Raptors Rumors

Raptors Storylines To Watch For The Rest of The Season

Raptors Sign D.J. Carton To 10-Day Contract

12:23pm: Carton has officially signed his 10-day contract with the Raptors, per NBA.com’s transaction log.

9:21am: The Raptors are set to fill one of their open roster spots by signing guard D.J. Carton to a 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A pair of spots on Toronto’s standard 15-man roster opened up earlier this week when 10-day deals for Justise Winslow and Mouhamadou Gueye expired. The Raptors had up to two weeks to fill at least one of those openings, but it appears they won’t waste any time getting back to the NBA-mandated roster minimum.

Carton has spent his professional career in the G League since going undrafted out of Marquette in 2021. After one year with the Greensboro Swarm, he has spent the past two seasons with the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s NBAGL affiliate.

In 29 games this season for Iowa, Carton has averaged 18.6 points, 5.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in 35.4 minutes per contest, with a strong shooting line of .527/.395/.796.

Carton’s 10-day contract with Toronto will cover the team’s first five games after the All-Star break. He’ll earn a salary of $64,343 for his 10 days with the Raptors, who will still have one open roster spots after officially signing Carton.

10-Day Contracts Expire For Knicks, Raptors

Taj Gibson‘s second 10-day contract with the Knicks expired overnight, making him an unrestricted free agent once again. The 10-day deals signed by Raptors forwards Justise Winslow and Mouhamadou Gueye on February 10 also expired overnight.

Both the Knicks and Raptors are now below the NBA-mandated minimum of 14 players on standard contracts and will have to re-add players to their roster in the near future.

[RELATED: 2023/24 NBA Roster Counts]

Teams are permitted to dip below 14 players for up to two weeks at a time, but because Gibson was only the Knicks’ 13th man and New York has actually been carrying fewer than 14 players since February 8, the club will have to make two roster additions by this Thursday (Feb. 22).

One of those additions could be Gibson, but since he has already signed two 10-day contracts with the Knicks, the team would have to give him a rest-of-season deal to bring him back.

The Raptors, meanwhile, are now at 13 players and will have until March 5 to fill at least one of the two openings on their 15-man roster. Given that Toronto has a good amount of flexibility below the luxury tax line and will likely want take a longer look at some young players, I wouldn’t expect the team to take the full two weeks to fill one or both of those open roster spots. For what it’s worth, both Winslow and Gueye are eligible to sign one more 10-day deal with the team.

Three other 10-day contracts around the NBA remain active — Zhaire Smith‘s deal with the Cavaliers runs through this Thursday, as does Tosan Evbuomwan‘s agreement with the Pistons. Jordan Goodwin‘s contract with the Grizzlies will cover one extra day, running through Friday.

All three of those contracts will actually remain active for more than 10 days, since 10-day contracts must cover at least three games. Smith, Evbuomwan, and Goodwin each only got two games before the All-Star break, so their “10-day” deals will actually cover 11 or 12 days. That wasn’t the case for Gibson, Winslow, or Gueye, as the Knicks and Raptors each played three contests between Feb. 10 and the start of the All-Star break.

Atlantic Notes: Barnes, Lowry, Brunson, DiVincenzo

The Raptors have lost three games in a row, two of which were blowouts. The 23-point loss to the Spurs on Monday, in particular, showed Scottie Barnes is still figuring out what it means to be a leader, writes TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. Barnes finished that game with just seven points on 20.0% shooting and departed for the locker room with about four seconds left.

Toronto failed to send a message by not disciplining Barnes, Lewenberg opines, pointing to a time early in the 2020/21 season when the team responded to Pascal Siakam leaving a game early by holding him out of the following game.

Lewenberg, The Athletic’s Eric Koreen and Sportsnet.ca’s Michael Grange all explore the topic, writing that Barnes is still in the first steps of figuring out his leading style after Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby all departed over the past year.

For what it’s worth, Barnes downplayed the situation after the game and followed up the performance by scoring 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in a two-point loss to the Pacers right before the deadline.

He is learning what kind of effect he has on [the] team and teammates and everybody,” head coach Darko Rajakovic said. “He’s going through this for the first time in his life, being the face of a franchise, and he’s emotional, but he also needs to learn how to channel those emotions. This is another great learning opportunity for him. That doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen again, but I believe that there’s going to be less and less and much better handling [of] those situations going forward.

