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Toronto Raptors: 3 big questions heading into 2019-20 - Hoops Habit
2. Are the young prospects ready to step up?

There’s room for some of Toronto’s best young players to step up this season. That starts with Siakam.

Siakam, of course, took a major step last season in his development. He arguably supplanted Lowry as the second-best player en route to earning Most Improved Player accolades. The Cameroonian forward was the first player in franchise history to secure the award.

What comes next is key. Of the active players who won the award, all but two went on to become All-Stars (and one of those two is CJ McCollum, who would’ve been an All-Star by now if he played in the Eastern Conference).

Some of the game’s biggest stars — Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Giannis Antetokounmpo come to mind — have won the award in recent years; patterning his development off those players could lead to great things for Siakam.

He’s not the only one who needs to take another step forward, though. This will be a big year for OG Anunoby as well. The guard appeared on his way to a solid sophomore season, albeit one missing a big leap forward.

Then, appendicitis hit. Anunoby missed the entirety of the playoffs, though he did dress for some of the NBA Finals. He’s entering a big year where he’ll have to prove he can contribute offensively, in addition to continuing his stellar defensive development.

Other young players to pay attention to are Fred VanVleet and new addition Stanley Johnson.
7 weeks ago
Raptors playing a patient game with undrafted prospect Sagaba Konate – The Athletic
The Raptors, though, want to be sure any knee issues are in the past. They immediately shut him down from 5-on-5 play, held him out of Summer League action and, as of the team’s latest voluntary sessions in Los Angeles, he was still focusing on individual work and a strength and rehabilitation program. (The team’s younger players also recently had their annual stint with Alex McKechnie in Burnaby, B.C., and rookies attended the NBA Rookie Transition Program in New Jersey last week.) Coming off of a season in which load management was a popular phrase, the Raptors believe they have a competitive advantage with a medical staff that can help a player in a situation like Konate’s. In fact, that’s part of why Konate was drawn to Toronto when post-draft camp offers came in.

“We feel really strong about our medical staff and what the proper sort of approach you can take to a rehabilitation project,” assistant general manager Dan Tolzman said. “We’re curious to see what he can become. It’s all about getting him ready for the start of the training camp and see what he does from there.”

There is no rush from Toronto’s perspective. Whatever the specifics of his 2018-19, they want to make sure the issue is behind him for good. They feel they were able to sign someone draft-worthy — in addition to landing Dewan Hernandez at No. 59 and Terence Davis as an undrafted signing — they can get into their development pipeline and make the most out of. Konate was actually ranked, on average, slightly higher than Hernandez on publicly available draft boards, and there’s plenty of theoretical upside considering he only began playing basketball after transitioning from soccer when he was 15 and improved rapidly year over year. (I wrote a bit more about Konate’s profile here.)

If nothing else, Konate will block shots, likely as a shorter centre, given his physical profile. Over three college seasons, Konate turned away 15.3 percent of opponent 2-point field goals while on the floor, the highest mark among any player to play more than 750 minutes in that span (and fourth if the cut-off is dropped to 500). That’s higher than names like Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel and Jaren Jackson Jr. in recent years, with Hassan Whiteside standing as the only college player with a notably higher block percentage (18.8 percent) in the last decade.
7 weeks ago
What went down at last night’s grand opening of the new BOSS Store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre - Toronto Life
Last night, BOSS partnered with Toronto Life and FASHION to celebrate the grand opening of the brand new flagship store in Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Naturally, they were joined by Toronto’s most fashionable, including Traci Melchor, Bernadette Morra, Glen Baxter and the evening’s special guest, Toronto Raptor Serge Ibaka, who just returned from visiting his home country of the Republic of Congo with the Larry O’Brien trophy. (Ibaka sported a BOSS suit, of course.)
7 weeks ago
ESPN analyst critical of Masai Ujiri staying with Raptors - Yahoo!
If Smith wants to believe that, he’s totally allowed to. However, after bringing a title to Toronto, Ujiri sits on a very high pedestal. Knowing how committed he is to making the Raptors a success, it’s hard to imagine him not doing everything within his powers to keep the club competitive. Additionally, it would take a pretty drastic change for him to lose the faith and support of the fanbase.

Sure, his job gets more difficult with the departure of Leonard, but the Raptors should still challenge for home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference next year.

Smith could also be nervous that Toronto’s chances of winning another title in the future look a whole lot better with Ujiri at the helm. We already know how he feels about having a champion from Canada.

So while the ESPN personality may be upset that the successful executive didn’t bolt to the United States, that doesn’t change the fact that Ujiri is still a member of the Raptors organization - and an NBA champion.
7 weeks ago
Toronto Raptors: Masai Ujiri made right decision to stay with team - Tip of the Tower
Smith believes Masai should have moved on after pulling off one of the gutsiest off-season moved to trade for Kawhi and firing Dwane Casey. Now Simmons agreed with Smith in saying that he should have left.

There is the point that the Raptors don’t necessarily have a long term outlook that gives them much of a chance to remain contenders. However, to suggest there is nothing for Ujiri to build with is a bit rash.

Considering the steps Pascal Siakam took this season, you have to think he holds the key to the Raptors remaining relevant down the road. Also, Ujiri has a blank canvas to work with when Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol come off the books.

Why would he want to leave that for the Washington Wizards who are a disaster and have an anchor of a contract in John Wall that is unmovable at this point? There really is none.

if we have learned anything about Masai in the time that he’s been in Toronto it’s that you don’t let the doubters disprove what you are trying to accomplish. Block out the noise and have faith in your plan. As Tim and Sid once taught us “I Believe in Masai.”
7 weeks ago
The Raptors use their G League team like a soccer club, and it works -
The 905 couldn’t have had a bigger endorsement than the NBA Finals. Including Loyd and point guard Malcolm Miller, Raptors 905 general manager Chad Sanders notes that there were six players with 905 experience in the NBA Finals.

