Otto Porter

Raptors’ Otto Porter Exercises Player Option

Raptors reserve combo forward Otto Porter Jr. has exercised his player option for 2023/24, sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

As Charania notes, Porter appeared in a scant eight contests during his inaugural stint with Toronto this year. He underwent a season-ending surgery in January to correct a left foot ailment, described as a dislocated left toe. The Raptors filed for a $3MM disabled player exception following the operation.

Porter inked a two-year, $12.3MM deal with Toronto last summer after serving as a critical bench contributor for the title-winning 2021/22 Warriors. He is now set to earn $6.3MM in the second year of the deal.

When he did play, the 6’8″ wing averaged 5.5 PPG on .500/.353/1.000 shooting across those eight games for a 41-41 Raptors club. He also chipped in 2.4 RPG, 1.4 SPG and 1.0 APG.

Blake Murphy of tweets that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Toronto explores a potential trade to offload Porter’s salary this summer, given how close the team may be to the league’s punitive luxury tax.

Raptors’ Ujiri Talks Season, Decision To Fire Nurse, More

Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri spoke to the media on Friday following the dismissal of head coach Nick Nurse.

While Ujiri didn’t give a concrete reason as to why he felt it was time to go in a different direction, he said that “complacency” and “selfishness” were season-long problems for the team, writes Michael Grange of Ujiri also said he didn’t enjoy watching the Raptors play in 2022/23.

You could see it throughout the year. There was never that full excitement. There was never that full spirit,” said Ujiri. “There was never that (feeling) of togetherness. We all saw it. You all saw it. It’s not something we are making up here… It’s not one person or one finger to point. I’m not pointing the finger at Nick. I have to take responsibility for this, too. As the leader of this organization, I will do that. It wasn’t us. This year wasn’t us. I think everybody saw that.”

Another factor in the decision was Nurse’s reluctance to play young bench players, Grange notes. Ujiri still believes there’s talent among the group, but they weren’t given much of an opportunity to learn on the go.

…All the young players we have, I think one of the things we talked about was maybe utilizing some of these players a little bit more,” said Ujiri. “Like giving them room to actually show if they have or if they don’t have (it). I think we didn’t do so well with that this year. I think that hurt us some in developing our young players.”

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • There were other internal issues as well. A rival assistant coach tells Grange that Toronto’s coaching staff was known as being “less than cohesive.” Grange suggests “sweeping changes” to Nurse’s staff were likely even if he had kept his job. That aligns with reporting from Doug Smith of The Toronto Star (Twitter link), who hears from league sources that the Raptors have been interviewing potential assistant coaches this week in anticipation of a “mass exodus.”
  • Nurse was also reluctant to be the “bad guy” at times. A player tells Grange that Ujiri was often the one responsible for speaking to the team after listless performances this season, not Nurse.
  • Still, Nurse likely won’t have any issues finding a new head coaching job, and the poor results in 2022/23 don’t fall solely on him. “If he wants a job, he’ll get a job,” a rival general manager told Grange.
  • Ujiri believes more changes are necessary to get the team heading in the right direction, and that starts with himself, per John Chidley-Hill of The Canadian Press (link via The Toronto Star). “Look at the roster maybe in a different way. We have to figure out shooting on this roster in some kind of way. We have to figure out who fits and who doesn’t fit,” said Ujiri. “On the overall, maybe manage people better. Maybe see things a little bit deeper because when we hire people I let them do their jobs. That’s been a strength of ours the last 10 years here but I pay attention now a little bit more.”
  • Ujiri praised trade deadline acquisition Jakob Poeltl, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, tweets Blake Murphy of Ujiri referred to Poeltl as a top-10 center in the NBA and believes his high basketball IQ and playing style make him a “championship piece,” per Murphy.
  • The longtime president expects forward Otto Porter Jr. to return next season — he holds a $6.3MM player option for 2023/24, according to Grange (Twitter link). Ujiri also said the Raptors plan to hang on to two-way guard Jeff Dowtin despite not converting his contract to a standard deal at the end of ’22/23.
  • As for being linked to the Wizards‘ new front office vacancy following the dismissal of Tommy Sheppard, Ujiri says he’s not going anywhere. “I’m going to be right here, [Toronto],” he said (Twitter link via Grange). As Grange notes, Ujiri still has three years remaining on his contract.

