Precious Achiuwa

Raptors Notes: Anunoby, Barnes, Siakam, Achiuwa, Lillard

The Raptors reportedly received offers of multiple first-round picks for OG Anunoby at the February trade deadline, but the “upside value” of those picks is “believed to have been low,” according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Anunoby made his first All-Defensive appearance in 2022/23. Still just 26 years old, he led the NBA in steals per game last season (1.9) while averaging 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists on a .476/.387/.838 shooting line in 67 contests (35.6 minutes).

However, Anunoby’s trade value is likely mitigated by the fact that he can become a free agent in 2024 if he turns down his $19.9MM player option for ’24/25, which is basically a lock. His floor for a new deal could be the five-year, $160MM contract Jerami Grant signed to remain with Portland.

The Raptors have reportedly been unwilling to take calls on Anunoby this summer, so there’s no sign they’re trying to move him right now.

Here’s more from Toronto:

  • With Dennis Schröder as the only proven point guard on the roster, the Raptors will likely lean more heavily on Scottie Barnes for play-making duties, Charania adds. The ’21/22 Rookie of the Year averaged 4.8 assists against 2.0 turnovers last season.
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Eric Koreen states that while top basketball executive Masai Ujiri has the “reputation of a big deal-maker,” Koreen considers Ujiri’s normal mode of operation as being closer to “conservative opportunism.” In addition to highly valuing their own players, that may explain why the Raptors haven’t made further roster moves, despite fans clamoring for the front office to pick a path.
  • Why didn’t the Raptors accept the Hawks’ reported offer for Pascal Siakam? According to Koreen, they simply think he’s worth more than that, and will have more value to either Toronto or another team on a new contract, as opposed to his expiring deal.
  • Precious Achiuwa is the player on Toronto’s roster most likely to have a breakout season, Koreen writes. He also explains why a Damian Lillard trade between Toronto and Portland wouldn’t make much sense for the Raptors or the Trail Blazers.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Brazdeikis, Rose, Rajakovic

Bobby Jackson is leaving the Kings to join Nick Nurse‘s staff with the Sixers, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post. Jackson has been the head coach of the Kings’ G League affiliate in Stockton. Raptors developmental coach Rico Hines is another candidate to join Nurse’s staff in Philadelphia.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • After winning a championship in Lithuania with Zalgiris Kaunas, forward Ignas Brazdeikis will attend the Raptors’ mini-camp this week, Donatas Urbonas of reports. The four-day mini-camp begins on Monday. Brazdeikis’ contract with Zalgiris includes a player option and an NBA exit clause, according to Urbonas. Brazdeikis averaged 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in his rookie EuroLeague season. Brazdeikis has appeared in 64 NBA games, most recently with Orlando during the 2021/22 season.
  • The Knicks have more incentive under the upcoming CBA rules to exercise their option on Derrick Rose, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Since more taxpaying teams may be looking to dump salary ahead of the 2024/25 season, the Knicks could use Rose’s $15.6MM expiring deal, plus Evan Fournier‘s $18.86MM salary (the team holds a ’24/25 option) to help acquire a high-level impact player with more than one year remaining on his deal.
  • Connecting with Scottie Barnes and getting more out of Precious Achiuwa are among the major challenges for new Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes.

Raptors Notes: Young Talent, Offseason, Barnes, Achiuwa, Trent

The Raptors have been rightfully credited for finding young talent in the past, including a remarkable three-year stretch from 2015-17 where they hit on every draft pick, writes Michael Grange of They found several diamonds in the rough, including Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted, which is how they became one of the league’s best teams for multiple years.

However, aside from Scottie Barnes, Toronto hasn’t found an impact player over the past five drafts, according to Grange. He believes last year’s deadline deal for Thaddeus Young has proven to be a bad decision, as Young hasn’t been contributing and trading down from No. 20 overall to No. 33 cost the Raptors the opportunity to draft players like Jazz center Walker Kessler (No. 22) or Andrew Nembhard (No. 31), who shined for Indiana in Toronto on Wednesday.

Grange acknowledges that it’s easy to say the team should have drafted certain players with the benefit of hindsight, but it’s the Raptors’ job to find and develop talent — they simply haven’t had much success with it in recent years, and the proof is evident in their lack of depth.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Some rival executives think the Raptors’ front office plans to run things back in the offseason with minor tweaks around the edges, but Doug Smith of The Toronto Star argues that would be the worst decision they could make, suggesting that a major move is needed to break the team out of its season-long morass. Smith points to Wednesday’s dispiriting loss to the Pacers as an example of why the front office would be foolish to believe the team is good enough to contend as is, particularly given the importance of the game.
  • The 36-38 Raptors are determined to get Barnes and the team’s other young players more postseason experience, which is why they acquired Jakob Poeltl at the trade deadline. Josh Lewenberg of takes a look at where the Raptors are in the Eastern Conference standings, writing that the No. 8 seed is probably the most realistic target. That would give the team two chances to make the playoffs via the play-in tournament, Lewenberg notes.
  • Barnes (wrist), Precious Achiuwa (hamstring) and Gary Trent Jr. (wrist) were all sidelined again on Friday, tweets Lewenberg, but the Raptors easily rolled past the last-place Pistons. It was the second straight absence for all three players, who had previously been listed as questionable.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Wizards, Raptors, Simmons, Gallinari

