Masai Ujiri

Raptors Notes: Brown, Trent, Schröder, Siakam, Barnes, Lewis

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 (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 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 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 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.

Raptors’ Ujiri: More Trades “Definitely” Possible

The Raptors have made a pair of blockbuster trades in the past few weeks, dealing away longtime veteran forwards OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam for packages centered on young players and draft picks, respectively. They also acquired a valuable role player in swingman Bruce Brown, who is on a pseudo-expiring $22MM contract (2024/25 is a team option for $23MM).

Speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon, Raptors vice chairman and president Masai Ujiri said more trades are “definitely” a possibility ahead of the February 8 deadline, as Blake Murphy of relays (via Twitter). In particular, Ujiri highlighted shooting and flexibility as areas of emphasis, Murphy adds.

In a Twitter thread, Murphy passes along several noteworthy comments from Ujiri’s press conference addressing the trades, his close relationship with Siakam, the team’s plans for the future, and much more.

According to Murphy, Ujiri was “clearly quite emotional” when discussing the moves, which he called “incredibly difficult.”

These things happen but that one is close to me,” he said. “I hate to go on this little rant, but what I think of the world globally, and what these guys represent, and where I come from, where they come from, it’s meant a lot to me. … Trust me, we’ve analyzed this in every single way.”

Two African guys that won a championship, I share that with him,” Ujiri said of Siakam (Twitter video link via The Shift). “ … Again, I say to you guys, that guy’s success is my success no matter where he is.”

Ujiri wanted to give the previous roster as much time as it could, but it was trending in the wrong direction. He also cited free agency — both Anunoby and Siakam can be unrestricted free agents this summer — and a desire to get younger around Scottie Barnes as key factors in the moves, per Murphy.

Here’s more from Ujiri’s lengthy press conference:

  • Ujiri had nothing but praise for how Siakam carried himself and performed over the past year while dealing with trade rumors, tweets Josh Lewenberg of He handled it perfectly,” Ujiri said of Siakam. “I give him 100 out of 100. It has to be difficult, and I said that to him. … Nothing stopped him from coming to work everyday and trying to be the best he could be while he performed. We truly respect that.” However, Ujiri says he regrets how he handled things on his end during the offseason, Lewenberg adds (via Twitter). “I think the lines of communication in the summer were not that great. That part I’m not particularly proud of,” Ujiri said, adding that he apologized to Siakam.
  • When asked if he regretted not making more trades last season, Ujiri said he didn’t, citing a desire to give the 2022/23 team more chances to succeed. He also doesn’t second-guess himself about last year’s trade for Jakob Poeltl. When you trade a first-round pick for a starting center in the NBA, in our business and for us, it’s good — for now and for the future,” Ujiri said, per Lewenberg (Twitter link). “I’m not going to sit here and cry over spilled milk. If it was a mistake, it was a mistake, but it was good value for us.”
  • Regarding Christian Koloko, whom the Raptors waived to create roster space for the latest deal, Ujiri said his medical status was in the hands of the NBA. Koloko has yet to play this season due to a respiratory issue. “We’ve exhausted all our options there,” Ujiri said (Twitter link via Murphy) “I can’t comment on particulars. It’s really unfortunate. … He was someone we really believed in. Incredible talent. We saw as the future of this team.
  • The Raptors could have four picks in the 2024 draft, depending on what happens with their own first-rounder (it will be sent to San Antonio as part of the Poeltl deal if it lands outside the top six). They acquired the Pistons’ second-round pick in the Anunoby deal, plus two more 2024 first-rounders from Indiana that are projected to be in the latter portion of what’s considered a weak draft class. Ujiri “strongly doubts” that the Raptors will actually keep all of those picks, tweets Murphy.

Raptors Notes: J. Porter, Quickley, Barrett, Dick, Trent

The trade that sent Precious Achiuwa to New York along with OG Anunoby and Malachi Flynn has left the Raptors somewhat thin in the frontcourt behind Jakob Poeltl, observes Michael Grange of As a result, two-way big man Jontay Porter got a chance to play in Wednesday’s victory over Memphis, appearing in an NBA game for the first time since May of 2021.

