The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom — who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010. Gasol also became the 19th to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year. The first 18 all did it for the U.S. This time, Vamos España! “NBA champion and a World Cup champion as well,” Gasol said. “What can I say? How does it sound to you? I feel very fortunate to be in this position and be able to play this game and help these guys be part of history of Spanish basketball.”
A mere three months after helping the Toronto Raptors win the NBA Finals, Gasol has led Spain to the gold medal game at the World Cup. It’ll be Spain against Argentina on Sunday, with both nations looking for their second title. Spain won the world championship in 2006 when Gasol was a 21-year-old backup, and Argentina won the inaugural tournament in 1950. “I’m so deep in the rabbit hole right now that I don’t get to see much light,” Gasol said. “You’re so focused on your opponent, your next rival, recovering, doing whatever’s necessary to win games that you don’t look at the big picture. It’s been great. I’m very fortunate. “I knew that committing to the national team this summer would not be easy physically. But it’s so worth it, and not just because we’re in the final game.”
The Raptors-branded sports hijab, the first of its kind in the NBA, has been in the works since the playoffs this past spring, said Jerry Ferguson, senior director of marketing at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The inspiration to release the hijab came from the Hijabi Ballers, Ferguson said, referring to a group of young Muslim women in Toronto who play basketball every Sunday, and advocate for increased participation of Muslim women in sports.
Ryan Wolstat: Raptors officially announce additions of Brittni Donaldson and Jon Goodwillie to Nick Nurse’s staff. Also promote John Corbacio to head video coordinator/assistant coach and Tyler Marsh and add two coaches with Nurse ties in Fabulous Flournoy and Mark Tyndale.
Donaldson excelled in the front office, but made sure to touch and feel the game up close. She played pickup with the team’s staff, outplaying most of them. (Her Toronto player comp: Fred VanVleet.) She rebounded for players at practice. Her passes still snapped. “Every rep I do, even if it’s just passing and rebounding, I try to be really precise and show that I’m there to make them better,” Donaldson says. “I don’t mess around.” The players noticed. “They trust her,” Ujiri says.
7 days ago via ESPN
“I couldn’t imagine winning a championship in Toronto because how they treat me and we didn’t win anything. … To leave, it’s not easy at all. The people and the love that that place gives out. Toronto was a great start for me, some of the best fans in the world.” — @chrisbosh

Joel Rush: After not getting a foul call on a Marc Gasol and Juancho Hernangomez trap, Nikola Jokic yells at the ref, and gets ejected from the game. #FIBAWC #SerbiaSpain

Mike Ganter: Nick Nurse with some strong words on Canada’s inability to attract available talent: “I think the biggest thing is we need an introduction, some of the guys need an introduction to the national team, right? I think the guys who are here right now have all played a little bit, continue to grow as they stay together, but some of the guys we need to see, I dunno, I guess they need to find out why or why not they’re gonna play or commit to playing.”
Storyline: World Cup
Nurse said he intends on playing a bigger recruiting role. It was tough this time around, he said, because he had his hands full with the Raptors’ lengthy season. “I think I have got to try and develop some relationships with some of these guys and see where they are at,” Nurse said after practice. “But I need more information. I need a better understanding of why or why not? Will they or will they not participate, and why or why not?”
Storyline: World Cup
Despite a slow start and a bad shooting night, Spain managed to get a 73-65 win over Iran in Group C of FIBA World Cup. Spain won all three of its games so far and stayed at the top of the group while Iran lost all three and finished last. Puerto Rico (2-1) got the better of Tunisia (1-2) earlier today and advanced further. Marc Gasol led the winning side with 16 points while Victor Claver and Juancho Hernangomez added 11 each. The latter also grabbed ten rebounds for a double-double.
Storyline: World Cup
Newcastle Eagles have confirmed that club legend Fab Flournoy will leave to re-unite with Nick Nurse as an assistant coach at Toronto Raptors. The move has been rumoured since Nurse – a former BBL coach of the year and GB’s assistant at the 2012 Olympics – took over as the Raptors’ head coach at the start of last season before going on to become an NBA champion.
