In the 2019 NBA Draft, the Raptors held only the No. 59 pick. At that slot, they looked at several names, ultimately selecting Dewan Hernandez and signing him to a three-year minimum deal with very little guaranteed. They then landed three more of their targets with that pick in Oshae Brissett (two-way), Shamorie Ponds (two-way, later waived) and Terence Davis II (two-year minimum deal with one year guaranteed). Davis has worked out famously, and Brissett looks like a solid piece.
The decision to draft a player here or compete for an undrafted free agent comes down to agent relationships to some degree. If you can have an in-draft conversation that assures you Player X if he isn’t picked at No. 60, it makes sense to select the less certain Player Y with the pick, potentially landing you two prospects. That has risks, of course. A few years ago, a likely Raptors UDFA was selected at No. 60; you can’t control what another team — in this case, the Pelicans (via the Bucks) — will do.
With the Canada-U.S. border closed for non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic — complicating the league’s goal of returning teams to their arenas next season for its lone franchise outside America — the Raptors have reportedly had discussions about the possibility of Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center serving as a temporary home.
However, according to Rick Bozich of the local Fox-affiliated TV station, WDRB, those talks ended after Raptors players expressed their reluctance to play in Kentucky’s largest city because of the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, and the social unrest that followed.
The reported concerns are in line with previous comments from the Raptors, who were outspoken in the NBA’s Orlando bubble about Taylor’s death and other racial and social justice causes that emerged over the summer.
And, per Bozich, it is confirmed the Raptors will not be playing their 2021 season in Louisville.
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