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.”

Raptors Granted Disabled Player Exception

The Raptors have been granted a disabled player exception due to Otto Porter‘s season-ending foot surgery, tweets Blake Murphy of

A disabled player exception grants an over-the-cap team some extra spending power when it loses a player to an injury deemed more likely than not to sideline him through at least June 15.

The exception is worth either half the injured player’s salary or the value of the mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. In this case, Porter’s salary for 2022/23 is $6MM so Toronto’s DPE will be worth $3MM.

As we explain in our glossary entry, the disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. The exception can only be used on a single player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

Although the disabled player exception gives a team extra cap flexibility, it doesn’t open up an extra spot on the 15-man roster. The club must have a roster spot available to use the DPE to add a player.

Teams had until January 15 to apply for disabled player exceptions, so if a player suffers a season-ending injury anytime between now and the end of the season, a DPE won’t be available for his club. Porter underwent surgery on January 10, so obviously Toronto applied for the DPE before the deadline.

The Raptors – and any other team with a disabled player exception – will have until March 10 to use their DPE.

Raptors Notes: Trade Returns, Porter, Barnes, Achiuwa

If the Raptors become sellers at the trade deadline, what could they get in exchange for Fred VanVleet or Gary Trent Jr.? How about Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby? Eric Koreen comes up with hypothetical trades for all four players in a pair of articles for The Athletic, and his colleagues evaluate whether opposing teams would accept them.

Jovan Buha believes the Lakers would agree to a deal for VanVleet if the Raptors wanted Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Max Christie and a 2027 first-round pick. As for the team’s All-NBA forward, Joe Vardon thinks the Grizzlies would package Tyus Jones, Danny Green, Jake LaRavia, Ziaire Williams, 2023, 2025 and 2027 first-round picks, a 2024 first-rounder (via Golden State), and a 2024 second-rounder (via Toronto) in exchange for Siakam.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • The Raptors’ current front office has generally drafted well, and they have done exceptionally well in trades, but they have not had success in free agency, and Otto Porter Jr. is the latest example of that, according to Josh Lewenberg of Lewenberg points out that the Raptors have operated over the salary cap for several years, which limits their ability to sign pricier free agents, but the list of players the team has signed in the past several years is “uninspiring.” Porter is out for the season after undergoing foot surgery.
  • Scottie Barnes has had an inconsistent second season, but he’s played better of late, Lewenberg writes for “He’s just settling in,” Siakam said after Thursday’s 124-114 win over Charlotte. “I see the confidence. He’s not forcing anything, he’s just playing basketball the way that he knows how to and it’s showing. I think that sometimes we get so caught up in the numbers and what people are expecting from [us]. You’ve just got to go out there and play, and I think he’s starting to understand that.” If Toronto is able to turn things around in the second half of the season, Barnes will likely be a big reason why, according to Lewenberg.
  • Precious Achiuwa missed a significant portion of the season with an ankle injury, but he’s helped stabilize the second unit since he returned to action, per Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. The third-year big man is still working on his conditioning, but head coach Nick Nurse praised his aggression on Thursday. “I really liked the way Precious took the ball to the basket,” Nurse said. “He didn’t get a ton out of it, but that will come. I mean, he got one (foul call), maybe. He got another one where he got clobbered but (didn’t get the call); I like it. If he keeps going in there, he’s going to get rewarded and get a dunk or get to the free-throw line a little bit. I like the aggressiveness.”

Otto Porter Jr. Undergoes Season-Ending Foot Surgery

Otto Porter Jr. won’t play again in 2022/23, according to the Raptors, who announced today in a press release that the veteran forward has undergone surgery on his left foot and will be sidelined for the rest of the season.

“This was a tough decision for Otto,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said in a statement. “He had hoped to avoid surgery, but ultimately a decision had to be made to ensure his long-term health. We look forward to his healthy recovery.”