Spain put Saturday’s triumph over Tunisia behind when they stepped foot on the floor on Monday against Puerto Rico, as they sealed a 73-63 victory, their second in Group C of the tournament that helps them qualify to the second round. Marc Gasol’s experience and dominance helped Sergio Scariolo’s squad get over the tough moments of the game, and the big man finished the game with 19 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
Nurse is having a blast doing the two things he loves more than anything outside his nearest and dearest: He’s coaching basketball and he’s experiencing a part of the world he has never seen before. “Are you kidding me?,” Nurse replied when asked about his time coaching Team Canada this summer. “I’ve never been to Australia, I’ve never been to China. Every day is fascinating to me. It’s such an adventure … You get to coach basketball, you get to play in an incredible tournament in incredible venues. I don’t know. I just come outside every day and look around and say ‘What an adventure? How could this not be fun?’”
Melvin Ejim, one of the few returning veterans on this team has been impressed. “He’s a good guy, man,” Ejim said following Canada’s first practice in Dongguan. “He’s fun, a great coaching mind, I think everything so far … there’s a reason why we’ve been growing step by step, every time we’ve been playing better, we’ve been improving things, and I think that he’s done a great job so far and hopefully, we can continue throughout the whole tournament.”
Storyline: World Cup
Jonas Valanciunas is putting his trust in former teammate Kyle Lowry. The longtime Raptors forward, who was shipped to Memphis at the NBA trade deadline this past season, hasn’t received official notice from Toronto on whether he’ll receive an NBA championship ring. But Lowry has Valanciunas hopeful. “Kyle texted me ‘What’s your ring size?'” Valanciunas said Saturday. “I asked him ‘What, wedding ring?'” he added with a laugh. “We’ll see. I’m hopeful.”
2 weeks ago via TSN
The 2019-20 NBA season will be a special one for the Toronto Raptors. One season after winning their first NBA title, the franchise will be celebrating their 25th anniversary of joining the NBA. To honour the occasion, the Raptors have announced they will bring back the “Dino” jersey that the team wore from their inaugural season in 1995 until 1999.

Storyline: Uniforms
“It’s crazy,” Lowry said of the feeling that the championship gave him. “You want to describe it but you don’t want to use the wrong adjectives. You want to use the right things, but it’s just pure emotions of joy.” Lowry always had that belief in himself, even as he had to fight for respect or opportunity every step of his basketball journey. He didn’t initially start on his AAU team, didn’t make the varsity team in high school until his sophomore season and didn’t start until he was junior. He initially bristled at Villanova coach Jay Wright before the two found common ground. And his inability to suffer fools led to some difficult early days in the NBA. Even as success finally arrived in Toronto, criticism came over his postseason performances and his inability to get past LeBron James.
Russia put on a strong third quarter against Spain and recorded a convincing 74-55 win in the last prep game for the two teams in front of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. […] Despite the loss, Spain’s Willy Hernangomez stole the spotlight with game-high 26 points while his brother Juancho Hernangomez helped with 12 points. Marc Gasol didn’t play due to stomach problems while Rudy Fernandez rested.
Defensively, with Joel Embiid and Al Horford now, that’s a big frontcourt. But last year, you guarded a lot of fours, you even guarded Marc Gasol in the playoffs. Have you been talked to that you’re going to have to guard more threes? And is that something you’ve done? Tobias Harris: Yeah, I’ll be guarding threes. And in L.A., I was guarding threes at the beginning of the season. So I’m fine with that. I’ve been working on my defense and my lateral quickness all summer. I’m impressed with a lot of the things I’m getting better at.
You knew I was going to ask you about Kawhi. What kind of communication have you had with him since he decided to leave? Marc Gasol: I haven’t talked to him. Just a little through group text — that was it. You can’t blame the guy for wanting to go home. You can’t. If you tell me I can go back to Barcelona and make an absurd amount of money and play in the N.B.A. — I understand completely the decision and respect it and wish him the best.