We have more notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Kyle Lowry had multiple options on the buyout market, according to Nick Nurse, but saw the Sixers as his best fit (Twitter link via South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman). Nurse also referred to Lowry as a backup point guard, meaning he’ll help fill the defensive role that opened when the team traded away Patrick Beverley at the deadline.
  • After making his first All-Star and Three-Point Contest appearances, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson is looking to what’s next, according to the New York Post’s Peter Botte. Brunson is taking it game-by-game and day-by-day. “I know a lot of Knicks fans want to put us right in the Eastern Conference Finals. We were one step short last year,” Brunson said. “I think for us … we can’t look forward to the playoffs. We have to focus on every single day, just chipping away and getting better and better.
  • Donte DiVincenzo is having a career year with the Knicks, averaging career highs of 13.6 points and 41.5% from beyond the arc. He’s been especially productive as the Knicks have rocketed up the standings since the New Year. The New York Post’s Stefan Bondy explores DiVincenzo’s ascension from playing at small Catholic school Salesianum to a starting role with a contending team. “I thought he was going to play for money, but I didn’t think it was going to the NBA. I thought it was going to be Italy or something,” Salesianum’s head coach at the time Brendan Haley said. “But he just kept getting better and better. And keeps betting on himself and keeps winning.

Six Teams Must Make Roster Additions By March 1

NBA rules allow a team to dip below 14 players on their standard (15-man) roster, but only temporarily. A club can carry fewer than 14 players for up to two weeks, which means the clock is ticking on a handful of teams around the league, who must must make a roster addition at some point in the coming days.

Here are those clubs, along with the deadline for them to make a free agent signing:

Golden State Warriors (Feb. 22)

The Warriors had been carrying 14 players entering the day of the trade deadline on February 8 and dipped down to 13 later that day by trading away Cory Joseph, so they’ll have until next Thursday to fill Joseph’s roster spot.

The Warriors’ most obvious internal candidate for a promotion is Lester Quinones, who has been part of the regular rotation as of late, appearing in each of the team’s past 10 games and averaging 18.8 minutes per night. Quinones’ fellow two-way players, Usman Garuba and Jerome Robinson, haven’t had roles in Golden State this season.

Minnesota Timberwolves (Feb. 22)

The Timberwolves made a two-for-one trade on deadline day, sending out Shake Milton and Troy Brown for Monte Morris. That deal created a second opening on their 15-man roster, which they’ll have to fill by Thursday.

Unlike Golden State, Minnesota doesn’t have a clear candidate for a promotion among its two-way players, Luka Garza, Daishen Nix, and Jaylen Clark. The Wolves could still go that route, but I expect they’ll scour the free agent market to see if there’s a veteran who would make sense as a depth piece for what the club hopes will be an extended postseason run.

New York Knicks (Feb. 22)

The Knicks will actually have to make a pair of roster additions by next Thursday, since they dropped to 12 players on trade deadline day. Taj Gibson has since signed a 10-day contract, but it will expire on Monday night, at which point New York will once again have three open roster spots, two of which will need to be filled.

Gibson is a strong candidate for one of those openings — since he has signed two 10-day deals already, he’d need to get a rest-of-season contract if the Knicks want to keep him. As for the other spot, one report suggested that a two-way or G League player could be promoted, but New York has also been connected to veteran free agents, including former Knick Nerlens Noel.

Philadelphia 76ers (Feb. 22)

A busy trade deadline day saw the Sixers send out five players (Marcus Morris, Furkan Korkmaz, Patrick Beverley, Jaden Springer, and Danuel House) and acquire only two (Buddy Hield and Cameron Payne) in return, creating three open roster spots.

Philadelphia has since filled one by signing Kyle Lowry on the buyout market, but another addition will be required by Thursday. It would be a little surprising if it’s not a center, given that the team has been on the lookout for frontcourt help since Joel Embiid went down with a meniscus injury.

Phoenix Suns (Feb. 22)

The Suns traded four players (Jordan Goodwin, Yuta Watanabe, Keita Bates-Diop, and Chimezie Metu) at the deadline and brought back two (Royce O’Neale and David Roddy), generating two roster openings.

It’s not official yet, but there’s no mystery about who will become the Suns’ 14th man — they’re reportedly finalizing a deal with veteran forward Thaddeus Young. That signing is expected to be completed at some point next week.

Washington Wizards (March 1)

Unlike the other teams on this list, the Wizards’ trade deadline moves didn’t leave them short of the 14-man mark. But they waived Delon Wright on Friday after negotiating a buyout agreement, dropping their standard roster count to 13 players. They have 13 more days to fill that spot.

