Title: McKinnie, McDaniels aim to make final case for roster spots with Raptors
Date: October 13, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the last two players competing for the Raptors’ final roster spot ahead of their preseason finale.
When the Toronto Raptors cut three players last week, Alfonzo McKinnie and K.J. McDaniels would have been forgiven for exhaling a sigh of relief despite losing a few friends they’d been working in the trenches with for weeks. Those moves trimmed the Raptors’ training camp roster from 20 to 17, sending a clear message that the McTryouts, as it were, are the last men standing in the battle for the final one, maybe two, roster spots. And that the competition can end at any time.
“It’s a wake-up call that it can start early,” McDaniels said this week.
At the outset of camp, McKinnie and McDaniels looked like the favorites, but whether both could lock down spots was a question mark. They have some shared strengths and weaknesses, and in Kyle Wiltjer and Andy Rautins, the Raptors had the option to infuse the end of the bench with more shooting (Kennedy Meeks, tabbed for Raptors 905, never had much of a chance). The Raptors have since added Davion Berry to the camp roster, but heading into Friday’s pre-season finale, the competition is firmly McKinnie against McDaniels.
Again, both could still make the team. The NBA expanded rosters to 17 this season thanks to the introduction of a pair of two-way roster spots, and so there are technically two spots up for grabs. Both McKinnie and McDaniels are on deals with just $100,000 guaranteed, and because those contracts don’t become fully guaranteed until Jan. 10, there’s not a lot of opportunity cost to keeping both players — either can simply be waived down the line if the roster spot is needed or if the team grows concerned about being above the luxury tax line. (The tax is calculated based on where rosters stand for the 82nd game of the season; the Raptors project to be over the line if they keep 15 players all season but under with just 14, based on current estimates.)