The latest NBA rumors suggest the Toronto Raptors will sign Jared Sullinger. Upon further inspection, it appears that it is more than just a run-of-the-mill rumor; it is actually a near-certainty.
According to Bleacher Report, the former Boston Celtics forward plans to sign with the Raptors. The deal is reported to be for one year at approximately $5-6 million. Sullinger himself posted a telling tweet earlier today, indicating he will be continuing his career north of the border.
— Jared Sullinger (@Jared_Sully0) July 11, 2016
While Jared Sullinger has had a solid NBA career thus far, FanSided reports that Sullinger lost his spot in the Celtics’ rotation during the 2016 playoffs. Coach Brad Stevens decided to go with a “pace-and-space” lineup against Atlanta, which meant using Jonas Jerebko more, and Sullinger less.
The Celtics then signed star forward/center Al Horford, and allowed big man Amir Johnson’s $12 million 2016-17 salary to become guaranteed. At that point, Boston had very little room for Sullinger, so they rescinded their previous qualifying offer, making Sullinger an unrestricted free agent.
The Toronto Raptors were seeking to upgrade their power forward position, which was their weak link last year. Luis Scola is getting older and becoming ineffective, and Patrick Patterson was inconsistent, at best. Jared Sullinger will be penciled in as Toronto’s starter at power forward going into next season.
With a significant increase in the NBA’s salary cap for 2016-17, teams are spending large amounts of cash this summer, and some of that is being spent on mediocre players. Getting Jared Sullinger for $5-6 million annually would seem to be a great deal for the Raptors. On the flip side, if Sullinger has a strong showing next season in Toronto, he could be setting himself up for a huge payday next summer.
There have been other NBA rumors making the rounds that Sullinger could sign with someone other than the Toronto Raptors. For example, the Inquisitr presented a scenario where Sullinger could end up in Brooklyn as a member of the Nets. The New York Knicks were also said to have shown interest in the six-foot-nine forward.
Jared Sullinger came to Ohio State University in 2010 with a great deal of fanfare, and he didn’t disappoint the Buckeyes faithful. He had two strong seasons in Columbus before declaring for the 2012 NBA Draft. NBA scouts were uncertain if Sullinger’s skills would translate to the pro game as he was thought to be a “tweener,” who was not big enough to play power forward, but not athletic enough to play small forward.
Due to these concerns, Sullinger fell to No. 21 overall in the draft that year, eventually taken by the Boston Celtics. Over the course of his four NBA seasons, Sullinger has proven to be a productive player, but he has struggled to remain healthy. Out of a possible 328 regular season games, Jared Sullinger has only played in 258 of those contests (171 starts).
— Providence Journal (@projo) December 22, 2015
Sullinger is coming off a season in which he posted 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, mostly playing as a starter. Circumstances may have made him expendable in Boston, but he should be a welcome (and inexpensive) addition to the Toronto Raptors lineup.
This seems to be an excellent signing by Toronto, but there is one issue that could get in the way of Jared Sullinger’s success in Canada, which is his battle with fitness. Sullinger has had problems with his conditioning and weight for most of his NBA career, even to the point where Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has made public statements regarding the matter.
“Jared just hasn’t met his goals. He’s not up to the standards that he wants, and is not up to the standards that we think are in his best interests for the long-term health of his career,” said Ainge. “He’s not up to par to the standards that we feel are necessary to be a consistent winning player and play with great conditioning.”
NBA rumors indicating that the Toronto Raptors will sign Jared Sullinger appear to have traction. Do you think this is a good move for the franchise?
[Photo by Rick Scuteri/AP Images]