Sixers All-NBA center Joel Embiid sat out the second half of Philadelphia’ 116-91 blowout victory over the Bulls Wednesday with mild right calf tightness, but he’s expected to suit up for the Sixers’ next game on Friday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

While the injury is considered minor, Rich Hoffman of The Athletic suggests it could impact how Philadelphia handles its final 10 games of the 2022/23 season. The Sixers’ other top scorer, point guard James Harden, sat out the win with a sore left Achilles.

Hoffman notes that Philadelphia is prioritizing postseason health over regular season wins down the home stretch, a strategy that could cost the team’s the East’s second seed and home court advantage in the second round of the playoffs should it match up with the Celtics.

“We’ve gone into the playoffs two years in a row with injuries,” head coach Doc Rivers said in a postgame presser. “We all know that you don’t win in the playoffs when your key guys aren’t healthy, period. So, we’re going to do whatever we can to be healthy.”

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the league:

  • Wizards power forward Kyle Kuzma and shooting guard Bradley Beal will both miss Washington’s game Friday against the lowly Spurs, reports Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Kuzma is dealing with a sprained right ankle, while the oft-injured Beal is currently grappling with left knee soreness.
  • Deep-bench Nets big man Ben Simmons is currently only engaging in individual workouts and not yet working out with the team as he continues to rehabilitate his sore left knee, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link). Head coach Jacque Vaughn was noncommittal when he was asked if the team would be able to ramp up Simmons before the end of the regular season.
  • Raptors forward Scottie Barnes, big man Precious Achiuwa, and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. did not practice on Thursday and are questionable Friday in a winnable game against the rebuilding Pistons, according to Michael Grange of (via Twitter). Grange observes (Twitter link) that Barnes is exercising caution with his ailing left wrist. Achiuwa is dealing with a hamstring injury, while Trent has an elbow ailment.
  • When Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL six months ago, the injury was considered very likely to end his season. Though it remains a long shot, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston writes that the Celtics forward continues to keep the door ajar for a potential return for the postseason. “Playoffs, it’s still in my head,” Gallinari said. “A lot of steps that need to be done before you play an actual game. And even maybe after all those steps, you are not ready for a playoff game because when you don’t play the whole season and then be ready to play a playoff game is not easy for anybody, not just body-wise but mentally-wise. But like I said, it might happen. So we’ll see.”

Raptors Notes: Siakam, Bench, Barton, Achiuwa, Koloko, Schedule

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam acknowledges he hasn’t been playing up to his usual standards, Josh Lewenberg of TSN writes. Siakam averaged just 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 42% shooting during the team’s 1-4 road trip, well below his All-Star caliber production.

“I think I’ve just gotta figure out the flow of the offense, how we play and things like that,” Siakam said. “Some things are different but I’ve just got to continue to find my spots, continue to find a way into the offense and find my spots without doing too much or overplaying. But I think the main thing is just having fun with the game. I love the process of getting better and the process of struggling and finding a way out of it.”

We have more on the Raptors:

  • The reserves were outscored 150-82 in the team’s last four defeats and coach Nick Nurse has lowered the proverbial bar on their performance level, according to Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star. “If they are average, that’s probably good enough. If they are a little bit below, that’s still probably good enough,” Nurse said. “They just can’t be so far below average where all the hard work we did for 12 minutes, 15 minutes, 22 minutes, 28 minutes just disappears in three.”
  • Speaking of the reserves, Nurse is contemplating some tweaks to the second unit, Lewenberg tweets. Nurse referred to recently signed Will Barton as the backup point guard. Nurse also wants to spark Precious Achiuwa by playing him more often at the wing than at center. That could open up a rotation spot for Christian Koloko in the middle.
  • Toronto plays seven of its next eight games at home and that will likely determine whether the club qualifies for the play-in tournament, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star notes. “The main thing for us is to continue to focus on getting better, playing better, getting some wins and get in the tournament and then we’ll see what happens,” Nurse said.

Raptors Rumors: Trent, VanVleet, Siakam, Anunoby, Achiuwa

Most executives who have spoken to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype believe that Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr. will be able to at least match – and likely exceed – the value of his $18.8MM player option on a new contract, which is why he’s considered a strong bet to opt out and become a free agent this summer.

Scotto said during a podcast with Blake Murphy of Sportsnet that there are people around the league who think Trent will surpass $20MM annually on his next contract. Although Murphy mentioned the possibility of a deal in the neighborhood of $25MM per year for Trent, Scotto is skeptical that he’ll get that much — if he does, it would be based on his age and potential for further growth (he just turned 24 years old).