Siakam tore up the Warriors in transition, scoring 32 points in Game 1 and averaging 19.8 points for the series. He also scored a floater to put the Raptors up three with 26.5 seconds left in Game 6. VanVleet looked like he couldn’t miss against the Warriors, shooting 40 percent from three and knocking down a step-back jumper late in the fourth quarter of the championship clincher. For players who hadn’t made it past the NBA Conference Semifinals prior to 2019, they looked comfortable hitting clutch shots in pressure-packed moments. But Siakam and VanVleet have been through these sort of moments before in the G League Playoffs.

“I think if you look at the big shots Fred hit in Game 6 of the Finals, you can trace those back to the ones he hit back in the G League championship two years prior,” Raptors 905 head coach Jama Mahlalela tells SB Nation. “The minutes that they got and the reps that they got on the court in those relatively big moments in the G League helped them in the super big moments in the NBA.”

That big-moment experience was a result of the 905’s dedication to staying competitive. The franchise could focus on developing one or two good players to the detriment of the overall team, but the 905 aren’t afraid to spend time coaching unproven players, or taking second looks at players who were once considered potential stars. Last season, they brought in former first round picks Malachi Richardson and Wade Baldwin IV to compete for minutes. The 905 are also active in the trade market, acquiring Toronto native MiKyle McIntosh last December.

The Raptors and the 905 run similar offenses, making the transition easier for players moving back and forth between the teams. Moving to the NBA is a tough adjustment: the pace is much quicker, and players want to make an impact in the limited minutes they have.

“I think for us the program that [the 905] run is so aligned with the Raptors that it became something that was manageable because we ran so many things that the Raptors ran,” Mahlalela says. “Same offense, same flows, same terminology.”
7 weeks ago
Raptors Over Everything Podcast: Best and worst case scenarios for 2019-20 Raptors - Yahoo!
Host William Lou is joined by Dan Reynolds of Raptors HQ to break down the best and worst case scenarios for the 2019-20 Toronto Raptors.

What to do with the vets: Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka

Can Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, Fred VanVleet or OG Anunoby take a leap?

Is there something there with the rookies: Matt Thomas, Terence Davis, Dewan Hernandez

Best and worst case win predictions
7 weeks ago
FIBA: Canada 103, New Zealand 100 (OT) - Video - TSN
Phil Scrubb scored 24 points as Canada's men's basketball team completed a two-game sweep of New Zealand with a 103-100 overtime win in pre-FIBA World Cup action. Canada is now 4-2 in exhibition play.
7 weeks ago
Da Still Hasn't Decided Whether To Charge Toronto Raptors President - SFGate
More than two months after Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri allegedly pushed a sheriff's deputy and struck him in the face at Oracle Arena in Oakland, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office still hasn't decided whether to file charges against him.

The incident, for which Ujiri is being investigated on suspicion of misdemeanor battery on an officer, occurred shortly after Toronto defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 13 to win the NBA championship.

The deputy was injured in the incident and still hasn't been cleared for full duties and is now on light duty, Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said Wednesday.

The deputy, whose name has not been disclosed, hired Sacramento labor and employment lawyer David E. Mastagni to represent him. Mastagni said shortly after the incident that he was considering filing a lawsuit on the deputy's behalf against Ujiri, the Raptors and the NBA.

Mastagni couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick did not say why it's taking her office so long to decide whether to file charges against Ujiri.

Kelly said the day after the incident that Ujiri, who the deputy did not know, tried to go onto the court at Oracle Arena but didn't have the proper credentials.
7 weeks ago
Lackluster 2020 NBA Free-Agent Class Could Inspire A Trade Frenzy - Forbes
Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors

When Kawhi Leonard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency this summer, he put the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors on the fast track to a rebuild.

Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka will all be on the wrong side of 30 once the 2019-20 season tips off, and all three are entering the final year of their respective contracts. Although Lowry has expressed interest in signing an extension with Toronto, team president Masai Ujiri may canvass the league to gauge the trade value of his three veterans.

The Raptors aren't under immediate pressure to trade Lowry, Gasol or Ibaka, as they project to be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference even without Leonard. But as they look to eventually retool around Pascal Siakam, the reigning Most Improved Player, it would behoove them to pick up assets for the three vets rather than risk losing them for nothing in free agency next summer.

Gasol proved to be a difference-maker in the Raptors' title run this past season after coming to Toronto at the trade deadline, while Lowry shook his playoff-choker narrative with a virtuoso performance in the closeout Game 6 during the 2019 NBA Finals. Championship hopefuls may believe either of those two or Ibaka could make or break a deep playoff run.

If the Raptors prioritize their long-term window over defending their title, Ujiri may be ready to ship out some veterans ahead of the trade deadline.
7 weeks ago
FIBA World Cup: Understanding Canada's path to Olympic qualification - Yahoo!
But wait, there’s a second group stage

This is where things get tricky. Qualifying out of Group H would slot Canada into another group for the second round. They would be placed, along with the other team to advance from Group H, with the top two that emerge from Group G containing France, Dominican Republic, Germany and Jordan.

The results of all three games from the initial group phase carry over, and each team plays two games against the opponents they haven’t faced yet. France will be heavy favourites to top Group G, while America’s rival Dominican Republic could drop Germany to a second-round spot.

That would create a potentially massive matchup between Canada and the D.R., depending on how the other Americas teams are faring, of course. If an Americas team not named the United States makes the quarter-final stage, the red and white will need to at least get that far as well.

Making that happen would likely have to involve an upset of either Lithuania or France, since the top two from the second group stage advance to the quarters and it would take at least four wins (inclusive of the first group stage) to make that happen.
7 weeks ago
Report: Cory Joseph withdraws from repping Canada at FIBA World Cup - Yahoo!
The 28-year-old guard has been a staple of the Canadian program for over a decade. Joseph’s attendance at the national level has been commendable, and he was even named captain of the 2015 FIBA America’s team that fell just short of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

It’s unclear as to what circumstances led the Sacramento Kings guard to change his mind, but Joseph now joins a staggering list of notable NBA players who have decided against suiting up in this year’s tournament. Other names include Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, Kelly Olynyk, Trey Lyles, Dillon Brooks, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Chris Boucher, who are all missing in action for various reasons.

