Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Toronto Raptors have signed Tyler Hansbrough, aka "Psycho T" of the Indiana Pacers, agreeing to a two-year deal that is worth part of the mid-level exception.
This marks Masai Ujiri’s first big signing with Toronto, as Tyler should become a solid rotation piece and is able to play both power forward and center for the Raptors.
The former lottery picked averaged 14.1 points and 10.1 rebounds in his eight games as a starter last season and owns career highs of 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Psycho T played sparingly for the Pacers last season, managing just under 20 minutes per game due to the presence of All-Star big man Roy Hibbert and the silent assassin David West.
The fact that Masai was able to land Hansbrough for a portion of the MLE seems like a stroke of pure genius when compared to the nonsensical contracts Bryan Colangelo threw around as GM of the Toronto Raptors. The signing should further solidify Ujiri’s run at the unofficial summer-executive-of-the-league race for Raptors fans.
Is This a Good Signing for the Raptors?
This is an excellent signing for the Toronto Raptors, who land a solid rotation big who will play ahead of the hapless Aaron Gray and could also push to start.
Raptors fans seems to be up in arms over this move, but the backlash is severely unwarranted and short-sighted, given that Hansbrough is arguably an upgrade over Andrea Bargnani in that he is a double-double threat as a starter and comes at a third of the price.
Psycho T is a rugged rebounder at 6’9" and can post solid big-man numbers if given the requisite minutes. The thing to really zero in on here, however, is how inexpensive this contract is and the breath of fresh air a signing like this should be for both the Raptors locker room and fanbase.
Psycho T will quickly become a fan favourite in Toronto as he brings his hard hat and lunch pail with him to every contest. He is the perfect fit for an otherwise hockey-crazed market that may appreciate his goon status.
Hansbrough is a solid first big off the bench for what the Raptors are trying to accomplish this season, though the power forward position will have to be more satisfactorily addressed going into the 2014-15 season.
What’s Next for the Raptors?
Next in line for Raptors management is trying to address the Marcus Camby situation.
The aging big man is interested in playing for a championship contender, per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, and the Raptors will likely look to use him in a possible move this summer before considering a buyout.
The Raptors must also make a move to add an additional point guard or combo guard to come off of the bench. There are a few interesting restricted free agents who may be available via sign-and-trade as well as some undrafted and unsigned free agents with upside.
There is also some speculation that the Raptors will try to move Linas Kleiza’s expiring contract in a potential trade before seriously considering a buyout. A buyout is an option which never really made too much sense going into the last year of his deal, unless the Raptors find a very intriguing way to get the needed cap space to make the math work—that is, instead of contract math, where an expiring contract is a prized asset.
While we cannot say for certain what Masai’s next move will be, we can all take solace in the fact that, with all due respect to Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, we finally have a GM in Toronto who really “gets it"—and understands today’s basketball environment both financially and from a team-building and scouting standpoint.