After winning a championship ring as a key rotation player for the Warriors last season, Porter signed a two-year, $12.3MM contract with the Raptors as a free agent. However, his first year in Toronto has essentially been a write-off.

Porter’s made his Raptors debut on November 2 after recovering from a hamstring strain. Just 12 days later, on November 14, the 29-year-old exited a game early due to a left foot ailment, referred to as a dislocated toe. He hasn’t played since and appeared in just eight games in total, averaging 5.5 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 18.3 MPG.

Porter’s lost 2022/23 season makes it a virtual lock that he’ll exercise his $6.3MM player option for next year.

The Raptors, meanwhile, have until January 15 to apply for a disabled player exception, which would be another tool at their disposal as they consider possible roster moves. A DPE for Porter would be worth $3MM (half of his $6MM salary) and would give Toronto the ability to sign a player to a rest-of-season contract worth up to that amount or to acquire a player (via trade or waiver claim) on an expiring contract. It would not open up an extra roster spot, however.

Raptors Notes: January, Achiuwa, Porter, VanVleet

This January will be one of the Raptors‘ most important regular season months in the last decade, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who writes that Toronto’s year could begin one of two ways — either the team starts playing better and begins to fulfill its promise, or its struggles continue and Masai Ujiri will have to seriously consider whether to break up the Raptors’ core.

The crucial month got off to a disappointing start on Monday as the Raptors lost 122-114 to the Pacers in Indiana, falling to 16-21 on the season. It’s the type of game Toronto will need to start winning more often than not, but Indiana looked like the deeper and better team on Monday, says Koreen.

The Raptors’ schedule leading up to the trade deadline is favorable, as Koreen writes, with 14 of 19 games against teams currently in either play-in or lottery position. They’ll also play their next six games at home, so if they’re going to make a move up the standings, it will probably need to start soon.

Here’s more out of Toronto:

  • Big man Precious Achiuwa, who had been out since November 9 due to a right ankle injury, returned to the court on Monday and recorded three points and three blocked shots in 12 minutes. He admitted after the game that his conditioning could use some work, tweets Josh Lewenberg of “I was so out of breath it was crazy,” Achiuwa said of his first four-minute stint. “I was so tired I couldn’t even drink water. It felt like I was going to pass out.” He added that he began to feel better during his later minutes.
  • Asked today if Otto Porter Jr. is making progress in recovery from his foot injury, head coach Nick Nurse didn’t offer much reason for enthusiasm, tweets Lewenberg. “He’s not, he’s not,” Nurse said. As Lewenberg notes (via Twitter), the hope was that Porter, who saw a specialist for his dislocated toe in mid-December, would be able to avoid surgery and return in January, but his outlook is cloudier now.
  • Prior to Monday’s loss to Indiana, Fred VanVleet said he welcomes a tough-love approach from Nurse and is prepared to dish out some of that tough love to his teammates too if need be. “What would you rather have? Somebody rubbing your shoulders and telling you everything’s going to be OK? No,” VanVleet said, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “We’ve got a standard around here that we try to play to, and it’s not even results-based. It’s based on performances, and the last couple performances where we just don’t show up to play, that’s unacceptable.”

Raptors’ Anunoby Expected To Miss At Least One Week

After missing Sunday’s game in Orlando due to left hip soreness, Raptors forward OG Anunoby is expected to remain on the shelf for another week before being reevaluated, tweets Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

According to Koreen, imaging on Anunoby’s hip injury didn’t show anything “troubling,” so it sounds like it shouldn’t be a long-term problem. Still, the timing isn’t great for the injury-plagued Raptors, who are already missing two other rotation players in their frontcourt.

Veteran forward Otto Porter Jr., who is dealing with a dislocated toe, visited with a specialist and it was determined that surgery isn’t necessary at this point, per Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter link). However, head coach Nick Nurse expects Porter to be sidelined for another month, Lewenberg adds.

Meanwhile, forward/center Precious Achiuwa has done some light on-court work in practice as he recovers from an ankle injury and is said to be making progress. But Toronto still doesn’t anticipate having him back in action until sometime in January, tweets Lewenberg.