The lottery-bound Wizards won’t be in the market for a veteran free agent, so I’d bet on an internal promotion. Two-way players Eugene Omoruyi and Jared Butler are both legitimate candidates for standard multiyear contracts.

One more team to watch: Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have a full 15-man roster for the time being, but their 14th and 15th men – Justise Winslow and Mouhamadou Gueye – are both on 10-day contracts that will expire on Monday night. If Toronto doesn’t re-sign one or both players immediately, the club will be on the clock to add a new free agent or promote a two-way player by March 5.

Pacers Notes: Siakam, Raptors, Haliburton, Meeting, McDermott

Pascal Siakam made an emotional return to Toronto on Wednesday evening, including converting a bank shot that sealed the Pacers‘ victory with 25 seconds remaining, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

I tried to stay focused on the game as much as I could, but it [was] just hard, just coming in here and seeing so many familiar faces and reflecting on everything,” Siakam said. “Coming back here after eight years, just to see the reception and people being so genuinely happy for me, I think for me that was the most important thing. … I couldn’t really ever dream of that. It means a lot, so I appreciate everyone for everything. I’m humbled.”

As Lewenberg writes, Siakam seems truly happy to be playing for Indiana, which is a contrast to the “unfortunate end” of his tenure with the Raptors, who traded him to the Pacers last month.

It feels amazing,” Siakam said before the game. “[From the moment I got to Indiana] it’s just been so much love, so much appreciation and just like overly supportive in everything. It feels good to be in a place like that. I’m just looking forward to continuing to be there and just have an opportunity to do something special with that team.”

A source tells Lewenberg the Raptors reached out to Siakam’s camp to see if he’d be interested in a three-year, maximum-salary extension before the 2023/24 season began, though Lewenberg cautions that the offer was “informal, at best.” Siakam, meanwhile, wanted a fourth year added, and talks broke down after that.

Lewenberg believes the Raptors took Siakam for granted, but the two-time All-NBA member is “excited to have the opportunity” to play for the Pacers. The 29-year-old is set to hit free agency this summer and is widely expected to sign a long-term deal with Indiana, which holds his Bird rights.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Speaking to JJ Redick on his Old Man and the Three podcast (Twitter link), All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton admitted he might’ve taken another game or two off following his hamstring injury if he didn’t have significant financial considerations at stake. Haliburton’s rookie scale extension features Rose rule language, which means he’s eligible to make 30% of next season’s salary cap instead of 25% if he makes an All-NBA team. However, he needs to play at least 65 games to qualify for major postseason awards due to a rule change in the new CBA.
  • Indiana held a brief players-only meeting following Monday’s loss to Charlotte, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “Some things were addressed after the game,” center Myles Turner said. “We all got together and we spoke without the coaches and just talked it out and I think we’re headed in the right direction.” However, Turner was miffed by the team’s performance, starting with his own. “There’s no excuses, man,” Turner said. “This isn’t the first time this has happened this season. It starts with me as a leader of this team. Our defense just wasn’t there tonight. I wasn’t very good defensively tonight. I think as a whole going into All-Star break, these games matter. I don’t think we had the right mindset tonight.” As Dopirak notes, while the Pacers are currently 31-25, the No. 6 seed in the East, they have several losses to teams at the bottom of the standings, including the Hornets (twice) Trail Blazers (twice), Wizards, Grizzlies and Raptors.
  • Veteran sharpshooter Doug McDermott is “thrilled” to be back with the Pacers, who traded for him prior to last week’s deadline, according to Dopirak. “It feels good to be a part of winning basketball,” McDermott said. “I haven’t really been a part of that in a couple years. Just to be a part of the Pacer organization, I’m super excited but very thankful for my time in San Antonio. I’ve always felt like this place is home for me. It’s kind of the place where I revamped my career.” The Midwest native previously played three seasons with Indiana, from 2018-21.

NBA Teams With Open Roster Spots

A number of free agent signings have been finalized in the days since last Thursday’s trade deadline, but there are still many teams around the NBA with one or more open spots on their respective rosters.

For clubs with just a single standard or two-way opening, there’s not necessarily any urgency to fill those spots, especially ahead of the All-Star break. But the clock is ticking for teams who have two or more openings on their standard rosters to make a move, since clubs are only permitted to carry fewer than 14 players on standard contracts for up to two weeks at a time.

