Toronto Raptors

Scola Doesn’t See Himself Returning To NBA

In an interview with TSN 1050 Toronto, former Raptors forward Luis Scola said that he doesn’t see himself playing another season in the NBA. The 36-year-old didn’t rule it out altogether, however.

Over the course of 10 seasons, the big man established himself as a consistently underrated threat, his best year as a pro being the 2010/11 campaign in which he averaged 18.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Rockets.

In 2016/17, Scola played sparingly for the Nets, an anticlimatic cap on an effective, if unspectacular NBA career.

Although he never earned any All-Star appearances, the big man rode a deft shooting stroke to solid career per-36 numbers and even an Olympic gold medal when he teamed with Manu Ginobili to lead Argentina in 2004.

Alas, given the ever changing NBA landscape, especially for relatively slow big men, Scola seems pretty convinced that he won’t be back playing professional basketball stateside.

I like to play, it’s just that the NBA  became too difficult for me,” Scola said, age no doubt also being a factor for the man who didn’t arrive in the NBA until age 27. “The roles that are out there for me just aren’t as appealing, I don’t enjoy them as much.

Raptors’ Affiliate Wins NBA D-League Championship

Thursday was a good night for the Raptors’ organization. Not only did the NBA squad pull out a Game 6 victory in Milwaukee to make it through to the second round, but Toronto’s D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, won its first NBADL championship.

The Raptors’ affiliate dropped the first game of the D-League’s best-of-three Finals to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ NBADL team, on Sunday. However, the club bounced back with a win on Tuesday and a resounding 122-96 victory on Thursday night to clinch the series.

While many of the contributors to the championship roster aren’t under contract with the Raptors, former first-round picks Bruno Caboclo and Pascal Siakam played major roles in the team’s postseason run, as did undrafted rookie Fred VanVleet. The trio combined for 76 points on Tuesday, with Caboclo (31 points, 11 rebounds) and VanVleet (28 points, 14 assists) leading the way. All three players remain under team control for the Raptors through at least next season.

While D-League excellence doesn’t necessarily translate to NBA success, the development of their young players is certainly a positive sign for the Raptors, who could be at risk of losing NBA rotation pieces this summer — Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker, and Patrick Patterson will all be eligible for free agency, and re-signing them would likely take Toronto deep into luxury-tax territory.

Meanwhile, the championship win is another major step forward for Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse, who was named the D-League’s Coach of the Year last week. Stackhouse will be looking to join the NBA’s head coaching ranks at some point, and his first-year performance for Toronto’s affiliate will look pretty good on his résumé.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Raptors’ affiliate figures to officially go down as the last D-League champion in league history. Starting next season, the NBADL will be re-branded as the NBAGL — the NBA Gatorade League.

Valanciunas Embraces Bench Role

It’s evident that Jonas Valanciunas is happy coming off the bench for the Raptors so long as he’s still a core component of the team’s rotation, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. Prior to Toronto’s series-clinching victory over the Bucks Thursday, the 24-year-old discussed his new role.

I’m good. I don’t feel bad if I don’t start,” the Raptors big man said. “I’m playing the same minutes, doing good things on the court, that’s all I need to do, right? I’ve just got to do my job. As long as we’re winning — I’ve been saying that a long time — as long as we’re winning I’m OK.

Even though he came off the bench for Game 6, the Raptors appeared to make an effort to get the pivot involved early. Though he wasn’t featured as heavily toward the end of the contest, he was on the court serving as a potent post threat through to the final buzzer.

It’s unclear if Valanciunas will slide back into the Raptors lineup against the Cavaliers. He had started Games 1 and 2 against Milwaukee but moved to the bench when Dwane Casey employed a smaller lineup featuring Norman Powell.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 4/25/17

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

  • In what could be the last D-League assignments of the season, Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet have been sent to the Raptors 905 by the Raptors, the team announced today (Twitter link). Toronto’s D-League affiliate will look to extend the NBADL Finals to a third and deciding game with a win tonight, and VanVleet – who appeared briefly at the end of the Raptors’ win over Milwaukee on Monday – will Caboclo and Siakam as added reinforcements.
  • The Raptors 905’s opponent in the D-League Finals, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, likely won’t make any moves today — Kyle Wiltjer, Chinanu Onuaku, and Isaiah Taylor have been assigned to the Vipers for the last 10 days and will presumably remain with the Rockets‘ D-League affiliate as the club looks to clinch the NBADL title.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 4/24/17

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

  • After a Raptors 905 loss in the first game of the NBA D-League Finals on Sunday, Bruno Caboclo and Pascal Siakam have been recalled to Toronto by the Raptors, the team announced today (Twitter link). Caboclo and Siakam figure to remain with the NBA club for tonight’s playoff game before being re-assigned to the Raptors 905 for Game 2 of the championship round on Tuesday. Since the NBADL’s series are best-of-three, Tuesday’s game could be the last of the D-League season.

