The Toronto Raptors have brought in some noteworthy names in the free agency frenzy, but adding names like Dennis Schroder and Jalen McDaniels meant that Dalano Banton had to be let go after two seasons.
Banton, who started the offseason as a restricted free agent, seemed to have a clear avenue toward a Toronto return. Masai Ujiri talked him up at his end-of-season press conference, and he was present at the opening press conference for new head coach Darko Rajakovic.
Unfortunately for the Rexdale product, the Raptors made him an unrestricted free agent and created a path that led him to sign with the Boston Celtics. Banton will likely be at the end of Joe Mazzulla’s bench while competing for backup point guard minutes.
For a player that largely failed to assert himself as a rotation force and never quite sanded off the rough edges in his game, some Raptors fans are quite irritated that he is no longer in the team’s plans.
Toronto Raptors fans react to Dalano Banton joining Celtics.
Banton was not a particularly good player in the NBA, as he never developed a jumper or on-ball offensive game that could set him apart. Much of the anger seems to be directed at the front office reneging on their promise to lean more into a youth movement and player development.
If the Raptors knew that Banton was not going to factor into their plans, is it fair to question why they didn’t flip him to the Spurs in the Jakob Poeltl deal amid reports they were interested in him? Possibly, but trading a second-round pick who played like a second-rounder for another second isn’t moving the needle.
Nick Nurse was allegedly fired because he was unable to get the most out of Toronto’s young players like Banton. Letting both him and Nurse go shows contradicting statements being spouted from Ujiri and the front office.
Still, is it worth all this rancor during a Holiday to debate the legacy of the 13th-best player on last year’s team?
The Raptors likely won’t lose sleep now that Banton is in Boston, as he was not a factor in either of his first two seasons and would have been even less important this year after all of their new signings. However, the fact that his development was bungled doesn’t sit right with some fans.