According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Toronto Raptors are very close to signing Tyler Hansbrough. Normally I’d post this as a put-back rumor but the details filtering in seem to be of the reliable and less-speculative nature.

You may know Hansbrough from one of several ways:

*One of the top college basketball players of all time.
*Coming close to blows with Jonas Valanciunas.
*Being extremely annoying at the NBA level.

With that last point said, Hansbrough seems like the ultimate “hate to play against him, love to have him” kind of guy, and I think Pacers fans and Tar Heels fans would attest to that.

The forums already have a discussion going, and Zarar had previously identified him as an extreme buy-low candidate.

In basketball terms, Hansbrough is a very capable backup power forward who became available because the Indiana Pacers rescinded his qualifying offer. That $4,135,391 qualifying offer would have allowed the Pacers to match any offer for him as an RFA, but with their re-signing of David West and being a team that doesn’t spend recklessly, they perhaps didn’t want to risk him accepting it and being on the cap at that hit.

Enter the Raptors, who can sign him to any terms they like as an unrestricted free agent without the worry of a team matching. While some may scoff at it because his offer was rescinded, the two teams are in very different circumstances. The Raptors have just Steve Novak, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray coming off the bench as bigs, so additional depth there was a necessity.

The current depth chart would look something like this:
PF: Johnson, Hansbrough, Novak (also a three), Acy
C: Valanciunas, Gray (and perhaps but probably not Camby)

When you consider that Hansbrough is also capable of backing up the five in a pinch, he could be a fine asset off the bench. I have seen some suggest on twitter that what he brings is a bit redundant, but he’s far more versatile than Gray and far more polished than Acy, and overall the best of the three.

But what about the cost? The Raptors, you may be aware, have just their exceptions to play with this offseason as a cap team. I doubt Hansbrough would command the mid level exception, which is more than his qualifying offer was, but he may be looking for more than the bi-annual exception which starts at $1.96M this year. It’s possible his salary comes in somewhere in between, which would suck in theory- it would then count as a chunk of the MLE and render the Raptors unable to use it. However, if they’ve filled the backup four spot, the depth at other positions may be something they’re looking to fill via minimum contracts and not a big splash MLE signing.

PG: Lowry, Stone
SG: DeRozan, Ross, Richardson
SF: Gay, Fields, Novak (also a four)

The Raptors now have 14 players under contract (13 if you exclude Camby). They either have their full mid-level and minimum exceptions to fill the roster out OR a part of their MLE and the full bi-annual exception. You’d assume they want another point guard and then possibly another swingman who can space the floor.

But that’s that, and we’re talking about Psycho T.

Hansbrough is a hustle player, through and through, a guy who defends actively and hits the glass while driving opposing players nuts. He can’t score but he actually draws a lot of fouls because he works so damn hard and can get to the rim, so he’s not without offensive value. He’s also improved over his four years in the league, posting a career-high rebound rate this season with a near-career high true shooting percentage. If you believe in such things, his Win Shares on both ends of the floor reached career highs on a per-48 basis.

There’s a definite role for guys like Hansbrough, and I’m glad to have him on the Raptors. He might come off like a tool…

…but as mentioned, he comes off like a basketball version of Darcy Tucker, a love-hate player who the white-collar-but-we-want-to-be-blue-collar Toronto fans will embrace the first time he knocks an opposing star on his ass. Once the terms of the deal are confirmed, this post will be updated with the relative figures. Perhaps it’s not journalistically correct to write the post as if it’s a done deal, but it’s Stein and I’m confident only the figures and term are left to come in, not a last-minute change of heart…because Hansbrough doesn’t have one.

UPDATE: Holly MacKenzie is reporting it’s a multi-year deal, which makes me think this definitely won’t be for the bi-annual exception.

A one year value-raising deal could have been had for less than $2M, but with a multi-uear deal on the table this one will probably be closer to half of the MLE (so, think north of $2.5M but probably not much further). That’s a fair price for a guy of Hansbrough’s skill level, and if the Raptors had swung and missed on their other MLE targets, I think it’s more than a “spending it to spend it” move. Hansbrough can help, and as much as I’ll struggle to root for him, this is a very low-risk deal.

UPDATE: It’s official, per Mark Spears of Yahoo:

Doug Smith said it’s a two year deal but that doesn’t seem right given other chatter. I’d still expect something north of $2.5M but if it’s just two years Hansbrough likely would have commanded closer to $3.5M. It’s term over dollars a lot of the time for players, so a two-year deal is going to be more expensive in annual value terms.

