The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday that they have waived Davion Berry.
Berry was signed last week to an Exhibit 10 contract, meaning he’ll receive a $50,000 bonus if he clears waivers, agrees to join Raptors 905, and stays there for 60 days. It’s the same deal that Kennedy Meeks, who was waived earlier in camp, signed. Kyle Wiltjer and Andy Rautins were also placed on waivers last week, though those were standard non-guaranteed tryout deals. Berry did not see any time in the lone preseason game he was on the roster for.
The move trims the Raptors’ roster to 17 ahead of the regular season, where it can stay this year thanks to the presence of two-way contracts. The Raptors have 13 players on guaranteed deals, Lorenzo Brown and Malcolm Miller on two-way contracts, and K.J. McDaniels and Alfonzo McKinnie on partially guaranteed deals.
Today’s news would seem to indicate both McDaniels and McKinnie have made the roster for now, although the lack of guarantees gives the team flexibility to change course any time before or after the opener. The team technically had until the end of the day Sunday to get the roster to 17, but releasing the Berry news alone would seem to indicate they’re set, barring a late change or move on the waiver wire.
McDaniels and McKinnie had been in an open competition for an unconfirmed number of roster spots, with the team having to decide whether to keep one – and which – or both. Based on current estimates, the Raptors will be over the luxury tax if they finish the season with the roster as it’s currently constructed, but neither player’s deal guarantees until Jan. 10, so there is some time still to evaluate and make a longer-term decision without risking flexibility or incurring a meaningful opportunity cost. In terms of real cost, because each is guaranteed $100,000 anyway, the Raptors don’t incur any additional “real” cost until about 12 days into the season. This could be an ongoing discussion for a few weeks or longer still.
Whether either figures into the rotation remains to be seen. If OG Anunoby is going to play as well as he did the last two preseason games, the answer would seem to be no – the Raptors have a more clear depth chart at the wing and forward positions in that scenario. They may, however, want Anunoby to see some time with the 905 to work on his offensive game and get his defensive timing back, which could open up some low-end opportunities. McKinnie is also eligible for G-League assignments, and even though he was an All-Star at that level last year, there’s still benefit to getting him big minutes with Jerry Stackhouse and company.player
Over three preseason appearances, McDaniels played 24 minutes, scoring six points on 3-of-9 shooting, grabbing five rebounds, committing four turnovers, and blocking two shots. McKinnie, meanwhile, totaled 59 minutes over five appearances, shooting 9-of-18 overall and 5-of-11 on threes on his way to 25 points, 16 rebounds, and five steals while picking up nine fouls.
And there are always injuries over the course of an NBA season, which could open up opportunities as well. That the team is so young, and therefore perhaps a little prone to inconsistency, could shift the depth chart as the season wears on, too.
Here’s how the roster looks heading into opening night:
PG: Kyle Lowry, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet
SG: DeMar DeRozan, C.J. Miles, K.J. McDaniels
SF: Norman Powell, Bruno Caboclo, Alfonzo McKinnie
PF: Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl
Two-Way: Lorenzo Brown, Malcolm Miller
Should Berry join the 905 as expected, he’ll combine with Brown, Miller, and Meeks to create an intriguing core for the 905 to build from. The defending champions will have plenty of turnover, as all G-League rosters do, but those four pieces are nice blocks to build with. If Wiltjer winds up amenable to a G-League season or Edy Tavares goes unsigned and returns to the 905, there may be the makings of another playoff run in Mississauga. Tavares’ current plan calls for the G-League over an overseas deal if he can’t land a two-way contract, with the proximity to the NBA being a major factor for him, per a source.
Here’s how the 905’s right sheets look a week out from the draft: