September 30, 2020, 4:18 pmMarc GasolC, Toronto Raptors
According to reports, Marc Gasol will leave the NBA to join FCB Barcelona for next season.
It is possible that we saw the last of the Gasol brothers in the NBA with this news. Pau Gasol is close to retiring and is unlikely to play another minute in the NBA while Marc is on his way back to his hometown in Spain. It is worth noting that Barcelona's head coach, Sarunas Jasikevicius, told Emiliano Carchia of Sportando that “We have not talked to Marc Gasol." We will have to wait for all the moves from the offseason but there is definitely some center minutes that got vacated if Gasol does in fact leave Toronto.
Source: Sergi Carmona on Twitter
September 30, 2020, 11:39 amPascal SiakamPF, Toronto Raptors
The long-term future of Raptors President Masai Ujiri, whose contract runs out at the end of next season, is a growing concern among the team’s fans, but the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Larry Tanenbaum, said on Tuesday that there is a plan for it.
The Raptors wanted to take care of their senior management first, with extensions for coach Nick Nurse and general manager Bobby Webster kicking in during the last few weeks. Ujiri is next and any talk about him leaving Toronto seems to be pure speculation at this point.
Source: The Star
September 26, 2020, 1:03 pmMontrezl HarrellPF, Los Angeles Clippers
According to Sam Amico of Sports Illustrated, the Mavs are expected to have interest in Montrezl Harrell this offseason, as will the Raptors, Bulls and Knicks.
The Clippers, as has been reported elsewhere already, are also expected to be interested in continuing their current relationship with Harrell. The bubble was generally unkind to the Sixth Man of the Year as he was repeatedly attacked on defense, but his energy and efficient offensive game are standout facets. It should also be noted that Harrell missed a huge chunk of the Orlando session while away for personal matters and may not have been operating at full strength. One thing is for certain, however — even with a poor postseason showing, Harrell's due for a big raise over last season's $6 million salary.
Source: Sports Illustrated
September 21, 2020, 3:20 pmMarc GasolC, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are unlikely to offer Marc Gasol more than a one-year deal in free agency as the team looks to maintain cap flexibility for the 2021 offseason.
It's no secret the Raptors' entire game plan this offseason will revolve around maintaining enough cap space to sign a max free agent in 2021. In light of that goal and various statements made by GM Masai Ujiri it seems the team is unlikely to bring back Gasol on a long-term deal. However, the big Spaniard is in the final years of his career and will probably be looking for a two- to three-year contract to cap off his time in the NBA. Of course there is also the recent report that he's considering returning to Europe. All these things considered, odds are Gasol won't return to Toronto next year.
Source: Doug Smith in The Toronto Star
September 17, 2020, 2:56 pmFred VanVleetPG, Toronto Raptors
Masai Ujiri said on Thursday that Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol are all priorities for the team in the offseason.
All three are set to hit free agency, and Ujiri gave VanVleet the extra special nod as a "big priority." The Raptors figure to go big game hunting in the 2021 offseason and would like to maintain enough space to add a max player, but will also try and thread the needle by keeping as much of the band together as they can. Despite losing two starters from their championship run, Toronto didn't skip a beat and took the Celtics all the way down to the final 20 seconds of a fantastic seven-game series. VanVleet will command the most on the market as a starting-caliber guard, but all indications to this point have been that the Raptors will try and work something out. Ibaka has previously indicated a willingness to re-sign but might have to take a discount for that to happen. Gasol is rumored to be considering a deal in Europe to wind down his career, though he is still a superb defensive player even if his game looks a little uglier than it used to. We'll see what Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster do to try and reload for another title run.
Source: Josh Lewenberg on Twitter
September 17, 2020, 12:38 pmKyle LowryPG, Toronto Raptors
Marc Stein is reporting that we could see new long-term deals for Raptors POBO Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster shortly.
Apparently, talk of such extensions was a "strong rumble" in the Orlando bubble, where both Ujiri and Webster stayed with the Raptors for the duration of their stay. Toronto had to get to Florida two weeks before any other team and it had been reported that Ujiri and Webster's constant presence with the team was both unique and appreciated by the players. The duo have been the architects of the Raptors' rise to legitimacy and hopefully these eventual extensions will stop the rumors that pop up whenever another franchise has a top job open up. Coach Nick Nurse was also without an extension until just a few days ago, which suggests that Raptors ownership is going to move quickly to secure the rest of the organization's brain trust. In his end-of-season press conference, Ujiri said that he had not begun negotiating with ownership yet while a deal with Webster is "getting close."
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
September 16, 2020, 10:36 amMarc GasolC, Toronto Raptors
Xavier Saiso Garcia of Radio Ser Catalunya is reporting that Spanish center Marc Gasol is considering a return to Europe due to family reasons.
This comes out of nowhere and it will be interesting to see how accurate this report is. Gasol looked slow in the playoffs but he remains one of the smartest big men in the NBA and he has enjoyed his time in Toronto. At 35, he is a free agent this offseason.