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80 Responses to “Raptors Sign Tyler Hansbrough”

  1. Roarque

    Really? Does his kid brother come as a contractual obligation?
    I guess this is one of those Tie Domi moments where we tie up a roster slot with a thug.

  2. mountio

    [copying from forums comment]

    While I admit that Hansborough serves a purpose as an NBA player .. I absolutely hate him. Hate his game, hate his dirtiness, hate his lack of skill. Will he help us win games? Yes.
    All in all, I couldnt be more disappointed .. cheering for AB was much easier than cheering for this guy will be. Hes also going to be a big detriment to the tanking movement.

    Having said all of that, Casey will LOVE him and so will the hockey-esque ACC crowd. This guy will have JYD’s popularity very shortly. Ill be the one in section 121 booing him and shaking my head ..

    • The Truth

      MLSE can save money by having him play on a number of their teams. I share the sentiment though.

    • Anon

      Well, the important part is he can help us win games. I absolutely hate him too, but Masai’s got the right direction – he doesn’t care if you like him, he cares about games won. This is a good signing and for me, won games will easily trump any personal hate.

      • mountio

        Thats probably fair. The minute I see him taking minutes away from JV in crunch time though, because hes a “vet” .. I will lose my shit. Big time.

  3. Big Al

    Hate Psycho T, but this is a great signing and fit for the Raptors. He can step into a starting role if we rebuild (which we still don’t know what’s going on with that) and a guy like Amir gets traded, or if there are injuries. He’ll help set a good tone, regardless of what direction the team takes, and he’ll be a tradable asset in the future.

  4. Mike

    Jack Armstrong will probably still call him a hack, as for the homer Devlin that might be a different story. Hansborough ranks up their as one of the dirtiest players in the game but will still give 100% effort in the 5 mins that he will play. I’m 50/50 on this if we do sign him, couldn’t Acy do the same?

  5. Tom

    I hate to say it but I love it. It is exactly what it is, Hate it but Love what he brings. Time will tell how this plays out.

  6. george resko

    Amazing pick up perfect player we were missing cheap talented and tough jv will love playing wid the guy who almost killed him

  7. WhiteVegas

    Still waiting to see the numbers but I like this signing. If it comes in around $2.5M per then it’s great. His WS/48 is .154, DRtg 101. He is also good at getting to the line. Will be nice coming off the bench as the 3rd big, or as starting PF if we trade Amir and go into tank mode. Opposing teams are going to hate playing the Raptors, and that’s a good thing.

    • WhiteVegas

      Final numbers. 2 years at $3M per year. 2nd year is team option. That’s a fantastic contract. Great job Ujiri.

  8. Ds

    Don’t understand this. J. Hickson was there for the taking, and they must have dragged their feet and he was snared for $5M per. Typical Raptors. Never change.

  9. Rap fan 2

    I think this would be a nice little acquisition. Adding another elite motor guy to high motor guys already on the team ie. Jonas, Amir and Quincy. It’s going to be extremely fun to watch this season. Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!!

  10. Dave Milsom

    Tyler Hansbrough is a very good addition for such a soft team as the Raptors, who said they were hoping to toughen up the team and have done so here.
    Tyler will be a great force if we ever make the playoffs.

    • privateSectorTaxSlave

      With Bargs and Calderon gone they are not soft… what they lack is consistent outside shot and a great play maker.

          • smh

            Not even close to Chris Paul looking like he got punched in the head with no one beside him, or every foul on Wade during the Finals.

          • 2damkule

            i guess reggie evans & chris paul are soft as well then, if that’s what ‘soft’ is based on…

  11. Rapfaner

    Good defender on the inside and out. Im shocked that the raps pulled him in. Glad BC is out. Prob woulda gave him a 3 year 25 mill contract

  12. privateSectorTaxSlave

    This guy is so hated. Indy cut him because he made hard and reckless fouls on very good players who are friends with some very good players in the pacers…. are we really going here? toronto does love blue colar but Crazy T may end someones career.

    • 2damkule

      holy shit, way to create a narrative.

      indy ‘cut’ him for the reasons stated in the article above, which you’re either too lazy to read or stupid to comprehend.

  13. aндрій базилевич

    if your team has em you love em if you face him you hate him . this turns a page in grit if you ask me . raptors gonna be bangin like the oakley days once again !

  14. DryDry

    We all hate the dirty, senseless, dangerous risks he takes with other players’ careers but now he’s here so we’re supposed to embrace it as tough, manly, gritty D?

