Morning Coffee – Wed, Mar 10

17-19 8th | Yuta Sells Merch | Lowry: LIES ALL LIES! | Jalen Rose is a shitty teammate

All your Toronto Raptors trade ideas for 2021 are bad and here’s why – The Athletic

Danny Green and Mike Scott are necessary inclusions to make the salary math work with Lowry’s $30.5-million cap hit outbound. Bringing Green back would be nice and Scott would probably shoot 100 percent as a Raptor, given his history against them, but both would probably be buyout candidates in a sell-Lowry scenario. The real acquisition here is the pick and prospect capital — you’d be hoping to land three from the pool of “Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey, first-round picks” and then use Tony Bradley (a moderately interesting centre prospect) or Terrance Ferguson (less interesting) to finish matching salaries.

This framework has made the most sense to me since the beginning of any Lowry-76ers talk. Philadelphia is not losing too much from their current core when you think ahead to playoff rotations, and Lowry would solidify them as, at worst, co-favourite in the East. The Raptors, meanwhile, theoretically get three longer-term assets as they shift to their next window of contention, two of whom could potentially contribute right away.

The sticking point would probably be the 76ers being unwilling to including Maxey. Would the Raptors take two picks and Thybulle? Is Thybulle, a tremendous defensive fit with offensive limitations, enough as the key piece? Would Toronto accept two from the Thybulle/Maxey/firsts chest if Lowry told them he wanted out? This is something Rich Hoffman and I are going to discuss in more detail later this week.

Raptors first half takeaways: Hold the rebuild, Powell’s emergence & Lowry’s future – Yahoo!

You might find this hard to agree with, considering how frustrating this season has been, but there have been positives. If you take away the 2-8 start and strip away the two losses to end the first half due to health and safety protocols, the Raptors are 15-9. It’s a selective sample of games that might be ignoring some real problems on the team, like their depth and the centre position, but it’s genuinely the sample that I think represents what this Raptors team is: a well-coached, hard-working team with clear flaws on their roster. The parity in the Eastern Conference means the Raptors are an above-average playoff team in the conference when they’re fully healthy.

There are so many external factors that have impacted this team (and every team in the league) this season, but it also doesn’t mean they will return to Toronto at some point and transform into a championship contender. But the 2-8 start increasingly looks like a blip rather than the norm. The first 10 games might ultimately doom them this season given how close the playoff race is, but it’s hard for me to see the talent on this roster and think they’re closer to a full rebuild than becoming a contender again.

Whether they should opt for a full rebuild is an entirely different question. The idea of securing a franchise-changing lottery pick is compelling, but tearing it down will mean moving a lot more players on the roster. A rebuild is also rarely a quick process. Consider the Pistons, who won the championship in 2004, returned to the Finals the following year, and then made three straight Eastern Conference finals before the roster started to age. They’re on their 13th season without a playoff series win. Be careful what you wish for.

The Toronto Raptors 2020-21 Mid-Season Report Card – Raptors HQ

Chris Boucher – A-
OK, who had Boucher doubling his scoring average this season and becoming a semi-reliable player for the Raptors? It seems obvious in hindsight, but come on: did you really in your bones believe that? Boucher is averaging 13.6 points (sixth highest on the team), 6.5 rebounds (second on the team), and obviously the most blocks (1.9 per game). His three-point shooting (at 45 percent) might be for real too. As the Boston broadcast pointed out recently — with much befuddled amazement — Boucher is the only player in the NBA with over 50 blocks and 50 made threes. Again, who saw that coming this season?

Chris Boucher making more noise – Yahoo!

Chris Boucher has had a pretty weird season alongside Nick Nurse with Toronto but things are starting to look up after he got 35 minutes and hit 11-of-15 shots and five 3-pointers for 30 points and five rebounds last Thursday at Boston. Boucher has only made two starts and has played fewer than 20 minutes in nine games this season. But when he’s gotten big minutes he’s usually made the most of them and is averaging 13.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.9 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers on the year. Despite the weird minutes and inconsistent playing time, Boucher is still sitting on fourth-round fantasy value this season and his 23.6 minutes per game are the lowest you’ll find for anyone in the Top 4 or 5 rounds. Yes, Boucher’s 3-point shot looks like it’s coming out of a sling shot, he’s had some issues with foul trouble and his coach refuses to fully lock into him, but the future is bright, a big second half could be on the way and I’ve got a good feeling about the second half of the season for Boucher. Now is probably a good time to test the trade waters on Boucher before he fully figures things out with Toronto.

Yuta Watanabe, Toronto Raptors lead NBA’s most popular jersey and team merchandise lists in Japan | The Star

The 26-year-old secured the top spot on the NBA’s most popular jersey list in Japan while the Raptors led the league in most popular team merchandise, based on sales from the official online NBA Store in Japan.

Watanabe, who has worked his way from the end of the bench to a part of the Toronto rotation, recaptures the No. 1 spot after topping the same list in his rookie season in 2019 with the Memphis Grizzlies.

He is followed on this year’s list by Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Rui Hachimura, LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Chris Paul, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Carmelo Anthony and LaMelo Ball.

Raptors’ Lowry debunks trade rumours | Toronto Sun

“The lies people tell in the Media are amazing,” Lowry’s Instagram story read. “Don’t put (things) out when they ain’t come from me!”

For what it’s worth, The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo made mention on The Bill Simmons Podcast that he has heard Lowry has told others about a trade.

No mention of who allegedly said what.

Safe to say the Raptors will consult with Lowry if a trade scenario that makes sense for Toronto is presented.

A team often mentioned in trade rumors is Philadelphia, Lowry’s home town.

Either of the two L.A.-based teams can use a bulldog in the backcourt who isn’t afraid of the big stage or a team such as Denver.

Making a deal isn’t as easy as throwing out a rumour, whether it’s based in fact or fiction, but get used to it because the Lowry discussion will only intensify in the days leading up to March 25.

He recently sold his five-bedroom, 10-bathroom mansion in Toronto for $5.12 million, which only added to the speculation that Lowry will soon be playing elsewhere.

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