Toronto Raptors

Raptors Exercise Options On Wright, Poeltl, Siakam

The Raptors have exercised three team options for the 2018/19 season, announcing today in a press release that they’ve picked up Delon Wright‘s fourth year option, as well as third-year options for Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2018/19 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Wright, the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, appeared in just 27 games for the Raptors last season, with Kyle Lowry and Cory Joseph ahead of him on the depth chart for most of the year. However, with Joseph no longer on the roster, Wright figures to be in line for a larger role as he and Fred VanVleet back up Lowry. His fourth-year option for 2018/19 will count for $2,536,898 on Toronto’s cap.

Poeltl and Siakam, meanwhile, will also be relied upon for more significant roles this season. The two 2016 first-rounders didn’t play a ton as rookies last season, but the offseason departures of Patrick Patterson, P.J. Tucker, and DeMarre Carroll will open up more frontcourt minutes in the Raptors’ rotation.

Poeltl, last year’s ninth overall pick, has the most expensive 2018/19 option of the three, at $2,947,320. Siakam’s is worth $1,544,951. The Raptors will have to decide next offseason on fourth-year options for 2019/20 for the duo. If those are exercised, Poeltl and Siakam will become extension-eligible in the summer of 2019, and would be on track to be restricted free agents in 2020.

And-Ones: Trade Predictions, Perkins, Extensions

In his latest predictions feature, Zach Lowe of ESPN speculates that a number of players will be put on the block this season if not officially traded. Since we already know that there’s at least some truth to the oddly specific guess that the Timberwolves would trade Cole Aldrich for Jared Dudley, perhaps we should take a closer look at some of the rest.

Among the other trade predictions that Lowe makes is one that has the Raptors seeking to shop big man Jonas Valanciunas. Considering that the traditional Lithuanian center has been the subject of speculation over the course of the past few seasons, this one seems like rather low hanging fruit.

Similarly, Lowe makes the thoroughly uncrazy prediction that Eric Bledsoe will be on the move. What bonus points Lowe doesn’t earn for predicting a Bledsoe trade, however, he does earn for earmarking the Nuggets and Clippers as possible interested suitors. Alas Denver, it’s worth noting, is already rather backloaded at the guard positions.

Other players that come up in Lowe’s column include the likes Dennis Schroder, DeAndre Jordan and Tobias Harris.

There’s more from around the league:

  • The NBA will name Michelle Johnson their new Senior Vice President and Head of Referee Operations, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. Johnson is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General.
  • The NBA coaching community could soon have another recent league veteran join its ranks. As Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype writes, Kendrick Perkins – who played 11 seasons in the NBA – believes he would have plenty of options to accept a role on the sidelines.
  • Only a few players from the 2014 NBA Draft class have landed sizable pay days and that’s for good reason, Mitch Lawrence of Forbes writes. Beyond players like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, few have earned substantial rookie contract extensions. Only Marcus Smart, he writes, has been a notable contributor to an elite playoff team.

Raptors Waive Davion Berry

The Raptors have reached the roster limit by waiving guard Davion Berry, according to a tweet from the team.

The former Weber State guard signed with the organization on Wednesday and is likely headed to the G League. The 25-year-old, who has extensive overseas experience, received an Exhibit 10 contract that will pay him a $50K bonus that won’t count against Toronto’s cap.

Waiving Berry brings the Raptors to the roster limit with 17 players, including Lorenzo Brown and Malcolm Miller on two-way contracts.

Raptors Sign Davion Berry

The Raptors have signed former Weber State guard Davion Berry to an Exhibit 10 contract, reports Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic. Toronto had already reduced its roster count to 15 players on NBA contracts, but the team will add a 16th in Berry to get through the next week of practices. The team has confirmed the move.

Berry, who went undrafted in 2014, has bounced back and forth between the G League and international leagues since then, playing for teams in Italy, South Korea, Greece, and Germany. Most importantly, the 25-year-old’s last G League experience – in 2015/16 – came for the Raptors 905, so Toronto’s G League affiliate still holds his returning rights.