    Fuck that shit with a chainsaw.

      • DryDry

        Perhaps once he buys his disposable condo along Queen’s Quay somewhere, he’ll venture up to the Brass Rail and after a bunch of beer get into a brawl with some guys who made fun of his ears and he goes, how you say, “Psycho T” and ends up in the slammer, and I won’t have to cheer against a player on my team.

  15. Ion66

    I see a reality show. Hansborough, and JV living in the same apartment……Something like Boosum Buddies or Malcolm in the middle.

      • Statement

        Awesome, although Psycho T is to insane to fully model after Cousin Larry. Val is from Meepos (or something) anyways, so that’s a fit.

  16. Kid-Canada

    Haven’t Raptors fans been wanting a Charles Oakley type player? Hansbrough actually puts up some decent numbers. Take a look at his career averages when he starts.

      • 2damkule

        playoffs are about match-ups, and certain guys who are valuable contributors get minutes cut all the time depending on how they match-up. he was playing behind west, so come playoff time, starters are going to see the floor more and reserves less.

        • SR

          My opinion is that the trade-off isn’t worth it for the Raptors. I’m not gonna overlook a dirty player when his contribution to the team is limited enough that you want him on the floor LESS during playoff basketball. There are certain players who come with some baggage that you accept because their overall contribution is worth it for the team. Hansbrough is not one of those guys.

          Give the minutes to Acy or acquire a similar young prospect. The frontcourt is now clearly undersized with Amir, Acy, and Hansbrough.

          It’s not a big deal one way or the other – the contract is short and reasonable, and he’ll just be a bench player. I’d just rather see someone else get his minutes. I’m not about to start rooting for Psycho-T just because he switched jerseys.

          As Seinfeld would say, it’s like we’re cheering for laundry.

          • ItsAboutFun

            “The frontcourt is now clearly undersized with Amir, Acy, and Hansbrough.”

            What the hell are you talking about? Amir is 6’9″ and I don’t buy the 210 lbs they have him listed at, as he’s put on a lot of muscle since he weighed that. Hansbrough is 6’9″, 250 lbs.

            Some starters, including all-stars, in the league:

            David West 6’9″, 240 lbs

            Paul Millsap 6’8″, 245 lbs

            Zach Randolph 6’9″, 253 lbs

            Ibaka 6’10”, 220

            Griffin 6’10”, 251

            David Lee 6’9″, 249 lbs

            Josh Smith 6’9″, 225 lbs

            Boozer 6’9″, 258 lbs

            Love 6’10”, 260 lbs

            I fail to see how you can call either Amir or Hansbrough undersized when playing against any of these, and many other PFs.

            • SR

              What the hell I’m talking about is that Amir, Acy, and Hansbrough all will have a hell of a time guarding 7′ centres. This will leave the responsibility to JV, who is young and still foul prone, and Gray who’s extremely s-l-o-w (albeit a nice guy and useful in small doses). That’s going to put a lot of defensive pressure on young Val. Ideally you’d have a slightly larger, defensive minded big to sub in for Val when you’re playing teams with great centres who put that pressure on your defense.

              But thanks for reminding us all that Josh Smith is 6’9″! I appreciate it.

              • ItsAboutFun

                Well, he wasn’t signed to be a 5, playing against 7 footers, but why let reality get in the way of bouncing around on your toy high horse. We needed a tough bench PF, which is what his role has always been, and always will be, but create your own narrative if that turns you on.

                • Al_Oliver

                  I agree with what you are saying, but 3 million a season for a reserve, is not ideal for this capped out team

  17. SR

    He’s not a “love him if he’s on your team” guy, he’s just a dirty, cheap, extremely limited basketball player who only finds success going 200 mph during the regular season against guys going 80 mph. He’s a poor defender and a hack. He can’t shoot. His teammates will scream at him for doing idiotic things just as often as opponents will scream at him for almost ending their careers. He’s also undersized, and they already have Acy. This team doesn’t need a goon.

    • Mapko

      I resent a term “goon”. Well perhaps that may have applied to Tyler while a member of Pacers, but now he “transforms” into a tough, hard-nosed player.
      I actually believe his relentless hustle may perk up Raps from time to time.
      Lets be realistic, there is not much in terms of FAs that we could use. So, it is not exactly that we are wasting valuable resources.
      Overall (IMHO) decent, not great signing.

    • smh

      Only for you, sir. They are in actuality well behaved gentlemen who are misunderstood.

        • smh

          Nothing wrong with that, but false, sir.

