Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee: October 28th Edition

Casey confusing disrespect with criticism … Raptors roster set at 15 … As per usual, first quarter of the schedule will be very difficult … Raptors payroll just under $70m

Raptors’ Gay, Lowry, DeRozan and Valanciunas Among Top NBA Fantasy Basketball Options – Raptors HQ

Due to inefficiency, his habit of shooting long twos, and of course his contract, Rudy Gay is not in most HQ fans’ good books. Fortunately, as far as fantasy goes, Rudy Gay is a safe-bet to produce like a second-tier star….There are a bunch of small forwards around the league that some people believe may have huge years, but a lot of those guys like Jimmy Butler, Wilson Chandler, Gordon Haywood etc. have not had massive full-seasons yet. Where as Rudy Gay has been a very good fantasy play for years. Here is how Rudy Gay ranked in 8 category leagues over the last 4 years: 44th, 24th, 14th, and 43rd. During his time in Toronto last year, Rudy was the 22nd best player.

Raptors: Coach Casey using critics’ ‘disrespect’ as motivating tool | Toronto Star

The Raptors, who haven’t made the NBA playoffs in five years, open the regular season at home Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, going into the year seen as one of a handful of teams in the mix for the last three Eastern Conference post-season slots. They will open the season with the same starting five that finished last year — Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas — and are hoping that familiarity will allow them to get off to a solid start. Lowry will be banged up, but available, after suffering a torn tendon on the ring finger of his left (non-shooting) hand.

Raptors Waive Carlos Morais and Chris Wright, Keep Julyan Stone Around – Raptors HQ

And really, this wouldn’t be a big surprise considering Stone was nearly signed this past summer but injuries derailed his Raptors’ career. As well, from the word out of training camp and preseason games, it seemed the Raptors’ head coach Dwane Casey was dropping hints that Stone had an edge over Wright and Morais due to his length and defensive abilities.

Toronto Raptors face tough early NBA schedule | Toronto Sun

With Casey in the final year of his contract and Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay able to leave as free agents after the season, how the team begins the campaign is of even more importance than usual. Another stumble similar to last year’s disastrous 4-18 tumble out of the chute could force GM Masai Ujiri to make major changes with an eye toward the future. Perhaps aware of the door he had opened simply by stating the obvious, Casey then pulled back a bit. “It’s a long season, our whole year won’t be determined in one month, but we’ve got to make some hay in that month to not be too far behind the eight ball,” Casey said.

Lewenberg: Raptors’ Lowry prepared to play through pain | TSN

“Just not being able to completely use my finger,” he said of the adjustment he’ll need to make as he prepares to open the regular season with the team on Oct. 30. “It’s pretty much taped all the way to the top so I’m limited to probably four fingers on that hand but I should be okay. I’ll figure out how to shoot, score, pass and play defence with it.” “It’ll be a difficult adjustment but I’m not going to complain about it, I’m just going to fight through it and help the team as best as I can.”

Toronto Raptors a hair under the tax line at $70 million in salary | HOOPSWORLD

Click for full 360 view on the Raptors salary situation, and how they got here

Raptors Season: Does Rudy Gay Have To Go? | Pro Bball Report

Sometime this season Ujiri is going to address the elephant in the room. Does Gay want to stay in Toronto and will he prove it by either picking up his option for next season or signing an extension? Ujiri saved, nay improved the Denver Nuggets by sending Anthony to the Knicks for a boatload of assets when Anthony wanted to test free agency and someone who has done this before will not be afraid to do it again if push comes to shove.

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