Ron Harper Jr.

Ron Harper Jr. Out For Season, Waived By Raptors

The Raptors have waived swingman Ron Harper Jr., who was on a two-way contract with the team, the club announced today in a press release.

Harper, who also spent the 2022/23 season on a two-way deal with Toronto, suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder during a G League game on Thursday. He’ll undergo season-ending surgery to address the injury, according to the Raptors.

The son of five-time NBA champion Ron Harper, Ron Jr. appeared in just 10 total NBA games for the Raptors, including one this season, scoring 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting in 52 total minutes of action. He spent the majority of his time since going undrafted out of Rutgers in 2022 playing for the Raptors 905, Toronto’s NBAGL affiliate.

In 49 total Showcase Cup and regular season games with the 905, Harper averaged 16.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 32.3 minutes per night. His shooting line at the G League level was .486/.327/.773.

As Blake Murphy of confirms (via Twitter), Harper will receive his full two-way salary of $559,782, even though he was waived prior to the salary guarantee date. A player who is injured while on a non-guaranteed contract (that doesn’t feature an Exhibit 9 clause) continues to be paid until he’s healthy or until the end of the season, whichever comes first.

The Raptors will now have an open two-way slot — Markquis Nowell and Javon Freeman-Liberty are their other two-way players.

Raptors Re-Sign Ron Harper Jr. To Two-Way Deal

JULY 21: Harper’s two-way contract is official, per’s transaction log.

JULY 20: The Raptors are re-signing free agent power forward Ron Harper Jr. to his second two-way contract with the team, his Roc Nation agent Drew Gross informs Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Harper initially joined the Raptors on a two-way deal last summer after going undrafted out of Rutgers. The 6’6″ Harper appeared in just nine contests for Toronto, averaging 2.2 points and 0.8 rebounds a night.

The 23-year-old made a bigger impact with Toronto’s NBAGL affiliate, the Raptors 905, averaging 16.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.2 BPG and 1.0 SPG in his 30 games with the club, including 27 starts.

While at Rutgers, Harper, son of five-time champion guard Ron Harper Sr., was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree, and an Associated Press All-American honorable mention.

Harper’s solid final games with the Raptors 905 in 2022/23 helped him earn an additional two-way opportunity with Toronto for the 2023/24 season, Blake Murphy of tweets. Harper will be the second player signed to a two-way contract by the Raptors, joining rookie guard Markquis Nowell. The team also still has a two-way qualifying offer out to guard Jeff Dowtin.

12 Two-Way Restricted Free Agents Remain Unsigned

The action on the NBA’s free agent market has slowed since the start of July, but there are still many FAs seeking new deals, including a notable group of under-the-radar players whose situations will need to be resolved in the coming days, weeks, and months.

A total of 12 two-way restricted free agents are still available, as our up-to-date list shows. Those players are as follows:

That group doesn’t include a 13th player, Neemias Queta, who is also a restricted free agent after finishing last season on a two-way deal. Although he remains eligible to sign another two-way contract, Queta was ineligible for a two-way qualifying offer after having played on a two-way with the Kings for consecutive seasons — his QO is a one-year, minimum-salary contract with a small ($75K) partial guarantee.

For the rest of these players, their qualifying offer is simply another one-year, two-way deal, which limits their leverage to negotiate a more lucrative standard contract.

Some two-way RFAs have managed to earn standard deals this offseason. A.J. Green of the Bucks was one. Julian Champagnie of the Spurs was another. Ty Jerome (Warriors) and Jack White (Nuggets) received standard contract offers from the Cavaliers and Thunder, respectively, that their former teams were unwilling to match, so Golden State and Denver simply withdrew their respective qualifying offers, making Jerome and White unrestricted free agents.

Offer sheets for two-way restricted free agents essentially never happen though. And in general, unless a team has earmarked a 15-man roster spot for a two-way free agent, it’s an uphill battle for these players to earn offseason promotions.