September 15, 2020, 11:07 amPascal SiakamPF, Toronto Raptors
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Nick Nurse has signed a multiyear extension with the Raptors.
This is well deserved for a team that exceeded expectations and fell one shot short of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals this year, after winning the NBA title last season. Nurse was named the 2019-20 NBA Coach of the Year, becoming the first coach to be selected as Coach of the Year in both the NBA and the NBA G League. He has posted a 111-43 record (.721) during the regular season with the Raptors the last couple seasons and proved to be an excellent hire by Masai Ujiri.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
September 12, 2020, 12:52 amSerge IbakaPF, Toronto Raptors
Serge Ibaka logged 20 minutes off the bench in Friday's loss to the Celtics, contributing 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, adding just eight rebounds and one trey to the box score.
Ibaka tied Norman Powell with a plus-six on the plus/minus column tonight as the Raptors starters found themselves struggling with their shot for most of the game. Ibaka has been a consistent force off the bench for the Raptors throughout this series and the nine-year vet will get some much needed rest, now that this hard-fought series is over, though not with the result he and his team had hoped for.
September 12, 2020, 12:44 amPascal SiakamPF, Toronto Raptors
Pascal Siakam was notably quiet in Friday's Game 7 loss to the Celtics, putting up just 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting with 11 rebounds, three assists, one block and five turnovers.
This was yet another sub-par showing from Siakam who only had 12 points in Game 6. He's had trouble dueling Jayson Tatum, who mostly outplayed him. It was a tough matchup for Siakam who just didn't have the right moves and decisions to deal with the toolbox that Tatum brought to the table. The Raptors' season is now over and Siakam will once again need to make another leap forward if they are to remain competitive and relevant as an Eastern Conference playoff contender.
September 12, 2020, 12:37 amFred VanVleetPG, Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet led the Raptors with 20 points (8-of-20 shooting), three rebounds, six rebounds, four 3s and two blocks on Friday, but all that was not enough as the Celtics eliminated his team from the playoffs.
FVV played well, all things considered. His teammates just couldn't find a way to get in sync on offense all night. Credit does go to the Celtics' impressive defense and the Raptors as a whole simply could not execute their game plan for the night. This disappointing result notwithstanding, VanVleet has elevated his game into the stratosphere in this wild 2019-20 season, making him a highly coveted asset come the off-season. Expect the Raptors to try and lock him down as soon as possible.
September 12, 2020, 12:26 amKyle LowryPG, Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry fouled out down the stretch in Friday's Game 7 loss to the Celtics but not before chipping 16 points in a rough shooting night (5-of-15 FG).
Lowry connected on only 1-of-6 shots from deep and did not register a steal or a block tonight. He did manage to chip in six rebounds and three assists, but clearly those were not enough for the Raptors to overcome the young and hungry Celtics. Lowy was coming off an impressive 33-point outing in Game 6 which went to double-OT, so fatigue could have played a factor in his lackluster showing in this crucial game.
September 10, 2020, 1:36 amMarc GasolC, Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol seemed to be getting his groove back in Wednesday's win, though he finished with just eight points, two rebounds, one assist, a steal and a block.
Gasol's line may not look impressive but there are a couple important factors to note about this performance. His offensive game has deteriorated significantly and he's been missing wide open jumpers and layups. After blowing another layup in the first quarter tonight he was visible frustrated and disappeared to the locker room. He didn't return until the second half. When he finally re-entered the game, he immediately got a block on Jayson Tatum and hit his first three of the series. Unfortunately for Gasol, from there he picked up five fouls fairly quickly which kept him on the bench for the majority of the second half. Despite that, the flashes he showed in the third quarter are a great sign for the Raptors going into Game 7.
September 10, 2020, 1:19 amSerge IbakaPF, Toronto Raptors
Serge Ibaka returned from his ankle injury in Game 5 and played 21 minutes, ending with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 3-of-5 from deep along with three rebounds in Wednesday's big win over the Celtics.
Ibaka removed the walking boot and hit the court for his standard allotment of minutes. He's been deadly from three in this series and has consistenly stepped in to give his team a jolt of scoring when the Raptors' offence stagnates. They'll need him to keep it going if they hope to take Game 7.
September 9, 2020, 10:53 pmNorman PowellSF, Toronto Raptors
Norman Powell came up clutch for the Raptors in double overtime on Wednesday with 23 points (6-of-11 FG, 3-of-6 3PT), two rebounds, one assist, two steals and a block.
Powell had played below 30 minutes in the first four games of this series but tonight Nick Nurse had him on the floor through both overtime periods. The Raptors were somewhat forced to go small and put Siakam at center as Marc Gasol had five fouls and Serge Ibaka still seemed to be dealing with ankle pain. It's not clear if getting Powell more minutes is a legimate adaptation from Nurse, but it worked out for him tonight.