After a hectic 30-plus hours that saw him fly from Sacramento to Indiana to Toronto, Bruce Brown was available to make his Raptors debut on Thursday night vs. Chicago, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter links).
While newcomers Jordan Nwora and Kira Lewis were also cleared to play, Brown was the only one of the three to see any action and he responded in impressive fashion, scoring 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds off the bench. Toronto lost the game 116-110, but Brown was a +11 in his 25 minutes.
Thursday’s performance showed how Brown could fit on the Raptors’ new-look roster, but it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll finish the season with the club. Exploring that subject on the latest episode of FanDuel’s Run it Back show (YouTube link), Shams Charania of The Athletic suggested that Toronto could probably net a first-round pick or a “boatload” of second-rounders for Brown in a pre-deadline deal, adding that there will be “no shortage of suitors” for the 27-year-old guard/forward.
According to Charania, Brown, Gary Trent Jr., and Dennis Schröder are among the Raptors veterans worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks, since they may not be part of the team’s plans beyond this season and they’d appeal to playoff teams on the trade market.
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- Following his trade to Indiana, longtime Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who spent the first seven-and-a-half years of his career with the franchise, wrote in The Players’ Tribune about how much his time in Toronto meant to him and why it’s hard to say goodbye.
- As long as Siakam was on the roster, the Raptors were able to hedge their bet on Scottie Barnes‘ ascent to franchise cornerstone, letting Siakam take the reins while the former Rookie of the Year grew into that role, Lewenberg writes at TSN.ca. Now that Siakam is a Pacer, there will be increased pressure on Barnes to develop into the type of star Toronto envisions, Lewenberg notes. “The goal is to help Scottie improve and get better every single day, every single night as a leader, as a franchise player and to build a roster around him that’s going to help him to grow,” head coach Darko Rajakovic said.
- Turning the Raptors’ roster from its current state into one capable of contending for a title may be Masai Ujiri‘s biggest challenge since he was hired by the organization, says Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. The Raptors president acknowledged that he won’t be able to skip steps during the process. “I don’t know if to call this a rebuild or a reset or however we want to put it,” Ujiri said. “But a normal rebuild with other teams takes five [or] six years. Do we have the patience for that? You know? Like do we have the patience for three-to-five years building of our team? Some way, somehow we are going to have to have patience.”
- After he traded popular Raptor DeMar DeRozan and fired head coach Dwane Casey following a Coach of the Year season, Ujiri earned a reputation for being a cold and calculated decision-maker. However, he hasn’t necessarily operated that way in recent years, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who considers whether the club would benefit from Ujiri being “a little colder” in his roster decisions.
- The Raptors have assigned the newly acquired Lewis to the G League, tweets Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca. A player with at least three years of NBA service must give his consent to be assigned to the NBAGL, but Lewis approved multiple assignments to the Birmingham Squadron earlier this season in order to get more frequent playing time and it appears he’ll do the same with his new team.