Sports Raptors’ ring talk reveals uncomfortable truth about championship run
Report: Knicks plotting another run at Raptors president Masai Ujiri
According a report from The Athletic’s Frank Isola, the Knicks are looking to pry Raptors president Masai Ujiri from Toronto and bring him to New York The post Former Detroit Lions receiver Charles Rogers dies at 38 appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.It appears the latest club on that list making plans to try to pry the executive away from Toronto is the New York Knicks.
The uncomfortable truth about Jonas Valanciunas’ status during the Toronto Raptors championship season is that it was judged that they couldn’t win a title with him in the lineup.
And the people who made that decision — Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster — were almost certainly right.
That’s why Valanciunas isn’t getting a championship ring, even if he did spend nearly seven seasons with the franchise and emerged as one of the most likeable, reliable and able players to ever suit up for the club.
A couple of other former Raptors — Delon Wright and CJ Miles, part of the trade-deadline package that netted Marc Gasol — were also left of the list too, but it’s Valanciunas missing out that seems like some cold calculus given his length of service with the team.
Raptors Refusing to Give Some Actual 2018-19 Players a Ring After Giving Drake One is Absurd
In the midst of their recent championship season, the Toronto Raptors traded away Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and CJ Miles in exchange for Marc Gasol. After plenty of devoted service (years, in Valanciunas' case), one would think that all these players earned their rings. Especially if the Raptors gave superfan Drake and his god-awful jumpshot an official championship ring, right? That's not the case, as the Raptors' decision not to give theIn the midst of their recent championship season, the Toronto Raptors traded away Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and CJ Miles in exchange for Marc Gasol. After plenty of devoted service (years, in Valanciunas' case), one would think that all these players earned their rings.
The story emerged over the weekendwas able to get Webster to confirm that there would be no rings for Valanciunas, Wright and Miles, in keeping with NBA precedent.
The big Lithuanian’s main contribution to the Raptors championship was qualifying as the centerpiece of a deal for the player that they believed would put them over the top in their one guaranteed season with Kawhi Leonard on their roster: Gasol.
Cue the record-setting TV ratings, the Jurassic Parks set up coast-to-coast and the championship parade the likes of which may never be seen again. It was a Canada-wide love-in fuelled by twists and turns and standout moments that will forever be part of our sports lore.
But the ring talk brings home an uncomfortable truth about the Raptors’ championship run.
Anunoby has 24 points before injuring eye in Toronto's 132-96 rout of Hornets
TORONTO — OG Anunoby had a strong night cut short by another eye injury on Monday. The Raptors forward scored 16 of his 24 points in Toronto's big third quarter, and the Raptors went on to rout the Charlotte Hornets 132-96. Seven Raptors (9-4) scored in double digits. Pascal Siakam had 20 points, while Norm Powell had 17, Terence Davis chipped in with 16, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 15, and Fred VanVleet and Chris Boucher finished with 11 apiece. Marvin Williams led Charlotte (6-8) with 14 points.The Hornets hung around throughout the first half but the Raptors finally shook them in the third quarter, outscoring Charlotte 32-18 in the frame.
For all the buzzy, breezy, warm feelings and memories that were generated and still flow from the roller-coaster ride to the NBA title, it is easy to forget that going for it the way the Raptors did involved real human sacrifice — at least metaphorically.
There was blood on the floor — and a fair bit of it — before it was ever washed away with champagne, and anyone who revels in the Raptors win has at least trace amount of it on their hands.
Valanciunas’ exile was just the end a brutal carving and remaking of what was already one of the East’s best teams.
It started with the Raptors decision to fire Dwane Casey after Toronto was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the 2018 playoffs.
He’d led the Raptors to five-straight playoff appearances and had just completed a franchise-record 59-win season that earned him the NBA’s coach-of-the-year award.
It didn’t matter. Coaching was deemed an area an already very good team could find a way to improve and he was gone.
Should Raptors move Kyle Lowry given the team’s success without him?
Should Raptors move Kyle Lowry given the team’s success without him?The team is 4-2 in games without those two players and with the wins have brought about the revelations of role players Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Terence Davis, Chris Boucher and Matt Thomas.
Next came DeMar DeRozan, traded after seven years, four all-star appearances, a pair of career-best seasons, and despite almost defiantly pledging his allegiance to a city and a franchise that had been passed over by so many previous stars.
His sin? Not being as good as Leonard, a two-way monster at his best, who was available.
