Because it’s tough to imagine another front office offering Birch this much money.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Free agent C Khem Birch is returning to the Toronto Raptors on a three-year, $20M contract, his agent Austin Brown of @caa_basketball tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 5, 2021
Birch had been one of the NBA’s most-underrated players, though this contract probably removes him from the discussion.
Last offseason, Toronto signed Aron Baynes and Alex Len to replace Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka at center. After Baynes and Len proved ineffective, the Raptors quietly signed Birch, who took a post-trade-deadline buyout from the Magic. Though Birch quickly helped, it was too late.
A Montreal native, Birch will get a fresh start in Toronto next season. Pencil him in as the Raptors’ starting center, though he’ll share minutes with Chris Boucher. Birch, 28, is a good defender and efficient interior scorer who’s working to expand his shooting range.
Toronto also waived Aron Baynes before his $7.35 million salary guaranteed.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Birch’s contract isn’t fully guaranteed, either. Still, that’s a nice salary for someone who worked his way up after going undrafted and playing in the NBA’s minor league and Europe for years.