After impressing during his two 10-day contracts, Freddie Gillespie has earned himself a new long-term contract with the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors were in a desperate way less than a month ago, with injuries decimating the team and seeing them slump to record lows, putting their season into question, until a couple of key depth additions helped plug the holes.
One such addition was forward Freddie Gillespie, who had impressed greatly with the Memphis Hustle of the NBA G League after being selected second overall in the development league’s draft.
Initially joining on a standard 10-day contract, with a second 10-day deal being agreed without question, Gillespie has been a valuable depth addition to Nick Nurse’s side, and has enjoyed six wins in the ten games he has featured in.
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During that spell, Gillespie has averaged 5.3 points, including two 10-point games, while shooting 60 per cent from the field, with 3.6 rebounds (2.0 defensive) and one block per game – all the while playing just 16 minutes a night on average.
Having depth throughout the line-up is key to all teams hoping to compete at the very top of the NBA, and with the future clearly something the team is looking to sure up, the Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that Gillespie’s contract is for two years.
The deal comes just days after the team signed Yuta Watanabe to a standard NBA contract, which is expected to see the Japanese native remain with the team during the 2021-22 season also.
With the Raptors expected to be tight up against the cap next season, locking up players currently with the organization could be a sensible cost-effective approach to building a competitive roster after so much turnover in recent years.
Keeping players that know Nurse’s system, and are already a part of what appears to be a truly enjoyable group and culture, is a logical move for the team and will ensure continuity further down the line-up with the 23-year-old former Baylor Bear having plenty of room to grow.
There are a number of moves the Raptors are likely to consider between now and the off-season, but locking up Gillespie beyond this year makes sense for a number of reasons and is largely unsurprising from the organization.