It’s not exactly LeBron James coming back to Cleveland, but the top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft is coming home. Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania says Anthony Bennett has signed a one-year, minimum deal with the Toronto Raptors, confirming prior reports that he was going to sign there after being waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After two disappointing seasons, Bennett, still just 22 years old, recently reached a buyout agreement with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he landed after being traded by Cleveland in last summer’s blockbuster Kevin Love/Andrew Wiggins deal. After noting that multiple interested teams would pass on the price tag required to claim him on waivers, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed his report:
Anthony Bennett has officially cleared waivers, league source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) September 25, 2015
A couple minutes before that became official, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman identified the Raptors as his likely new home:
Former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett is expected to clear waivers and sign with Toronto, source close to situation told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) September 25, 2015
The Raptors are a logical fit for the Toronto native, as they’re a mix of veterans and young players that are neither bereft of leadership nor so established that he stands no chance of making an impact. Toronto lost forward Amir Johnson in free agency, replacing him with DeMarre Carroll, leading many to think they’ll embrace small ball.
Bennett’s limitations on defense may cause problems down the line pairing with Jonas Valanciunas, but if Bennett earns the kind of playing time to create that issue, that means he’ll have improved substantially. Not only could the Raptors be the right fit for him as a team, the city might be the most important part, considering that if he takes a while to find his footing or show signs of developing, one would think that no fanbase will support him like that of his hometown.