As for Fred VanVleet, Scotto has heard that the Raptors’ point guard could be seeking a contract in the range of $30-35MM per year when he’s eligible for free agency this summer. That would put him in the same ballpark as a fellow guard like Jrue Holiday, for instance, Scotto observes.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Executives around the NBA don’t expect Pascal Siakam to be on the move by February 9 unless the Raptors are blown away with a “crazy” offer, Scotto says.
  • According to Scotto, a number of rival executives have speculated about the possibility of the Grizzlies making a run at Raptors forward OG Anunoby. Memphis has exhibited plenty of patience in building its roster in recent years and hasn’t seemed eager to sacrifice future draft capital to take a big swing — still, Anunoby would be an ideal fit on the roster, and the team has an extra first-round pick (Golden State’s top-four protected 2024 selection).
  • Anunoby tells Michael Grange of that there’s no truth to the rumblings that he wants out of Toronto. Within the same story, Grange examines the recent emergence of Precious Achiuwa and considers whether the ascendant big man could help ease the loss if the Raptors trade Anunoby.

Raptors Notes: VanVleeet, Trade Rumors, Anunoby, Achiuwa

Fred VanVleet is expected to decline his $22,824,074 option in order to become a free agent this summer. However, the Raptors guard downplayed the timing of his decision to cut ties with his long-time agent, Brian Jungreis, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet. VanVleet also said he hasn’t chosen an agent, despite reports that he’ll sign with Klutch Sports.

“It was a long time in the making,” the Raptors guard said. “Maybe the paperwork getting filed around the time when my name is in a lot of trade rumors, it’s going to make some noise, but there’s really nothing to it. It’s just time for me to switch agents for the second half of my career. It didn’t work out with the previous thing going on. I’m looking forward to a long, prosperous career, so I wouldn’t read too much into it.”

We have more from the Raptors:

  • VanVleet, of course, isn’t the only player who has been mentioned in trade rumors. Virtually the entire starting lineup has been thrown into the rumor mill and coach Nick Nurse admits the chatter hangs over them, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. “There are guys that are thinking about where they’re living, where they’re moving, what their family situation is, kids in school,” Nurse said. “There’s the real-life part of it that, for sure, guys are thinking about. But I also believe once you get here and once the ball goes up, they probably focus in and do the best they can on the night.”
  • OG Anunoby departed the Raptors’ victory over Portland early on Saturday due to a left wrist sprain. Though X-rays were negative, he has been ruled out for Monday’s game against Phoenix, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet tweets.
  • With Anunoby sidelined, Precious Achiuwa stepped up with 27 points and 13 rebounds on Saturday. Nurse was impressed with Achiuwa’s performance, Erik Garcia Gundersen of The Associated Press writes. “He was in the right place at the right time a lot tonight and that’s a good sign that he’s making himself available,” Nurse said. “He made really good reads and (teammates) found him and he made a couple of plays on his own. I was happy that he was available because teams will step up to Pascal (Siakam) when he’s driving.” Achiuwa is extension-eligible this offseason.

Raptors Rumors: VanVleet, Anunoby, Siakam, Trent, Achiuwa

Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, who recently parted ways with his agency, is considered very likely to sign with Klutch Sports, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack story.

VanVleet’s agency change is coming at a pivotal time in his career. The seventh-year guard is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer if he and the Raptors don’t work out an extension before then — and if he turns down his player option for the 2023/24 season, which is viewed as a near-lock.

According to Stein, multiple teams around the NBA hope that the Raptors will start to become more receptive to trade inquires on VanVleet as the February 9 deadline approaches. The Magic have been mentioned more and more often in league circles as a “prime” VanVleet suitor this summer in free agency, Stein adds, though it’s unclear if Orlando would attempt to trade for him at the deadline.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • After having reported in December that the Knicks inquired about a possible deal for Raptors forward OG Anunoby, Ian Begley of follows up on that item by stating that New York was comfortable offering multiple first-round picks in exchange for Anunoby. While that’s notable, it’s worth adding a caveat — the Knicks control multiple heavily protected first-round picks, so being willing to offer a couple of those is much different than being willing to give up two or three of their own unprotected first-rounders.
  • In his aforementioned Substack article, Stein expresses skepticism that either Anunoby or Pascal Siakam is a legitimate trade candidate at this season’s deadline, with Gary Trent Jr. still looking like the Raptor most likely to be moved.
  • In his latest Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype), Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports also downplayed the likelihood of a Siakam trade, suggesting that the star forward wants to be in Toronto. Fischer says he’d be “shocked” if Siakam is on the move in the next couple weeks.
  • No matter what the Raptors do at the trade deadline, the development of big man Precious Achiuwa should be one of the club’s top priorities in the second half of the season, argues Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Achiuwa has been limited to 25 games so far this season due to injury, but has played some of his best basketball as of late, scoring double-digit points in eight of his last nine games, with a season-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting in Wednesday’s win over Sacramento.

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.”

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.”