It came as little surprise that team sources say Anthony Bennett, perhaps knowing his career was hanging in the balance, sought advice from Luis Scola a couple of weeks ago. Scola dispenses wisdom. “I try to tell young guys all the time, what you want, somebody has,” he said. “It’s not there for you to take, it’s not empty, it’s not vacant. Somebody has it and somebody is protecting it. You have to think about it like somebody holding it physically grabbing it and holding it and you’ve got to go and take it from his hands.”
There is undoubtedly considerable frustration among those close to Anthony Bennett. Ujiri talked when signing him that there was a long runway in Toronto and in his mind he was no longer a failed No. 1 pick but a talented young player looking to develop as a professional. In the eyes of the Bennett camp he was never given the opportunity to develop and that Casey couldn’t find it in himself to trust young players. But Bennett needs to examine where he fell short too and put into context how difficult earning a spot in an NBA rotation actually is once the security blanket of a guaranteed contract is removed.
The other young players at the end of the Raptors’ rotation have similarly struggled for playing time, but share one common thread: They have attacked assignments to the franchise’s D-League team, Raptors 905, with vigour, universally putting up the kind of numbers that stand as proof that they’ve been working to stay fit, ready and improve their games. Bennett? He didn’t volunteer to take the drive to Mississauga until Dec. 20, after playing just five minutes in the Raptors’ previous 19 games. Overall he shot just 33.9 per cent from the floor in six D-League games and twice left a game early with a sore back.
Bennett wasn’t available for an interview – “Now is not a good time,” his agent replied when asked – and Ujiri feels like he failed.
Josh Lewenberg: Masai Ujiri said Anthony Bennett was put in a tough situation with little PT avail on winning team, took responsibility, hopes he gets another opportunity. Masai: "It's not anything (Bennett) did wrong and I probably put him in a tough situation. I feel he needs to be somewhere he can play."
The Phoenix Suns are a possible suitor for Bennett once he clears waivers, sources said.
Shams Charania: The Toronto Raptors are waiving forward Anthony Bennett to sign veteran Jason Thompson for the season, league sources tell The Vertical.
"All that stuff is behind him," Casey insisted. "He's got a clean slate. The financial part of it is not involved right now. It's an incentive for him now to play to get that next contract or whatever. But again, playing basketball, just forget everything else, clean slate, start from scratch and go from there."
Shams Charania: After physical exam today, Anthony Bennett has signed a one-year veteran minimum deal with the Toronto Raptors, league source tells Yahoo.
Marc Stein: Barring some unexpected snag, Toronto is well-placed to sign Anthony Bennett to one-year minimum deal -- all it can offer -- early next week
Jeff Goodman: Former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett is expected to clear waivers and sign with Toronto, source close to situation told ESPN.
July 1, 2022 | 5:36 am EDT Update
It’s no coincidence the two franchises Durant has eyed represent some kind of stability and competitive consistency, with the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat being atop his list. For all the influence Durant perhaps craved and was granted in Brooklyn, he’s a hooper first and second — with the game being the main thing with #HeatCulture and in the Suns’ building. Sources told Yahoo Sports wanting to play alongside Devin Booker is a main motivation, along with the possibility of being slated next to Miami’s resident hard-ass Jimmy Butler — two players whose attendance is rarely questioned.
Joe Ingles agreed to a one-year deal with the Bucks, as announced by his wife on Twitter. I had heard and thought there was a chance Portland would bring him back despite his age and recent knee injury, but they have too many other moving parts right now for that to make sense. He’ll have to settle for being on the Mount Rushmore of Blazers legends alongside Festus Ezeli, Anderson Varejao and Mehmet Okur.
July 1, 2022 | 2:47 am EDT Update
When the two-time NBA Finals MVP made it known he wanted to be traded out of Brooklyn, expected business quickly fell by the wayside as teams tried to reposition themselves to at least make an offer. According to a source, the Bulls were a part of those phone calls, despite Durant reportedly having the Heat and Suns among his desired destinations — and despite the reality that the Bulls don’t have the type of high-profile player or quality of draft picks the Nets were looking for in a trade package.
Phoenix has the kinds of players who might make this a win-win for all involved — namely, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges and restricted free agent center DeAndre Ayton. In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton had raised this possibility of an Ayton-Bridges deal being very much on their radar. At that time, however, it was unclear whether Durant was going to ask out.