Stanley Johnson

Raptors’ Stanley Johnson Opts In For 2020/21

Raptors forward Stanley Johnson has picked up his option for the 2020/21 season, the team announced today (Twitter link via Blake Murphy of The Athletic).

Johnson, who signed a two-year deal with Toronto last summer using the bi-annual exception, earned $3.623MM in 2019/20 and will make $3.804MM in his option year.

After spending the first four years of his career in Detroit and New Orleans, Johnson had an extremely limited role in Toronto last season, averaging 2.4 PPG and 1.5 RPG in just 25 games (6.0 MPG). While Johnson dealt with some injury issues, he also didn’t show enough to secure a regular rotation spot when healthy and played mostly garbage-time minutes for the Raptors.

If the Raptors believe there’s still more potential to unlock in Johnson, they could bring him back as a member of their regular-season roster in 2020/21. If they want to free up his roster spot, he’ll be a candidate to be traded or released within the next week or two.

Assuming he plays out the season on his current deal, Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff Edition

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. With the playoffs ongoing at the Orlando campus, it’s time to examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors.

Rajon Rondo, Lakers, 34, PG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $5.2MM deal in 2019

Just when it seems that Rondo’s career is winding down, he reinforces how effective he can be when he’s healthy. Rondo was an afterthought when play resumes, as he was still recovering from a busted right hand. Coach Frank Vogel didn’t hesitate to give Rondo a large role once he was ready to play again in the conference semifinals. Rondo piled up 10 points, nine assists and five steals in the Lakers’ Game 2 win over Houston and 21 points and nine assists in Game 3. He came up two assists shy of a triple-double in Game 4. Rondo has a $2.62MM player option for next season. He’s given himself the flexibility of opting out and getting a better offer in free agency.

Jae Crowder, Heat, 30, SF (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $35MM deal in 2015

Crowder has played a major role in the Heat’s surprising run to the Eastern Conference semifinals. His defense against Giannis Antetokounmpo and 3-point shooting were instrumental as Miami knocked off the top seed. He averaged 15.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 2.2 APG in 33.6 MPG and made 43.2% of his shots during the conference semifinals. When Miami acquired Crowder from the Grizzlies before the trade deadline, it was assumed Andre Iguodala would make the biggest impact. Instead, Crowder has re-established his value. He’ll attract plenty of attention on the free agent market and could get a full mid-level from a playoff contender.

Mason Plumlee, Nuggets, 30, C (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $41MM deal in 2017

Plumlee got steady playing time as Nikola Jokic’s backup during the regular season, averaging 7.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 2.5 APG in 17.3 MPG. As the playoffs have progressed, Plumlee’s minutes have plummeted and so has his confidence. Even with his six-point outing in Game 5 against the Clippers on Friday, the big man is averaging more fouls (2.2) than points (1.6) in 10.3 MPG uring the postseason. That, plus the fact Plumlee doesn’t stretch defenses, complicates his ability to find a home in unrestricted free agency this offseason. Plumlee will probably be staring at veteran’s minimum offers, a far cry from what he received three years ago.

Stanley Johnson, Raptors, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $7.4MM deal in 2019

Johnson’s representatives did their client a big favor by securing a player option on the second year of his contract. It would be foolhardy for Johnson to pass up the guaranteed $3.8MM and test the free agent waters, considering he’s spent most of the season at the end of Toronto’s bench. Johnson’s postseason minutes have consisted of three late-game appearances in blowouts. He wasn’t in the rotation throughout the regular season, either. Johnson was the eighth pick of the 2015 draft and his first team, Detroit, is still lamenting the fact it picked him instead of Devin Booker, Myles Turner or Justise Winslow.

Brad Wanamaker, Celtics, 31, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.44MM deal in 2019

Coaches often shorten their rotations during the postseason but Wanamaker has continued to receive steady bench minutes from coach Brad Stevens. He’s averaged 5.8 PPG and 1.7 APG in 17.8 MPG and made the most of his limited 3-point opportunities (52.6%). Wanamaker, who spent most of his career overseas, re-signed with the Celtics last season on a minimum deal. He’s a restricted free agent but his qualifying offer of $1.82MM is peanuts by NBA standards. He’s improved his chances of the Celtics extending that offer, unless they have their eyes on another free agent point guard to back up Kemba Walker.

Batum, DeRozan Among Players With Earlier Option Decision Deadlines

Most veterans who have player options in their contracts for the 2020/21 season will have an October 17 deadline to either exercise or decline that option. That Saturday represents the second-last day of the 2019/20 league year under the NBA’s new calendar, meaning it would coincide in a normal year with June 29, the usual player option decision deadline.

However, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, some of the players who have to make option decisions for 2020/21 have slightly earlier deadlines. For instance, if the Spurs don’t make the postseason, DeMar DeRozan will be required to make his decision within seven days of the team’s last game, per Marks.

