When the Raptors traded John Salmons’ partially guaranteed for Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira, it signaled Toronto’s desire to keep its roster mostly in tact.
Waiving Salmons offered an opportunity to create cap room and pursue outside free agents, but Masai Ujiri didn’t go that route. He exchanged Salmons’ contract for helpful assets, leaving the Raptors to go over the cap to keep their own free agents.
Re-signing Kyle Lowry was the obvious priority. With that done, Toronto can move onto its secondary targets – Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
After shooting just 0-for-5 on 3-pointers his first two NBA seasons, Patterson has developed into a solid stretch four, making 37.4 percent of his shots beyond the arc the last two seasons. His salary might be slightly on the high side, but he earned this by really working on his game.
Toronto retains an important part of its rotation. Since they acquired him in the Rudy Gay trade, the Raptors performed much better on both ends of the floor when he played:
- Offensive rating: 109.5
- Defensive rating: 99.6
- Net rating: +9.9
- Offensive rating: 105.7
- Defensive rating: 104.0
- Net rating: +1.7
No Raptor had a higher on-court net rating.
The only reason I say Patterson might have been slightly overpaid is you can’t take for granted his fit on another team. But for the Raptors, they’re getting good value.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.