Toronto Raptors – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2019-12-14T01:15:45Z WordPress Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Kawhi Claims He Seriously Pondered Re-Signing]]> 2019-12-13T23:11:26Z 2019-12-13T23:11:26Z It might seem like Kawhi Leonard was intent on playing in Los Angeles long-term but he insists he gave serious thought about re-signing with the Raptors, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “Gave it big consideration,” the Clippers superstar said. “I took my time like I did; I didn’t hurry up and make a quick decision. I talked to the front office in deep detail. It was a hard choice to make.” Leonard added that he had no issues with the Raptors organization. “I had a great time last year with the coaching staff, front office and the players. It was a great experience,” he said.

  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri gets plenty of credit for building a championship team but GM Bobby Webster’s influence should not be underestimated, as Dan Robson of The Athletic details in a profile of the young executive. One player agent told Robson that Webster is heavily involved in all aspects of personnel decisions. “Bobby is making a lot of the decisions in terms of everything they do,” the unnamed agent said. “Masai is the lead role and the face of the program, and obviously very involved … but Bobby is the driving force, at least for me, for a lot of the decisions they make.”
Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Kawhi Receives Standing Ovation In Toronto]]> 2019-12-12T08:01:26Z 2019-12-12T01:10:03Z
  • All-NBA Clippers wing Kawhi Leonard was treated to a standing ovation and chants of “MVP!” from a warm Canadian crowd on the night he received his 2019 NBA championship ring in Toronto. The Clippers faced the Raptors in the Great White North for the first time since Leonard changed sides as a free agent in the summer of 2019. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports took stock of the moment.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Raptors’ Chairman: Masai Ujiri “Here To Stay”]]> 2019-12-11T15:32:33Z 2019-12-11T15:32:33Z As one report after another links Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri to the Knicks, Raptors chairman Larry Tanenbaum tells Michael Traikos of The Toronto Sun that there’s no reason to believe Ujiri won’t remain in Toronto beyond the expiration of his current contract in 2021. Given Ujiri’s track record, interest from the Knicks – and other teams – comes as no surprise, but the Raptors don’t plan to just let him walk away.

    “He is the best,” Tanenbaum said. “But no team can come to talk to him. That’s tampering. And every owner knows that. Masai is here to stay.”

    A recent Howard Beck report suggested that Ujiri has turned down a lucrative contract extension offer from the Raptors, but that was disputed this week by Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Tanenbaum confirmed to Traikos that Ujiri hasn’t rejected a contract offer.

    “We haven’t talked (about an extension) at this point in time, but if you ask him, his intentions are pretty clear,” Tanenbaum said. Asked why the Raptors haven’t yet offered Ujiri an extension, Tanenbaum explained: “Masai has a contract that goes for another two years — this season and next season — so there’s really no need at this point (to re-sign him).”

    ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski reiterated in a report this morning that there have been no extension talks yet between Ujiri and the Raptors, but said Toronto ownership might make an offer in 2020 that expands Ujiri’s responsibilities and increases his compensation.

    As Shelburne and Woj note, Knicks owner James Dolan has long been interested in Ujiri, who has consistently won trades with the Knicks, dating back to when he extracted a significant package for Carmelo Anthony as the Nuggets’ head of basketball operations. Dolan has privately expressed a fascination with Ujiri and shared those feelings with common friends, sources tell the ESPN duo.

    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Latest On Knicks’ Potential Front Office Search]]> 2019-12-11T01:56:00Z 2019-12-11T00:36:12Z The Knicks are planning to make a run at top Raptors executive Masai Ujiri and Marc Stein of The New York Times reports (via his latest newsletter) that there are many around the league who believe Ujiri can be lured to New York.

    Even though the Knicks have been laughable on the court, the prestige of the franchise and of winning it all in the arguably the greatest city in the world carries weight with top executives in the NBA. Entering Madison Square Garden’s latest rehabilitation project and coming out with a championship remains a unique and coveted prize.

    Regardless of whom New York lands, the franchise’s next architect will face his share of challenges. It’s not certain if owner James Dolan is finally ready to give his top executive something that resembles “real autonomy,” Stein writes. Even Phil Jackson, who was relieved of his duties before his contract was up, didn’t get nearly enough freedom to make internal moves that could have impacted the culture. Stein adds that Dolan has given zero indication that he will sell the team.

