Morning Coffee – Wed, May 20

14 mins read

WHO let the dogs out?

Lewenberg: How the NBA hiatus could impact the Toronto Raptors’ future – TSN.ca

How will the NBA’s hiatus influence Toronto’s plans in 2020?

This is not a great summer to be hitting the open market. Even before all of this, the free agent class of 2020 was expected to be underwhelming, and only a few teams projected to have significant cap space to spend with most of the league planning for what could be a loaded crop in 2021.

Now there’s a very real possibility that the cap could take a hit for next season (and beyond, perhaps), meaning there might be even less money out there for prospective free agents.

Without going into monotonous detail, the NBA’s salary cap is based off the previous year’s basketball related income (BRI) and projected forward. It has gone up in each of the past seven seasons – and 32 of the 36 seasons since it was created – in accordance with the league’s financial growth. It was set at $109 million this season and initial projections had it rising to $115 million for 2020-21.

However, with play suspended since March 11 – and factoring in the fallout from the incident with China in October – this year’s BRI will plummet. If the remainder of the season is cancelled, those losses may approach $2 billion, according to a league insider. Going by that, the salary cap could fall to as low as $95 million next season.

There’s a clause in the collective bargaining agreement that could prevent that, though. In the event of a drastic decline in revenue, the league and players association are able to negotiate and set the cap at an agreeable number. That’s what they did to normalize things after the lockout-shortened campaign in 2011-12 – taking the previous year’s cap figure of $58 million and freezing it there over the next two seasons – and they’re expected to do something similar again.

That’s good news for soon-to-be free agents, particularly somebody like VanVleet, who’s in line for a big raise. It’s a complicated situation though.

With so much cap uncertainty, look for players to avoid locking themselves into long-term deals this coming off-season. Guys who may have been planning to exercise their player options – including Spurs guard and former Raptor – might decide to opt in instead. We could also see an influx of free agents signing one-year deals, which would allow them to re-enter the marketplace in 2021, when more teams will have space and the league is (hopefully) in a better place financially.

Raptors Uprising GC down Knicks to keep unbeaten streak alive – Sportsnet.ca

Raptors Uprising GC improved its unbeaten esports record to 5-0 Tuesday with a best-of-three series victory over Knicks Gaming in the NBA 2K League.

Toronto opened with an 83-65 win before recording the sweep with a 78-72 decision. Knicks Gaming fell to 1-2.

Due to the pandemic, the esports league is staging games remotely rather than at its New York studio. Each series win represents a game in the standings with teams playing a 16-game regular season.

Kenneth (Kenny Got Work) Hailey led Toronto with 37 points in Game 1 while Trent (Timelycook) Donald added 26. Rookie point guard Chris (Duck) Charles led the Knicks with 24 points.

Defence helped trigger a 13-0 run for the Raptors in a first quarter that saw Hailey score 13 points and account for three of his team’s five steals as Toronto built a 22-16 lead. Hailey won the league’s player of the week honours in Week 1.

The Raptors led 43-28 at the half with Hailey (20 points) and Donald (17) combining for 37 of Toronto’s first-half points. The Knicks had 12 turnovers in the first half with seven coming from Charles, the second overall pick in the February draft.

Toronto centre Gerald (Sick One) Knapp, a finalist for player honours in Week 2, had 11 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for his ninth double-double of the season.

RHAM officially changes mascot to Raptors, becoming latest Connecticut school to move away from a Native American mascot – Hartford Courant

RHAM High has become the latest Connecticut school to drop its Native American mascot, officially changing to the Raptors, athletic director Daniel Trudeau told The Courant on Tuesday.

The Regional School District No. 8 Board of Education initially green-lighted the initiation of a process to introduce a new mascot on Feb. 24, prompting a lengthy selection process that culminated in the official adoption of the Raptors on Monday night, Trudeau confirmed in an email. The school serves Hebron, Andover and Marlborough.

“We’re excited to announce that RHAM has changed our mascot… to the Raptors,” he said. “Over the coming weeks, we’re planning to work with our student-athletes and other student groups to develop our logo that we want to be representative of our school community, academics, and athletic teams. As this was in motion prior to the pandemic changing all of our plans for the spring, the process has been a fun and exciting diversion for us.”

