Morning Coffee – Fri, Jun 21

People stalking Kawhi, but he trolls back by going to Jays/Angels game | Racist cop admits Ujiri showed him credentials, but he didn’t like the manner in which he showed it | Is Hernandez the new OG?

A low-risk, high-reward play? Raptors bet on athletic profile, defensive upside of Dewan Hernandez at No. 59 – The Athletic

If this sounds like a lot of unknowns, well, the Raptors just drafted an in-process development project who has taken most of the work behind closed doors for the past season. The Raptors are making this pick based on a combination of prior scouting during his time at Miami, the G League Elite Camp, NBA combine and pre-draft workout and the quality of their interviews with him. With only the 59th pick, they were unlikely to land a sure-fire piece, and their front office has earned the benefit of the doubt with late- or undrafted players. (There are a number of interesting undrafted pieces, by the way, and it will be interesting to see who among them lands on the Raptors’ Summer League roster.)

The Raptors have options with Hernandez from here. The process will begin with Las Vegas Summer League, and from there the two sides will determine the best course of action. It’s easy to forget the process with second-round picks since the Raptors haven’t had one since Norman Powell, but there are a few ways this can go. Hernandez could sign a standard deal in the offseason, enter camp competing for a roster spot, be tabbed as a two-way player, agree to head to Raptors 905 as a sort of domestic draft-and-stash or some other setup that balances his long-term development with the team’s needs and his own financial situation. Sometimes, like with Powell, the route becomes obvious. This late in the draft, a pick is largely a claim on a player for the offseason ahead, and there are plenty of questions to answer from there. That’s especially true for Hernandez after an unfortunate year out of the limelight.

Raptors select Dewan Hernandez with the 59th overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft – Raptors HQ

And he will get an NBA chance, Hernandez has some skills. He had a quiet freshman season at Miami, but broke out in his sophomore year, as he seized the starting center position and averaged an efficient 11.4 points per game, nearly leading the team in scoring. Hernandez was poised to elevate his draft stock, having spent the offseason working on his shooting to help impress NBA teams, when the bribery scandal hit, sidelining him for the year.

In his breakout year at Miami Hernandez was an effective post-scorer, roll man and shot-blocker, and was at his best running the floor, though he didn’t exactly flash much playmaking. He had an excellent Draft Combine this year, grading out as the 3rd most athletic big overall, per NBA Athlete’s composite rankings. He also showcased a re-vamped jumper in workouts.

After losing final college basketball season, Miami’s Dewan Hernandez selected by Toronto Raptors in NBA draft – South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The long, winding road to the NBA for Miami Hurricanes power forward Dewan Hernandez resulted in him finally getting drafted. With the second-to-last pick. Going to the defending champions.

The Toronto Raptors selected Hernandez, Miami’s rangy 6-foot-11 big that the NCAA ruled ineligible for his entire junior season of college basketball due to dealings with an agent, with pick No. 59 late in the NBA’s second round on Thursday night – actually slightly into Friday morning.

The pick was a mild surprise given multiple mock drafts had him going undrafted and ranked in the 80s or 90s among eligible prospects for the 60-player draft but more so because Hernandez hasn’t played in a game since March 15, 2018. That was when the Hurricanes were ousted in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Loyola-Chicago to conclude his sophomore season.

Hernandez tested the pre-draft process following the sophomore year where he averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds but opted to return to Coral Gables for what he thought would be a junior season of putting continued growth and versatility in his game on display.

Miami Basketball alum Dewan Hernandez’s stock skyrocketing at NBA Combine – Canes Warning

Hernandez’s numbers in the strength and agility drills show he has the skills to compete in the NBA. He went out and backed that up with his performance at the combine. Hernandez’s 14 points tied for game-high in his scrimmage.

Oshae Brissett of Syracuse and Kyle Guy from national champion Virginia played in the same game. Hernandez’s performance with Brissett and Guy in the same game shows that with everything being even the Miami basketball program can compete with the nation’s best teams. Miami has had bad breaks in the last two seasons.

