TORONTO — He may be leaving Toronto, but Serge Ibaka says he’ll always be a Raptor.
The 31-year-old took to social media Sunday to dole out thanks for his time with the team, saying “the love I have received on this journey I will never forget.”
“I’ve had great teammates, front office and staff next to me. And of course, a fan base that is second to none,” said the post, which accompanied a black and white photo of Ibaka walking off the court and into a plethora of outstretched hands.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 22, 2020
“So thank you Toronto. Thank you, Canada. And thank you Raptors. I am one of yours forever. #WeTheNorth.”
His message comes amid multiple reports that Ibaka, a free agent, has signed a two-year, US$19-million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The seven-foot forward came to Toronto in a trade with the Orlando Magic in 2017, and played a crucial role in helping the squad win its 2019 championship title.
Ibaka said in his post that he felt “at home from day one.”
“I feel really blessed to have played for this city, these fans, and this organization,” he said.
“It is really a great organization that takes care of its players and I’m thankful that I became an NBA Champion with them.”
In 2017, he signed a three-year, US$65-million contract with the Raptors, cementing his place as Toronto’s centre.
Ibaka averaged 15.4 points per game and 8.2 rebounds a game with the Raptors last season.
He’s also well-known for his off-court personality, the Mafuzzy Chef, who gained notoriety for the YouTube series “How Hungry Are You?” where he cooked unique meals — including fried snake and a sandwich made of bull testicles — for his teammates and other NBA stars.
Hailing from the Republic of Congo, Ibaka was picked 24th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunber in the 2008 NBA draft after spending time playing basketball in Spain.
Tom Brady cuts postgame interview short after Bruce Arians question – Fox News
A flustered Tom Brady cut his post-game press conference short on Sunday after he was asked a question about the “chatter” surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff and comments made by former teammate Rob Ninkovich, who said Bruce Arians is “not cutting it.”
It was another heartbreaking loss for Brady as the Bucs fell 27-24 to the defending Super Bowl champions. The veteran quarterback seemed to struggle against the Chiefs going 27-of-41 for 345 yards with three touchdown passes (a slight improvement from last week) but he was sacked once and threw two interceptions.
During his postgame conference, Brady was asked about the relationship between him and Arians — a popular topic these days — and comments made by former New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich regarding Arians’ digs at Brady over the past few weeks.
“It’s just external noise that when you are losing, that’s what you deal with,” Brady replied. “I love playing with the guys that I play with, the coaches, the whole organization has been unbelievable. I think I have to go out and certainly do a better job the last four weeks of the year. So, I appreciate it. Let’s have a good week.”
Then, he just walked off. According to NBC Sports Boston, the whole interview lasted a little over two minutes.
This season has been a constant back and forth between Brady and Arians, with the latter being open about his disappointments.
Following a loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Monday, Arians said the problem isn’t his receivers. “We’ve got the guys open,” he said at the time. “I think [Brady’s] getting confused a few times with coverage, that might be causing some inaccurate balls.”
The remarks are what prompted Ninkovich to say that Arians is “not cutting it” and that he constantly “is throwing players under the bus.”
Raptors appear to be giving Terence Davis the benefit of the doubt – Sportsnet.ca
Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster has a lot of things to figure out and a limited amount of time to get it all done.
Not all problems are created equal.
Unable to play in Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Webster’s club is in the midst of building out a temporary home in Tampa Bay on the fly — including a world-class practice facility in a hotel ballroom — with barely three weeks until the 2020-21 season is due to start.
He’s also trying to navigate a tightrope, which features fairness and due process on one side, and the team’s progressive reputation for actively supporting women and their role in and around professional sports on the other.
The issues could potentially be in conflict as second-year guard Terence Davis continues to train with the team after being charged and investigated for an off-season domestic assault situation. The Raptors guard is alleged to have hit his girlfriend in the face and knocked over her toddler in the process.
Under Raptors president Masai Ujiri — who has yet to comment on the Davis issue — the club has worked to be seen as leaders as it relates to the roles of women within a professional sports organization. The club was proud that vice president of basketball operations Teresa Resch and assistant coach Brittni Donaldson were two of 14 women to earn championship rings with the Raptors in 2019. Their diversity, the Raptors argued, was a key to their success.
But so far, as they try to get settled in Tampa, the Raptors seem to be doing better with the logistics of starting from scratch in a new city than keeping their reputation scratch-free.
In his first comments since Davis was charged after the altercation in a New York City hotel room in late October, Webster attempted to explain Davis’s continued presence with the team as a matter of due process: under the NBA-NBPA Joint Policy on Domestic Violence, the entire matter — from eventual discipline to issues like putting a player on paid leave of absence — is handled by the office of NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
That Davis is in Tampa in advance of training camp is the league’s decision, Webster seemed to be saying.
But the questions got harder and Webster faltered.
Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons pointed out that, given the Raptors’ progressive reputation, having Davis with the team (he was even included for discretionary events like their volunteer mini-camp in Los Angeles last week, for example) could make them seem hypocritical.
