The Celtics missed out on Kevin Love, their primary target. But they managed to get some frontcourt help on a solid short-term value deal, landing former Raptors center Amir Johnson on a two-year, $24 million deal, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Free-agent forward Amir Johnson has agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal with the Boston Celtics, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Agent Kevin Bradbury of BDA Sports completed the deal Wednesday with Boston GM Danny Ainge.
Johnson, one of the best forwards on the market, departs after six seasons with Toronto. He gives Boston a long, athletic and experienced dimension that it needed in its frontcourt.
This is a solid move for the Celtics. Johnson is an athletic, defensive big who represents a significant upgrade over Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass. $12 million per year is good value for a starting-caliber center, and the fact that it’s only a two-year deal makes it very moveable, especially with the salary cap set to increase.
LaMarcus Aldridge is done playing hoops in Portland. Well, except as a heartily-booed member of a road team next season, but he’s done as a Blazer.
He might land in San Antonio — that’s his preference, but it requires a delicate financial dance by the Spurs to make it happen (if you see Boris Diaw get traded, the Spurs are likely on to something). The Lakers are reportedly climbing his list, and they will get a meeting. So will the Dallas Mavericks — Aldridge grew up in Dallas, and some Cowboys players are going to help try to recruit him.
And don’t forget about Toronto… wait, the Raptors? Apparently they are in the mix as well.
There may be a little logic to this. Toronto does have the cap space to offer a max deal. They have some quality players on the roster: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and others. They are in the East, so it’s an easier path to the Finals (save for that LeBron James guy).
But Aldridge is going to not go to contend with the Spurs, not go home to Dallas, not become the face of the Lakers brand, and instead choose to go to Toronto? With all due respect to one of the NBA’s best (and certainly most underrated) fan bases, I just can’t see it. Not when he has better options.
We nearly made it through the NBA draft lottery without a trade.
And the night’s first deal – Greivis Vasquez from the Raptors to the Bucks – didn’t even involved a pick in the first three quarters of the 2015 draft.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
I really like Vasquez in Jason Kidd’s system. Vasquez is a long point guard who can trap and disrupt passing lanes, though he’s not an ideal athlete for the scrambling scheme. Offensively, he’s a solid distributor who will involve Milwaukee’s deep crop of wings.
But this is a decently high price to pay for Michael Carter-Williams’ backup.
Vasquez will eat more than $6 million into the Bucks’ cap room this summer. Though he’ll likely be better than either of those draft picks, they’ll be paid less and offer more upside.
That Clippers pick is top-14 protected in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In the unlikely event it’s not conveyed by them, it becomes the Clippers’ 2020 and 2021 second-rounders.
Sometimes, though, you just have to get a player you know helps you. Milwaukee did that.
The Raptors added flexibility, which seems more in line with their goals.
Greivis Vasquez is a solid NBA backup point guard who can give a team some spot starting duty when needed. He did that in Toronto last season, averaging more than 24 minutes a night (mostly off the bench) and averaging 9.5 points per game, hitting 37.9 percent from three, and dishing out 3.7 assists per night, and the team was +2.5 points per 48 minutes when he is on the court.
Combine that with a reasonable $6.6 million contract for next season, and you can be sure a few teams will call up the Raptors looking to trade for Vasquez.
Like Houston and Minnesota, Vasquez said at a press conference in his native Venezulla, as reported by Sportando.
Both of those teams could use smart, veteran depth at the point.
Minnesota is looking to trade Canadian Anthony Bennett, but while there is a national draw there that is not a fair swap as the Raptors would see it. The Timberwolves will need to sweeten that deal but it’s a starting point. The Timberwolves are playing Zach LaVine as their backup point guard behind Ricky Rubio, and there are plenty of people around the league not sold on LeVine as a real point guard and decision maker. The Timberwolves could use depth.
Houston was hurting in the playoffs without Patrick Beverley, so they had to lean on Jason Terry heavily. While the Rockets made it to the conference Finals, someone like Vasquez would have been a big boost.
Neither of these deals may happen, but there is some logic to them. Either way, the Raptors will be active on the trade market and a team to keep an eye on, starting draft night. Toronto is looking for a roster shakeup.
The Raptors’ ended the 2015 season in about as disappointing a way as possible, getting swept out of the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the Washington Wizards, and losing the final game of the series by 31 points.
Toronto was supposed to be better this season, and many had them pegged as the third best team in the East behind only the Cavaliers and the Bulls before things got started.
Injuries certainly played a part in the demise, and things fell apart in the second half of the season. Terrence Ross was expected to help the cause, and progress in his third NBA season. But he took a step back in all major statistical categories despite playing in all 82 regular season contests.
Health may or may not have been a factor where Ross was concerned. But now that the offseason has begun, Ross took care of an ankle issue by undergoing surgery.
From the official release:
The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday forward-guard Terrence Ross underwent surgery yesterday in Van Nuys, California to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from his left ankle. The procedure was performed by Dr. Richard Ferkel at the Southern California Orthopaedic Institute.
Ross will conduct his rehabilitation in Toronto. No timetable has been set for a return to basketball activities.
Ross was inconsistent at best last season. Here’s hoping that if injury issues were holding him back, this surgery begins the process of getting him healthy in advance of next season.