No hard feelings for Stackhouse after being cut from the Heat roster

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Miami’s bench may seem rather shallow, but the Heat are actually operating at the league’s maximum roster size. So when Erick Dampier became a top candidate for replacing the minutes and production of Udonis Haslem, that meant one thing: if Dampier was to be had, one member of the Heat would have to go. Jamaal Magloire, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, and Dexter Pittman, were all playing out minimal one-year deals, but in a bit of a surprise, Miami elected to part ways with Stackhouse in spite of their limited number of playable wings.

Stack, to his credit, understands the decision and doesn’t hold it against his now-former team. From Marc Stein, writing for ESPN.com’s The Heat Index, here’s Stackhouse’s reflection on his recent release:

“I never really got a chance to have any impact on what was happening one way or the other,” Stackhouse told ESPN.com via e-mail. “They know that. “I really feel they had full intentions of [providing that opportunity], but the injury to [Udonis Haslem] coupled with being outrebounded and losing the paint game in all of the losses — and even a few of the wins — put the onus on addressing those issues as opposed to finding out how I could complement what was going on, which I fully understand.

“The business is the business. I have no complaints. I thank Pat Riley and the Miami Heat organization for giving me the opportunity, which allowed me to get in NBA condition [and] will definitely benefit me when another opportunity arises.”

Miami doesn’t need high-minute subs due to the presence of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but shouldn’t they have more than Eddie House and James Jones available in case of injury? Particularly considering the minor tweaks that has already caused Wade to miss games during the regular season and preseason?

I guess Stack’s usefulness to the Heat will be re-evaluated if any more injuries arise, but for now, Miami is content to wait for Mike Miller’s return while working Dampier into the big man rotation. No one should question the logic of the Dampier signing; his combination of interior defense (both on-ball and help) and rebounding is an unquestionable boon for Miami. But given the Heat’s needs elsewhere on the depth chart, it’s a bit curious that they chose to part with Stack as opposed to the now redundant Jamaal Magloire.

Report: Raptors could get OG Anunoby back during Finals

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The Toronto Raptors are headed to the 2019 NBA Finals, and they are going to need every player on their roster if they want a chance at dethroning the Golden State Warriors.

Forward OG Anunoby has been out since early April after needing an emergency appendectomy. He has not played in the playoffs yet this season, but a new report says the Raptors may be hopeful he could return before the end of this final series.

Via Twitter:

Anunoby Is a useful second-year forward who plays hard on both ends of the floor. Toronto is going to have a hard time matching up with the Warriors defensively, whether Kevin Durant plays or not. Having Anunoby available would help Toronto be more switchable and more adept at taking on some of Golden State’s smaller lineups.

We don’t have a timetable for Anunoby’s potential return yet, but the way the Finals are spaced out (Game 1 is on Thursday, Game 2 is next Sunday) it could help get players healthy and ready.

That could be good news for Kawhi Leonard, who sat out several games this year simply to rest. Leonard has looked a little banged up through these playoffs, as has just about everyone else. The bad news for Toronto is that this time between games could also help the Warriors get Durant ready to play.

Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals is on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST in Canada.

Drake gave Nick Nurse another shoulder rub (VIDEO)

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People are already getting tired of Drake being a prominent figure in the storyline of the Toronto Raptors. They will have to just deal with it for now as Toronto is headed to the 2019 NBA Finals after beating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night.

That said, Drake is actually an ambassador for the Raptors. Some folks seem to forget that.

There was a dust-up during the Eastern Conference Finals about Drake having given Raptors coach Nick Nurse a shoulder rub during Game 4. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer thought that fans shouldn’t be interacting with members of the coaching staff or players, but the Raptors didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal.

After the Raptors won on Saturday, Drake embraced Nurse yet again, playing off of the initial kerfuffle.

Via Twitter:

Get ready to see more Drake than you’ve ever wanted.

Watch Raptors fans celebrate Finals berth in streets of Toronto (VIDEO)

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The Toronto Raptors are headed to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night in Game 6 to send them home and push Toronto into the final series of the year against the Golden State Warriors.

Raptors fans, who have been perennially disappointed by teams who were just good enough, naturally found themselves celebrating in the streets of Ontario. Videos of cars honking and people walking through the avenues surfaced on social media, with the whole thing looking like a big party.

Via Twitter:

The Raptors aren’t the most talented team in the Eastern Conference, but they did have the best player in the entire playoffs this season in Leonard. Coach Nick Nurse figured out a way to stop the Bucks by collapsing on Antetokounmpo, and Milwaukee’s shooters went cold at just the wrong time. The rest of the Raptors bench finally gave Leonard some support, and Toronto was able to mount a comeback in the series to push themselves into the NBA finals.

For that, both Toronto and the Raptors fans deserve to be overjoyed with what’s happening right now.

Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals will be on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST in Toronto.

Bucks fans greet team, Giannis Antetokounmpo at Milwaukee airport (VIDEO)

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The Milwaukee Bucks season is over. Giannis Antetokounmpo and his supporting cast couldn’t get things done in Game 6 on Saturday night against the Toronto Raptors in Canada. Now it’s Kawhi Leonard who is heading to the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

This season was a magical one for Milwaukee, one in which they took the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference and likely have the league’s MVP in Antetokounmpo.

As you might expect, Bucks fans are happy about that fact, and showed up to the Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport to greet their returning team.

Via Twitter:

It has to be nice for athletes to get this kind of treatment. Although some may want to just go home and languish in their defeat, the unwavering support of fanatics has to take the bite out of the sting, even if just a little bit.