Each move carried significant personal costs. The chill between Ujiri and Casey has warmed somewhat over the past 18 months but feelings were raw for at least a year following Casey’s dismissal. As of the start of the 2019-20 season DeRozan and Ujiri — who enjoyed an excellent relationship in Toronto — still hadn’t talked or communicated.
Ujiri agonized over each of those choices and in some ways they tempered his ability to fully enjoy reaching the pinnacle of his profession. He had always preached family and loyalty but judged that he could only fulfil his mission to win by fracturing some of those bonds. It is hard to take.
Raptors unveil all new 2019-20 OVO City Edition jerseys
The Toronto Raptors officially unveiled their new 2019-20 OVO City Edition jerseys on Friday. The post Projecting Team Canada’s WJC selection camp roster appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Design-wise, the jersey keeps with past OVO styles, incorporating the black-and-gold that is now readily associated with Drake and his accompanying OVO branding.
As the Raptors roared out to an electric start and Leonard looked less damaged goods and more like a LeBron James-level difference maker and Nurse seemed more and more confident in his role, the price paid seemed to recede in significance.
I reference the Casey and DeRozan decisions because the Valanciunas trade featured precisely the same math, and those moves precipitated the next.
The Raptors were very, very good with Valanciunas in the lineup — they were 22-7 when he broke his hand in a win over Golden State in December. It would have been fascinating to see what would have happened if he hadn’t been hurt and had been able to play out what was shaping up to be his most efficient season.
But we’ll never know. He was supposed to play his first game after a two-month absence when the deal came down.
Gasol had a proven track record of being able to stifle the Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid and once more the Raptors went for it.
Given that Embiid shot 37 per cent from the floor over seven games against the Raptors in the second round with Gasol as his primary defender, things worked out well.
Still, based on Twitter reaction and other anecdotal responses there seems to be a sense that Valanciunas — and by extension Wright and Miles, just to be polite — should get some kind recognition for being on the roster for at least some of the championship season.
Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka nearing return from injury
After Toronto Raptors practice on Friday, head coach Nick Nurse provided an injury update on Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, indicating that both are nearing a return to action. The post Nov. 22: It’s All Better In Leafland appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Providing an update after practice on Friday, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said that the team is "shooting for" a Dec. 1 return for Lowry when the Raptors are scheduled to face the Utah Jazz at Scotiabank Arena.
And at one point it seemed that Valanciunas was in consideration, given he told Ganter that Kyle Lowry – who was the player charged with the contributing to the ring design – had texted him asking for his ring size.
Adding fuel is that the ubiquitous Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia got a version of the ring — though not the precise one the players got — and that Drake, the franchise’s ‘Global Ambassador’ got one too.
The reality is all kinds of people who never touched the floor for the Raptors have a ring of some sort to commemorate the title — sponsors and broadcasters, for example, not to mention roster fringelings such as Eric Moreland, Jodie Meeks and Jeremy Lin.
Would it be that wrong to extend the courtesy to Valanciunas or anyone else with ties to the team?
No, but it would be disingenuous. Providing him or Wright or Miles or even Casey or DeRozan a ring would simply paper over a hard truth: They were all deemed surplus to the goal of winning.
They weren’t innocent bystanders to the Raptors’ championship makeover, collateral damage caught up in the unavoidable grind of roster machinations that every team goes through.
No, the opposite. They were deemed obstacles on the path to the ultimate destination.
Harsh maybe, but no one seemed to be complaining when Gasol was spraying the parade crowds with bubbly or Nurse was breaking out the ‘Box-and-1’ or Leonard was carrying the Raptors on his broad back for long stretches of the post-season.
Sprinkling some extra jewelry around might make everyone feel better, but it obscures the facts. The Raptors didn’t win in spite of moving on from their past, of which Valanciunas was a big part.
They won because of it.
Raptors-Knicks believed to be first time four Canadians on NBA court together .
TORONTO — For nearly six minutes on Wednesday, four Canadians were on the floor together in an NBA game — apparently for the first time in history. The Toronto Raptors thrashed New York spoiling the first NBA game at home for Knicks rookie RJ Barrett. With 5:52 to play and the game out of reach, Raptors coach Nick Nurse subbed in Oshae Brissett, a 21-year-old from Toronto. Barrett, a 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., and Ignas Brazdeikis ofThe Toronto Raptors thrashed New York spoiling the first NBA game at home for Knicks rookie RJ Barrett.
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