- The Raptors may be losing another assistant, with reports suggesting that Sergio Scariolo will become the new head coach of Virtus Bologna in Italy. Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca tweets that nothing has been finalized yet, but confirms that Scariolo has had discussions with the Italian club. If Scariolo departs, he’d be the third top Raptors assistant to leave the team within the last year, joining Nate Bjorkgren and Chris Finch.
- The Raptors had hoped that forward Pascal Siakam‘s shoulder surgery last week could be avoided, tweets TSN Sports’ Josh Lewenberg, but ultimately decided that the risk of re-injury was too high. The five-month timetable for recovery points to a November return to action, meaning Siakam will miss not only the start of the 2021/22 season but also a crucial development offseason following a let-down season for the Raptors’ star and the team as a whole. Siakam had been planning on using his longest off-season in five years to lock himself in the gym and work on expanding his game, writes Lewenberg, but this development means most of his time will be spent rehabbing and watching film.
- The Athletic’s Blake Murphy details why projected top-three pick Evan Mobley would be the perfect fit for the Raptors if they land the second pick. As a hyper-skilled seven-foot center with an intriguing blend of shooting, ball-handling and dominant defensive tools, Mobley’s fit with Siakam would be nearly seamless.
Raptors forward Pascal Siakam underwent successful surgery on his left shoulder in Los Angeles last week to repair a torn labrum, the team announced today in a press release.
According to the Raptors, Siakam sustained the injury during the club’s May 8 game vs. Memphis. Toronto estimates the forward will require approximately five months for recovery and rehabilitation, meaning he likely won’t be available to start the 2021/22 regular season, which begins on October 19.
It’s unclear why it took about a month after Siakam suffered the injury for him to go under the knife. Blake Murphy of The Athletic speculates (via Twitter) that the Raptors and their standout forward tried to go a non-surgical route before deciding that the procedure was necessary.
After earning his first All-Star nod in 2020, Siakam took a slight step back during the last year, struggling last summer in the bubble and then seeing some of his numbers dip during the 2020/21 season. He still averaged 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game in 56 contests (35.8 MPG), but his three-point mark declined to just 29.7%, well below his rate in the previous two seasons.
Siakam, one of the Raptors’ cornerstones, remains under contract with Toronto through the 2023/24 season. He’ll earn just over $33MM in ’21/22.
- This summer, there will be a variety of free agents who could serve as quality fits with the Raptors, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Shoring up the club’s frontcourt appears to be a top priority for Koreen, as big men Richaun Holmes, Jarrett Allen, and John Collins, Nerlens Noel and Daniel Theis rank highly on Koreen’s list of candidates.
- The Raptors will have plenty of competition for Kyle Lowry in free agency this summer, with the Lakers, Heat, Knicks and Sixers all expected to pursue him, writes Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star. He notes that Lowry said, “Money talks, and years talk” in his postseason press conference, indicating the veteran point guard will be looking for a multiyear offer.
Team Canada has yet to secure a place in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, but the club should have a loaded roster as it looks to lock up a spot in a qualifying tournament next month.
Canada Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 21-player preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifier, and the group includes 14 players who finished the season on NBA contracts. Here’s the full list:
- Kyle Alexander, F
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G (Pelicans)
- RJ Barrett, G (Knicks)
- Trae Bell-Haynes, G
- Anthony Bennett, F
- Khem Birch, C (Raptors)
- Oshae Brissett, F (Pacers)
- Dillon Brooks, F (Grizzlies)
- Brandon Clarke, F (Grizzlies)
- Aaron Doornekamp, F
- Luguentz Dort, F (Thunder)
- Melvin Ejim, F
- Cory Joseph, G (Kings)
- Trey Lyles, F (Spurs)
- Mychal Mulder, G (Warriors)
- Andrew Nicholson, F
- Andrew Nembhard, G
- Kelly Olynyk, F (Rockets)
- Dwight Powell, F (Mavericks)
- Tristan Thompson, C (Celtics)
- Andrew Wiggins, F (Warriors)
Of the seven players who didn’t play in the NBA this season, one (Bennett) is a former first overall pick, another (Nicholson) was also a first-round selection, and a third (Alexander) has NBA experience. Bell-Haynes has played in the G League, while Doornekamp, Ejim, and Nembhard all have extensive experience representing Canada in past international competitions.
