Raptors Rumors

Draft Notes: Ivey, Murray, Sharpe, Daniels, Roddy, Minott, Segu

While Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero are the consensus top three prospects in this year’s draft, it’s rare that the top three picks in a draft end up being the three players who enjoy the best pro careers, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz.

The ESPN duo identifies Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe and Dyson Daniels as the other prospects who are the best bets to emerge as top-three players from the 2022 draft class, breaking down the strengths of that quartet and considering which lottery teams might benefit the most from their talents.

We have plenty of draft-related news to pass along:

  • Colorado State’s David Roddy has worked out for the Magic, Nuggets and Rockets, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. The power forward is ranked No. 47 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • Memphis forward Josh Minott has workouts lined up with the Magic, Raptors, Hawks, Spurs, Bulls and Hornets, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com tweets. Minott is ranked No. 48 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • Buffalo guard Ronaldo Segu will continue to pursue professional opportunities and forgo his remaining year of college eligibility, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. He averaged 14.9 PPG and 5.1 APG last season.
  • Nathan Mensah is withdrawing from the draft and returning to San Diego State, the school announced in a press release. Mensah is the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Josh Mballa is pulling out of the draft and transferring from Buffalo to Ole Miss, Jeff Goodman tweets. Mballa averaged 13.0 PPG and 8.6 RPG last season.
  • Texas Tech guard Adonis Arms has workouts scheduled with the Nuggets, Pistons, Pelicans, Magic and Jazz, Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets.
  • Northern Colorado’s Bodie Hume will remain in the draft, Rothstein adds in another tweet. The senior forward averaged 11.0 PPG and 6.2 RPG last season.
  • Potential top-10 selection Johnny Davis wants to model his game after Devin Booker. Another potential top-10 pick, Daniels, believes he’s a combination of Tyrese Haliburton offensively and Alex Caruso or Lonzo Ball defensively. Numerous draft prospects told The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov which NBA players they most closely resemble or strive to be.

Khem Birch Undergoes Arthroscopic Surgery On Knee

Raptors center Khem Birch underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday in Los Angeles, the team announced today in a press release. The procedure took place at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, a day after Zach LaVine underwent a similar procedure there.

According to the Raptors, the surgery cleaned up “loose debris” in Birch’s knee. The expectation is that he’ll be ready to go for the start of training camp in September.

After joining the Raptors on the buyout market during the second half of the 2020/21 season, Birch signed a new three-year, $20MM contract with the club last offseason. Hampered by his troublesome right knee and other injuries in ’21/22, the 29-year-old appeared in just 55 games, starting 28 of them. He averaged 4.5 PPG and 4.3 RPG with a career-worst .485 FG% in 18.0 minutes per contest.

Still, Birch’s deal is fully guaranteed for all three years, so barring a trade, he’ll be back in Toronto next season. It’s unclear whether he’ll have an opportunity to reenter the starting lineup, however, given the emergence of young big man Precious Achiuwa, as well as the Raptors’ willingness to start three forwards – Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes – in lieu of a center.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Nets Front Office, Raptors, Barrett

Celtics starting point guard Marcus Smart, already the Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Defensive First Teamer, has added another end-of-season honor to his résumé.

The league has given Smart the 2021/22 NBA Hustle Award, per a press statement. The award is given to players who contribute to their teams in ways that transcend traditional box score statistics, including deflections, screen assists, box-outs, loose balls recovered, drawn charges, and contested shots.