On the plus side, after missing the last four games due to a right ankle sprain, Raptors forward Juancho Hernangomez practiced on Tuesday and should be activated for Wednesday’s game vs. Sacramento, tweets Michael Grange of With Anunoby, Porter, and Achiuwa all unavailable, Hernangomez figures to reclaim a spot in the club’s regular rotation.

Atlantic Notes: O. Porter, Achiuwa, R. Williams, Nets, Warren

Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. is scheduled to meet next week with a specialist about his dislocated toe, head coach Nick Nurse said on Friday (Twitter link via Michael Grange of The hope is that the appointment will bring some good news on Porter’s potential return to action — he has been sidelined since November 14 due to the injury and still isn’t doing any on-court work.

Meanwhile, Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa is targeting late December for his return to the court, Grange adds. Achiuwa has been on the shelf since November 9 after sustaining partial ligament tears in his right ankle.

Here are a few more notes from around the Atlantic:

  • Despite some speculation that he could make his season debut on Saturday vs. Golden State, Celtics big man Robert Williams has been listed as out on the team’s official injury report, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Williams repeatedly referred to himself as “day-to-day” and didn’t rule out the possibility of returning from his knee injury during Boston’s current West Coast road trip, which continues in Los Angeles on Monday (vs. the Clippers) and Tuesday (vs. the Lakers).
  • Within a look at the Nets‘ rebounding struggles, Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscriber link) cites two sources – NBA analyst Stan Van Gundy and a veteran Eastern Conference executive – who believe the club needs to add another big man to address the issue. “They need help,” the Eastern Conference exec told Lewis. “They absolutely need another big.”
  • Kevin Durant has liked what he’s seen so far from teammate T.J. Warren, who scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting while chipping in three assists and a pair of steals on Friday in his best game since joining the Nets. “We’re over there on the bench saying like, man, he just finds his way to the basketball, to the rim a lot, cuts, he just feels like he’s in the right position on the offensive side of the ball. And defensively, he’s good at getting into the ball, creating turnovers,” Durant said, according to Lewis. “So yeah, I mean he looked good. It’s going to get even better as he gets more comfortable and gets his legs up under him.”

Injury Notes: GPII, Beal, Allen, Holiday, Connaughton, O. Porter

Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II, who is recovering from abdominal surgery, is getting closer to a return, but isn’t quite ready to make his regular season debut, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

“He’s still progressing,” head coach Chauncey Billups said after the Trail Blazers practiced on Monday. “Not ready to play yet. He’s doing more and more. I don’t have a timeline.”

As Fentress details, Payton traveled with the Blazers during their six-game road trip that concluded on Saturday and said last week that he was “close.” However, the team is taking a cautious approach and wants to ensure that the veteran guard is 100% healthy before he takes the court.

Payton signed a three-year, $26MM+ contract in July with the Blazers, who have played well even without one of their top offseason additions available. Their 9-4 record puts them in a tie for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Here are a few more health-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Wizards star Bradley Beal will return to action on Wednesday vs. Oklahoma City after missing five games due to COVID-19 and reconditioning, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post.
  • Although J.B. Bickerstaff‘s comments on Sunday suggested the Cavaliers hoped Jarrett Allen would be back for Wednesday’s game vs. the Bucks, Chris Fedor of (Twitter link) hears from a source that Allen isn’t expected to travel to Milwaukee with the team.
  • In a Twitter thread, Eric Nehm of The Athletic provides a series of health-related updates on Bucks players, noting that Jrue Holiday (ankle sprain) and Pat Connaughton (calf strain) both practiced on Tuesday, though their statuses for Wednesday’s game vs. the Cavs are to be determined. Holiday has missed Milwaukee’s last three contests, while Connaughton hasn’t played yet this season.
  • Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr., whose debut with the team was delayed by a hamstring injury, is sidelined again, this time due to a dislocated toe, tweets Josh Lewenberg of It’s unclear how much time Porter might miss, but he has already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Miami.