Title: Raptors lost out on prospect Jarrod Uthoff. A new D-League system could prevent that
Date: March 14, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors “losing” Jarrod Uthoff from their prospect pool, and how the situation is a last vestige of the “old” D-League setup.
In an alternate universe, NBA forward Jarrod Uthoff could have been checking in for the Raptors late in the team’s 100-78 victory on Monday. There’s another alternate timeline where Uthoff played at the Air Canada Centre earlier in the day, still a member of Raptors 905, the team’s D-League affiliate. Instead, Uthoff entered wearing a Dallas Mavericks jersey, helping them run out the final 3:09 of the fourth quarter.
That Uthoff has ascended to the NBA on a 10-day contract with the Mavericks rather than through a call-up with the Raptors is an interesting wrinkle of the “old” D-League setup, a landscape that could be significantly different with changes in the new collective bargaining agreement that will go into effect in July.
Uthoff didn’t hear his name called on draft night back in June, but quickly got a look from the Sacramento Kings at Las Vegas Summer League in July. While he didn’t make waves there, the Raptors ranked him high among undrafted free agents and jumped at the chance to bring him into training camp. Thinking Uthoff had a legitimate chance to compete for their 15th roster spot, the Raptors gave him a $50,000 guarantee, with the agreement that if the sweet-shooting combo-forward failed to make the team, he’d become a D-League affiliate player with the 905.
“We brought him in to camp knowing that he had an outside chance of making our main Raptors team,” 905 general manager Dan Tolzman said. “Just because of his skill set and his talent level, we knew if everything lines up, this guy could make our team. It didn’t work out that way at camp, and to me, he’s made huge strides from then until now.”