While Porter missed both of his field goal attempts and had a pair of fouls in his seven minutes of action, he also grabbed three rebounds and looked “poised and smart and comfortable” on defense, writes Grange.

In an in-depth look at Porter’s journey to his current spot on the Raptors’ roster, Blake Murphy of notes that the former Missouri standout was considering walking away from basketball in 2022 after a series of knee injuries – including multiple ACL and MCL tears – derailed his career. But older brother Michael Porter Jr. helped convince him to stick with it and nearly two years later, Jontay is in position to potentially claim a regular role in Toronto.

“I think he’s a rotational big in this league, if not for injuries that kind of slowed down his development,” said Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic, who also coached Jontay as an assistant with the Grizzlies. “His basketball IQ is very high. He can shoot the ball. He’s a very willing passer as well. I think he’s going to be a really good fit for us — for (the Raptors) 905, but also when opportunities present itself to see him play on the big stage with us as well. I’ve got a ton of respect for him, knowing what he was going through.”

According to Murphy, Porter said he was feeling “a lot of emotions” when he took the court in an NBA game on Wednesday for the first time in nearly 32 months and that his mentality was essentially just “don’t mess up.”

“Hopefully, I get to build on this, but if not, regardless, I’ll take what I learned here and go back to 905 and do my thing there,” he said. “Regardless of what happens, I’m blessed to be in Toronto, and that’s the bottom line.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • New starting point guard Immanuel Quickley continued to impress in his second game as a Raptor, scoring a team-high 26 points in the victory over the Grizzlies. Quickley said after the game that a message from Rajakovic after he missed his first four shots helped kick-start his big night, as Aaron Rose of relays. “He pulled me aside while the game was going on and said, ‘You’re not having fun. Have fun,'” Quickley said.I’ve never really had a coach do that. He told me that. Then I started skipping.”
  • Veteran guard Cory Joseph, one of seven Canadians who had played for the Raptors prior to this season, tells Josh Lewenberg of that he believes RJ Barrett will “flourish” as the eighth member of that group. “He’s going to have some of the best years of his life coming up,” Joseph said. “They were for me. It’s what you dream of as a kid, playing in your hometown.”
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic addresses a wide range of topics in his latest mailbag, including why team president Masai Ujiri‘s job remains very safe despite some roster missteps in recent years and whether it’s too early to be concerned about lottery pick Gradey Dick.
  • Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr. hasn’t missed a game since November 15, but he’s been added to the injury report for Friday’s game in Sacramento due to a left quad contusion, tweets Lewenberg. Trent is listed as questionable to play.

Latest On Knicks’ Lawsuit Against Raptors

Since resigning from his Board of Governors committee positions, owner James Dolan and the Knicks launched a lawsuit against the Raptors seeking more than $10MM in damages over an issue that would typically be arbitrated by the NBA.

The suit, which alleges that a former team employee illegally took “confidential” files with him to his new position in Toronto, accused commissioner Adam Silver of bias due to his friendship with Raptors chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Tanenbaum’s position as chairman of the Board of Governors.

As Baxter Holmes writes in an in-depth story for ESPN, Dolan also has a lengthy history with Raptors president Masai Ujiri. Back in 2011, when Ujiri was Denver’s lead basketball executive, he traded Carmelo Anthony to New York — a deal in which Dolan was later criticized for giving up too much on a player who wanted to sign with the Knicks in free agency.

Ujiri had another famous trade with the Knicks a couple years later while he was running the Raptors, Holmes notes, sending Andrea Bargnani to New York for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and multiple first-round picks. Bargnani only played 71 games over two seasons with New York.

