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The Toronto Raptors continue to wiggle for as much salary cap room as possible.
Per The Athletic’s Blake Murphy, the Raptors have waived forwards DeAndre’ Bembry and Paul Watson Jr. in addition to Rodney Hood, which was reported earlier today.
Watson’s contract for $1.7 million was set to become guaranteed on Thursday at midnight if he were still on the roster at the time, while Bembry’s $2.0 million guarantee would be triggered on Monday, also at midnight. By releasing both now, the Raptors create a little more salary cap flexibility, which could either change the way they operate as an over-the-cap team or an under-the-cap team. Alternatively, it could signal that there is a free agent they are interested in pursuing, and wanted to clear extra room to sign them.
With a sudden influx at the forward position from drafting Scottie Barnes, and the expected acquisition of Miami Heat forward Precious Achiuwa in a Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade, there is now suddenly a logjam that the Raptors appear to be trying to clean up. Forward Yuta Watanabe had a strong showing last season, and it appears the Raptors are inclined to keep him on the roster for the upcoming year despite also having a non-guaranteed contract.
Bembry, the 27 year-old out of Saint Joseph’s University, had a nice season for the Raptors off the bench and was able to showcase his versatility as a defender and playmaker. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.1 assists in 51 games for Toronto this past season.
Watson, the 26 year-old sophomore from Fresno State, displayed a strong shooting touch and seemed to be hitting his stride in the middle of the season before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. He averaged 4.1 points per game and shot 46.9% from three point range.