Marc Gasol: I didn’t know that I cared that much — that it fulfilled me in a way that I didn’t know it could. Instantly you gain so much respect for everyone who has done this. Golden State, going to five straight finals and the rings that they have, I just instantly got so much respect for them. And LeBron going to eight finals in a row. Just doing it once put me beyond the limits I thought I had — physically and mentally. It was great to see, for myself, pushing those limits and leaving everything out there. It was awesome.
Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo said that Marc Gasol is doubtful for the game against Russia, the team’s last preparation match before the World Cup, due to some stomach problems. “Marc has stomach problems. He was feeling very weak before the game (vs. Argentina) and we don’t know anything about tomorrow,” Scariolo said following the win over Argentina.
Storyline: Marc Gasol Injury
Josh Lewenberg: With this AM’s 84-68 loss to USA, Team Canada finishes exhibition 4-3. Oshae Brissett missed the game with a knee injury – his World Cup status is in doubt. Good news is Andrew Nembhard returned after a scary fall last week and Cory Joseph is still expected to meet them in China.
Storyline: World Cup
Spain’s Marc Gasol thinks that although they’re missing a lot of guys, the USA also has a lot of talented players filling the void: “I think all teams miss people. Obviously, Team USA has so many great names that it’s different for them but also, they have a lot of talent coming up. There’s always a time of transition for teams, maybe for them it’s been all at once but at some point, there’s always that point of transition. I don’t feel bad for them because they still have a whole bunch of talent coming up”, Gasol told ESPN.
Storyline: World Cup
Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas certainly seems to think so. Speaking with Fanatics View, Arenas tried to give perspective on why some NBA players might not want to play for the Raptors. “Raptors being in Canada is hard for American players,” Arenas said. “You gotta remember, most kids are coming from the hood, that this is where my family, friends are. So me going all the way to another country, my friends, family can’t get there. So that’s already a conflict. So that my mom, my dad, my brothers and sisters can’t get there often. They can drive to Atlanta. They can drive to Chicago, and go and follow me and come to all my games.”
“I’m sure that it’s going to fuel them,” Gasol said of the loud skepticism increasingly endured by the American team. “The amount of talent that the U.S. generates every year is unbelievable,’’ he added. “Even with all the guys that dropped out — or if you want to say these guys don’t have experience internationally — they’re still super talented physically and technically. And they’re pretty well-coached as well. So you put it all together and it’s a great team.”
“I understand the reasoning behind it,” Gasol said of those downgrading Spain’s chances. “But if we outwork people and we play as a team, I think we have enough talent to do a lot of damage. “I see a lot of teams in the same pack, so it’s about timing. It’s about timing and peaking at the right time and playing confident. That’s what I tell these guys all the time. Play confident and don’t worry about who we’re playing.”
Leonsis also reached out to Popovich. “I talked to Gregg Popovich for 90 minutes. Not about the job. About, ‘Tell me what you’re seeing in the league, tell me about the candidates that I’m talking to, tell me about how you built excellence in your team without breaching any confidence,’ ” Leonsis said. “It was like getting an MBA.” But at no time, according to Leonsis and Forde, did he try to get an audience with Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri.
Following four days of training and Friday night’s USA Blue-USA White intrasquad exhibition game in Las Vegas, USA Basketball announced 17 finalists for the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team. The 17 include 13 athletes from the USA National Team roster and four players from the USA Select Team. Finalists include 2016 Olympic gold medalist Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); 2014 World Cup gold medalist Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
When he was escorted off the Scotiabank Arena almost two months ago, he was in a daze. Unable to process what had just occurred, all he knew was that he was being helped to the locker room. Initially, he was met with an awful gesture of cheers and applause from fans in attendance before Raptors players signaled the crowd to stop. Durant doesn’t remember hearing the fans that night, but he has something for them to hear now. “It will probably be the last time they will be in the Finals,” Durant told Yahoo Sports with a smirk.