Berry figures to head to the Raptors 905 once the G League season begins, but as Murphy explains, signing him to an Exhibit 10 contract allows Toronto to give the young shooting guard an extra $50K bonus that won’t count against the Raps’ cap.

The Raptors’ roster count is now back up to 18, including two players on two-way contracts.

Forward Duo Fighting For Final Roster Opening

  • Forward K.J. McDaniels and Alfonzo McKinnie are likely fighting for the final spot on the Raptors’ opening-day roster, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. There’s room for both but GM Bobby Webster has expressed a desire to leave a spot open, Smith continues. Raptors coach Dwane Casey told Smith and other media members that the competition between the two is close. “There’s right now no clear-cut favorite going into this week,” he said.

Alfonzo McKinnie A 'Revelation' For Raptors

  • In his first season with the Raptors, G League standout Alfonzo McKinnie has been a revelation, Mike Gardner of the Toronto Sun writes. The forward has shown versatility, length and an ability to knock down three-pointers that the club could use.

Raptors Sign Norman Powell To Extension

OCTOBER 8, 10:22pm: The extension has been finalized, according to a tweet from the Raptors.

OCTOBER 5, 12:54pm: The Raptors have reached an agreement on a contract extension with swingman Norman Powell, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Wojnarowski, the deal – which will go into effect for the 2018/19 season – will be worth $42MM over four years, and includes a player option for the final season.Norm Powell vertical

Powell, 24, is entering his third year in the NBA, but wasn’t a first-round pick when he entered the league, which makes him eligible for a contract extension a year earlier than many of his fellow 2015 draftees.

For a player in Powell’s position, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for an extension with a starting salary worth up to 120% of the estimated average salary, with subsequent 8% annual raises. It looks like that’s the deal he’ll get — Josh Richardson, another 2015 second-rounder, signed a similar extension with the Heat earlier in the offseason.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]

A former UCLA standout, Powell took on a more significant role in his second season with the Raptors, averaging 8.4 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 76 regular season contests (18.0 MPG). Powell’s minutes increased following the February trade of Terrence Ross, and he was a key contributor in the postseason, upping his averages to 11.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG to go along with a .441 3PT% in nine playoff games.

With P.J. Tucker, DeMarre Carroll, and Cory Joseph among the offseason departures for the Raptors, Powell figures to become an even more crucial part of the club’s rotation going forward, giving him a chance to enjoy a breakout season in 2017/18. According to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), the Raps were concerned about being unable to afford Powell as a restricted free agent next summer and even quietly shopped him around prior to the draft — the team is likely thrilled to lock him up at a price just above the mid-level exception.

While the Raptors secured Powell at a fair price, the franchise will now have to worry about luxury tax payments in future seasons. Assuming Toronto picks up its 2018/19 options on Jakob Poeltl, Delon Wright, and Pascal Siakam, the team was already projected to have more than $115MM in guaranteed salary on its ’18/19 cap even before the Powell extension. Powell’s deal will add another $10MM to that total, pushing the Raps over the projected tax threshold.

If staying out of the tax – or even just creating more cap flexibility – is important to the Raptors, Masai Ujiri and the front office may push to eventually find a taker for Jonas Valanciunas, who is set to earn $16.5MM+ in 2018/19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors Make Roster Cuts

The Raptors have waived Kennedy Meeks, Andy Rautins, and Kyle Wiltjer, according to a team press release. Toronto’s roster now sits at 17.

Meeks went undrafted out of the University of North Carolina and signed a partially guaranteed deal with the franchise this summer. He was only able to make one preseason appearance for the club before the team waived him.

Rautins and Wiltjer each made three preseason appearances for the Raptors. Rautins was never expected to make the opening night roster, while Wiltjer was in a better position to earn a spot.

Alfonzo McKinnie Makes Case For Regular Season Role

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