As a result, the majority of the dozen restricted free agents listed above will likely end up accepting their qualifying offers and hoping that their play in 2023/24 forces their clubs to find 15-man roster spots for them later in the season.

Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on this group to see if any of them can do better than another two-way — and to see how long some of them might be willing to wait in the hope of earning that opportunity.

Raptors To Make Dalano Banton Unrestricted Free Agent

The Raptors are not extending a qualifying offer to reserve point guard Dalano Banton, making him an unrestricted free agent this summer, per Blake Murphy of (Twitter links).

Toronto’s decision on the qualifying offer doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of a new deal with Banton, Murphy notes. However, the Raptors are declining his qualifying offer because it would be worth more than a two-year veteran’s minimum deal.

During his second NBA season, the 23-year-old out of Nebraska saw limited run with the Raptors. He averaged 4.6 PPG, 1.5 RPG and 1.2 APG in 9.0 MPG across 31 contests with the club.

Toronto is, however, extending qualifying offers to the team’s two two-way signings from 2022/23, point guard Jeff Dowtin and power forward Ron Harper Jr., Murphy reports.

While Murphy believes Dowtin could possibly return to the Raptors next season, either on a standard or two-way deal, he believes Harper may have to compete for a spot this summer.

In 25 games with the Raptors proper, Dowtin averaged 2.4 PPG, 1.2 APG and 0.9 RPG. In 19 games for Toronto’s NBAGL affiliate, the Raptors 905, the 6’3″ guard out of Rhode Island averaged a more robust 16.9 PPG on .502/.413/.771 shooting splits, plus 6.1 APG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.7 SPG.

Harper similarly appeared sparingly with Toronto’s NBA franchise, averaging 2.2 RPG in just nine games. Like, Dowtin, the 6’6″ forward also enjoyed a strong showing for the Raptors 905. He logged 16.7 PPG on .501/.366/.776, while also chipping in 5.1 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.2 BPG and 1.0 SPG.

Raptors Sign Justin Champagnie To Two-Year Contract

The Raptors have signed Justin Champagnie to a two-year contract, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet tweets.

It’s a minimum-salary deal with a $325K partial guarantee for the first year, Murphy adds.

The structure of the contract means Champagnie will still be competing for a roster spot in camp. D.J. Wilson got a similar deal from Toronto last week.

They will compete with Armoni Brooks and David Johnson for the remaining roster openings. Rookie Ron Harper Jr. holds one of the two-way contract spots. That signing is now official, according to the NBA transactions log.

Champagnie held a two-way slot at the end of last season and received a qualifying offer, which made him a restricted free agent. The size of his new partial guarantee makes him ineligible for a two-way slot with Toronto this season, Murphy adds in another tweet.

Champagnie fractured his thumb during Summer League practices, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets, but is expected to fully recover by training camp,

The undrafted wing, who turned 21 last month, appeared in 36 regular-season games last season. He averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 7.8 MPG.

Ron Harper Jr. Agrees To Two-Way Deal With Raptors

Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. will join the Raptors on a two-way contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The son of an NBA player, Harper spent four seasons with the Scarlet Knights before deciding to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the draft. He averaged 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 39.8% from three-point range as Rutgers returned to the NCAA Tournament after making its first appearance in 30 years last season.

Harper, an honorable mention All-American, also declared for the draft in 2021, but elected to return to school. He is eighth on ESPN’s list of the top undrafted players.

Draft Workout Notes: Kings, Wizards, Wolves, Jazz, More

The Kings hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team announced (Twitter links).

The Tuesday group featured Trey McGowens, Ziga Samar, Ron Harper Jr., Brady Manek and Dallas Walton. Wednesday’s group was Jacob Gilyard, Fatts Russell, Yoan Makoundou, Karlo Matkovic, Yannick Nzosa and Kai Sotto.

The Kings control the fourth, 37th and 49th picks in the 2022 draft, and a handful of those players could be targets with one of those second-round picks. Nzosa, Samar, Harper and Matkovic are ranked between 53rd and 58th on ESPN’s big board.