Smart previously won the award for the 2018/19 NBA season. With the hardware this year, he becomes the first-ever two-time recipient of the honor, which debuted during the 2016/17 season.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • With Nets assistant coach Ama’re Stoudemire moving on and David Vanterpool and Adam Harrington also expected to join the exodus, head coach Steve Nash‘s bench could look quite different next season, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Former Hornets head coach James Borrego could be a target as a seasoned assistant for next season. Lewis adds that Brooklyn may make some changes to its front office personnel as well, mentioning that consultant Steve Clifford could also be looking to depart.
  • Raptors All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet may be open to signing an extension with Toronto, but his decision could ultimately be dictated by the free agent market this season, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic in a new mailbag. Koreen also projects the Raptors’ starting lineup heading into next year, identifies the team’s biggest offseason need, and more.
  • Knicks small forward RJ Barrett, who missed New York’s final game of the year with a knee sprain, appears to be recovered and ready to play for Team Canada in this summer’s World Cup qualifiers, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

2021/2022 All-NBA Teams Announced

The 2021/22 All-NBA teams have officially been announced by the NBA. For the fourth straight season, Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was unanimously selected to the All-NBA First Team by a voter panel of 100 media members. Antetokounmpo, 27, is making his sixth All-NBA team overall.

Antetokounmpo, reigning MVP Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic received the most votes. Suns All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker and Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid rounded out the list of top five vote-getters. Because the All-NBA teams, unlike the All-Star squads, require just one center per team, Embiid was relegated to an All-NBA Second Team placing.

Below is a list of the three All-NBA teams. Vote tallies are listed in parentheses next to player names. Five points were awarded to players for a First Team Vote, three points netted for a Second Team vote, and one for a Third Team vote. Antetokounmpo earned a perfect 500 points.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Heat center Bam Adebayo and small forward Jimmy Butler, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, Bucks guards Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, and Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet all received All-NBA votes. Surprisingly, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who played in just 29 games this season, also received a single vote.

As we previously outlined, the All-NBA selections come with significant financial ramifications. As a result of being named to All-NBA teams, Booker and Towns have become eligible for super-max extensions that would begin in 2024/25. If they’re signed this offseason, those deals would be for four years and would start at 35% of the ’24/25 cap. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter), they currently project to be worth $211MM apiece.

Young’s five-year contract extension, which was signed last August and will go into effect in 2022/23, will now be worth 30% of next season’s cap instead of 25% by virtue of his All-NBA selection. Based on a projected $122MM cap, that means it’ll be worth about $212MM instead of $177MM.

Jokic had already met the super-max requirements prior to this announcement, since he won last year’s MVP award — he’s eligible to sign a five-year, super-max extension this offseason and has said he plans to do so. Doncic, who signed a maximum-salary contract extension last summer, also previously met the super-max criteria by earning All-NBA nods in 2020 and 2021.

Notable players who are not eligible this offseason for super-max deals include Morant and Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. As Marks tweets, Morant needs to make the All-NBA team again in 2023 to qualify for a starting salary worth 30% of the cap (instead of 25%) on his next deal.

LaVine, a free agent this offseason, would have been eligible to earn up to 35% of next season’s cap from the Bulls if he had made an All-NBA team, but will instead be able to earn no more than 30% of the ’22/23 cap on his next contract.

With their inclusions, Morant, Booker, and Young are making their All-NBA team debuts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the NBA aging curve, two 37-year-old veterans further cemented their Hall of Fame credentials during the 2021/22 season. James made his 18th All-NBA team, while Paul was named to his 11th All-NBA team.

Koreen Considers Possible Raptors FA Targets, Answers Mailbag Questions

  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic considers which 2022 free agents would be good fits for the Raptors and might be attainable for mid-level or bi-annual money, identifying veterans like Bobby Portis, Malik Monk, and Pat Connaughton as possible targets.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Koreen fielded mailbag questions on the Raptors‘ offseason, addressing a number of topics, including whether the team would have interest in restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton. Koreen thinks the Raptors could inquire but that they don’t consider it a top priority to acquire a traditional center and wouldn’t want to give up the assets necessary to sign-and-trade for Ayton.

Barnes, Cunningham, Mobley Head All-Rookie Team

Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Franz Wagner and Jalen Green comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley were all unanimous selections, receiving the maximum total of 200 points each. Wagner received 183 points, followed by Green with 158. Strangely, one media member left Wagner off their ballot completely, as he received 99 of 100 possible votes.