Fortunately, the Canadian team is rather deep at point guard, as head coach Nick Nurse can still rely on the likes of Kevin Pangos, Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Best, Phil Scrubb, Brady Heslip, and perhaps Kaza Kajami-Keane, who turned his ankle in Canada’s 122-88 victory over New Zealand on Tuesday.
7 weeks ago
A closer look at the Raptors’ championship shoes - Toronto Life
Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet

Lowry and VanVleet, the Raptors’ dynamic backcourt duo, both played Game 6 in Adidas Harden Vol. 3s, the signature shoe of Houston Rockets star James Harden. Its low-cut design resembles the shape and structure of running shoes in the 1800s, which often had a cross-shoe strap. “The human foot hasn’t changed much since the 19th century,” says Semmelhack.
7 weeks ago
An NBA Summer Vacation Special with Katie Heindl - Blazer's Edge
Katie Heindl dropped by the Hoops and Talks podcast to discuss all things summer vacation: what makes a good NBA summer vacation? How important are summer friendships to the regular season? How does the summer vacation rating system work? Which players excel at relaxing during the off season? Is a beach workout a vacation or a workout? We explore the best vacations, the guys who don’t know how to do it right, and all the areas in between.

We find out that the Trail Blazers are one of the best teams at summer vacationing. Between talking to fish, sitting in infinity pools, hosting UNO tournaments and teasing Raptor fans with trips to Canada’s Wonderland amusement park, the Blazers are having a great off season. Does that mean anything for the rest of the year? Maybe it does! Tune in and find out.
7 weeks ago
FIBA World Cup: Lessons from Canada's exhibition games against Australia - Yahoo!
90s basketball... plus threes

In the first game, it was Canada that brought the intensity and physicality before Australia returned the favour and some in Game 2. That rematch seemed to be a lot more in line with how The Boomers will look to play in the games that count, with Joe Ingles saying after the first game that they were mainly looking to get a feel for what the red and white bring to the table.

Canada had a hot shooting night the first time around but that dissipated in the second game. While Australia didn’t exactly shoot the lights out in their win, the 12 threes they made proved pivotal in pulling away. Both games were tightly contested into the fourth quarter and one would think that trend will continue when they battle again.

There were a couple of chippy moments over the course of the two games as well, with Nurse substituting Kyle Wiltjer late in the first game after he showed some frustration over some excessive contact on the inside while battling for a rebound and Canada up by almost 20.

In the second game, Mitch Creek got out on the break for a layup and after Aaron Best did his best to contest at the rim, the two got tangled as they landed with Creek then clearly hooking Best’s arm and leg so he wouldn’t be able to inbound the ball quickly. A big part of deciding who wins their World Cup meeting will be who handles the physicality better.
7 weeks ago
Report: Free-Agent Jeremy Lin, Chinese Team Beijing Ducks Nearing Contract | Bleacher Report
According to Sportando, Chinese journalist Sonx Xiang reported the former Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors guard is in "advanced" talks with the Beijing Ducks.

Ben Weinrib of Yahoo Sports noted Lin prefers to play in the NBA but could be open to lacing it up in China. Stephon Marbury notably played for the Ducks for seven seasons, carving out an impressive career after his time in the NBA.

Weinrib also pointed out Lin has talked about potentially playing with his brother, Joseph, on the Fubon Braves in Taiwan's Super Basketball League if he cannot find a home in the NBA or now China.

Lin won the title last season with the Raptors but appeared in less than one minute of game action in the NBA Finals against the Warriors. He played in just eight playoff contests and averaged 3.4 minutes a night as an afterthought in the rotation.
7 weeks ago
NBA's Young Role Players Who Can Still Become Stars | Bleacher Report
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

Siakam, 25, had a case for All-Star consideration last season before he helped the Raptors win a title. He averaged 19.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting in the Finals, and that was despite missing 16 of 21 threes. His shooting numbers have improved in each of his three seasons in Toronto, and yet it still seems like he has room to go from one made three per game to two.

With Kawhi Leonard gone, Siakam's usage could skyrocket from last year's 20.8 percent. He's a great bet to make his first All-Star team in 2019-20.
7 weeks ago
Pascal Siakam's next step for the Toronto Raptors is becoming 'The Man' - Yahoo!
Reason for promise

The most fundamental skill for any go-to player is the ability to create an efficient shot, and Siakam has that down pat.

Siakam scored 0.97 points per isolation last season, which ties him with Blake Griffin and LeBron James in terms of efficiency. He didn’t do it often — Siakam totalled 121 isolations over 80 games — but that’s likely because most of his 1-on-1 opportunities are better categorized as post-ups. On that front, Siakam scored 1.08 points per possession across 148 post-ups, which ranked third among the most efficient post-up scorers last season.

Siakam is a walking mismatch in the post. He’s quick enough to drive past most bigs, and his 7-foot-4 wingspan allows him to shoot over top most wings. Siakam can finish with either hand, he creates separation through an assortment of creative and balletic post moves, and his soft touch around the rim allows him to connect on bankers and floaters from odd and unpredictable angles. Next to Leonard, Siakam attacking the basket was the Raptors’ best source of offense.

As his confidence grew, Siakam quietly began to test the limits of his game, which included more ball-handling responsibilities. Siakam finished 65 possessions out of pick-and-roll — a small but not insignificant number — and scored at a rate of 1.12 points per possession, which ranked ahead of even Leonard. Maintaining those results to a larger sample will be a monumental challenge, but the Raptors will be willing to live with the growing pains.

Even without adding the pick-and-roll element to his game, Siakam is still an easy bet to top the 20-point plateau. Siakam scored 17 per game last season off an assortment of transition baskets, catch-and-shoot threes, and the occasional 1-on-1 moves, but his usage was generally low. Siakam only finished 20.8 percent of his team’s possessions while he was on the floor, which ranks as the second-lowest mark among all players who scored 16 or more points last season.

