Toronto Raptors equipment manager Paul Elliott prides himself on typically taking only what he needs. He tends to take 45 bags on a standard road trip; by NBA standards, that is packing light. Not this time. For this trip, Elliott’s count was 176 bags. And while most teams only had to move their operation once – from their home facility to Disney – Elliott had to pack the Raptors up twice, first from Toronto to their pre-camp workouts at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, and then again to get the stuff up to Disney. ”I looked at it as what they were going to take for a two-week Western road trip, took what I would usually pack for that, and kind of quadrupled it,” Elliott said. ”I just had to make sure I had enough options for these guys to accommodate them when they need. I just want to be prepared.”
Finally, there is one other outside-the-box option — going much bigger and making a play for Toronto’s Fred VanVleet. He is the best free-agent point guard by a mile. The Hawks would have to be comfortable starting VanVleet next to Young and then sliding him over to the point when Young checks out. VanVleet is generously listed at 6-1, so that leaves the Hawks very small in the backcourt. But he is built like a bowling ball and handles bigger players well. This would be expensive. VanVleet will have multiple suitors, likely including Detroit, New York and his own Toronto Raptors, and his price tag is going to be in the $20 million-per-year range for three or four years. But he definitely would solve the problem.
Nurse knows family time is precious. “It’s really another part of the puzzle, and it’s a big one,” the Raptors coach said on a Zoom call Tuesday from Naples, Fla. “It starts with conversation, when you’re bumping into Fred [VanVleet] or Kyle [Lowry], and you’re asking them how are the wife and kids, and what are they doing, and when was the last time you talked to them. There’s a lot more of that going on than I would say normally would happen… a lot more now because we’re all showing pictures and whatever. It’s another one of those things you’d be more lenient on. We’re getting ready to start a meeting and somebody says ‘Oh, man, my kid’s FaceTiming me,’ and you say ‘Take it, go out in the hall and take it, and we’ll wait for you.”‘
5 days ago via cbc.ca
When Nurse left his Toronto house for Florida, his three-year-old son Leo said he’d wait for him by the door. “He didn’t quite understand how long I’m going to be gone,” said Nurse, who has another son Rocky born during last year’s thrilling post-season run. “I told him I’m going to coach some games, and he said ‘Well, I’m going to wait right here for ya.’ I hope he’s moved from that spot because it’s going to be a while.”
5 days ago via cbc.ca
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Nurse said he feels safe with the NBA’s coronavirus protocols. “We are going a long ways out of our way to make it extra safe as we should. We really are in the hotel. We are confined. We are away from everything. There is cleaning all over the place. Everyone is wearing masks. We go to the gym and there’s cleaning and we come back. It feels really safe,” Nurse said. “I think the early stages or days of the Disney thing are critical. Getting a whole bunch of testing done and getting kind of to a point there. I think it will all be done at a really high level and remain fairly safe. I hope I’m right.”
5 days ago via cbc.ca
In 1994, the NBA entrusted him to essentially start the globalization of the basketball business in Canada with the Toronto Raptors franchise. That, Thomas says, was his first international business experience, and it was game changing. “For someone who had just left the playing floor, for the NBA to really give you that major responsibility of going to Canada and introducing their first franchise outside of the United States… it was a huge responsibility, but it was also a huge compliment.” Today, Thomas is especially proud of being Co-Founder of the Raptors. Twenty-five years later, the Toronto Raptors became the first international franchise to be crowned NBA Champions. “It warms my heart to know that the proper foundation was laid by the work that we did there early on,” said Thomas.
The NBA shutdown provided a silver lining for new dad Oshae Brissett. The 22-year-old from Toronto might have been in the thick of another long Raptors playoff run had COVID-19 not shut down sports around the world in mid-March. Instead, he was home to support his pregnant partner Ieesha Callum, there for the birth of their daughter Ellai Aria on May 28, and has watched her grow in the weeks since. “Especially at that time (in May), we would have been deep in the playoffs or somewhere on the road, so it’s a blessing in disguise,” Brissett said. “I was able to spend some good time with her and be with her, and kind of learn the beginning stages of her life. So it’s great.”
6 days ago via TSN
While Brissett is happy to be back on the basketball court, the Raptors could be centralized in Florida — one of the world’s hotspots for the novel coronavirus — for the next three months, with no chance of seeing family until the second round of the playoffs tip off on Sept. 1. “I knew that the opportunity that we had to get back here together as a team, I was going to jump on it right away, no matter what the circumstances were,” Brissett said. “Obviously it’s tough leaving my daughter, but FaceTime and all those things that are available now, I call her all the time and I’m on the phone with her, just talking to her. It wasn’t a tough decision to leave, but getting on that plane and saying bye, that was the toughest part.”
6 days ago via TSN
From the moment he and his teammates reconvened in Florida last week, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said everyone was “locked in” and ready to get to work. “I saw just how everyone is in great shape,” Ibaka said on a conference call with reporters Saturday. “They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work. “I’ve been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people’s locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not. “So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Josh Lewenberg: Serge on COVID-19 numbers in Florida: “Honestly, it’s a little concerning. Hopefully everybody follows the rules when we get into the bubble in Orlando… I have my daughter, who lives here. It’s kinda scary a little bit.” Ibaka on Raptors: “Man, listen, we believe in us. We have the experience, we have the championship mentality already, we’ve got confidence. It’s time to go to work. We’re ready.”