Toronto went 17-5 on the nights Leonard was load-managed but is unlikely to play on a 63-win pace for a full season with him playing alongside Paul George on the Clippers. But Lowry won’t slight the talent that remains, with OG Anunoby expected to rebound from a lost season and Pascal Siakam looking to build on winning the league’s Most Improved Player award. “He’s going to get paid,” Lowry said of Siakam. “Y’all see he did it last year. For a guy like that, you’ve just got to keep improving and keep going.”
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry understands why Kawhi Leonard would leave for the Los Angeles Clippers, but the longtime leader of the Toronto Raptors has no desire to bolt Canada. “I want to be there — I would love to do a long extension, but we’ll see what happens,” Lowry said. “I’m here for USA Basketball and (to) support the guys and be around the group. I would love to be there long term, but we’ll have that discussion when the time is right.”
Though he would’ve loved for Leonard to come back — he led Raptors fans to a chant of “five more years” at the parade — Lowry wasn’t going to make a recruitment pitch. Even when DeMar DeRozan, his closest friend in the league, faced a similar situation three years ago, Lowry never got involved. “I’ve never been a recruiter. So it ain’t going to happen. It won’t ever happen,” Lowry said. “I let guys make their own decisions. You want guys to make a decision based on their happiness and that’s what they did.”
Lowry says he has not spoken to Raptors president Masai Ujiri about the team, just to check in about his injury. When the two do talk basketball, Lowry says finding a way to continue his career in Toronto will be a priority. “I want to be there,” Lowry tells SI. “I would love to do an extension, but we’ll see what happens … I would love to be there long term. We’ll have the discussion when the time is right.”
Storyline: Kyle Lowry Extension?
“He texted me, let me know,” Lowry said. “That was it. I said, ‘I’m happy for you.’” In the weeks leading up to Leonard’s decision, Lowry and Leonard had maintained regular communication. Phone calls, text messages, FaceTime. But the subject wasn’t basketball. Never basketball. “Not at all,” Lowry told “I have never been a recruiter. It won’t ever happen.”
“It is what it is,” Lowry said. “We’re still going to be able to run it back. We’re the champions and we’re trying to defend our title. I’m confident with our team.” And being the first NBA champions to enter a season without the Finals MVP? “I don’t know,” Lowry said. “First time you have ever seen it. Who knows? We are the champions. No matter what, that will never be taken away from us. Never, ever.”
What’s your best Charles Oakley story? Vince Carter: Oh, man. I’ve seen a lot of Charles Oakley moments. The Tyrone Hill story, I was front and center for all of that when that situation happened. [The Tyrone Hill story, according to reports: Hill lost more than $50,000 to Oakley in a game of craps during the summer of 2000. After pledging to pay his debt in two installments, Hill went back on his word, so Oakley slapped him prior to a preseason game. Hill paid him $10,000, but nothing more, so Oakley jumped in his face during every Raptors-Sixers game and threw a ball at Hill’s head during a shootaround.] The one thing I’ll say about Oak is that Tracy [McGrady] and I never had to worry about anything. You get in a little altercation, shoving match, talking, you didn’t have to ask Oakley to be there. He would be there. He taught us how to play the game, how to be tough, respect the game and don’t take no junk from nobody.
USA National Team members expected at the World Cup training camp include Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat); Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown(Boston Celtics); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls).
While the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors gear up for next season, Scotiabank Arena is getting a multimillion-dollar face-lift. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and CEO Michael Friisdahl calls it a “reimagination” of the venue that opened in February 1999. “We’ve got to keep getting better, we’ve got to keep improving the experience,” Friisdahl said. “We won a championship — we’ve won four championships in the last three years. That, if anything, motivates us to do even more.”
Storyline: Toronto Raptors Arena
Friisdahl says MLSE’s investment is to ensure the arena is both a “gathering place” for fans but also a destination in the city, going hand-in-hand with the money that has gone into renovating nearby Union Station. A pedestrian bridge is being built over Bay Street from CIBC Square, currently under construction. It will connect with a new second floor to the galleria on the north side of the arena, as well as the city’s underground Path network.