With Leonard gone, expect Siakam’s usage to skyrocket. Nurse runs an egalitarian offense predicated on crisp ball movement, but the ball tends to end up in the hands of the best scorer. Last season, Siakam’s usage jumped to 25 percent with Leonard off the floor from February onward. But despite more touches and a greater responsibility to create, Siakam wasn’t any less efficient as his true-shooting percentage remained elite at 59 percent.
7 weeks ago
2019-20 NBA regular season: Vegas releases early lines for key 2019-20 NBA games - Raptors HQ
Nov. 25: Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto; PK

This is obviously a re-match of last season’s Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, and the Raptors are clearly a team Philly needs to overcome to get to the next level. Four key players from that series are gone, in Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, but Joel Embiid and Marc “The Embiid Stopper” Gasol remain, so it should be a fun, and close game — and “PK” line (meaning no team is favoured and the point spread is zero) obviously represents that.
7 weeks ago
Raptors Over Everything Podcast: The next step for Fred VanVleet, and ESPN win projections - Yahoo!
Host William Lou is joined by Josh Hart and Joe Wolfond to pass the hours in the dead of summer.


2019-2020 regular season schedule highlights

Is Fred VanVleet on the brink of a breakout season?

How does the starting lineup shake out?

How can the Raptors help Pascal Siakam's development?

Checking in on Delon Wright and Danny Green

Raptors picked fifth in East by ESPN projections
7 weeks ago
Toronto Raptors were a testament to fit over talent in title charge - Raptors Rapture
For example, the team that ran the Raptors closer to elimination than any other team: the Philadelphia 76ers. On paper, the Sixers had the best starting line-up in the NBA last season.

A team that possesses a starting line-up of Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid is destined for greater things. Five extremely talented individuals stuck together in an attempt to win a title. Talent-wise, they had all the boxes checked.

The fit just never felt right, though. Ben Simmons, the often-compared heir to the throne of LeBron James, often felt like a passenger in the series, plonked in the dunker spot underneath the rim.

As a three-point shooting team, there wasn’t a lot of value, either. J.J. Redick was the only true floor-spacer on the team but the Sixers, thanks to pure talent and some nice adjustments from Brett Brown, took the Raptors to seven grueling games.

Matched up in talent, the Sixers definitely had the edge of the Raptors starting lineup. The Raptors had the fit, though. Every player on the team knew their assignment and their overall worth to the team.

From Kawhi Leonard being the team’s primary scorer to Marc Gasol and his incredible interior defense and passing, each player’s fit was highlighted by the fact that they meshed so well with everyone else on the team.

The Raptors offense was deemed to have two fully functional, but entirely separate, regiments to it in the first half of the season. There was the offense, and then there was Kawhi Leonard, a whole other entity.

Initially, the fit seemed to raise concerns on whether or not Leonard could mesh into the Raptors pace-and-space style of game. Those concerns were eradicated early in the playoffs.

Leonard seamlessly slid into the Raptors style of play while still being able to rely on the isolation-heavy style of play that made his playoff run so incredible.
7 weeks ago
Nike Shox BB4 'Toronto Raptors' Release Date CD9335-100 | Sole Collector
A follow-up to the release of the "Metallic Silver" Nike Shox BB4, Nike will deliver another throwback colorway of the basketball sneaker made famous by Vince Carter during his heyday with the Toronto Raptors.

This Shox BB4 will feature a white leather-based upper, with a faint graphic running along the sides that resembles a fierce raptor’s claw marks. Additional details include the tongue and heel tab donning the Raptors' team colors with a purple, red, and black stripe. Capping off the look are hits of metallic silver and purple covering the bouncy Shox tech at the heel.

The Nike Shox BB4 QS "Toronto Raptors" is scheduled to release on Aug. 25 at select Nike Basketball stockists. Retail pricing is set at $170.
8 weeks ago
NBA Power Rankings: Where does each team stand after 2019 offseason? - Rip City Project
Projected (44-38) 86% chance at playoffs

DeMar DeRozan was the sacrificial lamb necessary to attain a championship, and I don’t think a single Raptors fan regrets it. But now we must see what this roster can achieve without DeRozan or Kawhi to steer the ship. Pascal Siakam’s emergence and a host of talented role players will ensure this team remains good enough to make the playoffs in a weak East, but their ceiling no longer appears contender-worthy.

Best move: Picking up cheap reclamation projects

Worst move: Signing Cam Payne
8 weeks ago
Island Voices: When Victoria was Canada’s hoops capital | Times Colonist
But twice upon a time, it could be argued Victoria was the centre of Canada’s basketball universe — in the 1930s and 1940s, when the Blue Ribbons and Dominoes won five Canadian senior mens championships, and in the 1980s and 1990s when the UVic Vikings dominated the Canadian university basketball scene with 16 titles equally shared by the men’s and women’s teams.

In the 1930s and ’40s, Victoria players didn’t have exotic names such as Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Malachi Richardson, Delon Wright, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka or Raptor general manager Masai Ujiri. They had ordinary names like Norm Baker, Art Chapman Chuck Chapman, Doug Peden and Muzz Patrick.

There were great teams playing in venues such as the Trades and Harbour Hall on Broad Street under the auspices of the James Bay Athletic Association, the YMCA, then at Blanshard and View streets, the Bay Street Armouries, upstairs in the old Duck Block on Broad Street, the First United Church and what is now called the Roper Gym at Victoria High School.

In a history written by the Victoria and District Basketball Association, it recalled a team named the Huskies winning the 1908 Pacific Coast championship using the former Motor Vehicle Branch office building on Menzies Street as its home court. Reportedly, as many as 2,500 fans crammed into the red brick structure to watch a game.

The sport was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, born in Almonte, Ont. Five years later, two Victoria teams began playing the sport, the Swifts and the Wasps.
8 weeks ago
A contract extension for Kyle Lowry with the Raptors is tough to picture – The Athletic
There are so many things to consider when trying to pin down what Lowry’s value on the open market might end up being in 2020. Assuming Anthony Davis stays in Los Angeles, Lowry could very well be the best unrestricted free agent judging by resumé alone. It’s a comparatively weak class, which theoretically means many teams with cap room could bid for his services. However, how many teams that are looking to improve would really want to spend significantly on a 34-year-old point guard, especially since the summer of 2021 could have Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Bradley Beal and more available? The Raptors could very well have similar goals to star-hunting teams in 2021, which would affect what they were willing to offer Lowry, too.