Dolan reportedly nixed a deal between Toronto and New York that same year — 2013 — that would have sent Kyle Lowry to the Knicks because he “didn’t want to get fleeced again by Masai,” a source told The New York Daily News.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported a few years ago that Ujiri was Dolan’s “dream candidate” to run the Knicks, but he wound up returning to the Raptors on a long-term deal in 2021.

As far as the ongoing lawsuit, legal experts, analytics staffers and rival executives alike are skeptical and “generally dismissive” of the Knicks’ claims, according to Holmes.

“​If you were concerned about privacy and the loss of proprietary information, the last place you would be pursuing that is in a court proceeding seeking only monetary damages — because whether it’s actually proprietary is going to be an issue,” said Robert Boland, a professor of sports law at Seton Hall University Law School who also maintains a practice focused on sports labor and governance issues.

You have to prove your damages in this circumstance and you’re going to have to tell the court, and by extension the public, what they took from you and what its value was. So more of that becomes public, which likely means the Knicks don’t care about it. I’m assuming by the time we get through the court hearings, all this information will be out of date. I’m not sure the subject matter is proprietary or that it’s even timely anymore.”

Executives in particular cited Dolan’s “litigious reputation,” Holmes adds.

I think this is a complete middle finger from Dolan to Larry Tanenbaum — and I think it’s nothing more than that,” one Eastern Conference executive told ESPN.

According to Holmes, the Raptors are expected to file a response to the Knicks’ latest filing on December 11. Boland — one of the legal experts Holmes spoke to — is unsure what will happen next.

I don’t see a settlement in this case, but I don’t know if the Knicks are going to win,” said Boland, an admitted Knicks fan. “I don’t really see a clear strategy. I think the attention is the desired outcome.”

Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic is also named in the lawsuit. He once again defended himself amid the allegations and said he’s looking forward to the case being resolved, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

Support from the beginning was just fine because we talked about it, we explained what happened or what did not happen. I know who I am, I know my integrity, I know who I represent,” Rajakovic said. “I represent one amazing organization and people in the front office and the players. I’m really looking forward for all of this to be solved and for everybody to find out the truth. I’ve got nothing to worry about.”

Raptors Notes: Temple, Dick, Trent, Offense

Appearing on The Raptors Show with William Lou (audio link), veteran guard Garrett Temple said he had a preexisting relationship with Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri prior to this offseason, and that the two men exchanged numbers “as friends” during a 2018 event in South Africa. When Temple was waived by New Orleans this past July, Toronto was the first team to reach out to express interest in him.

“(Head coach) Darko (Rajakovic) called, told me he’d admired me from afar. Then I talked to (general manager) Bobby (Webster) and Masai,” Temple said. “They told me they wanted me to be a veteran leader, to be a guy that’s ready to play whenever my name is called, but first and foremost, be a guy that can be a good influence on the players here, show them what professionalism is. That’s what I’m trying to do every day.”

Temple has never been the sort of player who fills up a stat sheet, but he has long been valued for his on-court smarts, his defensive versatility, and his leadership in the locker room. The 14-year veteran has appeared in just five games for the Raptors so far this season, but has been effective when called upon, scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 16 minutes of action.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors assigned lottery pick Gradey Dick to the G League ahead of Saturday’s game vs. the Capital City Go-Go in order to get him more playing time than he’s getting with the NBA team, tweets Michael Grange of However, Dick struggled in his Raptors 905 debut, scoring just two points on 1-of-12 shooting and committing three turnovers while recording a single assist. It sounds like the No. 13 overall pick may remain with the 905 for Monday’s game, notes Blake Murphy of (Twitter links).
  • While the 2024 free agencies of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby have stolen most of the headlines, the Raptors will also have to determine in the coming months what to do with Gary Trent Jr., who is on an expiring contract too. As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, Trent’s value is difficult to gauge, given that his play on defense has been inconsistent, so it’s unclear at this point whether he’ll emerge as a deadline trade chip or if he has a decent chance to stick with Toronto beyond this season.
  • The Raptors’ half-court offense, which has ranked near the bottom of the league in recent years, seemed to still be a problem at the start of this season, but the club has shown some encouraging signs offensively as of late, Grange notes at Although Toronto is still only 17th in overall offensive rating and has struggled against some top defenses, the team is making good on Rajakovic’s desire to pass more, ranking second in the NBA with 28.8 assists per game.