Hernandez followed up his 14 point, five rebound effort on Thursday with 18 and 10 in Friday’s scrimmage. He shot 13-27 from the floor, 6-9 from the free throw line and missed his only three-point attempt. Hernandez performance in the two scrimmages showed no rust from a year off of game experience.

The praise continually heaped on Hernandez throughout his week in Chicago can only help him heading into the draft. The social media army has taken notice of what Hernandez did in Chicago and that he is a player that teams should have on their draft boards. From Chicago Hernandez is going to Brooklyn to meet with the Knicks.

The Kawhi Leonard saga: will he stay or will he go? | Crowe Soberman

Would Canadian taxes eat up the additional salary that Toronto can offer?
Canadian tax rates are higher than in the United States, there’s no denying it. But are they the deal-breaker the media makes us believe? Let’s look at how athletes, like Kawhi, are taxed in Canada.

Kawhi is an employee of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, working at their Toronto location, Scotiabank Arena. He gets a paycheque like any other Canadian employee. (His just has a lot more zeros!) The top tax rate for an employee residing in Ontario is a combined federal and provincial rate of 53.5 percent. So, on a salary of $38M, his taxes would be approximately $20.3M.

Compare that to a player living in Los Angeles. An employee of a California-based team will pay U.S. federal tax at a top rate of 37 percent and California state tax at a top rate of 13.3 percent, yielding a combined tax rate of 50.3 percent. So on those same earnings of $38M, he’d pay $19.1M in tax. But you’ve read enough of our articles by now to know that’s not the end of the story!

The U.S. has very expensive social security taxes—a maximum of approximately $8,000, compared to $2,700 (USD) in Canada for Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance.  In the U.S., a Medicare tax of 2.35 percent is also added to your paycheque for another $893,000. (Medicare is an often-overlooked factor when it comes to comparing taxes for athletes on Canadian versus U.S. teams.) Now take another look: the difference is much more palatable –approximately $300,000—a difference of less than 1 percent!

Let’s now look at Kawhi’s situation specifically. If he chooses to re-sign with the Raptors, Kawhi would likely remain a tax resident of the U.S. As such, he’d be taxed there on his entire salary. And yes, he’d pay the CRA as well—but they can only tax employment earnings for days worked in Canada. Using the 2018 calendar year as an example, the Raptors calculated that their players spent 66 percent of their working days in Canada. Thus, only two thirds of his salary would be taxable in Canada. Credits are available in the U.S. for taxes paid in Canada, meaning effectively that a player pays the higher of either the Canadian tax rate or the U.S. tax rate on his working days in Canada.

Toronto needs to channel its inner Kawhi, be cool, and leave the poor man alone. | The Star

But it’s frankly becoming creepy and invasive, and I say that as someone with regular access to and understanding of the internet. Kawhi went to Niagara Falls! Kawhi ate at a mediocre chain restaurant! Kawhi went to a home improvement store and bought what appeared to be … moving boxes!

Look, if you were renting a house and you didn’t know where you were going to live next year, and you had already bought a $14-million (U.S.) palace outside San Diego, you might need moving boxes, too. Bless Kawhi Leonard, one of the best basketball players on the planet and a two-time NBA champion, for going to the Home Depot and buying the damn boxes himself. To borrow a phrase, the cardboard man gets paid.

But that is not the point, and we are getting sidetracked! With Kawhi, it is easy and even understandable that we get sidetracked, because he carried the Raptors to the NBA title and he is a free agent and he is from Los Angeles. And while the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis without understanding the salary cap, the Los Angeles Clippers have basically waited outside his house holding a boom box over their heads all season.

And now ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says the Clippers are “hyperventilating” over what Kawhi will decide, and the Raptors are also keen to know, and amid all the rumours and the smoke flying around all you can say is that at least it seems like it’s a real decision. Kawhi is the literal difference between the Raptors getting a second chance to do a parade correctly, or not. Kawhi changes everything. Toronto knows, now. And it loves him.