Still, a few noteworthy names are missing from the list. Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is recovering from a torn ACL and won’t be able to participate. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is also dealing with an injury, announcing on Instagram that rehabbing the plantar fasciitis in his right foot will prevent him from representing Team Canada.
Raptors big man Chris Boucher is a third notable omission. According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link), Boucher is focused on rehabbing a knee sprain and wants to make sure he’s 100% healthy heading into 2021/22. He also has a somewhat uncertain contract situation — his $7MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed, though I’d be shocked if he’s not retained.
Even without Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Boucher, Canada Basketball is in position to run out a roster stacked with NBA talent and led by former NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse.
While the final roster will depend in part on which players are available, none of the 21 players on the preliminary are on teams expected to still be alive for the conference finals. However, a club like Powell’s Mavericks or Barrett’s Knicks could surprise.
Team Canada will compete against Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic in a qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia between June 29 and July 4. If the club wins that six-team qualifier, it will be part of the 12-team field in Tokyo and would be a legit contender for a medal.
- The Raptors‘ own first-round pick is in the lottery for the first time since 2012, prompting Blake Murphy of The Athletic to explore whether the team should consider trading its first-rounder. Murphy also looks at trade possibilities for Toronto’s two second-round selections.
On Monday, we took an in-depth look at what we knew about the NBA’s 2021 draft lottery standings and projected draft order so far based on the regular season standings, and what was still to be determined based on play-in results, random tiebreakers, and the lottery results.
With the play-in tournament nearly over, we can fill in a few more gaps. Let’s dive in…
Having been eliminated from playoff contention, the Pacers will be at No. 13 in the lottery standings, giving them a 1% chance at the first overall pick and a 4.8% shot at a top-five selection, per Tankathon.
A tiebreaker will be necessary to determine whether the Spurs or Hornets get the edge in the lottery standings, but they’ll occupy the Nos. 11 and 12 spots in the lottery standings. The winner of the tiebreaker – to be conducted next Tuesday – will have a slightly higher chance of earning the first overall pick (1.8% to 1.7%) and a top-four pick (8.5% to 8.0%).
The No. 14 spot in the lottery will be held by the loser of Friday’s Warriors/Grizzlies play-in game.
Having clinched playoff spots, the Wizards and Celtics will draft 15th and 16th, respectively, in the first round.
The winner of tonight’s Warriors/Grizzlies play-in game will draft 17th, while the Lakers will be part of a Tuesday tiebreaker to determine their exact position — they could draft as high as 21st and as low as 23rd.
If the Lakers had missed the postseason, teams like the Heat, Knicks, and Hawks each would have been pushed down one spot in the draft. Since L.A. made it, those teams will stay put, starting with Miami at No. 18.
Notable traded second-round picks
On Monday, we focused on what would happen with 2021’s traded first-round picks. So many of this year’s second-round picks have been traded that we’re not going to run through all of them in this space (you can check our tracker for the full details), but here are a few notable second-round swaps worth flagging:
The Pacers traded their second-round pick to the Nets with 45-60 protection. Because Indiana’s second-rounder is going to land at No. 44, that pick will be sent to Brooklyn rather than being protected.
The Bulls, who will be involved in a first-round tiebreaker with the Pelicans (and Kings) to determine their spots in the lottery standings, also have the ability to swap second-round picks with New Orleans. In the event of a random tiebreaker, the second-round order is always the inverse of the first-round order — for instance, if Team A wins a first-round tiebreaker over Team B, then Team B would get the higher pick in the second round. But in this case, the Bulls could win the first-round tiebreaker, then use their second-round swap to make sure they pick ahead of the Pelicans in both rounds.
Because the Warriors‘ first-round pick will fall in the top 20, Golden State will keep it and will instead have to send the Timberwolves’ second-round pick to the Thunder to complete last year’s Kelly Oubre trade. That pick will be No. 36.
The Suns had agreed to send their second-round pick to the Grizzlies if it landed between 31-35 and to the Nets if it landed between 36-60. It’ll go to Brooklyn, since it’s the No. 59 overall selection. Memphis is simply out of luck, as Phoenix’s obligation to the Grizzlies is now extinguished.
The Bucks will get the first pick of the second round (No. 31), since the Rockets have the ability to swap their second-rounder for Milwaukee’s first-rounder (No. 24).
Other early second-round picks that will change hands include the Pistons‘ No. 32 pick (to the Knicks), the Cavaliers‘ pick at either No. 34 or 35 (to the Pelicans), and the Raptors‘ No. 37 pick (to the Pistons).