The Toronto Raptors are signing Alfonzo McKinnie to a multi-year, partially guaranteed contract, Raptors Republic learned Saturday.
McKinnie will head to training camp with the team and compete for a roster spot. This is not one of the new two-way contracts like Malcolm Miller signed or an Exhibit 10 like Kennedy Meeks signed, it’s closer to Fred VanVleet’s deal from a year ago – McKinnie has a guarantee that will preclude him from being a two-way or G-League player for the Raptors (Windy City owns his G-League rights, anyway, which wouldn’t matter on a two-way deal but would if they had tried to make him an Exhibit 10), and if he’s cut that guarantee will count toward team salary. If he makes the team, his deal won’t fully guarantee until later in the season and will have a fully non-guaranteed 2018-19 year on the end of it. Again, very similar to VanVleet’s from a year ago. Old school.
The Raptors’ roster now stands at 15, or 17, depending on how you want to look at it (you can have up to 20 until the end of camp). They have 15 players on traditional NBA contracts, plus Meeks and Miller (we’re including OG Anunoby here, though he’s yet to officially sign). Of those, 14 have guarantee deals, which would, on paper, mean McKinnie and Meeks and whoever else is brought in will be competing for the final roster spot. That’s similar to how the team used that 15th spot VanVleet ultimately won last year.
Things can obviously change still. It’s an open secret that the Raptors would like to make a cost-cutting trade that could open up a roster spot or shift the depth chart. They still have the taxpayer mid-level exception at their disposal, should they find themselves able to stomach the luxury tax hit that might come with it. It’s early. For now, McKinnie is being brought into camp on a standard deal with a partial guarantee, and he’ll be given every chance to compete for a roster spot.
That’s something the Raptors see him doing in earnest. McKinnie has spent his career a bit off-radar thanks to injury trouble, to the extent that he paid to try out for the Windy City Bulls of the G-League last year. He turned that tryout into a training camp invite, then a roster spot, then eventually played his way onto the G-League All-Star team. That rapid progression got him a look at the Raptors’ free agent mini-camp in June, he parlayed that into an invite to Las Vegas Summer League, and now here he is, with an NBA deal.
He’s had a nice start to his Raptors tenure, too, standing out through two summer games. His explosiveness is obvious, as is his defensive potential, it’ll just be a matter of developing the 24-year-old from here, particularly his 3-point shot. It’s something he didn’t really show at Eastern Illinois, and while it improved at Green Bay, it was over a relatively small sample. Even last year with Windy City, he only shot 30.8 percent from there. That he still posted a strong true-shooting percentage speaks to his ability to get to the rim and score inside the arc.
There’s a lot to be intrigued by here. He’s proven he’s an elite G-Leaguer already and hasn’t looked out of place with three of the team’s regulars in the team’s 2-0 start. It’s definitely a profile and a story worth taking an extended look at.
I’ll have something more substantial on McKinnie sometime this week from Vegas.