Here are more workout-related notes from around the NBA:

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Magic, Wizards

The Hornets hosted a pre-draft workout with six prospects on Monday, the team tweets. That group included Keon Ellis (Alabama), Michael Foster Jr. (G League Ignite), Kellan Grady (Kentucky), Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers), Brandon Horvath (Utah State) and Žiga Samar (Fuenlabrada/Spain).

We have more from the Southeast Division:

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Etienne, Harper, Draft

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, who was hired in 2020, wanted Rick Brunson on his staff from the beginning, one source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. However, some members of upper management had concerns about the circumstances of Brunson’s departure from Minnesota, Berman’s source said. The former Timberwolves assistant resigned after being accused of improper conduct toward women, though he and his lawyer denied any wrongdoing.

Although Brunson is now set to join Thibodeau’s staff in New York, it doesn’t sound like he intends to put the full-court press on his son Jalen Brunson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, to join him. According to Berman, Rick recently told a confidant that he just wants his son to sign the best deal he can, one representative of his market value.

Marc Stein reported today on Substack that there’s “no grave concern bubbling” in Dallas about the Knicks’ hiring of Rick Brunson, and Berman essentially says the same thing in his story. According to Berman, a source who recently spoke to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he’d be “shocked” if Dallas doesn’t re-sign Jalen Brunson.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

Draft Notes: Banchero, Harper, Withdrawals, Boeheim, Combine, Mock Drafts

Paolo Banchero is expected to be among the first names off the board in next month’s draft, and the Duke star did some campaigning to be the No. 1 overall pick in an interview with ESPN following Tuesday’s lottery (video link).

Banchero earned second-team All-America honors during his freshman season with the Blue Devils, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 games. Possessing exceptional passing skills and offensive versatility for his 6’10” size, Banchero told the ESPN crew he patterns his game after players such as LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Carmelo Anthony and said he’ll be ready to contribute right away to whichever team drafts him.

“From day one, they’ll get versatility for sure,” Banchero said. “There’s not a position on the court where I’m not comfortable, with the ball in my hands or the ball off my hands. I’m going to be all right. I’m going to be an immediate impact because I’m ready physically and I’m ready mentally. I am ready to get to work.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Rutgers forward Ron Harper Jr. has signed with Roc Nation Sports, officially ending his college career, according to Brian Fonseca of The senior earned honorable mention All-America honors, was a two-time all-Big Ten selection and helped the Scarlet Knights reach the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons after a 30-year absence.
  • Kyle Lofton, formerly of St. Bonaventure, has decided to withdraw from the draft, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. He will transfer to Florida for next season.
  • Andre Kelly, who played the last four years for California, is also taking his name out of the draft, Rothstein adds (Twitter link). He will use his extra year of eligibility to transfer to UC Santa Barbara.
  • Hofstra’s Aaron Estrada also plans to exit the draft and return to school, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim has worked out for the Knicks, Kings and Warriors and had an impressive showing at the G League Elite Camp, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Boeheim will hold a Pro Day in Chicago today.
  • Seven players from the Elite Camp were able to earn spots at the NBA’s draft combine, the G League announced on Twitter. They are LSU’s Darius Days, Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton Jr., Connecticut’s Tyrese Martin, Seton Hall’s Jared Rhoden, Houston’s Marcus Sasser, Texas Tech’s Bryson Williams and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson.
  • Auburn forward Jabari Smith is number one on the list of top 20 prospects by John Hollinger of The Athletic. Banchero is the only other prospect in Hollinger’s top tier, and he ranks Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren right below them.
  • Several new mock drafts were released after Tuesday’s lottery. Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic both have Smith going to the Magic at No. 1, followed by Holmgren to the Thunder at No. 2 and Banchero to the Rockets at No. 3. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has Holmgren going to Orlando, Smith to Oklahoma City and Banchero to Houston.