Accordingly, looking at the deals that point guards got this summer is only so helpful. Ricky Rubio got a three-year, $51-million deal from Phoenix. Patrick Beverley, 31, got $40-million over three years. At 28, Cory Joseph got $37.2-million over three years, with the third year lightly guaranteed. Lowry is better than all of those players, but he is also older than all of them.

It is inviting to say Lowry’s game will age nicely because of his lack of athleticism and good shooting, but history suggests that will be tough. Over his last three years, Lowry has produced 28.9 win shares, already down from his previous three seasons, when he amassed 30.4. There is a long history of shorter point guards dropping off in their age 33-35 years. John Stockton is the freakish exception, putting up 34.6 win shares in those seasons after posting 36.7 in his previous three seasons. Tony Parker went from 19.2 to 10.2. Tim Hardaway went from 30 to 12.5. Chris Paul’s per-minute production fell off dramatically last year, in his age-33 season. And that says nothing of the 6-2-and-under players who retired before they hit 35 — Isiah Thomas, Allen Iverson and Kevin Johnson, among others.

As his career has gone on, Lowry has gotten smarter about maintaining his body. He had a poor shooting year last season, but we can assume that was a blip until proven otherwise. Still, no matter how committed Lowry is to staying healthy and productive, he is still going to have to defy the odds
8 weeks ago
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri on winning: 'I don't feel pressure' - Yahoo!
Ujiri revealed that winning the title hasn’t even fully sunk in for him because of how packed his schedule has been but that it does indeed feel good.

Born in England after his parents first met as nursing students in Bournemouth before moving back to Nigeria a few months after he arrived, Ujiri’s journey to being an NBA champion is nothing short of remarkable after working as an unpaid scout in Orlando before moving on to Denver and then Toronto.

His parents are in Lagos currently, and Ujiri also revealed on the show that it was a special moment for him to take the Larry O’B to his parents there.

Speaking specifically about the game in Africa, Ujiri admitted that another goal of his is to have an NBA team he’s in charge of play a game in the continent, preferably in either his mother’s Kenya or his father’s Nigeria.

“There are no arenas to play any NBA game of standard,” Ujiri said when asked about why that’s not possible now. “How is that possible? It’s not possible, it’s not possible this happens because we can bring so much...

“On this continent, everybody is chosen and they have something special about them and they just have to find it. I am blessed that I found me.”

Safe to surmise, the Raptors are pretty thrilled to have found him, too.
8 weeks ago
Ujiri: African governments should put right people in sports - Daily Nation
NBA champions Toronto Raptors’ President Masai Ujiri has faulted African states for treating sport as “an after-thought” and placing the wrong people at its helm.

He called on experts and the youth to be given the opportunity to make decisions in sport so as to grow the sector.

Ujiri, who is on a talent development tour of Africa, spoke yesterday when he paid a courtesy call at Nation Centre.

“We need to treat the talents we have in sports like gold or diamonds. And that can only be possible if we have the right people in the sector so that they can bring the right systems,” Ujiri said after meeting Nation Media Group chief executive officer, Stephen Gitagama.

The 48-year-old son of a Nigerian father and Kenyan mother took issue with sporting facilities in the country, singling out the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, which he termed an “eyesore.
8 weeks ago
With Olynyk out, reality is setting in for Canada and it's not pretty -
There is no questioning where Olynyk’s heart lies – his father coached in the national team program and he grew up hoping to play in three Olympics over his career – but when the medical staff of the team paying your salary speaks, only a fool doesn’t listen.

That leaves Canada’s NBA representation at two, at least in theory: Olynyk’s long-time national team running mate, point guard Cory Joseph of the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic big man Khem Birch – as the team gets set to kick off a five-game exhibition series in Australia with back-to-back games against the home team in Perth on Friday and Saturday.

Why in theory? Because according to ace Australian hoops reporter Olgun Uluc, Joseph hadn’t joined the team in Australia, missing its practice in Perth on Wednesday.

No one with Canada Basketball would comment on Joseph’s absence.

Given that Joseph was wavering about joining the team for the World Cup as the first wave of withdrawals hit the roster, it’s a situation that has to be concerning.

It’s hard to blame Joseph if he’s wondering what he’s signed up for. Considering there are 17 Canadians with NBA deals heading into the 2019-20 season – the most Canada has ever had and the most NBA players ever from any country other than the United States – the rate of attrition is staggering: Canada now has three starting lineups of NBA players not playing in China.
8 weeks ago
Canada need miracle at basketball Cup - ESPN
Nurse was only appointed as coach of Canada less than two months ago.

He said the warm-up games against the Boomers and US would be crucial as he attempts to bed down a game-plan with his second-string squad.

"The biggest thing is this is a much newer situation for me," Nurse said of being coach of a national side.

"I know it was my first year as coach of the Raptors, but I was there five years as an assistant so I knew the pulse and the heartbeat of the locker room.

"Here I'm in a much more of a clean slate type of situation.

"I'm trying to get to know these guys, they're trying to get to know me. And we have to do it quicker. These games are going to be here in a few weeks so it's an accelerated pace."

When the Raptors went on their Championship-winning run last season, the whole of Canada got behind them.

Nurse hopes he can now bring the nation some joy on an international stage and he feels Canada is a team on the rise.

"What happened with the Raptors was really cool," Nurse said.

"It almost felt like a national team playing in the pro league because every city in the country was watching every second of all those games.

"I think Canada is at an interesting, pivotal point in its basketball career."
8 weeks ago
Nuit Blanche Toronto Raptors Sculpture Will Celebrate Team - Narcity
There's one special piece that the Raptors seem to have a part in, just in time for their 25th year anniversary. "Peace to the Past, Reach for the Future" is in honour of the Toronto Raptors and to celebrate the success of such a beloved team.