The full list of player options for ’20/21 can be found on our free agents page, but here are the options which must be exercised or declined before October 17, according to Marks:

The rest of this season’s player option decisions must be made by October 17, a deadline that applies to nearly every team option for 2020/21 as well. The only team options with earlier decision dates are minimum-salary ones for Deonte Burton (Thunder) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Pistons), which are due by October 15, per Marks.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/11/20

Here are today’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/29/20

Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignment/Recalls: 1/7/20

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/6/20

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Hornets recalled forwards Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels from the Greensboro Swarm, according to a team press release. Martin, an undrafted rookie, has appeared in five games for the Hornets, averaging 1.8 PPG in 6.4 MPG. Martin has appeared in 17 games for the Swarm, averaging 19.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 3.8 APG in 35.1 MPG. McDaniels, a second-round pick who has made two cameos with the Hornets, has appeared in 20 games with the Swarm, averaging 17.3 PPG and 7.7 RPG.
  • Point guard Chris Clemons has been recalled by the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Clemons had a 40-point game for the Rio Grande Vipers on Sunday. The previous Sunday he racked up 16 points and nine assists for the Rockets against New Orleans.
  • The Mavericks assigned small forward Isaiah Roby to the Texas Legends, the team’s PR department tweets. The second-round pick has been rehabbing a foot injury.
  • The Suns recalled Jalen Lecque from their Northern Arizona affiliate, the team tweets. The undrafted rookie guard has yet to make his NBA debut.
  • The Pacers recalled star guard Victor Oladipo from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team tweets. Oladipo practiced with the Mad Ants as he continues his rehab from a right knee ailment.
  • The Raptors assigned Matt Thomas to Raptors 905, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. He’ll play in a G League contest on Monday, then return to the NBA club and suit up against Portland on Tuesday, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. The shooting guard has been sidelined by a finger injury and hasn’t played for the Raptors since November 23.
  • Raptors forwards Stanley Johnson and Malcolm Miller have also been assigned to Raptors 905, Murphy adds in another tweet. Johnson, who asked to be sent to the G League, will also play on Monday as he works his way back from a groin injury, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link). Miller has appeared in 20 games with the NBA club this season but is only averaging 5.5 MPG.
  • The Lakers recalled Talen Horton-Tucker from South Bay, the G League affiliate tweets. The second-round rookie has appeared in two NBA games this season.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Atlantic Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

The Cavaliers and Jazz broke the NBA’s trade drought today, completing the league’s first trade since July 16. While I wouldn’t necessarily expect the floodgates to open on the trade market as a result of that deal, it certainly won’t be the last one completed this winter.

As we wait for an Atlantic team to make its first in-season trade of the 2019/20 season, let’s identify three more trade candidates from around the division…

Marcus Morris, F
New York Knicks
$15MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Virtually every veteran on the Knicks’ roster is a trade candidate this season, as we noted in our last look at the Atlantic. However, Morris projects to be the most valuable of a group that also features Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, and others.

Morris is the only player of that bunch who has no guaranteed money on his contract beyond this season, and he’s also been the most productive one so far, with a team-best 18.4 PPG to go along with an impressive .466 3PT%. Multiple reports have suggested that the Knicks could realistically expect to land a first-round pick in return for Morris.

The veteran forward has said he doesn’t want to be traded, since he likes playing in New York and would prefer to try to help the Knicks reverse their first-half skid. But he has no ability to veto a trade or steer himself to a specific destination, so it will likely come down to whether the Knicks get an offer they like.

Zhaire Smith, SG
Philadelphia 76ers
$3.1MM cap hit; $3.2MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21; $4.9MM team option for 2021/22

John Hollinger of The Athletic identified Smith this week as a recent first-round pick he’s worried about, since the 20-year-old “has struggled to make an impact even in G League games due to his limited skill level.” That’s not good news for a Sixers team that could badly use a wing like Smith off the bench.

Given how young he is, Smith could appeal to a rebuilding club that likes his athleticism and thinks it could get more out of him. Of course, the 76ers would be selling low, which the front office may be reluctant to do again after seeing Markelle Fultz contribute in Orlando this season.

Still, the Sixers don’t have a ton of expendable pieces earning more than the minimum, so even if they’re not ready to give up on Smith, he might make sense as a salary-matching piece in a trade package to acquire a more reliable contributor. Attaching Smith to Jonah Bolden, for instance, would allow Philadelphia to bring back a player earning up to about $8.4MM.

Stanley Johnson, F
Toronto Raptors
$3.6MM cap hit; $3.8MM player option for 2020/21

Like Smith, Johnson looks like he could serve a potential trade chip for a contending team that lacks expendable mid-level players. Of the four outside free agents the Raptors brought in this past summer, Johnson is being paid the most and has played the least, due to both injuries and ineffectiveness.

There’s still time for the former lottery pick to emerge as a regular contributor in Nick Nurse‘s rotation — Rondae Hollis-Jefferson worked his way out of the doghouse earlier in the season and is now seeing big minutes off the bench for the club. It’s possible Johnson will follow suit.

