still be a little surprised if either team decides to pass on the QO.

Former Pistons guard Killian Hayes also met the starter criteria, but was later waived, so he won’t get a qualifying offer this June. If he had remained under contract and was eligible to receive one, it would have been worth $9,942,114.

Injury Notes: Leonard, Barrett, Quickley, Mitchell, Ingram

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss the team’s game on Tuesday against the Kings due to right knee soreness, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Leonard, who played 37 minutes and scored 23 points against the Hornets on Sunday, returned to Los Angeles on Monday for treatment. His status for Thursday’s game against the Nuggets is uncertain.

The fact that Leonard’s flared up is a troubling development for the Clippers, who are pointing toward to a deep playoff run. Leonard has appeared in 68 games this season, his most since the 2016/17 campaign. Norman Powell will move into the starting lineup in his place, Youngmisuk tweets.

We have more injury-related news to pass along:

  • RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley are active for the Raptors’ game against the Lakers tonight, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Barrett hasn’t played since March 11 due to personal reasons and re-conditioning. Quickley has been out since March 17 for the same reasons.
  • The Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell, who has been battling a sore left knee, will miss Tuesday’s game against Utah, Chris Fedor of writes. It’s the first game of a back-to-back, with Cleveland facing Phoenix on Wednesday. Mitchell has appeared in 51 games this season and is ineligible for postseason awards.
  • There’s optimism that Brandon Ingram will be back in action for the Pelicans next week, The Athletic’s said Shams Charania during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link). “Brandon Ingram is going to be reevaluated at the end of the week, that’ll be the two-week mark, and the hope is by that three-week mark next week, he’s going to be back in the lineup,” Charania said. Ingram is working his way back from a left knee bone contusion.

Raptors Notes: Porter, Quickley, Barrett, Barnes, Poeltl

In the wake of news that Jontay Porter is being investigated by the NBA following multiple instances of betting irregularities, his Raptors teammates discussed the issue with reporters in general terms on Monday night, with Garrett Temple (an NBPA vice president) stressing that nothing has been proven yet, according to Michael Grange of

While Raptors players weren’t willing to speculate or go into much detail about Porter’s situation specifically, they spoke about the impact that the increasing popularity – and legality – of sports betting has had on them. Forward Jordan Nwora said that “people bet on silly things on a daily basis” and that players hear about it “non-stop” when they don’t reach certain benchmarks.

“(Hearing from fans) has been a part of it for probably the past two or three years,” Raptors wing Ochai Agbaji added. “And fans, you know, slamming you for not hitting their bet, that’s an every night thing for every single one of us in this locker room.”

The widespread legalization of sports betting is a fairly recent development, which the NBA and other major sports leagues are still learning how to navigate. Temple acknowledged the venue that gambling brings in is significant, while also pointing out that it’s a bit “awkward” to have major betting outlets serving as NBA sponsors.

“You watch a game, and you may see FanDuel or DraftKings as a big-time sponsor for a team, but obviously it’s illegal for us to (bet on) any type of professional basketball … we understand that,” Temple said. “Sports betting has always been around, it just obviously is even more available. But as players, you don’t really think about it. As a veteran, I don’t really think about it as much because (not betting on basketball) has always been a rule. It’s not as if a rule change happened. So it is awkward but at the same time, like I say, we understand what we’re getting ourselves into.”

Here’s more on Porter and the Raptors:

  • DraftKings wasn’t the only sportsbook to get significant action on Porter prop bets on the dates the NBA is looking into, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and David Purdum (Twitter link). A source tells ESPN that multiple bettors attempted to wager significant amounts (“upwards of $10-20K”) on Porter unders for that January 26 game that the forward left early due to what the team said was an aggravation of his eye injury.
  • Adam Laskaris of Daily Hive takes a deep dive into Porter’s social media history, detailing how the Raptors forward maintained an account under the moniker “TayTrades11” to share financial advice and noting that he promoted a college basketball parlay bet at least once. There’s no indication that any of that activity was illegal or prohibited by league rules, but I imagine the NBA will take a close look at the account as part of its probe.
  • Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, who have both been away from the Raptors for personal reasons, participated in Tuesday’s practice and are considered day-to-day, tweets Josh Lewenberg of However, both players will remain sidelined for Wednesday’s game vs. their former Knicks team as they ramp up their conditioning, per Blake Murphy of (Twitter link).
  • Scottie Barnes and Jakob Poeltl, who are both recovering from hand surgeries, are doing a bit of light on-court work but haven’t been cleared for contact, Lewenberg adds, tweeting that it’s still up in the air whether either player will return this season.
  • With the Raptors dealing with a series of injuries on the court and various challenges off of it – including the investigation into Porter and the recent death of Barrett’s brother – Kelly Olynyk looked to find a silver lining in what has been a “really tough” stretch. “A lot of guys are getting opportunities here that they may not have gotten (elsewhere),” Olynyk said (Twitter link via Lewenberg). “I hope that they’re seizing those opportunities and taking advantage of them to the best of their abilities, and hopefully they can parlay it into something for them that maybe they wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to do (elsewhere).”

Atlantic Notes: Robinson, Hartenstein, George, Quickley, Mazzulla

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who was rumored to be lost for the season after undergoing ankle surgery in December, was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

“It wasn’t an extended (practice) obviously. But he did shooting. He did offense, defense, script,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. Asked when Robinson might be approved for game action, Thibodeau responded, “He’s got to go through contact for a while. So then he’s got to get cleared by the doctor.”

Robinson has missed 47 games since being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left ankle. The Knicks applied for a $7.8MM disabled player exception, but that request was turned down in January because an independent physician wasn’t convinced that Robinson would be unavailable for the rest of the season.

Thibodeau said Isaiah Hartenstein will remain the starting center even when Robinson is cleared to return. Hartenstein is dealing with a sore Achilles and is currently playing under a minutes restriction.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers will be an “eager” suitor for Paul George this summer if he can’t agree on an extension with the Clippers, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column (subscription required). League sources tell Stein that signing George would be an ideal way for Philadelphia to use its considerable cap space before giving a max extension to Tyrese Maxey. Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (video link) also indicates that the Sixers are keeping their eyes on George, who has a $48.8MM player option for next season.
  • Immanuel Quickley is away from the Raptors on a personal/family matter and there’s no timetable for him to return, coach Darko Rajakovic told reporters before tonight’s game (Twitter link from Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports). Bruce Brown will handle the ball more often while Quickley is gone, Rajakovic added.
  • Eric Koreen and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic discuss whether the Raptors would be better off giving their first-round pick to San Antonio this year or waiting until 2025 or 2026. The pick is top-six protected, and Toronto is currently seventh in the reverse standings, a half-game away from sixth-place Memphis.
  • Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla tried to block a shot by Phoenix forward Royce O’Neale after a timeout last week, but he’s been instructed to retire the lighthearted gesture, relays Brian Robb of MassLive. “I’ve been told I can’t do that anymore,” Mazzulla said during an appearance on a radio show, but he declined to say who made that request.

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.