Report: NBA Discussing ‘Training Camp 2.0’ as Part of Coronavirus Return Plan | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

One plan being discussed by the NBA to restart the 2019-20 season includes a “training camp 2.0” for teams to prepare for on-court action, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

Players would work out at their team’s practice facility before traveling to the destination(s) selected to stage games.

Stein added that Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas remain options to serve centralized hubs for the NBA.

Starting May 8, teams were allowed to welcome back players on a limited basis in states that had relaxed travel and business restrictions in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The same day, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts.

Silver communicated the league was looking to limit the geographic scope of a restarted season.

“There’s no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there’s not going to be fans,” he said. “We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start.”

Silver also said the NBA doesn’t need to make a final determination about resuming or scrapping the current season this month or into the start of June.

How the Raptors’ championship shaped the romantic relationships of their fans – The Athletic

The playoffs would still be a challenge, with the fragility of more serious commitments to each other and to the Raptors. Two months is an eternity for a fan who can be as intense as Suna describes herself, and she would be too excited, good or bad, to withhold any of the emotion in their chats.

“It was a perfect time for Tosin to witness all my different temperaments,” Suna says. “The fact that he still stayed with me, I knew we would be OK. I’m glad he describes it as ‘passion’ instead of a ‘tantrum.’ And, of course, as sports fans it was something we could share together.”

It wasn’t just Tosin getting to see Suna at her most passionate. While he wasn’t quite as invested in the Raptors’ success, he was invested in Suna’s happiness, which is what Suna took away from the first two months of their relationship.

“I was a nervous wreck the whole time and he was the only person able to calm me down,” she says. “He comforted me through losses and danced with me through wins. I know it sounds silly because we’re talking about how sports, and specifically the Raptors, shaped our relationship, but for someone who takes it as seriously I do, I saw everything I wanted in Tosin: caring, patient, supportive. I now see those same characteristics in different aspects of our relationship. When the Raptors won it all, he was genuinely happy for me to have experienced something I’ve pretty much waited for my whole life.”

Suna and Tosin didn’t get to experience any of the playoff games together, but their schedules allowed for a reunion right after the Raptors’ parade. It was a fitting celebration of the title and what was effectively the first act of their relationship. Suna had witnessed almost everything she needed in a partner in Tosin during the championship run, with just one thing left to work on.

“He considers himself an NBA fan with a strong affinity for the Raptors,” Suna says. “I’m working on changing this to something more permanent.”

Let’s Remember Some Toronto Raptors: Kris Humphries tries to get over the hump – Raptors HQ

His Raptors Run
Much like in Utah, Humphries was behind a couple of higher-profile players on their depth chart. Chris Bosh’s stardom was on the rise, and coach Mitchell had to play Bargnani as per instructions from the top. Humphries had to settle in and try to be an impact player every chance he got on the floor.

While in Toronto, Humphries had a couple of noteworthy games, including:

Detroit Pistons, April 13, 2007 – Humphries was the X-Factor off the bench, hauling 18 rebounds against a 50+win Pistons team that had Rasheed Wallace, Chris Webber, Antonio McDyess, and young Amir Johnson.

Houston Rockets, February 28, 2007 – Humphries had a perfect game (7-for-7 FG) as was part of the bench mob that shocked Tracy McGrady’s Houston Rockets.

In three seasons, Kris Humphries averaged 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in under 12 minutes. Consistent minutes were hard to come by, as Mitchell had to play Bargnani a lot. An emergency appendectomy procedure shut down Andrea Bargnani’s season in 2007, and we got the full Humphries experience — for better or worse.

On the plus side, Humphries’ tenure as a Raptor was as advertised — he’s a blue-collar hustle guy that demonstrated great motor, strength, and athleticism.

In transition, Humphries was a freight train and emphatic dunker. He’s a brute force in the paint, but also has no problem getting physical on the defensive end. Humphries had a decent touch around the 15-foot area, but that part of his game was inconsistent, reflecting his mediocre free-throw shooting (he only passed 70% FT shooting once in his first seven seasons).

Offensively, Humphries demonstrated that he had a nice touch around the basket while showing decent footwork and strength to hold his defensive position around the paint. He was also always in play for rebound opportunities.

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