The Toronto Raptors are signing Davion Berry to an Exhibit 10 contract, Raptors Republic has learned.
The move comes on the heels of the Raptors waiving Andy Rautins, Kyle Wiltjer, and Kennedy Meeks last week. While it may seem odd at first blush to sign someone to a camp deal at this late juncture, the team could use some additional guard depth as the preseason wears on and bodies grow tired. The team has a lot of practice time left before the season begins, and Berry can drop in to proceedings with relative ease, having played with the Raptors at Summer League in 2016 and with Raptors 905 prior to that. Even with the late start, Berry will have an opportunity to make a strong impression in the event guard depth is needed at some point during the regular season, and there are still technically two roster spots up for grabs.
Signing Berry now also allows the Raptors to shift Berry to their G-League pipeline when camp draws to a close. The 905 already own his returning player rights, but this bit of accounting gives the Raptors the chance to make a return to the junior circuit a little more worth his while. The nature of Berry’s Exhibit 10 contract – the same deal Meeks was on in camp – means he’ll receive a $50,000 bonus should he be waived and spend 60 days with the 905. It’s a nice supplement to the modest G-League salaries, similar to how the Raptors have offered partial guarantees to G-League Affiliate Players (or players whose rights they already held) in the past. The Exhibit 10 can also be converted to a two-way contract, though the Raptors already have both of their two-way slots filled (Lorenzo Brown and Malcolm Miller).
That this will not be Berry’s first time in the Raptors’ system is part of the draw here. Raptors 905 acquired him at the trade deadline during the 2015-16 season for a third-round pick and the returning player rights to Abdul Gaddy. Over the season’s stretch run, Berry played his way into a spot at the offseason G-League minicamp showcase, averaging 17.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.1 steals in 10 games with the 905. An injury kept him from participating in the mini-camp, but his strong stint with the 905 helped land him a spot on the Raptors’ Summer League team that July, then a deal with Kolossos Rodou of the Greek League and, later, Walter Tigers Tubingen of the German BBL.
He also obviously showed enough for the Raptors to retain interest in keeping him in their development system, and it’s fairly easy to see why, given the strides he’s made as a pro. A bit off-radar coming into the draft after two years at Cal State Monterey Bay, a redshirt transfer year, and two solid campaigns at Weber State – he averaged 17.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while hitting 40.1 percent of his threes at Damian Lillard’s alma mater, earning a pair of All-Big Sky First team nods – Berry got a quick look from Portland in Summer League, then split his first pro season between Italy and the G-League.
Where his game is now compared to that first G-League campaign is quite a leap, as Berry’s honed his ability to defend either guard spot while shooting well enough to play off-ball (he’s hit 39.9 percent of his G-League threes) and improving markedly as an initiator for others. Still just 25 despite five years in college and three pro campaigns under his belt, the 6-foot-4 Berry offers great size at the point, and he and Brown should be able to mesh well as co-combo-guards in the 905 backcourt. The ability to switch freely between the two spots, at both ends of the floor, is a luxury the 905 haven’t always had without assignment players, and there could be solid enough depth at the position to survive in the event either gets called up should the parent club run into point guard trouble.
If nothing else, looking at the camp roster should provide some optimism that the defending champion 905 will be a little stronger than their offseason talent drain may have initially suggested. Here’s how their rights sheet potentially lines up with the Exhibit 10s and two-ways factored in:
Note: After this writing, the Cavaleirs waived Edy Tavares. The 905 still hold his returning player rights, but it’s possible the canton Charge look to acquire them, or that an NBA team claims him or adds him on a two-way contract.
Of course, the intent with these deals is not normally to re-stock the 905 – players on camp deals are aiming to make the NBA roster, and G-League affiliates/Exhibit 10s want to fight to the NBA level – but continuing to keep the organizational pipeline stocked with talent is a primary goal of the player development arm of the franchise. As the salary cap puts a greater emphasis on finding and developing talent and the collective bargaining agreement and G-League expand to allow greater control and ownership of talent development, fortifying the practice roster and the depth available in camp with interesting short- and long-term prospects takes on greater importance. Adding Berry to the mix in the days before the season is a nice way to round things out to that end.