Raptors wing Barnes, who narrowly edged Cavaliers big man Mobley for the Rookie of the Year award, ranked third in points (15.3) and rebounds (7.5) among all rookies, and fifth in assists (3.5). Mobley was fifth in points (15.0) and led all first-year players in rebounds (8.3) and blocks (1.67) per game.

Pistons guard Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, was first among rookies in points (17.4), second in assists (5.6) and fifth in rebounds (5.5). Magic forward Wagner also had a great year, averaging 15.4 points (fourth among rookies), 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 79 games. Rockets guard Green finished the season strong, scoring 20+ points in 17 of his last 25 games on his way to averaging 17.3 points, second among first-year players.

Pelicans defensive ace Herbert Jones (123 votes) and Thunder floor general Josh Giddey (122 votes) headline the Second Team. Jones averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals (first among rookies) and should at least receive votes for an All-Defensive nod, even if he doesn’t end up making one of the two teams.

In addition to averaging 12.5 points, Giddey was second among rookies in rebounds (7.8) and first in assists (6.4), but he only appeared in 54 of 82 games, having missed the final 23 contests with a hip injury, which is likely why he didn’t receive more First Team votes.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Rookie First Team:

2021/22 All-Rookie Second Team:

Ten other rookies received votes — you can view the full voting results right here. Among the group that missed the cut, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (47) was just behind Duarte, with Kings guard Davion Mitchell (28) the only other player receiving a significant number of votes.

2022 NBA Draft Picks By Team

Not only did the Thunder move up in Tuesday’s draft lottery to claim this year’s No. 2 overall pick, but they’re also one of just three teams with four picks in the 2022 draft. No team’s 2022 selections are more valuable than Oklahoma City’s — in addition to the second overall pick, the Thunder control No. 12, No. 30, and No. 34.

The Spurs and Timberwolves also each own four 2022 draft picks, with San Antonio controlling three first-rounders and No. 38, while Minnesota has No. 19 and three second-rounders.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, four clubs don’t currently own any 2022 draft picks. The Lakers, Suns, and Jazz are three of those teams, and either the Sixers or the Nets will be the fourth, depending on whether Brooklyn decides to acquire Philadelphia’s first-rounder or defer it to 2023.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2022 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 58 selections by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…


Teams with more than two picks:

  • Oklahoma City Thunder (4): 2, 12, 30, 34
  • San Antonio Spurs (4): 9, 20, 25, 38
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (4): 19, 40, 48, 50
  • Orlando Magic (3): 1, 32, 35
  • Sacramento Kings (3): 4, 37, 49
  • Indiana Pacers (3): 6, 31, 58
  • Portland Trail Blazers (3): 7, 36, 57
  • New Orleans Pelicans (3): 8, 41, 52
  • Charlotte Hornets (3): 13, 15, 45
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (3): 14, 39, 56
  • Memphis Grizzlies (3): 22, 29, 47
  • Golden State Warriors (3): 28, 51, 55

Teams with two picks:

  • Houston Rockets: 3, 17
  • Detroit Pistons: 5, 46
  • Washington Wizards: 10, 54
  • New York Knicks: 11, 42
  • Atlanta Hawks: 16, 44

Teams with one pick:

  • Chicago Bulls: 18
  • Denver Nuggets: 21
  • Brooklyn Nets: 23
    • Note: The Nets have the option of deferring their acquisition of this Sixers pick to 2023. That decision must be made by June 1.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 24
  • Dallas Mavericks: 26
  • Miami Heat: 27
  • Toronto Raptors: 33
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 43
  • Boston Celtics: 53

Teams with no picks:

  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Philadelphia 76ers
    • Note: The Sixers will retain their first-rounder if the Nets defer their acquisition of that pick to 2023. That decision must be made by June 1.
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Utah Jazz

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Rivers, Knicks, Flynn

Sixers guard James Harden was still an elite player in 2021/22, but his numbers began trending in the wrong direction and he appeared to have lost the explosive first step that defined his MVP-caliber seasons, writes Tommy Beer of BasketballNews.com.