Creative producer Bryan Espiritu and Sculptor Esmaa Mohamoud will create an 18-foot sculpture which honours the team's past, "imagining their future and celebrating the diverse communities that support them," according to the description of the piece.

There's plenty to celebrate about the Toronto Raptors this year, after all.

And fans on Twitter are already sharing their excitement for the piece in response to the Raptors cryptic tweet.

If you're excited to see this piece and others, this years theme, Continuum, will consist of 19 art projects to discover in part of three exhibitions.

Those three exhibitions are Creation: Destruction, Kings and Queens of Scarborough, and Lunar Garden.

The Raptors piece will be located behind the backdrop of City Hall and Old City Hall. You can check out the map for a more detailed look into what's to come. 
8 weeks ago
Who Ted Leonsis called to fix Wizards: Obama, Adam Silver, Popovich - The Washington Post
But at no time, according to Leonsis and Forde, did he try to get an audience with Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri.

Although Ujiri and Forde, who have a previous connection, had communicated when Forde was retained by the Wizards, the conversation was not to set up an interview. Regardless, in May, there was media speculation that Leonsis could make Ujiri the lead executive of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which includes the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, with an ownership stake.

“Somebody writes I’m going to make [Ujiri] run all of basketball and all of hockey. So that was uncomfortable, right?” Leonsis said. “One of my partners, fellow owners [Dick Patrick] who’s built one of the great franchises in all of sports, reads that. He’s mature enough, he calls me and says, ‘Hey, I know it’s not true, but that was an article I felt was odd.’ I said, ‘Yes, it’s not true, and it is odd.’ ”

Through this period, which Leonsis described as “noisy,” his conversations somehow never leaked.
8 weeks ago
NBA Jam Tournament 2019: Which current duo (or trio) is the league’s best? - Raptors HQ
Atlantic Division (CM)

The Atlantic Division features three really interesting JAM teams, one absolute all-timer, and the, uh, New York Knickerbockers.

Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka – The Raptors’ lack of a high-flying 3-and-D monster is even more apparent in NBA JAM than in real life. Still, this is a dark horse team. Siakam has got to be the quickest big in the game, and Ibaka, career-wise, brings enough three-point shooting to keep Toronto afloat on offense around Lowry’s dead-eye marksmanship. And on D? Expect to hear a ton of: “the bigger the love, the bigger the shove” from this handsy trio. (And yeah, yeah, I didn’t pick OG Anunoby — we all realize he hasn’t proven that he’s like, a good NBA player yet, right?)
8 weeks ago
How to Trade the NBA's Worst Contracts | Bleacher Report
Andrew Wiggins Goes Home to Toronto

Raptors Receive: SF Andrew Wiggins, 2020 first-round pick (top-five protected)

Timberwolves Receive: PF Serge Ibaka

The Raptors can still be good this season even without Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, although they won't make much noise in the playoffs without an additional scoring punch.

For all his faults, Wiggins can put the ball in the basket (career 19.4 points per game), and the veteran supporting cast around him (Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet) would do wonders for the 24-year-old's development.

Taking Wiggins out of a Minnesota rebuild and putting him on his hometown team would be the best possible situation to extract the talent that made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2014.

For the Timberwolves, this move would mainly be about clearing future cap space.

Adding Ibaka would be great for the short term, given he'd be the team's best power forward and bring championship experience.

Ibaka averaged 16.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and shot 53.6 percent from the floor when he started for the Raptors last season, and his $23.3 million deal expires next summer.

The Wolves would have to sacrifice a lightly protected first-round pick in the process, given the amount of money they'd be saving by not having to pay the remaining $122.2 million on Wiggins' contract. 
8 weeks ago
Listen to the Raptors HQ Podcast — That’s A Rap #45: Truth or Dare - Raptors HQ
On This Week’s Episode:

Jeremy Lin’s recent comments about feeling neglected by the NBA has sparked debate about player movement, roster construction, and, most importantly, players’ feelings. Rightly or wrongly, Lin is making headlines. Do you commend him for speaking out on a feeling that a lot of players are also experiencing? Or do you think he’s having a harder time adjusting to a post-championship life?

Lin is not the only player experiencing this. JR Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Vince Carter, and Nick Young are all former stars that are unemployed and hoping to make a roster. Should we feel sorry for them? Or have each of them outlived their NBA usefulness?

Superfan, Nav Bhatia, thinks Kawhi Leonard’s jersey should not be raised to the Scotiabank Arena rafters. What do you think? Is one season of excellence enough to garner such a prestigious honour? Probably not. But if the Raptors go a long time without another title run, does the profile and importance of this championship, and Kawhi’s contributions, make this notion more feasible?

Another item that doesn’t appear to be feasible, is the Toronto Raptors getting a Christmas Day game. It’s mind-boggling that the defending NBA champions would not be one of the 10 teams scheduled, but Kawhi’s departure (and the Canadian media numbers not counting towards American TV revenue) is likely enough reason to keep expectations low (again).

Would you cheer for the Raptors if they (hypothetically) were moved to an American city? What’s the best nickname in Raptors franchise history? Would you rather tweet the pet name your significant other calls you, instead of answering either of the first two questions? This is just a sampling of the questions we tackled. Comment below with your answers.
8 weeks ago
Delon Wright primer: New Maverick has new confidence and maybe some new bling –
Wright, a 6-5 guard who could be starting in the backcourt alongside Luka Doncic, said he’s grateful to the Raptors for considering him to be a piece of the championship, even though he didn’t get to see it through to the end.

But does he feel a connection to the championship?

“Personally no,” he told Tuesday. “But the fans are still saying I should get a ring and they still support me in everything and on Instagram. Every day, fans are messaging me saying how much they miss me.”

That’s not surprising. The affable Wright made a swing through Dallas and it was quickly apparent that he is salt of the earth and the odds are good he’ll be a hit with fans and in the locker room. He also took time out to do a podcast that can be found here.
8 weeks ago
Fringe NBA Playoff Teams Better off Tearing It Down | Bleacher Report
Toronto Raptors

We're going to look back on the Raptors' 2018-19 title as one of the great oddities in NBA history. For years, they failed to get past LeBron James in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But in the first season after he went West, they won the championship.

However, while most teams that win one title are usually in the mix for several, the Raptors' window lasted just a single year, slamming shut after Kawhi Leonard exited his Toronto home.

Not only have their chances at another title dwindled, but they might also be completely rebuilding this time next year.

Three of their key veterans—Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol—will be unrestricted free agents next summer. And while Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet will likely stick around to lead the next phase of Toronto basketball, they'll also be free agents in 2020 and could draw large offers from teams attempting to outbid the Raptors. 

Lowry has proclaimed his love for Toronto on many occasions, but president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is one of the smartest executives in the league. He knows undersized, injury-prone point guards have checkered histories and that Ibaka and Gasol are already showing signs of decline. 

Given all that, don't be surprised if the Raptors look completely different come summer 2020.
8 weeks ago
Once despised, the Toronto Raptor's 'purple dinosaur' jersey is now the NBA's favorite throwback - Interbasket
Renewed Interest

The interest in the Raptors throwback ‘dino’ jersey was always high, but after the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship, it exponentially increased that interest. So much so that Kyle Lowry and Jeremy Lin attended the championship parade in the purple throwbacks with red, black and gray trim, but they had to be customized.

We all owe an apology to the Toronto Raptor’s purple dinosaur jersey.
8 weeks ago
Can you feel the love tonight? Raptors bump Elton John to host season opener, highlighting 2019-20 schedule – The Athletic
The Raptors’ only visit to Washington, D.C. comes on April 7, presenting a fine opportunity for Donald Trump to invite them to the White House, allowing the Raptors to refuse, setting up the President to say he never invited the Raptors in the first place. The Raptors will have no neutral-site games in Ottawa this year.
8 weeks ago
Raptors open and get rings against Zion and more schedule notes | Toronto Sun
The champs will be busiest on Wednesdays (18 games) and Sundays (14) and though the number of back-to-back contests have been reduced by the NBA for the fifth consecutive year as a whole (from an average of 13.3 to an average of 12.4), Toronto will actually play 13, up one from 2018-19. Seven of those back-to-backs will be consecutive road games.

The number would surely have been higher had Kawhi stayed, but the Raptors will still appear 11 times on U.S. national television, including six on ESPN.
8 weeks ago
Breaking down 10 can't-miss Raptors games in the 2019-20 season -
Dec. 25 vs. Boston Celtics
Yes, the Christmas game many fans have long pined for is finally here.

The Raptors and Celtics will tip-off the NBA’s annual Christmas Day marathon beginning at noon ET. More than a tip-of-the-hat to the Raptors’ success in recent years and subsequent rise in popularity, this game could actually hold some real significance given the uncertainty in the East where the Raptors and Celtics could be fighting for playoff seeding all season long, rendering every matchup between the two important.

While Toronto will look similar to last season — save for the whole missing-their-best-player part — but the Celtics underwent a more dramatic overhaul that saw the departure of stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, with all-star point guard Kemba Walker signing with Boston as a free agent.

The rest of the Christmas schedule will feature the Bucks vs. Sixers, Rockets vs. Warriors, Clippers vs. Lakers, and Pelicans vs. Nuggets
8 weeks ago
Five must-watch Raptors games for the 2019-20 season - Yahoo!
Two: Raptors vs. Clippers — Dec. 11 (7 pm ET)

Leonard’s return to Toronto promises to be another emotional roller coaster, as the beloved hero from the Raptors’ championship run will be making his first and only appearance up north to collect his ring.

Given his Jordanesque contribution to the title, it’s a safe bet that the home faithful will give Leonard the rousing ovation that he deserves. There might be a dissenting handful in attendance with spurned feelings from the way Leonard and his representatives dragged out the free agency process, but they will likely be in the minority. For the most part, Leonard will be showered with gratitude, and it will not be a repeat of his vitriolic return to San Antonio.

The Raptors will be extremely motivated to win this game. As Fred VanVleet vowed during the free agency process, Leonard can either stay and defend his title, or he could leave and his former teammates will be looking to “kick his ass.” Toronto will be the underdogs, but expect pride to kick in as the rest of the Raptors will want to show that they also played a hand in delivering the title. Here’s hoping that Leonard doesn’t load manage this game (this one doesn’t fall on a back-to-back, but the Clippers will be in the midst of a six-game road trip).
8 weeks ago
2019-20 NBA Schedule Release: Here come your defending champion Toronto Raptors - Raptors HQ
March promises to be a month of reunions. March 5 will be an NBA Finals rematch, as the Raptors pay their first visit to the Golden State Warriors’ new home. 11 days later, the Warriors fly north of the border to renew hostilities. On March 24, Danny Green and the aforementioned Lakers pay their only visit to Scotiabank Arena. March closes out with a home-and-home on March 28 & 30 with the Memphis Grizzlies. Jonas Valanciunas and Bruno Caboclo will be receiving warm ovations from the SBA crowd - and possibly a championship ring for one of them (poor Bruno)!
8 weeks ago
What happened the first time the Toronto Raptors played on Christmas Day? | Canada
Allan Houston came up big for the Knicks with a game-high 34 points and Mark Jackson flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. For the Raptors, Morris Peterson led the way with 22 points, followed by 18 points from Alvin Williams.

The problem for the Raptors? Their leading scorer struggled. Latrell Sprewell helped the Knicks limit Carter to two points in the first half. He finished with 15 points, which was almost 10 less than he averaged on the season.

"Every time I drove to the basket there was a man there," Carter said. "They did play defense tremendously and with high intensity. We didn't match it."

The Raptors ended up having a better season than the Knicks, finishing with 42 wins compared to 30 for New York. It was enough for the Raptors to make the playoffs, although they ended up losing to the Detroit Pistons in five games in the first round.

