Joel Embiid is reportedly healthy. Dario Saric signed with the 76ers.
That leaves No. 27 pick Bogdan Bogdanovic and No. 37 pick DeAndre Daniels as the only players picked higher than 50 in the 2014 draft who’ve yet to play in the NBA.
Bogdanovic, whose rights are held by the Kings, impressed in the Olympics. On the other hand, Daniels – drafted by the Raptors – isn’t gaining much traction.
After spending his first pro season in Australia and his second in the D-League, Daniels signed with Italian team Pallacanestro Mantovana.
He could have signed with Toronto, which extended the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, a team must offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights on a second-rounder. That would’ve meant going to training camp to compete with Fred VanVleet, Jarrod Uthoff, E.J. Singler Yanick Moreira and Drew Crawford for the Raptors final regular-season roster spot.
Daniels making the team obviously would’ve been his best-case scenario. But even getting waived would’ve allowed him to become an NBA free agent before heading overseas.
As is, even if he plays his way up to NBA-caliber in Europe, he can sign in the NBA only with the Raptors (unless they trade him).
Daniels has battled injury since leaving Connecticut, and maybe he realized he wasn’t ready to beat out VanVleet and Uthoff. Perhaps, it was prudent to secure the deal in Italy rather than what might have been available overseas come October.
But with Toronto having fewer guaranteed salaries than regular-season roster spots, this might have been the year to try out for the team – and at least open other NBA doors if waived.
While a questionable decision by Daniels, this is a win for the Raptors. They maintain his exclusive negotiating rights among NBA teams – without paying him or using a roster spot on him.
Of course, that matters only if Daniels eventually belongs in the NBA, and this indicates he doesn’t yet feel he does.