The Alameda County sheriff’s deputy who claims he was injured in a shoving match with a Toronto Raptors executive may have to repay the county $142,000. That’s because the county wants Deputy Alan Strickland to return all of the money he’s received so far in worker’s compensation benefits if he prevails in his federal lawsuit against the Raptors, president Masai Ujiri, Maple Leaf Sports and the NBA. The exact amount that the county has paid out so far since the high-profile June 2019 shoving match is $142,984. As of four months ago, Strickland had not returned back to work.
Storyline: Masai Ujiri Case
The Alameda County sheriff’s deputy who claims he was injured in a shoving match with a Toronto Raptors executive may have to repay the county $142,000. That’s because the county wants Deputy Alan Strickland to return all of the money he’s received so far in worker’s compensation benefits if he prevails in his federal lawsuit against the Raptors, president Masai Ujiri, Maple Leaf Sports and the NBA. The exact amount that the county has paid out so far since the high-profile June 2019 shoving match is $142,984. As of four months ago, Strickland had not returned back to work.
Storyline: Masai Ujiri Case
I knew little about Johnson when I first saw him in Ottawa. He was sporting a very tame fauxhawk — shaved on the sides and back, a shortish patch of hair running through the middle of his dome. At the time, Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo traditionally held a dinner at training camp for the travelling media. At The Keg in ByWard Market, I told Colangelo that I thought Johnson’s haircut was interesting. Colangelo suggested that it would be a good look for me.
And so it was at the Raven’s Nest Gym at Carleton — capacity, 1,500 people — Johnson came up to me snipping scissors in the air, before giving way to an actual barber. (Johnson donated some money. He was, and remains, a proper mensch.) I was nervous, sure, but my main memory is one of awkwardness. None of the fans who attended the scrimmage seemed to have any idea why this was happening. It was just very quiet. I think they would have preferred seeing The Raptor do some dunks off a trampoline. The haircut took longer than expected, and I could not see most of the second half, as they moved the proceedings from centre court to a corner of the arena once play re-started. Man, if something interesting happened in an intrasquad scrimmage for the first time, I would have been in trouble.
Daniel Wallach: NEW: County of Alameda files a $142K lien against the police officer who sued Raptors president Masai Ujiri for assaulting him during last year’s NBA Finals celebration. County seeks offset for amounts paid to officer as workers comp benefits claimed from same incident.

Storyline: Masai Ujiri Case
Nurse and the rest of his squad have been isolated within a private facility in Fort Myers since June 22, where they will remain until the NBA starts moving teams into ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex on July 9. For now, Nurse says it’s not so bad being in the bubble. “It’s a different feel. The rules and stuff about how many players and coaches are on the floor and at each basket, it feels like we’re going to basketball camp a little bit. We go in at 8:30 and stay there all day because we’ve got limits on how many players and coaches there can be,” Nurse explained.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Nurse says spirits are high, even though the world outside remains tumultuous. Florida set yet another frightening daily high with over 10,000 new cases of COVID-19, and it will be at least seven weeks until the players can bring friends or family members inside the bubble. Nurse said his mood might change a month from now, but for now things are still positive. “I’ve said how much I’ve missed coaching these guys and I just sense these guys like to be around each other, they like to play. The attitude is really good,” Nurse said.
“It’s 650,000 to a million expats living in Canada,” Nurse said. “I think like with anything, [voting abroad] is probably a really old initiative that’s hard to get the message out, and we’re hoping to help, we’re hoping to help raise awareness.” Nurse has a series of public service announcements planned, including some with Raptors players. They’ll guide voters on how to register and where to vote, to “get the wheels in motion, and then there’ll be a couple of other steps once we get closer [to Nov. 3 election day].”
I’ll mention one other guy since I’ve heard his name connected to the Knicks: Fred Van Vleet. He would likely be a decent value. I have him projected at a $20.7 million valuation next season, and the Knicks would be buying his age 26 through 29 seasons on a four-year deal — presumably his prime years. The Knicks should walk away if the annual price gets too high, but at something around $20 million a year, he’s a solid value who still lets the Knicks have max room in 2021.
Players will be permitted to replace their names on jerseys with statements on social justice when the NBA is scheduled to restart late next month after being shelved for four months due to COVID-19. “I think it’s cool,” VanVleet said on a conference call Monday. “The only way [the NBA restart] is being consumed is on TV… people will always look back on these games and the first thing they’ll see is a fist on the court or a name and they’ll look and say ‘What is that?’ or ‘Who is Breonna Taylor?’ or ‘Who is George Floyd?’ “I haven’t picked what I want to put on the back yet. I’m going to have to do some research… try to come up with something that’s meaningful and that lasts.”
Players will be permitted to replace their names on jerseys with statements on social justice when the NBA is scheduled to restart late next month after being shelved for four months due to COVID-19. “I think it’s cool,” VanVleet said on a conference call Monday. “The only way [the NBA restart] is being consumed is on TV… people will always look back on these games and the first thing they’ll see is a fist on the court or a name and they’ll look and say ‘What is that?’ or ‘Who is Breonna Taylor?’ or ‘Who is George Floyd?’ “I haven’t picked what I want to put on the back yet. I’m going to have to do some research… try to come up with something that’s meaningful and that lasts.”
VanVleet is cut from a different cloth, though, and he cannot fake it, nor does he have any desire to do so. The Raptors are the only team meeting away from their home base, given Canada’s 14-day quarantine rule, and since the league’s restart will take place on the Disney campus in Orlando, they felt it best to meet beforehand in nearby Naples. On Saturday, Florida reported a record 9,585 new cases of COVID-19. “It sounded good a month or two ago,” VanVleet said on Monday about the league’s planned return to play. “Not so much right before we got ready to leave.”
Storyline: Coronavirus