Are The Raptors Willing To Pay Kyle Lowry The Max?

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post wonders if the Raptors are going to pay Kyle Lowry a max contract if they lose in the first round. Bontemps believes rival teams, like the Sixers, will be willing to pay him the max for his services regardless of Toronto’s playoff success. Lowry can become a free agent this summer.

Win Or Lose, Is Change In The Air For Raptors?

  • While the Raptors have faced adversity and prevailed in the past, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun writes that change could be in the air regardless of how they make out over the rest of their first-round matchup. Additionally, Josh Lewenberg of TSN echoes the sentiment, tweeting that players and coaches are fighting to keep their jobs.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 4/20/17

Here are the D-League transactions for the day:

  • The Raptors recalled forwards Bruno Caboclo and Pascal Siakam from Raptors 905, the team’s media relations department tweets. Neither player was active for Game 3 of Toronto’s playoff game against the Bucks on Thursday. Siakam had 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Maine Red Claws on Wednesday as Raptors 905 advanced to the D-League Finals. Caboclo scored 16 points in the 103-88 victory.
  • The Celtics recalled big man Jordan Mickey and point guard Demetrius Jackson from the Maine Red Claws, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Mickey had 13 points and nine rebounds against Raptors 905, while Jackson contributed 21 points and five assists in the season-ending loss.
  • The Thunder recalled forward Josh Huestis from the Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in a press release. Huestis had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds during Wednesday’s 102-114 season- ending loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He averaged 17.7 PPG and 6.7 RPG in six postseason games with the Blue.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls 4/19/17

Toronto’s D-League affiliate, the Raptors 905, beat the Maine Red Claws tonight to win the D-League’s Eastern Conference and advance to the finals. Pascal Siakam, who was assigned to the D-League earlier today (via the team’s Twitter feed), contributed to the win, scoring 15 points. The victory caps off a great day for the franchise, as its coach, Jerry Stackhouse, was named the D-League Coach of the Year this afternoon.

Jerry Stackhouse Named NBADL Coach Of The Year

Four years after playing his last NBA game, Jerry Stackhouse is receiving formal recognition for his coaching work. The NBA D-League announced today in a press release that Stackhouse, the coach of the Raptors 905, Toronto’s NBADL affiliate, has been named the D-League’s Coach of the Year for the 2016/17 season.

Stackhouse, who took over as head coach of the Raptors 905 last offseason, led the club to a 39-11 regular season record, the best mark in the D-League. Toronto’s affiliate made it through the first round of the NBADL playoffs and is now facing the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s D-League affiliate, for the right to advance to the championship round. A Raptors 905 win tonight would send the club to the D-League Finals.

While we typically wouldn’t dedicate a full story to a D-League award, Stackhouse’s achievement is worth noting because his name has increasingly been mentioned this year among the NBA’s ascendant head coaching candidates.

Sam Fortier of The Ringer profiled Stackhouse last month, writing that the longtime NBA star hopes to join the ranks of the league’s head coaches in the near future. Stackhouse told Fortier that he looked at the quick jumps from playing to coaching made by Derek Fisher and Jason Kidd, and believed he could follow suit.

“Seeing [Fisher and Kidd] get those head-coaching jobs, I was like, I know I’m — you hate to say better — but I know I’m damn as good as those guys when it comes to coaching,” Stackhouse said. “I’ve had more experience. …

“I wouldn’t have been ready [to be a head coach] in 2012–13, but Jason Kidd came in and my mind was like, ‘I have more of a pulse of this team than he could ever have. They respect me.’ I look at all of the other relationships you have to have to make it work, and the people you need to know in organizations. … It’s hard to get that.”

It doesn’t appear that many teams will make head coaching changes this spring, after more than one third of the league’s clubs hired new coaches in 2016. But when NBA jobs start to open up again, there’s a chance that Stackhouse will draw some interest.

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