Even if Johnson remains glued to the bench, it remains unclear what sort of approach the Raptors will take at the trade deadline But if the club is looking for a modestly-priced bench upgrade, Johnson would be the most logical outgoing piece and could be the on the move.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors Notes: Siakam, Gasol, Powell, VanVleet

The Raptors, who have already been without Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and a handful of role players for stretches this season, will now put their roster depth to its biggest test yet. The team announced on Thursday that Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring), and Norman Powell (shoulder) will all be sidelined indefinitely.

Siakam has been Toronto’s leading scorer and a borderline MVP candidate so far this season, while Gasol has been the team’s most valuable player on the defensive end. The loss of Powell shouldn’t be understated either — the 26-year-old swingman had been enjoying perhaps the best stretch of his career, averaging 16.8 PPG on .515/.423/.828 shooting in his last 20 games (30.8 MPG).

Here’s more on the Raptors as they look to fill the holes created by their latest series of injuries:

  • While the Raptors didn’t offer a definitive recovery timeline for any of their three newly-injured players, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Gasol is likely to miss a “period of weeks.” Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter links) suggests that Siakam’s injury will likely be the most short-term of the three, while Powell’s injury figures to keep him out the longest. Siakam’s groin issue is believed to be a mild strain that the club is handling with caution, Grange notes.
  • As both Grange and Eric Koreen of The Athletic point out, Powell’s shoulder subluxation sounds similar to an injury he suffered last season, which cost him six weeks. Koreen believes it will be a “best-case scenario” for Toronto if Gasol and Powell each only miss a few weeks.
  • Getting Fred VanVleet, Matt Thomas, and Stanley Johnson back soon would help the Raptors address their depth concerns, Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes in an in-depth look on the fallout of the team’s injury woes. There’s hope that VanVleet may be able to return as early as Friday, but Grange says Thomas will likely be out for another week or so.
  • Koreen, Murphy, and Grange all wonder if the Raptors might consider adding someone to their roster. The 15-man squad is currently full though, so in order to make room for someone new, Toronto would have to trade or waive a back-of-the-roster player — or qualify for a hardship exception, which appears unlikely for now.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Atlantic Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Atlantic Division:

Bobby Portis, Knicks, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $30.75MM deal in 2019
Portis’ career appeared to be on the upswing when he posted solid numbers across the board for Chicago and Washington last season. Like many of the free agents the Knicks signed, Portis has been a colossal disappointment. His shooting percentage has dipped and he hasn’t been a force around the boards. Other than a 28-point outing against Chicago in late October, Portis has done little to justify his salary. Unless he experiences a major turnaround under new coach Mike Miller, the Knicks will decline their $15.75MM option on him after the season.

Brad Wanamaker, Celtics, 30, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.4MM deal in 2019
Wanamaker’s role has grown in his second season with the Celtics. He’s carved out steady work, averaging 17.9 MPG while appearing in all 24 games. He doesn’t take a lot of shots but he’s above average in those categories (47.1% overall, 40% on threes, 87.5% at the free throw line). He had a 12-point, six-rebound outing against Indiana on Wednesday. Boston can make Wanamaker a restricted free agent by extending a $1.9MM qualifying offer after the season. Thus far, he has given them incentive to retain those rights.

Garrett Temple, Nets, 33, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10MM deal in 2019
The Nets made plenty of headlines during the free agent period this past summer by signing Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. Who would have guessed that during the first two months of the season, the free agent making the biggest impact would be Temple? He’s averaging 13.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 3.6 APG while shooting 39.7% from long range in 34.2 MPG over the past 10 games. The Nets hold a $5MM option on Temple’s contract for next season. As a valuable member of the rotation, Temple is making that decision an easy one.

Jonah Bolden, Sixers, 23, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $7MM deal in 2018
Bolden appeared in 44 games in his rookie year, including 10 starts, but doesn’t have a role on this year’s team. Bolden, who has been bothered by an Achilles injury, has appeared in just two NBA games this season. He’s played eight games with the team’s G League squad, the Delaware Blue Coats, and that’s where he’ll likely spend most of his time this season unless Al Horford or Joel Embiid miss a stretch of games. Bolden’s $1.766MM salary for next season is not guaranteed and even at that modest cost, the Sixers might not keep the 2017 second-round pick around.

Stanley Johnson, Raptors, 23, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $7.4MM deal in 2019
The highlight of Johnson’s disappointing NBA career came in his rookie season, when then-President Barack Obama praised his defensive effort against LeBron James in a playoff series. The eighth pick of the 2015 draft has gone from rotation player in Detroit to an afterthought with the Raptors. Currently sidelined with a groin injury, Johnson has only made five brief appearances this season. Fortunately for Johnson, he holds a player option on his $3.8MM salary for next season. At this point, it would be foolhardy for Johnson to opt out in the summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.