With the help of our roster count tracker, here’s where things stand for all 30 teams around the NBA as of Tuesday afternoon. As a reminder, teams are typically permitted to carry up to 15 players on standard contracts and three on two-way deals.

(Note: Teams marked with an asterisk have a player on a 10-day contract.)

Teams with multiple open roster spots

  • Brooklyn Nets
    • Note: One of the Nets’ roster openings is a two-way slot.
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Milwaukee Bucks
    • Note: Both of the Bucks’ roster openings are two-way slots.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks *
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Phoenix Suns

The Warriors, Timberwolves, and Pelicans are all currently carrying 13 players on standard, full-season contracts, with all three of their two-way slots filled. That means they’ll have to add a 14th man at some point in the not-too-distant future to adhere to the NBA’s minimum roster requirements.

Golden State and Minnesota made trades on February 8 that dropped them below 14 players, so those two teams have until Feb. 22 to add a player. New Orleans’ deadline is coming a little earlier, since the club dipped to 13 when Malcolm Hill‘s 10-day contract expired on Feb. 6.

No roster moves are required for the Nets and Bucks, as both teams have at least 14 players on standard contracts, with one or more two-way openings. I’d expect Brooklyn and Milwaukee to fill those two-way slots before the two-way signing deadline in early March, though they don’t necessarily have to.

The Knicks and Sixers currently only have 12 players on standard, full-season contracts. New York also has Taj Gibson on a 10-day deal, while Philadelphia is poised to sign Kyle Lowry to a rest-of-season contract. Both teams will need to make at least one more roster move by Feb. 22 after dipping down to 12 players on trade deadline day last Thursday.

As for the Suns, they’re currently carrying just 13 players on standard contracts, but it sounds like they’ve already lined up a deal with a 14th man — a report earlier today indicated that they’re preparing to sign Thaddeus Young.

Teams with one open roster spot

  • Boston Celtics
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Cleveland Cavaliers *
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Miami Heat
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

One of the 14 players on the Cavaliers‘ standard roster is Zhaire Smith, who is on a 10-day deal. Once his contract expires next week, the Cavs will have to either re-sign him or add another 14th man — and they’ll have to do it right away.

In addition to being prohibited from carrying fewer than 14 players on standard deals for more than two weeks at a time, NBA teams are limited to 28 days of carrying fewer than 14 players over the course of a season. The Cavs have already reached that 28-day limit, having carried just 13 players from January 4-18 and again from January 28 until February 11.

The rest of these teams have 14-man standard rosters with no two-way openings, meaning there’s no urgency for them to make any moves, though they’ll likely fill those open roster slots at some point between now and the end of the season in April.

Teams with no open roster spots

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Detroit Pistons *
  • Houston Rockets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies *
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Orlando Magic
  • Portland Trail Blazers *
  • Sacramento Kings
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors *

Twelve of these 13 teams have full 18-man rosters, with 15 players signed to standard contracts and three to two-way deals. However, the Pistons, Trail Blazers, and especially the Raptors are worth monitoring here, since they all have players on 10-day contracts and can open up roster spots when those deals expire.

Detroit and Portland are each carrying a single player on a 10-day deal, while Toronto has two, meaning the Raptors will dip down to 13 players on standard contracts during the All-Star break. They’ll have up to two weeks to get back to 14.

The Grizzlies are actually carrying 19 players at the moment, with 16 players on standard contracts (15 full-season deals, plus Jordan Goodwin on a 10-day) because they’ve been granted a hardship exception due to all the injured players they’re missing.

And-Ones: Buyout Market, Summer League, Dunk Contest, Cap Room, Risacher

A pair of veteran point guards have already been plucked off the buyout market, with Spencer Dinwiddie officially signing with the Lakers on Saturday and Kyle Lowry lining up a deal with the Sixers. What other notable players could hit the buyout market in the coming days and weeks?

John Hollinger of The Athletic explores that topic in depth, identifying Delon Wright, Troy Brown, Marcus Morris, and Cedi Osman as several of the most intriguing options while acknowledging that some of those players likely won’t be waived.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA has confirmed the dates for the 2024 Las Vegas Summer League, announcing that it will take place from July 12-22 (Twitter link). That’s a few days later than the event typically begins and ends.
  • Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, who signed the largest contract in league history last summer, is the most accomplished player to participate in the NBA’s dunk contest in several years. He hopes to set an example for other stars, per Souichi Terada of MassLive.com (Twitter link). “I wish more top players (and) athletes decided to compete in the dunk contest,” Brown said. “I grew up watching that, and that’s what I love. Hopefully that comes around.”
  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic takes a look at where each team’s cap situation stands heading into the 2024 offseason, identifying the Pistons, Magic, Sixers, Jazz, Raptors, and Thunder as the teams with the ability to generate the most cap room.
  • Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) have updated their list of 2024’s top prospects, moving French wing Zaccharie Risacher into the No. 1 spot for the first time. Risacher is the fourth different player to sit atop ESPN’s ’24 big board since the start of the college season in November, signaling that there’s no clear-cut top prospect in this year’s draft class.