With Harden set to turn 33 this summer, giving him a long-term, maximum-salary contract could cripple the Sixers and would be borderline “organizational malpractice,” Beer argues. Still, Philadelphia can’t afford to let him walk, since doing so wouldn’t actually open up any meaningful cap room and the team is under pressure to maximize Joel Embiid‘s prime.

As Beer outlines, it will be fascinating to see how those contract discussions play out this offseason, since both sides have some leverage concerns. The Sixers can’t afford to lose Harden, but it will be difficult for the former MVP to play hardball in negotiations, considering none of the teams projected to have cap room are expected to seriously pursue him.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has made it clear that the plan is for Doc Rivers to remain the head coach going forward, prompting Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com to consider whether that decision is the right one for the franchise.
  • Former Knicks center Eddy Curry has confidence in the abilities of executives Leon Rose and William Wesley to turn things around in New York, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Curry said Knicks fans shouldn’t focus on Rose’s lack of public statements and press conferences, since it’s “not his personality” to be in the public eye. “Regardless of how often you see him, you better believe he’s making things happen behind closed doors,” said Curry, who worked with Rose and Wesley during his playing career.
  • Eric Koreen of The Athletic wonders if Raptors point guard Malachi Flynn could benefit from a change of scenery and identifies some other players in a similar boat whom Toronto could target in a potential Flynn trade, including Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, and Udoka Azubuike.
  • In case you missed it, we rounded up a series of Celtics notes earlier today.

Koreen Ranks Toronto's Trade Assets

Fischer’s Latest: Jazz, Conley, Snyder, Popovich, Graham

Speculation about the potential breakup of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert appears to be fueled more by people outside of the Jazz organization than those within it, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says sources from the team and around the NBA believe that CAA has been responsible for many of the whispers involving Mitchell’s future.

According to Fischer, team owner Ryan Smith is willing to spend big on a contender, and Utah has no plans to rebuild. Smith also likes the idea of having multiple players in the 2023 All-Star Game, which the Jazz will host.

Although some rival executives believe a Gobert trade is a possibility and view the Mavericks, Hawks, and Raptors as potential destinations, Fischer says the Jazz are focused on upgrading their defense, so moving a three-time Defensive Player of the Year seems counterintuitive. On the other hand, complementary players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale, and perhaps even Mike Conley are considered more realistic trade candidates.

Fischer wonders if the Clippers or the Knicks might have interest in Conley, another CAA client. With the Jazz seeking help on the wing, Evan Fournier could theoretically headline a Knicks offer for Conley if they miss out on Jalen Brunson, says Fischer, though he notes that some staffers in New York would prefer to stay in-house and give Immanuel Quickley an expanded role.

As for the Clippers, Fischer is skeptical that a Conley trade offer centered around sharpshooter Luke Kennard would appeal to a Utah team looking to improve its defense and suggests that a more realistic point guard target for L.A. would be John Wall, assuming he and the Rockets work out a buyout. Wall has also been linked to the Heat, but Fischer’s sources believe Miami’s interest predated last year’s acquisition of Kyle Lowry.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • There’s “little expectation” among people close to the situation that Quin Snyder will leave the Jazz before his contract expires in 2023, says Fischer. Snyder also holds an option for the 2023/24 season.
  • Jazz CEO Danny Ainge doesn’t appear inclined to shake up the team’s basketball operations department. According to Fischer, major changes would likely only occur if former head of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey gets a top front office job elsewhere and wants to bring some Utah executives with him.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who is traveling and considering his coaching future, plans to visit Belgrade for the EuroLeague Final Four later this month, a source tells Fischer. The general sense is that Popovich seems interested in coaching San Antonio for at least one more season, Fischer adds.
  • The Pelicans are among the teams believed to be considering a possible point guard upgrade this offseason, reports Fischer. Devonte’ Graham saw his role reduced significantly in the playoffs and some people around the league think he could end up on the trade block this offseason, but sources tell Fischer the Pels aren’t motivated to move on from Graham like they were with Eric Bledsoe a year ago.