          Laimbeer, Rodman, Isaiah and co. were true gentlemen of the courts who were maliciously attacked by Mr. Stern and the media in able to promote the aerial adventures of Mr. Jordan.

          Had the league not intervened, the NBA would have died a horrible death due to the defensive prowes of the said “Bad Boys.”

    • Al_Oliver

      I see 2 or 3 bad players… this team needs talent more than toughness. Both is ideal


    im not as happy about this as some people, i cant stand this and i think he is a cheap player and he cant just play straight bball, he’s dirty and i don’t respect him

    also saying he is one of the greatest college players ever is crazy, i couldn’t stand him, he had one good run most of the time his teams suffered crushing defeats from lower seeds, he averaged less than 9 ppg

    im just not sure how this makes us better, more of a stopgap for this year, it puts the responsibility in the hands of Gay, Lowry, and Val, DD, and Amir the other players are not scaring anyone.


    this actually the only player i specifically didn’t want us to sign, typical.

    if anything it will make us marginally better, ruin our draft pick and bring nothing that really helps us long term going into the playoffs (the Pacers had no room for him when the real games started, definition of a hack)

    • Guest

      Teams do tighten their rotations in the playoffs, see Ed Davis, is he a hack?


    Maybe I’m being too harsh I can’t stand him but its short term and he might serve a real purpose… Moving the needle as far as team toughness could help with the d and culture change which I believe this season is all about…

  21. Reed

    Unless Amir Johnson is moved so the Raps can tank I don’t understand this move. Acy is a similar player and guys like Val, Amir and Gray are all tough and willing to get dirty. Losing Bargs made this teams bigs tough already as evident from late last season.

  22. Drew2

    Read this article and actually get informed. Too lazy? In short…..OK at best rebounder, extremely hard worker and gets to the foul line better than Kobe and Melo. Decent defender with a very low foul rate. Not a great shooter and had an Extremely great NCAA career. Has some skill not just a hack. Gave him basically nothing to fill a needed roll. Not a lot else available and you dont have to bring him back if he sucks.

    • SR

      He gets to the line so much because he can’t shoot – at all. He literally tries to get fouled nearly every time he goes up with the ball, even though most of his baskets are put-back garbage buckets. Look at a shot chart of his:

      Most guys who only shoot at the rim shoot a much, much higher percentage than Psycho-T. Deandre Jordan shot 64% last year. Javale Mcgee shot 57.5%. Serge Ibaka shot 57%. When all your shots are dunks and layups, you damn well better have a good FG%. Hansbrough? 42% career FG%. That’s AWFUL considering the shots he takes. Rudy “Long-2” Gay’s career FG% is 45%, and most of us kill him for his inefficient offense.

      Hansbrough is not a good or skilled player. He’s a bad player who’s also dirty. He gets rebounds, garbage buckets, and free throws by busting his ass during the regular season when other players are coasting. In any situation where the intensity ratchets up (end of game, playoffs), he loses his advantage, becomes a liability, and sits on the bench. If a guy’s usefulness is that limited and he’s also a dirty player, I’d rather see the Raptors developing someone else.

      In the end I know his minutes will be limited and his contract is reasonable, so it’s not that big of a deal. Still, I’m not about to start rooting for the guy.

      • Drew2

        Your right on some points. But you listed 3 of the best big men athletes in the world. Jordan Mcgee and Ibaka. Extreme comparisons. He’s making far, far less money than those 3 guys for good reason. But his mid-range game has “some” merit. IE: Hes not Reggie Evans and he will get the team going off the bench. Getting to the line that often whether he tries to get fouled or not is great. “Dirty” is for players trying to injure. The guy goes hard, and while I dont want to see anyone hurt I’ll take his extreme over a Bargo type extreme any day.

  23. Brandon

    As long as it’s short-term enough that he can be gotten rid of quickly, it’s fine.

  24. smh

    “a love-hate player who the white-collar-but-we-want-to-be-blue-collar Toronto fans will embrace the first time he knocks an opposing star on his ass”

    Imagine if the FIRST PLAYER he knocks on his ass in Andrea!

  25. Louvens Remy

    Psycho T plays 100% hard and 100% heart and y’all are gonna love him. That’s the facts. Tyler ain’t dirty he just fouls hard and is a bit out of control.

    • Al_Oliver

      No, that would be your opinion. I hated him in college, on the Pacers and see no reason to change now



  1.  Raptors Sign Tyler Hansbrough | Blake Murphy Sports Writing

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