Raptors Notes: Barnes, Roster, Siakam, Young, Achiuwa

Raptors forward Scottie Barnes has playing his best pro basketball yet for Toronto this season, but the club still needs to determine how to maximize his unique skill set, opines Michael Grange of

Grange notes that Barnes has shown marked growth following an at-times disengaged sophomore season in 2022/23. Barnes’ multifaceted game and positional flexibility make him an intriguing young star in the making, albeit one who needs well-curated help to flourish.

“[His versatility] is good but at the same time it’s a problem because he has so many traits, so many things that he can do on a higher level,” head coach Darko Rajakovic said.

Through 15 games this season, Barnes is averaging 19.7 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.7 SPG and 1.3 BPG.

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • Former Raptors GM Jeff Weltman was let out of his contract with Toronto in order to assume the mantle of Magic team president in 2017. In the intervening seasons, it’s become clear that Weltman is taking a lot of the lessons he learned under the tutelage of Raptors president Masai Ujiri to heart, writes Blake Murphy of Murphy sees several parallels between the constructions of both rosters. When drafting, both teams prioritize size and length, forgoing normal conceptions of position in favor of athletes with epic wingspans. That said, Eric Koreen of The Athletic opines that the Raptors’ forwards aren’t getting enough personnel help elsewhere from the front office.
  • When the Raptors appeared to be slipping early in the 2023/24 season, All-Star power forward Pascal Siakam did his best to steer the club away from a possible return to the bad vibes of last year’s lottery team, writes Koreen in a separate piece. Siakam’s aggressive and prolific play has helped paper over some careless in-game errors from his teammates, Koreen notes.
  • Raptors forwards Thaddeus Young and Precious Achiuwa are both questionable to play in Friday’s matchup against the Bulls, reports Murphy (Twitter link). Young has an illness, while Achiuwa is dealing with a knee injury.

Raptors Notes: Schröder, Rajakovic, Barnes, Offense, Uzoh

After Fred VanVleet departed the Raptors in free agency, Toronto was quick to sign Dennis Schröder to a two-year, $25.4MM contract. Schroder is the only player on the Raptors who has previous experience playing for head coach Darko Rajakovic, and that connection is already paying off, TSN’s Josh Lewenberg writes.

While there was some speculation that Scottie Barnes would assume most of the play-making duties after VanVleet left, respect was high between Schröder and Rajakovic from their time together with the Thunder, where Rajakovic served as an assistant, according to Lewenberg.

[Schröder]’s an experienced point guard,” Rajakovic said. “We’re a new team, new terminology, new coaching staff. There’s so much new with our team and having somebody who’s been through different teams in that role of a point guard brings a calmness.

Through his first two games as a Raptor, Schröder has been an effective passer (17 assists), an active defender, and a sound shooter (6-of-13 from deep).

The relationship with me and Darko is great, and it’s honest,” Schröder said. “Whenever he’s got something to say he tells me, and I’ve got the same thing for him. And I think that’s what we’ve gotta do as a team, as well. When you put your egos to the side – and that’s what we did this summer with the national team – and it’s all about winning, then you can get into arguments and move on from it and get better. I think we’re moving in that direction with this team.

