Raptors signing Chris Boucher to training camp contract

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The Toronto Raptors are signing Chris Boucher to a training camp contract, Shams Charania of Free Agency reports.

This would seem likely to be an Exhibit 10 contract, given Charania is not reporting it as a guarantee. UPDATE: Raptors Republic has learned it is an Exhibit 10 deal. As a refresher, an Exhibit 10 contract is a one-year, non-guaranteed NBA contract that will bring the player into training camp to compete for a roster spot. Failing that, the team has the option to convert the contract to a two-way contract or, if the player is cut, clears waivers, and agrees to join Raptors 905 as an Affiliate Player, he’ll receive a $50,000 bonus to supplement the $35,000 G League salary. The immediate focus will be making the roster out of camp, but there are options available to continue Boucher’s development within the organization if he doesn’t.

Boucher joined the Raptors for Las Vegas Summer League after being waived by the Golden State Warriors following their NBA Championship victory. An undrafted rookie in large part due to a torn ACL suffered late in his 2016-17 season at Oregon, Boucher was on a two-way deal with the Warriors, working his way back to health with Santa Cruz and eventually making one NBA appearance. That appearance was an historic one, as he became the record-setting 14th Canadian to play in the NBA in the 2017-18 season.

The Warriors have been fairly clear that they’d like to use their two-way slots on players who could potentially contribute at the NBA level like Quinn Cook did this year – they signed Damion Lee shortly after, who fits the profile and is already a member of the Warriors’ extended family – and Boucher isn’t quite there yet. He would probably be able to play some spot minutes as an entropic small-ball five like a skinnier Lucas Nogueira from recent years, but the 25-year-old could use some additional development time to work on his body, his perimeter game, and his team defense. He’ll likely get the chance here, either whether on assignment with the Raptors or as a full-time 905 member.

I wrote about Boucher’s circuitous path to this point for Vice Sports last week, and it’s nice that he’ll get to take the next step on that journey close to home and with a chance for a real developmental summer while healthy. The question becomes how much you can get out of a 25-year-old prospect, and there’s a lot to like about Boucher’s game that makes him worth trying to develop, even at his advanced age. The Raptors have done well enough on the development front to think they’re in a better position than most to find out, and Boucher likely opted to come to Toronto due to a combination of that track record and their proximity to home.

Those who watched Summer League saw how quickly Boucher can make his imprint on a game, particularly with hit shot-blocking – he blocked 13 shots in 83 minutes in Vegas, blocked 8.4-percent of opponent 2-point field-goal attempts when he was on the floor as a G League rookie while still working his way back to full health, and had a ludicrous 11.8-percent block rate over two seasons at Oregon. He has tremendous instincts around the rim for timing his jumps and recognizing space around the rim, and while his block opportunities sometimes come from him initially being out of position (his ability to pick up schemes effectively limited his role early in Vegas and with Canada ahead of FIBA qualifiers), he can make up for his mistakes in a hurry with his length, anticipation, and bounce. He’s also looked like a better rebounder than his positional size might suggest, perhaps to the extent that Nick Nurse is right in seeing Boucher as a slender center rather than a long and switchy power forward.

Boucher also impressed on the offensive end in Vegas and with Canada in their training camp prior to that, and a number of teammates in both events were surprised at his polish inside. If Boucher’s 3-point shot can come along to where he’s a legitimate pick-and-pop threat – he was 4-of-11 in Vegas and hit 34.4 percent from the college line but was only 11-of-50 with Santa Cruz – he could become the fifth player in a frontcourt even without adding a ton of bulk. He needs to try to add some, clearly, as his 200-pound listing might even be a little generous for his 6-foot-10 height and 7-foot-4 wingspan, he just has skills that he can contribute with right now, too. The Raptors won’t call on him for that early on, as they have three players on the roster capable of playing center and three capable of playing power forward, and they can take their time bringing around the finer points of his game and letting him impact games with his obvious strengths in the meantime.

This is a fun addition that could provide depth at the center position at the NBA level or add an intriguing piece to watch with Raptors 905, or, depending on how his contract shakes out and what else the team does this summer, both.

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