Toronto called dangling Jonas Valanciunas before the deadline, and Sacramento and Phoenix also expressed strong interest in Drummond in June, per sources. There’s enough grease to ultimately move the wheels and find Drummond a new home before the season starts, and he’s almost certainly not finishing out the final four years of his five-year, max contract in Detroit.
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It’s no secret that the Raptors have been shopping the 7-footer for the better part of the last six months. It’s been widely reported and Ujiri made little attempt to hide it on Tuesday. “Every player, from all the processes that we went through this summer, every player’s name was in trade talks,” Ujiri insisted. “That’s me being black and white. The players know, the agents know.” “I’ll be transparent,” he continued later, “there were some scenarios where if we’re trying to create [salary cap] space and do some other things in some of the other scenarios we had that maybe we made a move [with Valanciunas]. But with this team now we’re very comfortable.”
They spoke with several teams and a couple of them were willing to simply absorb the salary, according to sources, but the Raptors were reluctant to give Valanciunas away without recouping any value. They had drafted him fifth overall in 2011 and have spent five years’ worth of time and resources developing him. Most importantly, while his market value has crashed, he still has value to them, even in a situational role. He’s a nice luxury to have, assuming you can afford that luxury.
Jonas Valanciunas is still very much a part of the Raptors’ future plans, according to team president Masai Ujiri. Sporting News NBA insider Sean Deveney reported Monday that Toronto has been trying unsuccessfully since the trade deadline to find a taker for the 7-foot center, who’d fallen out of favor in the offseason remake of the team’s rotation players. Ujiri responded with a vote of confidence in the big man.
“We’re very comfortable with JV. We’re not trying to give JV away,” Ujiri told reporters during a press conference Tuesday to introduce newly acquired veteran C.J. Miles. “I’ll be transparent, there were some scenarios where if we’re trying to create space and do some other things in some of the other scenarios we had that maybe we make a move, but with this team now we’re very comfortable.”
Toronto held conversations with Detroit and New Orleans at the deadline and again during the draft, sources told SN. Sacramento, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta also kicked the tires, but talks never materialized.
Toronto has sought to deal Valanciunas since the February trade deadline. They’d had conversations with Detroit and New Orleans then, sources said, and continued to have discussions around Valanciunas at the draft, but talks with the likes of Sacramento, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta did not get very far.
Valanciunas could wind up being eclipsed in Toronto, even without a deal. One of the aims of the offseason for the Raptors was to both unload some salary and clear up playing time for some younger, hungrier players the Raptors have been developing. Among those are second-year men Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam, and both had very good showings this summer.
Michael Grange: A couple of league sources have told me that Raps are looking into moving Jonas Valanciunas and the No.23 pick.
Trading Jonas Valanciunas loomed as the alternate cost-cutting measure, but no one needs a center. The most likely Valanciunas deals would return someone else’s unwanted big fella.
Kevin Arnovitz: Valanciunas was in some trade talks.
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September 21, 2017 | 10:06 pm EDT Update
“I’m just excited to be here, to have an opportunity to be in a training camp with Coach Donovan and his staff,” McDermott said. “I think I’m a lot more comfortable here now. I know everyone’s names. I know where I’m going. I feel a lot more comfortable and really, really like the team we have.”
Doug McDermott feels valued, he said. His 3-point shooting helps draw defenses and space the floor, particularly when he’s on the court with Russell Westbrook. “And now that we added (Paul George), I think it’ll be probably more important, because we’ve got a lot of talent out there,” McDermott said. “ I look forward to doing that, to spacing the floor, but also showing that I can do more than that.”
“I think it’ll be a little bit more of the four,” Jerami Grant said. “I think towards the end I kind of got pushed into the four rather than the three, but I think it’ll be more of the same with a couple different players.”
Michael Beasley took strong exception to Stephen A. Smith for bringing up his past issues with marijuana, and fired back at the ESPN host by calling him “a liar” who has created tales about relationships with players.
Explaining that he cleaned up his act five years ago for the sake of his daughter, Beasley said Smith was continuing an unfair narrative by saying on the radio that the Knicks forward is “smoking something.” Smith’s point – which he hammered home by saying the league needs to test Beasley for weed — was in response to Beasley’s comment two days earlier about himself and three other Knicks being capable of scoring 25 points apiece.
“He’s a liar, bro,” Beasley said. “I love the words he uses, I love how adamant he is, especially when he’s wrong because if you’re not going to stand for yourself, who is going to stand for you? Cool. But it’s like literally, I’ve sat next to guys he was on the TV talking about, and (Smith’s) saying, ‘Man, I just got off the phone with this guy.’ And literally, I’m next to that guy he’s talking about, and he says, ‘Man, I’ve never even been in a room with Stephen A.’ Why does what you say have credibility when literally everybody knows you’re lying about it?”