The Toronto Raptors will leave no stone unturned in their quest to find more bench depth and keep Fred VanVleet from breaking down later in the season. If they want to bring back an old friend who can still get buckets at this level, Cory Joseph would make a ton of sense.
Joseph got his start in San Antonio, but he had a very impressive two-year stint with the Raptors during the Dwane Casey era from 2015 to 2017. After averaging 8.9 points and 3.2 assists per game in those two years, the Toronto native was traded to the Pacers.
Joseph has been a bit of a basketball nomad since the trade, going from Indiana to Sacramento before ending up back with Casey on the Detroit Pistons. While he does have a player option that he could pick up, the direction Detroit is heading in might not be very attractive.
The Pistons have their franchise player in Cade Cunningham, the No. 5 pick in the 2022 draft to select another stud, and a developing youngster in Killian Hayes they likely do not want to part with. Toronto would also give Joseph a chance to compete for a postseason spot.
Will the Toronto Raptors sign Cory Joseph?
When compared to fellow ex-Raptor Delon Wright, Joseph is the superior offensive player. Joseph averaged 8.0 points and 3.6 assists per game last year, but the most impressive part was the fact that he nailed 41% of his 3-point attempts. That shooting will be valued in Toronto.
Joseph’s 4.1 assists per game during his Detroit tenure is the highest such mark he’s posted with any franchise. Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton are still far away from establishing themselves as NBA rotation players. At the same time, Joseph could survey the landscape and find numerous NBA teams willing to sign him as a backup.
The Raptors could offer Joseph a role that is not too dissimilar from what he had in his first go-around. He wouldn’t be the unquestioned leader, but he can provide a few timely buckets per game off the bench without being a ridiculous financial burden on the cap sheet.
You know what you’re getting with Joseph. He’ll give it everything he’s got on defense, nail some open 3-pointers, and be a passable starter if one or more players cannot go due to injury. If he’s willing to leave Detroit and Toronto doesn’t draft a guard at No. 33, a reunion could be in the cards.