    In addition to Ujiri, Stein mentions R.C. Buford (Spurs), Bob Myers (Warriors) and Donnie Nelson (Mavericks) as names to keep an eye on when it comes to a potential top executive search in New York.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Terence Davis Among Silver Linings In 2019 Rookie Class]]> 2019-12-10T20:41:06Z 2019-12-10T20:41:06Z
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic takes a closer look at the 2019 lottery class and makes a case that the results from the group thus far have been pretty ugly. In a follow-up article, Hollinger identifies some of the silver linings from this year’s rookie class, including a player who went undrafted: Raptors guard Terence Davis.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Grange Refutes Report On Ujiri Extension Offer]]> 2019-12-10T18:00:18Z 2019-12-10T18:00:18Z
  • Howard Beck of Bleacher Report recently reported that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri turned down a lucrative extension offer, but Michael Grange of hears from sources that the offer didn’t happen. Still, Grange wouldn’t be surprised if Ujiri is interested in testing the “free agent” market at some point, and believes the Knicks could be a real threat to lure him away from Toronto.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Raptors Among Candidates To Trade First-Round Pick]]> 2019-12-11T01:57:31Z 2019-12-10T14:23:25Z
  • O’Connor identifies the following teams as ones that appear most open to trading late first-round or early second-round draft picks: The Bucks, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Sixers, and Mavericks. Some of those clubs hold other teams’ picks and could dangle those in trade talks. For instance, Milwaukee owns Indiana’s lottery-protected first-rounder; Philadelphia has New York’s and Atlanta’s second-rounders; and Dallas controls Golden State’s second-rounder.

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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Kyle Lowry Reaches A Milestone In Toronto]]> 2019-12-08T18:57:44Z 2019-12-08T18:57:44Z
  • Kyle Lowry was surprised to learn that he’s the longest-serving active professional athlete in Toronto, notes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star“I thought I was going to be here for a year, two years, and be long gone,” said Lowry, who has played 507 regular season games for the Raptors. “Come up here for business and that’s about it but, at the end of the day, I think the perseverance and the work I’ve put in and the belief the organization has in me means something.”
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Knicks Notes: Mills, Ujiri, Smith Jr., Fizdale]]> 2019-12-09T13:51:15Z 2019-12-08T16:29:02Z Steve Mills’ absence from the media in the wake of David Fizdale’s firing is a sign of his own uncertain future with the organization, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Neither Mills nor general manager Scott Perry addressed reporters Saturday, leaving that task to interim coach Mike Miller. There have been no comments from management explaining why Fizdale was let go, except for a two-sentence press release issued Friday to announce the move.

    Choosing Fizdale over 11 other candidates — including reigning Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer — and giving him a four-year contract were Mills’ most recent mistakes since rejoining the team in 2012/13, Berman notes. The Knicks are on their way to their seventh straight losing season in that time.

    Berman is the latest to report that the Knicks plan to make a run at Raptors executive Masai Ujiri after the season ends. Owner James Dolan considered trying to lure Ujiri two years ago before promoting Mills to president, Berman states, but decided the price in draft compensation would be too steep. Sources tell Howard Beck of Bleacher Report that Ujiri is “intrigued” at the challenge of fixing the Knicks, but people close to him are warning against it. Ujiri turned down a lucrative extension offer last summer, according to Beck, and has an out clause in his contract that allows him to leave the Raptors under certain circumstances.

    There’s more this morning from New York:

    • Knicks players have been told not to share the reasons for Fizdale’s ouster, Berman adds in the same story. “They gave us the reasoning,’’ Dennis Smith Jr. said. “You’ve got to appreciate them giving a reason, too, because they didn’t have to do that. So they gave us a reason, told us what they expect moving forward. I think everyone has to (keep it) private.’’
    • Fizdale’s fate was sealed when Mills and Perry held a post-game press conference on November 11, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN. That surprise session with the media followed a halftime meeting with Dolan during a blowout loss to the Cavaliers. It was determined at that point that a coaching change was coming, a source tells Andrews, and the only question was when.
    • Fizdale is receiving support from his fellow coaches in the wake of his dismissal. “I’m happy for Fizdale to be out of that terrible mess that he had nothing to do with,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni suggested something is missing in the organization, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “I hate it for Fizdale,” he said. “Good coach. Did a good job. It just didn’t work out and they can’t quite seem to get all the elements together.”
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Knicks Reportedly “Obsessed” With Masai Ujiri]]> 2019-12-08T11:56:54Z 2019-12-08T00:11:51Z The Knicks are “obsessed” and “enamored” with Raptors executive Masai Ujiri as the next man to run the franchise, sources tell Ian Begley of A front office shakeup is expected in the wake of yesterday’s firing of head coach David Fizdale, especially considering the poor track record of team president Steve Mills.

    Begley speculates it would take “significant money and full autonomy” to land Ujiri, who is already in a comfortable spot after building a championship team. Even if the Knicks are willing to grant that, Ujiri may not want to work for a controversial figure like James Dolan, and he is signed with Toronto until 2021, a contract he said in October that he plans to honor.

    Echoing a report we shared last week, Begley states that the Knicks believe Ujiri could be drawn to New York City to provide a larger platform for his charitable work with the Giants of Africa Foundation. However, there was similar speculation about Washington, D.C., a few months ago when the Wizards were restructuring their front office, and Ujiri opted to stay in Toronto.

