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.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.