“We’ve spoken at length with Terence — multiple people in our organization,” Webster said. “Obviously we wouldn’t make the decision if we weren’t comfortable with the information that we had. Obviously, it doesn’t preclude us from getting new information that will come out in the future for us to make a decision. But we felt we were thorough on our end.
“ … You know us, we take this incredibly serious,” Webster continued. “There’s no basketball issue that would ever prevent us from doing anything [with regard to his role with the team], but we also have to go with our relationship and our understanding of the conversation and what happened.”
Clearly Webster’s hands are tied, to some degree. Any disciplinary action taken before the league’s investigation is concluded — which likely won’t happen until after Davis’s Dec. 11 court date at the earliest, one would assume — would be grieved by the players’ union.
And clearly the Raptors feel the need to be fair to Davis as this all plays out, or at least they’ve been comfortable to do so. The club picked up the non-guaranteed second year of Davis’s contract on Sunday. The logic was that failing to do so before the investigation finished would have triggered a grievance from the players’ union.
But it would have sent a message, regardless. So would keeping Davis at a distance during discretionary team events.
It might have been construed as a different kind of leadership.
But Webster seems to have shown some of his cards, at least in implying that the club believes they were “thorough” in their own inquiry. And that rather than keep Davis at arm’s length for now they have decided to keep him as part of the group — “we also have to go with our relationship and our understanding of the conversation and what happened.”
It’s not hard to read between the lines and conclude that Davis — arguably the team’s most promising prospect based on a strong rookie season for the undrafted shooting guard — has already been given the benefit of the doubt, well before his court date.
To the extent something happened between him and his girlfriend, it could be implied, it was relatively minor — if there is such a thing as a sliding scale for domestic violence.
And who knows, maybe there are grounds for that. Former Celtics guard Jabari Bird was instantly placed on paid administrative leave just prior to training camp after he physically assaulted a girlfriend, attempted to strangle her and confined her to his apartment. Bird was eventually traded and waived and has yet to return to the NBA.
That the league — which holds most of the cards for the moment — hasn’t limited Davis’s contact with the team could be telling.
But at least until the investigation into what happened between Davis and his girlfriend is concluded — either by the legal system or by the NBA — a wiser path for the Raptors would be to avoid implying that Davis’s word is good enough for them and to get him on the floor in as routine fashion as possible.
There is a lot going on and a balance to be struck, but on the Davis matter the Raptors seem to have already shown their hand.
By the Numbers: Comparing Metcalf to Megatron – TSN
After D.K. Metcalf’s monster performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, the second-year wide receiver said he had a chip on his shoulder following comments made to him by Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Metcalf revealed after the game Schwartz said to him, “I was in Detroit with Megatron, but you’re not there yet.”
While there may have been a misunderstanding about the comment – Schwartz later clarified he meant to compliment Metcalf as the closest thing to Calvin Johnson, the three-time All-Pro receiver that retired after the 2015 season, Schwartz has seen – Metcalf used it as motivation to finish the game with 10 receptions for a career-high 177 yards.
The 22-year-old Metcalf has been outstanding for the Seahawks since the club selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Has he been as good as Johnson through the first year and a half of their careers? Is he on his way to becoming the next Megatron?
TSN.ca takes a closer look at Metcalf’s early-career numbers and compares them to Johnson’s statistics at the same time of his career.
- Metcalf accounted for 77 per cent of the Seahawks’ 230 passing yards. It was the third-highest percentage by a single receiver in the past five seasons, but strangely not even the highest percentage of Week 12. Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught the lone completion by fill-in QB Kendall Hinton against the New Orleans Saints.
- Metcalf’s 177 receiving yards were the fifth-most in Seahawks’ history, behind three games by Hall of Famer Steve Largent and one by fullback John Williams.
- Metcalf leads the league with 1,039 receiving yards and his nine receiving touchdowns are fifth in the NFL.
- With his 177 receiving yards on Monday, Metcalf became the fastest Seahawks receiver to eclipse the mark in just the 11th game of the season.
- His 1,039 receiving yards are also the fifth-most by a player in his first or second year in the league through 11 games in the past 30 years.
- His 1,939 career receiving yards are just 88 behind Joey Galloway’s 2,027 for most through two seasons in Seahawks franchise history.
Metcalf vs. Megatron (through the first 27 games of their career)
- Metcalf has 116 receptions on 190 targets for 1,939 yards and 16 touchdowns.
- Johnson had 101 receptions on 200 targets for 1,727 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007-2008.
- Johnson would finish his sophomore campaign with 78 receptions for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns.
- Metcalf is on pace to finish his sophomore season with 84 receptions for 1,511 yards and 13 touchdowns, projected over a full 16-game schedule.
- Johnson wouldn’t earn a trip to the Pro Bowl until his fourth season with the Lions and his best work came in seasons 5-7 when he named an All-Pro in three straight seasons.
- He would twice surpass Metcalf’s projected receiving yards total for this season (1,511) with 1,681 yards in 2011 and 1,964 yards in 2012.
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