    There’s more Knicks news to pass along:

    • Despite a 4-18 start and six straight losing seasons, the Knicks’ front office job is still viewed as appealing around the league, Begley adds in the same story. The team has drafted well under general manager Scott Perry and has held on to its first-round picks. The Knicks also retained cap flexibility by signing seven players to short-term contracts this summer after failing to land their top targets in free agency.
    • A few players got to say goodbye to Fizdale before he left the team, Taj Gibson tells Begley (Twitter link). Gibson said Fizdale was emotional during the departure, adding, “Guys loved him.”
    • Mark Jackson, a former Knicks guard and ex-head coach of the Warriors, is a 5-1 favorite to be the next head coach, relays Adam Zagoria for Forbes. The oddsmakers at have Kenny Smith second at 6-1 and Italian coach Ettore Messina at 7-1. Next in line are three college coaches, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
    • Interim coach Mike Miller thanked Fizdale and the Knicks organization during today’s pre-game press conference (video link from Vorkunov). Neither Mills nor Perry has addressed the media since the firing became official, and nobody from management has commented apart from an unattributed statement that was released Friday.
    • Former NBA player Keith Bogans has been named to Miller’s staff, the Knicks announced on Twitter.
    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Thompson, Clarkson Receiving Interest From Contenders]]> 2019-12-06T23:51:46Z 2019-12-06T02:09:43Z In an illuminating look at the state of the CavaliersSports Illustrated’s Sam Amico revealed that two Eastern Conference contenders could be destinations for a tandem of Cleveland veterans on expiring deals.

    The 2018/19 champion Raptors have a “high interest” in Toronto native Tristan Thompson ahead of this season’s trade deadline, according to Amico. Thompson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is playing on an expiring $18.5MM contract. Toronto has enough appealing assets to potentially entice Cavaliers GM Koby Altman into making a move. As of this writing, Toronto stands at 15-5, good for third in the Eastern Conference. They are playing the Rockets tonight.

    Thompson is currently averaging career highs of 13.9 points and 10.6 boards per contest. The 28 year-old center would presumably replace one of the Raptors’ two-headed center corps, 34 year-old Marc Gasol or 30 year-old Serge Ibaka. Both former All-Defensive players are also on expiring deals, and both are on the athletic downslopes of their careers. Gasol is making $25.6MM this season, while Ibaka is earning $23.3MM. Thompson, a starter on the 2015/16 champion Cavaliers, would make more sense as a springier Ibaka replacement than a substitute for the passing maestro Gasol this year.

    Amico also reports that the Sixers are said to be interested in adding Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson, on an expiring $13.4MM deal. After the 76ers lost significant offensive firepower with the 2019 summer departures of Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick, Clarkson could add provide some shooting help off the bench. He is connecting on 35% of his 5.0 long range attempts this season. Clarkson is also knocking down 88.6% of his looks from the charity stripe. Philadelphia sits at fourth in the East with a 15-6 record, though the team is in danger of dropping a game to the Wizards this evening.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Powell Making Steadier Contributions]]> 2019-12-05T23:15:10Z 2019-12-05T01:01:13Z
  • Swingman Norman Powell has returned to the bench with Kyle Lowry back in the lineup but he’ll be an important part of the Raptors’ second unit, Josh Lewenberg of TSN reports. Powell scored 23 points against the Heat on Tuesday. Coach Nick Nurse told Powell, “‘Your role is an off the bench guy for this team, so let’s go kick some butt in this role and start getting used to it.’ And I was proud of him for doing that last night. He was huge.” Powell’s contract runs through 2021/22, with an $11.6MM player option on the final year.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Kyle Lowry Returning For Raptors]]> 2019-12-03T23:47:57Z 2019-12-03T23:47:57Z
  • Kyle Lowry, who has missed nearly a month with a left thumb injury, will return to the Raptors‘ starting lineup tonight. As Josh Lewenberg of tweets, head coach Nick Nurse said he’d like to ease Lowry back in, but the veteran point guard won’t have a specific minutes cap.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Fred VanVleet Significantly Increasing Value]]> 2019-12-03T05:00:03Z 2019-12-03T05:00:03Z Having thrived as the Raptors‘ starting point guard without Kyle Lowry in the lineup for the team’s last 11 contests, Fred VanVleet may be raising the value of his next contract with each game, writes Josh Lewenberg of During that Lowry-less stretch, Toronto has a 9-2 record and VanVleet has averaged 21.2 PPG, 7.5 APG, and 2.4 SPG with a .402 3PT%.

    VanVleet will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and Lewenberg speculates that Malcolm Brogdon‘s four-year, $85MM deal from this past offseason could end up being the baseline for the Raptors’ point guard if he keeps up his current pace.

    In an appearance on Brian Windhorst’s ESPN podcast (hat tip to RealGM), Bobby Marks said he heard from one team last week that believes VanVleet may even command between $25-30MM next summer, with a handful of rebuilding clubs among the candidates to make a run at the Raptors’ up-and-coming star using cap space. “I almost fell off my chair when they told me that,” Marks admitted.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Raptors Assign Dewan Hernandez To G League]]> 2019-12-03T04:11:25Z 2019-12-03T04:11:25Z
  • The Raptors assigned Dewan Hernandez and transferred both of their two-way players to the G League, tweets Vivek Jacob of Yahoo Sports Canada. As Jacob notes, that may be a good sign for Toronto’s injury situation, with Serge Ibaka back and Kyle Lowry and Matt Thomas potentially close to returning.
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