Anthony Bennett cleared waivers on Friday courtesy of a buyout agreement he reached with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier in the week. Clearing waivers now means Bennett will receive 3.8 million dollars from the Timberwolves as per the agreement and at the same time will become an unrestricted free agent.
While on waivers, there were four possible teams that could absorb Bennett’s 5.8 million dollar contract: Philadelphia 76ers, Utha Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Portland Trailblazers. Eventually none bit the bullet and according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the Toronto Raptors seem to be frontrunners to land the 3rd year forward.
The Raptors can only sign Bennett at the veteran’s minimum which for his experience is a sum of 947,276 dollars. The money involved in this deal is what makes it so good for the franchise, that is looking to bounce back from a disappointing first round exit in the 2015 Playoffs.
Players often look to play at home, for their home team, so that is likely a huge motivating factor for Bennett.
Bennett’s agents were pushing for a buyout agreement with the Timberwolves to look for teams that could offer him more playing time, league sources said. If the deal with the Raptors comes through, the situation could be no different as Bennett could find himself warming the benches again with the Raptors having multiple more producing forwards in Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, DeMarre Carroll and maybe even James Johnson.
Despite his dismal averages over the span of his two year career of 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds, there is a lot more to Bennett than meets the eye. No player without talent gets drafted number one overall in a NBA Draft. Surely the Raptors player development staff could help Bennet become a more productive piece which would eventually help him and the team’s future.
Bennett was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. After one season, he was shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a trade that helped Kevin Love join forces with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, Ohio. In Minnesota, the team’s rotation allowed Bennett just 16 minutes of playing time which weren’t enough for him to get back into some sort of rhythm.
The bottom line is that signing Bennett has absolutely no risk for the Raptors. As of now, from the player’s and team’s prespective there is only possible upside to this deal.