NBA Free Agency: Will the Toronto Raptors re-sign Kawhi Leonard? – Raptors HQ

He… Leaves?
Doomsday scenario (well, not really, the Raptors did just win a championship, after all). Kawhi bolts. As we noted in part 1, the Raptors have no cap room to add another significant talent, and aren’t that far off the tax. The team gets worse, with success resting on Siakam’s development and Lowry dragging the team to success again.

Now obviously it’s never ever going to happen because we are firming in Camp He Stay. But let’s look at it anyway. What do the Raptors do if Leonard does go?

Well, most of that depends on the longer term planning, rather than worrying too much about this coming year. Certainly they won’t want to go into the tax again. As noted above, the team can add up to $14M in salary without entering the tax, so they could re-sign Danny Green if they wanted to keep the team competitive around Siakam and Lowry. Or they could trade a bunch of guys away and blow it up, obviously intending to keep Siakam but otherwise shedding their veteran talent in favour of more picks or prospects.

In either case, so long as they don’t add too much salary, the more pressing concern is the following summer. Whether they stay competitive or bottom out for a year, there is a quick turnaround to adding another star with that ocean of cap space they could have in 2020. So again it’s the long term salary they need to be careful about adding. With that in mind, let’s take a look at summer 2020 again, this time assuming Kawhi is not on the team, and instead exploring some options for keeping more of the rest of the team together.

So, we have the same situation as before. OG Anunoby, Norm and Pascal’s rights, plus their first rounder, and $84.5M in cap room. The maximum salary for a 7-9 year veteran will be about $34.8M. So the Raptors could have room to chase two max free agents that summer, and have about $17M left over to keep another piece on the team — say, a Fred VanVleet, perhaps.

Or if they want to chase only one max free agent (or can only get one to come), they could hunt other, lower cost free agent targets. Or they could bring back some of the veterans (assuming they haven’t traded them yet), perhaps Lowry or Gasol on one year deals, then re-enter 2021 free agency hunting for yet another star.

So perhaps the team might be back on track fairly quickly even if Leonard does in fact leave.

Which, again: he stay.

Police confirm Ujiri identified himself to deputy, showed credentials |

Masai Ujiri did present NBA identification to the sheriff’s deputy who refused to allow him onto the Oracle Arena court after the Toronto Raptors’ NBA Finals victory, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told Robyn Doolittle of The Globe and Mail.

The Raptors president of basketball operations was involved in an altercation with the deputy following Game 6. Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly said last week that the deputy tried to stop Ujiri from entering the court because he “had no credential displayed, and our deputy asked for his credential.”

The Sheriff’s Office has now also confirmed that Ujiri told the deputy what his role with the team was before their confrontation.

However, police say Ujiri didn’t have the correct credentials required to enter the court. Kelly told Doolittle that the Raptors executive presented his credentials in a “very threatening kind of way” in the deputy’s face. The officer then pushed Ujiri away because he felt his personal space was being violated, according to Kelly.

Kelly said that video footage from Oracle Arena captured Ujiri retaliating by striking the deputy in the face with “two fists,” one of which landed “underneath his jaw on the left side of his face.” The body camera on the deputy switched off once Ujiri made contact, according to police.

2019 NBA Championship: Which Raptor had the best time at the championship parade? – Raptors HQ

Marc Gasol
There is a lot of footage out there of Gasol waving his arms off the roof of the bus, looking for all the world like a giant rubber octopus or one of those inflatable gas station men, and then also chugging an entire bottle of win, Andre the Giant-style. But below is really my favourite bit of footage:

There’s Gasol, sitting next to the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and rambling on about how drunk he is. Truly next level stuff from a deserved champion.

Enjoyment Grade: A+

Kawhi Leonard – Toronto Raptors – 2019 NBA Finals – Game 1 – Game-Worn White Association Edition Jersey – Scored 23 Points | NBA Auctions

Leonard wore this jersey during the Raptors’ 118-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors on May 30, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON.

He played 43 minutes and registered 23 points with 5 assists, 8 rebounds and 1 steal.

This was the first NBA Finals game played outside the United States.

Did I miss something? Send it to me [email protected]

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