We have more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors got off to a great defensive start on Wednesday when they held the Timberwolves to 94 points and they have the personnel to be one of the best in the league in that regard, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes. According to Koreen, Barnes holds the keys for the Raptors taking the next step on that end. “That’s where my game starts — on the defensive end, being able to go out there and guard anybody, taking pride in it,” the former Rookie of the Year said. “That’s just my mentality going into every game, trying to start off on defense. That leads to great offense with transition and that just leads me to stay on lockdown throughout the game.
  • While Toronto’s defense has been effective, their half-court offense looks subpar through two games, Koreen writes in another piece. The Raptors committed 21 turnovers on Friday and fell to the Bulls in overtime.
  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri and new scout Ben Uzoh have a history together, as detailed by ESPN’s Leonard Solms. Ujiri was Denver’s general manager during Uzoh’s playing career and invited him to training camp in 2012. “Our paths were actually very organically separate,” Uzoh said. “It just kind of aligned. We crossed paths initially [during] my rookie year. I was rumored to be traded to his team when he was the GM of the Nuggets… It didn’t happen, but then they signed me to a training camp opportunity. That’s when I kind of got more in touch with him and more of an up close and personal type of connection with him.

Raptors Notes: Rajakovic, Lillard, Siakam, VanVleet

The arrival of new Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic looks like a reason for optimism in Toronto, according to Josh Lewenberg of, who says that Rajakovic is bringing a “people-first” approach to his new role and appears to be connecting quickly with his players.

Scottie Barnes said on Monday that he loves the “energy” and “joy” Rajakovic brings to the job, while Gary Trent Jr. told reporters that the coach’s communication has been “great,” noting that Rajakovic is interested in talking to his players about topics beyond basketball.

“I’ve been in the NBA six years and I’ve had more conversations with him (outside of basketball) than with any coach I’ve ever had,” Trent said, per Lewenberg. “It’s been refreshing.”

The start of Rajakovic’s first NBA head coaching job has been marred to some extent by a lawsuit filed by the Knicks which claims that a former Knick employee shared proprietary information with Rajokovic and the Raptors after being hired by the franchise. The Raptors, who issued a statement in August disputing the claims in the suit, downplayed the case again on Monday, as William Lou of writes.

“I know who I am. I know how my parents raised me. I know what I see in the mirror,” Rajakovic said in maintaining his innocence. “I cannot wait for this lawsuit to be over so everyone can see the truth.”

Here’s more out of Toronto:

  • Speaking to Danielle Michaud of Sportsnet, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster confirmed that the team’s interest in Damian Lillard was real. “You’d have to ask (the Trail Blazers),” Webster said when asked how close Toronto got to landing Lillard. “We were very aggressive. I’d say probably the biggest offer we’ve ever made for a player, but it’s up to them to accept it and so I think that’s, you know, you kind of never know what tilted a deal towards you or not. But maybe time will tell, we’ll find out.”
  • Pascal Siakam pushed back against any implication that he might have been one of the Raptors who played selfishly last season, as Michael Grange of relays. “I’ll speak for me, personally, I’ve never been a selfish player in my life,” Siakam said. “I’ve always played the game the right way and that’s from the first time I started playing basketball. I’ve always been a team player. All the things that I do on the basketball court is about the team and I’ve been like that my whole career.”
  • The free agency departure of veteran point guard Fred VanVleet was one of the topics Raptors president Masai Ujiri addressed on Monday, per Josh Lewenberg of “Could we have traded Fred at the trade deadline? If that was a failure, we take responsibility for it,” Ujiri said. “Sometimes it depends on opportunity and respect (for) the player. We respected Fred. Fred decided to go somewhere, to better opportunities. It was good for him. Maybe it was good for us, too.”
  • The Raptors are one of five teams that John Hollinger of The Athletic is confident will beat their consensus over/under (36.5 wins) this season. While Hollinger acknowledges that going to VanVleet to Dennis Schröder is a downgrade at point guard, he notes that Toronto won 41 games in a down year last season, played better after acquiring Jakob Poeltl, and will have incentive to be as good as possible, since San Antonio owns the Raptors’ top-six protected 2024 first-round pick.

Atlantic Notes: Tatum, Ujiri, Sixers, Lillard, Randle

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum went into the offseason thinking he may have needed surgery on his non-shooting wrist, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said on NBA Today (YouTube link). According to Shelburne, Tatum visited a bunch of specialists and opted against going under the knife.

Shelburne said that Tatum received a cortisone shot in his wrist, adding that the wrist feels “really good.”

Following the trade that sent Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies, Tatum is likely going to be seeing even more primary ball-handling duties. Shelburne reports that Tatum is “comfortable” initiating the offense and handling the ball, with his experience in the postseason helping him build confidence for that role.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri‘s 10-year anniversary as the team’s top decision-maker came and went this offseason and his tenure has been marked by huge successes by the organization, including an NBA title in 2019. However, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes that Ujiri’s record hasn’t been without misses, especially recently. Missing out on Damian Lillard is an example of a questionable decision, Koreen opines, and it leaves the franchise in a tricky situation moving forward. Importantly, Koreen notes that he doesn’t think that Ujiri is in any danger of being close to losing his position. I recommend reading the article in full, as Koreen evaluates and compares Ujiri’s tenure to other top decision-makers in the league.
  • While the Sixers didn’t land Lillard, Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports writes that Philadelphia is in a better position with Lillard on the Bucks rather than the Heat, who were heavily linked to the seven-time All-Star. Neubeck reasons that if Miami had landed Lillard, they would be firmly in the top tier of Eastern Conference teams ahead of the Sixers, along with the Bucks and Celtics. With Lillard on the Bucks, it makes Milwaukee better, but the Sixers are only behind two teams in the conference’s hierarchy, opines Neubeck. The deal also opens Philadelphia to make other moves via trade.
  • The Knicks have several storylines to watch for this upcoming season after earning the No. 5 seed and reaching the second round in the NBA playoffs in 2022/23. Zach Braziller of the New York Post argues that the biggest storyline surrounding the Knicks is the play of Julius Randle. In Braziller’s view, the Knicks will need Randle to step up in the postseason in order to increase their ceiling for next season and beyond.

Raptors Rumors: Siakam, Anunoby, VanVleet, Ujiri

Although he reportedly doesn’t want to play anywhere but Toronto, Pascal Siakam and the Raptors have yet to formally meet to discuss a possible contract extension, according to Michael Grange of, who says that trade speculation about the two-time All-NBA forward continues to percolate.

As Grange previously reported, the Hawks, who have been repeatedly linked to Siakam throughout the offseason, attempted to re-engage the Raptors in trade talks this past weekend, while other teams are also believed to have checked in. One possible trade scenario that Grange has heard about would involve both the Hawks and Rockets, though he’s not sure about the specifics.

Despite the rumors and speculation, it remains unclear whether the Raptors are seriously thinking about moving the 29-year-old. According to Grange, sources around the league who had questions about Toronto’s direction entering this offseason still haven’t been able to get a clear read on the front office’s plans.

“They’re not the easiest team to deal with, I’ll just say that,” one source said to Grange.

Siakam isn’t the only Raptors forward who should still be considered a possible trade candidate. OG Anunoby is entering a contract year and isn’t necessarily assured of a long-term future in Toronto. Grange says Anunoby “remains on the watch list for several teams” and singles out the Knicks as one club with considerable interest.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • According to Grange, the Raptors’ veterans – particularly Siakam and Fred VanVleet – were frustrated last season by some of the team’s younger players. VanVleet “let them know about it, something the younger set didn’t appreciate at all,” Grange writes.
  • In the same story, Grange says that Raptors president Masai Ujiri spoke to players multiple times last season to express his displeasure with “selfish play and poor body language.” According to Grange, former head coach Nick Nurse may have been planning his exit from the franchise during the season, recognizing that he would likely be let go at season’s end.
  • The best offer the Raptors were prepared to make to VanVleet in free agency was a four-year deal that included a partially guaranteed final year, with $100MM in total guaranteed money, Grange reports. VanVleet opted for the Rockets’ three-year, $128MM+ deal, even though it will reportedly only include two guaranteed seasons.
  • Blake Murphy of checks in on a number of Raptors-related topics, including where the team’s 2023/24 cap stands and why the club decided to guarantee Thaddeus Young‘s $8MM salary for the coming season.