Atlantic Notes: Brunson, Knicks, Olynyk, Agbaji, Brown, Sixers

The Knicks appear to have avoided an injury scare with Jalen Brunson, as the All-Star point guard returned to the lineup on Saturday following a one-game absence due to an ankle sprain. Brunson showed no ill effects from the injury, scoring 39 points on 14-of-25 shooting, per Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post.

Despite Brunson’s return and the debuts of newly acquired role players Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, the Knicks remained shorthanded due to injuries and lost on Saturday to Indiana, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. The team is especially banged up in the frontcourt, where Precious Achiuwa was forced to play 43 minutes vs. the Pacers. With Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Jericho Sims all inactive, Taj Gibson logged 19 minutes on the first day of his second 10-day contract with New York.

“I thought for the first game (with the new additions), there were some obviously good things and obviously there’s a lot for them to adjust to. As a team, I think we have to do a lot better,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’re shorthanded. We’re going to have to play a lot harder and a lot tougher.”

While their first game with the Knicks didn’t go as planned, both Bogdanovic and Burks expressed excitement about the opportunity to join a playoff team after spending the first half of the season with the league-worst Pistons. According to Botte, Burks – a former Knick – didn’t want to leave New York in the first place and said repeatedly that he’s “glad to be back.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • As Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca details, new Raptors Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji both have connections to the franchise — Olynyk grew up in Toronto rooting for the Raptors, while Agbaji’s father is old friends with team president Masai Ujiri. The two former Jazz players expressed excitement about their new circumstances, with Agbaji suggesting it feels like a “fresh new start” and Olynyk noting that he and the Raptors have had mutual interest in the past. “It’s always been on our radar, both of our radars,” the big man said. “I think maybe it’s been close [before], but it’s hard for me to know [for sure]… But [now that] it did happen, it’s pretty awesome.”
  • Raptors wing Bruce Brown was considered one of the top trade candidates on the market leading up to the deadline, but he ended up staying put. He’s happy with that outcome, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets. “It feels great, it feels great,” said Brown, whose contract includes a $23MM team option for 2024/25. “Obviously it’s nice to have some stability. … I”m glad to be here for the rest of the season and then try and work things out.”
  • Although the Raptors were enthusiastic about the moves they made on the trade market, they’ve completed a full-fledged overhaul of their roster in the past six weeks or so, and their lack of continuity showed in Saturday’s blowout loss to Cleveland, Grange writes at Sportsnet.ca. “Obviously, it’s really tough,” Olynyk said. “You don’t know really what’s going on on both ends of the floor. I think that was probably pretty evident in the first half.”
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at a “whirlwind” couple days for Sixers trade deadline additions Buddy Hield and Cameron Payne, who played significant minutes as starters for an injury-depleted Philadelphia team on Friday, then helped lead their new club to a victory in Washington on Saturday.

Raptors Sign Mouhamadou Gueye To 10-Day Contract

4:32pm: Gueye has officially signed his 10-day contract, according to a press release from the team.

12:39pm: The Raptors have agreed to sign forward Mouhamadou Gueye to a 10-day contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Gueye and Justise Winslow, who is also signing a 10-day deal with Toronto, will fill the two open spots on the team’s standard 15-man roster.

Not to be confused with Hawks rookie Mouhamed Gueye, the Raptors’ newest addition went undrafted out of Pitt in 2022 and spent his rookie season with the Texas Legends in the G League a year ago. Toronto signed Gueye to an Exhibit 10 contract during the 2023 offseason and acquired his G League rights from the Legends, setting him up to spend this season with the Raptors 905 after he was waived by the Raptors in the fall.

In 28 total Showcase Cup and regular season games for the 905, Gueye has averaged 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, and an impressive 2.7 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game, making 56.0% of his shots from the floor.

Gueye will earn $64,343 over the course of his 10 days on the Raptors’ roster and will be eligible to play in the team’s final three pre-All-Star games before his deal expires.