Toronto Raptors Get Landry Fields
The New York Knicks balked at Toronto’s back-loaded offer sheet for Landry Fields, making the 24-year-old small forward a Raptor on Saturday night. While the structure of the deal was at least partially constructed to hurt the Knicks bid for then free agent Steve Nash, Raptors’ President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo insists it is still a good deal for Toronto.
“What we feel we have in Landry Fields is a very valuable piece,” Colangelo said. “We think at the end of the day there is going to be significant value for what we are going to be paying Landry Fields.”
That Fields has been signed to a contract beyond the value of his contributions to the Knicks last season is not in doubt and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Offer sheets to restricted free agents are not expected to be successful if they do not come with a substantial premium.
Since Colangelo hired new head coach Dwane Casey about 12 months ago, the Raptors’ focus has changed. Casey is all about the defensive end of the floor and he’s looking for gritty, hard-working, responsible players who will accept his system.
“We are adding a good athlete, a fierce competitor, a guy who never lets up at all,” Colangelo said. “He is constantly pressing and has a great feel for the game offensively and defensively. A lot of times guys are successful with effort and energy and I think we are adding pieces that bring that element to the table.”
The Raptors believe they are adding a “glue-guy” that can start at small forward and help make the players around him better. They are also counting on the offensive production that Fields demonstrated in his rookie season when he shot 39.3 percent from three-point range and hoping his sophomore shooting slump is well behind him.
Unless Colangelo makes further changes, there will be competition for minutes at small forward in the Raptors’ training camp this fall. Last year’s starter James Johnson played well defensively, but has limited shooting range and was often more effective at power forward. Linas Kleiza has fully recovered from last season’s knee surgery and recently has started to look like the offensive force the Raptors expected after his dominant performance at the World Championships two summers ago.
Fields is a Casey-type of player and should give the Raptors an upgrade at small forward for next season. The cap hit might be on the high side, but I can’t remember a coach complaining about a general manager paying his players too much.