The Toronto Raptors already changed the scope of the franchise when they acquired Dennis Schroder following the departure of Fred VanVleet and brought Jakob Poeltl back on an $80 million contract, but Masai Ujiri was far from finished in free agency.
The Raptors were able to add Jalen McDaniels, formerly of the Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers, via the team’s bi-annual exception. McDaniels will come to town on a two-year, $9.3 million deal that seems fairly economical for a player that is as young and desired as he is.
McDaniels not only fits in with Ujiri’s overall team-building philosophy and is weakening a rival in Philadelphia by leaving, but he is still just 25 years old and coming off the best season of his career. McDaniels will find a home on the Raptors’ bench very quickly in 2023 and beyond.
Toronto Raptors sign Jalen McDaniels to a two-year contract
McDaniels is fresh off the best season of his career, averaging 9.4 points per game with the Hornets (where he spent the first 3.5 seasons of his career) and 76ers. McDaniels is a career 34.5% 3-point shooter, but he bumped that average up to 40% in his time with Philadelphia.
The “Vision 6-9” blueprint is still alive, as McDaniels is a switchable defender who has shown the ability to finish inside and hit some 3-pointers when called upon. With the status of Thad Young and Otto Porter Jr. up on the air, McDaniels could be a solid rotation replacement.
Of course, McDaniels did fall out of the rotation in the postseason, and there are some questions about how high his offensive ceiling is. The Raptors are also very close to the luxury tax, meaning that fans should expect to see one or two more moves before the start of the season to get some breathing room.
The Raptors had around $10 million over the next two years to spend, and they managed to rope in a player in the prime of his career with some solid defensive skills and the athleticism that Ujiri loves to see. He will have no trouble fitting in with Darko Rajakovic’s rotation.