A few notes from the media-access period in the Toronto Raptors’ locker room following the game against the Boston Celtics:
Here are photos of Jay Triano (Portland TrailBlazers), Eric Hughes (Milwaukee Bucks), Jama Mahlalela (Toronto Raptors) and Bruno Caboclo (Toronto Raptors) working with campers at Nike’s Americas Team Camp.
Click on any of the pictures to see a larger, high res version.
Check out the best moments from USAB’s practice as they prepare for their exhibition games through the lens of a super slow motion Phantom Camera.
* Nine of Toronto’s first 12 games are at home. A big part of that is a stretch of seven consecutive games at the Air Canada Centre.
* The Raptors play four games on national TV south of the border. They play the Chicago Bulls on TNT (November 13th) and they have three games on ESPN (December 17 against the Brooklyn Nets and two games against the Charlotte Hornets. It’s a nice bump since the team didn’t have any regular season games on TNT or ESPN last season.
* The Raptors open their season at home against the Atlanta Hawks on October 29th.
* Some games to mark on your calendar are when Andrew Wiggins makes Toronto debut as member of Timberwolves on March 18, LeBron James visits the ACC on December 5 and March 4, Kevin Durant visits November 4 and February 8 against the San Antonio Spurs.
* Toronto has a nasty end to the season as six of their final eight games of the season will be on the road. Ouch. Even worse is that after the All-Star break, 18 of Toronto’s final 29 games are on the road. That means Toronto needs to get off to a strong start.
* Toronto’s last seven games of the season come against Eastern Conference teams. This could be huge when it comes to fighting for the Atlantic Division crown and/or playoff seeding.
* The Raptors have a six-game road trip that starts December 22 in Chicago. During that road trip they will play the Bulls, Clippers, Nuggets, Blazers, Warriors and Suns. That’s a nasty stretch for the team and not a fun way to spend the holidays. The “reward” is the team gets to play six games at home after the nasty road trip.
Time Warner Cable is reporting the Rochester RazorSharks basketball team is in talks with the Toronto Raptors about becoming their NBA Developmental League affiliate.
The RazorSharks were champions of the Premier Basketball League last season.
While Rochester is relatively close, if the Raptors truly want to become known as Canada’s team, it would make more sense for the Raptors to form a D-League team in London, Hamilton or Oshawa. It would result in the D-League affiliate being closer to Toronto and it would help drum up interest in the GTA.
With news leaking today that the Toronto Raptors signed Jordan Hamilton the current roster has 16 players with guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season.
With the maximum roster size being 15 that means one player won’t be with the Raptors come opening night.
Landry Fields has struggled to find his way onto the court for a variety of reasons, and, even when he did last season, he lacked the confidence in his ability to hit an open jumper. Fields shot 40% from the field while passing on lots of open looks. That meant opposing teams were able to sag off of him and could easily double another Raptor.
Toronto now has a glut of wing players under contract in DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, James Johnson, Jordan Hamilton, Landry Fields, and Bruno Caboclo.
It gets even tougher for Fields to crack the rotation when you factor in Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez can also play minutes as shooting guard.
Throw into the mix that Fields had a Real Plus Minus of 0.87 in just over 300 total minutes last season and it’s clear he’s not worth $8.5 million this season.
Enter the infamous stretch provision that’s part of the NBA’s CBA. This would allow Fields to be removed from the roster while spreading out his contract over multiple seasons to help with their salary cap.
Or, it’s possible Toronto is okay absorbing his bad contract this season because of what it would open in cap space this summer. If that’s the case, it’s likely Toronto has a trade brewing to move multiple players while bringing less players back.
They could also move Landry or another player for a draft pick.
Reports leaked this weekend that the NBA has fined the Toronto Raptors for tampering after rapper Drake let Kevin Durant know he was wanted in Canada.
Drake was performing at a concert in Toronto that Durant was attending and he got a little carried away and begged the crowd to show Durant what it would be like if he came to play for the Raptors, causing a loud ovation.
The funny thing is this “ovation” pales in comparison to what Durant gets every game while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
ESPN.com reported the fine was for a paltry $25,000.
Below is a video clip of what happened during the concert.
I was a guest on SiriusXM to talk about the big summer the Cleveland Cavaliers have had. We talked about the trade for Kevin Love, Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving butting heads in the past and how Cleveland’s current roster has some flaws.
ESPN is reporting the Cleveland Cavaliers are trading Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first round picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.
Since Wiggins can’t be traded officially until August 23rd, until then it’s just a “handshake agreement” between the two franchises.
While adding Love looks great, it’s a move the Cavaliers may soon regret.
Sure, Love led the NBA in double-doubles last season with 65 in only 77 games.
According to ESPN Stats, “A big three of LeBron James with Kyrie Irving and Love could be the best trio in the NBA. According to win shares, which measures the estimated number of wins a player contributes to his team’s total, those three combined for 36.9 last season. That is more than any trio of teammates, and more than the win totals of 11 NBA teams last season.”
By any statistical measure, it appears are first blush that adding Love is a no-brainer and a great move by the Cavs.
But adding Love creates more holes on Cleveland’s roster.
Cleveland still lacks a rim protector and now they lack depth on the wing to give LeBron James the rest he wanted.
Mike Miller may be able to pick up some of those minutes, but Miller hasn’t had the best track record in regards to staying healthy during the twilight of his career. Relying on a trio of Miller, Dion Waiters and LeBron James to play heavy minutes could prove to be a recipe for disaster.
Kyrie Irving averaged 17.4 field goal attempts per game last season while Love averaged 18.5. Both players have been alpha dogs their entire collegiate and NBA careers and it’s a legitimate question if they can give up touches or being the focus of an offense.
The fact Cleveland gave up so quickly on their last two first overall picks has to be worrisome.
Sure, Bennett might have had a hard time cracking this rotation, but he looked like a much-improved player during summer league in Las Vegas. If it was a result of offseason surgery to help deal with breathing issues then the Cavs clearly sold low and were too inpatient to wait to see his value rise.
Losing Wiggins will almost certainly hurt. He could have stepped in during training camp and provided the perfect 1-2 punch with James on the wing. Sure, his jumper needs work, but he showed in Las Vegas that by being aggressive attacking the rim he could draw fouls and get easy points.
Wiggins also would have taken the burden off James on the defensive end by the end of his rookie season. Having two defensive dynamos in James and Wiggins would have been scary for the rest of the NBA.
But, Love is the teammate James wanted so Love ended up in Cleveland.
Time will tell if this was a good move or not. Personally, I would have kept Wiggins if I was running the Cavaliers.
McNeill and Cheel talked about LeBron’s return to the Cavs, why Kevin Love isn’t an ideal fit for Cleveland, Melo being smart to take the money New York was offering and the mess Donald Sterling has made.