The Toronto Raptors addressed a gaping hole in their rotation on Tuesday by securing former Washington Wizards guard Will Barton in the buyout market.
Barton, 32, spent eight seasons with the Denver Nuggets – starting 181 of his 185 appearances in his three most recent campaigns – prior to being traded to the Wizards this past offseason for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
During his time in Denver, Barton averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while playing 30.4 minutes, and in the process he became the franchise's all-time leader in made three-pointers with 804 at a 36.2 per cent clip.
He struggled to find a role on a Washington roster loaded with depth guards, and after agreeing to a buyout in the second year of his two-year, $30million contract, he will now join a Raptors side desperate for their own backcourt depth.
Welcome to the squad, @WillTheThrillB5 pic.twitter.com/1QvkRpdN81— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 28, 2023
This season, only two Raptors players officially classified as guards – Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr – are averaging more than 15 minutes per game.
Behind them, 23-year-old point guard Malachi Flynn and 24-year-old point forward Dalano Banton have been given chances, but are not yet trusted by head coach Nick Nurse to be key rotation pieces on an aspiring playoff team.
Toronto signalled to the league with their trade deadline acquisition of Jakob Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs that they believe they are a live chance to come out of the East again, four years after Kawhi Leonard led them to their sole championship in 2019.
Scooping up Barton is further indication of that belief, as the veteran guard was expected to have his choice among a number of playoff teams, but opted for a Raptors team who have won seven of their past nine to climb up to ninth in the East at 30-32.
To create a roster spot, Toronto waived Juancho Hernangomez, who co-starred alongside Adam Sandler in the 2022 basketball movie Hustle.