Toronto Raptors waiving Sagaba Konate opens up potential two-way spot

Toronto Raptors - Sagaba Konate (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Sagaba Konate (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors have made their first cut of training camp, waiving rookie Sagaba Konate. His departure opens up a potential two-way spot.

And just like that, the Toronto Raptors have made their first cut. According to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, Sagaba Konate, an undrafted rookie out of West Virginia, has been released. Toronto’s training camp roster is down to 19.

Konate’s release comes as a bit of a surprise. Not because he was expected to make the 15 man roster (that was always a longshot), but rather because he was signed to an Exhibit-10 contract. An Exhibit-10 deal allows players to be automatically converted to two-way contracts, so Konate’s release means that the team not only didn’t think he was worth an NBA roster spot but also thought he wasn’t worthy of a two-way.

It’s tempting to link Konate’s departure with the timing of Nurse’s comments about a lack of effort by newcomers. However, the team is reportedly still interested in keeping him with the Raptors 905, and G-League/two-way players get cut all the time. Assuming this has to do with Nurse’s comments is pretty reckless. More than likely, Konate just didn’t impress in camp as much as the team hoped.

Prior to his release, Konate was a favorite to earn one of the team’s available two-way spots — along with Oshae Brissett who appears to still be a frontrunner.

With Konate out of the picture, who are the Toronto Raptors remaining options?

Devin Robinson

One of two remaining Exhibit-10 deals (Brissett is the other), Devin Robinson appears to be the other obvious candidate for a two-way spot. The 6-foot-8, 24-year-old forward played for the Washington Wizards on a two-way contract last season. While he didn’t produce much at the NBA level (he appeared in only three games), Robinson was a solid player for the team’s G-League affiliate.

But at 24-years-old, it’s fair to wonder if Robinson has reached his ceiling or at least close to his ceiling. In two seasons since leaving college, he’s played on three G-League teams and appeared in just three NBA games. It’s not impossible for a player to bounce around before finding success, but if he had anything close to an NBA skill set, he’d probably have stuck somewhere by now. So far, he’s played fewer than 12 minutes during the preseason.

Robinson still has a shot to earn a two-way deal. But don’t assume that he’s a lock due to his contract situation.

Isaiah Taylor or Cameron Payne

I’ve noted several times how nearly every organization in the NBA has a minimum of three-point guards, and that while Cameron Payne and Isaiah Taylor aren’t one of the 15 most talented players on the Raptors, positional scarcity may allow them to make the roster.

But man, I didn’t expect things to look this ugly during the preseason. Taylor and Payne haven’t just been bad; they’ve been Eric Bledsoe during the Eastern Conference Finals bad.

Taylor is averaging two points on 33-percent shooting and 1.5 assists in 8.8 minutes per game. And he’s thoroughly outplaying Payne.

Neither player deserves a roster spot. However, the team probably still wants a third-string point guard in case of an injury to Kyle Lowry or Fred VanVleet. Offering a two-way deal, and using Taylor or Payne as an emergency call-up, would be a nice way to split the difference.

Someone outside the organization

Toronto isn’t the only team that’s about to make a tough couple of cuts over the next few days. As other franchises trim their roster to 15, the Toronto Raptors can browse the rest of the league for potential talent.

Obviously, there is a bit of uncertainty with this route, as you never can judge as well from afar as you can when they’re within your walls. However, if Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse don’t like any of the aforementioned options, this certainly is a path.

We likely won’t know who Toronto chooses until the last-minute. The longer they wait, the more players who are cut, the wider the selection of available prospects.

Next. Rapture survey: Biggest questions heading into the season. dark

Konate was the first release of the season. A few more names will drop in the next couple of days. A player or two could be added as well.