Adding to the intrigue of Toronto's second Christmas Day game is that it's against a Boston team that, like them, is expected to finish near the top of the Eastern Conference standings next season. So not only is it the franchise's second Christmas Day game - the first on their homecourt - it's a potential playoff preview, headlined by two All-Star point guards in Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker, as well as potential first-time All-Stars in Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
8 weeks ago
Raptors Announce 2019-20 Schedule | Toronto Raptors
For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors will play at home Christmas Day, hosting the Celtics. Other noteworthy home games include the sixth annual Giants of Africa Game, celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela, on Dec. 5 vs. the Houston Rockets, and the return of former Raptor Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 11. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2018-19 NBA Most Valuable Player, and the Milwaukee Bucks will make two trips north of the border - Feb. 25 and Apr. 3, while the lone visit from Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors happens Mar. 16. The Los Angeles Lakers make a late-season appearance at Scotiabank Arena on Mar. 24.

The longest homestand of the season is four games from Feb. 21-28. The longest road swing is five games which occurs twice: Nov. 8-16 and Mar. 1-9.

The Raptors’ busiest month is December with 16 games, followed by January with 15 contests. The busiest home month is December with 11 games, while the busiest road month is January with the Raptors facing 10 games away from Toronto.

The busiest day of the week for the Raptors this season will be Wednesday with 18 games, followed by Sunday with 14 games. Sunday and Wednesday are also the busiest days at home with eight contests apiece, while Wednesday features a high of 10 road games.

The Raptors will have 13 back-to-back games this season (one more than last season). Seven of those back-to-backs are road games followed by another road game. The 2019-20 schedule features 11 U.S. national television appearances. Toronto has six games on ESPN and five contests on TNT. The Raptors’ 2019-20 local television schedule will be released at a later date.
8 weeks ago
The Raptors Aren’t A Major Contender. But That Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Interesting. | FiveThirtyEight
One other key in all this: Toronto may not have to score all that much. Yes, Leonard and Danny Green were huge contributors to the Raptors, who ranked in the top five in effective field goal percentage defense. But even without those two, Toronto enjoys a pretty solid defensive core that can still orchestrate switches (they were this postseason’s most efficient switch defense by a mile) and reliably step up in help scenarios, while Lowry is one of the best charge-takers in the game. OG Anunoby, who missed the playoffs after an emergency appendectomy, will be integral in replacing Green on that end. Aside from him, Toronto picked up a pair of free-agent wings in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson, who underwhelmed in their initial stops after being taken in the first round of the 2015 draft, but are low-risk gambles for a team that’s looking for more young talent to put around Siakam.

In a way, Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson being under the microscope is emblematic of the team as a whole. Team president Masai Ujiri is going to want to take constant stock of just how good this team is to get a sense of how he should handle things come February, when his phone figures to be ringing off the hook ahead of the trade deadline. Lowry, VanVleet, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are all set to be free agents next summer,5 and could appeal to teams seeking to make the sort of magical run Toronto did last season.

Barring an injury or something else unforeseen, the Raptors should still have more than enough to make the playoffs this season. FiveThirtyEight’s projection model gives them an 85 percent probability of reaching the postseason, and a 4 percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals. But it will be even more interesting to see exactly where Ujiri’s dividing line falls, between deciding that it’s worth pursuing another deep playoff run versus selling off assets to pivot toward the future.
8 weeks ago
NBA: 10 burning questions for the 2019-20 season - Hoops Habit
3. Do the champs slide back to the pack?

The Toronto Raptors made a Faustian bargain last season, trading popular DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs to get Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

General manager Masai Ujiri later swung a deadline deal to get veteran big man Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies and new coach Nick Nurse managed the rotations — and the load management of the fragile Leonard — well enough to get the Raptors their first NBA championship.

But now Leonard is gone to the LA Clippers, with Green joining the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Raptors are left to figure out who the next go-to guy will be.

Kyle Lowry, the All-Star point guard, is 33 and coming off thumb surgery. It’s not likely he’s prepared to be the No. 1 option. Gasol, who will be 35 in January, has always been more of a second- or third-option sort of player.

So Toronto’s ability to get points in a pinch may rest on the ability of Pascal Siakam to take his game up yet another notch.

Spicy P stepped up in a big way last season, growing from rotational piece to solid No. 2 option, earning Most Improved Player honors after averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 31.9 minutes per game while shooting 54.9 percent overall and a respectable 36.9 percent from deep.

Siakam’s efficiency was a delight, but he might have to sacrifice some of that for volume if the Raptors are to remain in the fight at the top of the Eastern Conference.

As far as aptitude goes, Siakam was an efficient — and busy — scorer at New Mexico State, averaging 15 shots a game as a sophomore and putting up 20.3 points a night while shooting 53.9 percent overall.

The NBA, though, is a long way from the WAC and it might be hard for the 25-year-old native of Cameroon to produce another huge leap in productivity. If that’s the case, Nurse may be hard-pressed to scheme enough creative ways for Toronto to put points on the board consistently.
8 weeks ago
Raptors coming to Quebec City for Training Camp | CTV News Montreal
The Raptors players will be heading to Laval University for their training camp causing a buzz throughout the city.

It's the first time the team will host its annual training camp in the province, which was in the works before the Raptors' historic playoff run.

"They came here to visit in March and they were very pleased with what they saw, the facilities - the court itself but also all the rooms around that are good for them, like the physiotherapy room," said Laval University communications and marketing director Daniel Veilleux. "The access also for the players, because they want some discretion when they're here, so everything was perfect for them."

The Raptors will train behind closed doors at the university from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, but on Oct. 3 their practice will be open to the public.

"There's an intra-team game, so it's only the Raptors - it's not an exhibition game with another team - and the public will have access," said Veilleux.

The Laval University Rouge et Or's men's team coach Nathan Grant said he's excited for the visit. Grant was hired in the spring and said basketball is more popular in the provincial capital than many may think.

"Just over the last month or so I've been trying to find a new house, a new home here in Quebec,and, as we're going through the streets, driving around to go and visit homes, there was a basketball net up at almost every single house that we drove by," he said. "People are really starting to get into the whole basketball fever in Quebec City."
8 weeks ago
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