DeAndre Daniels, or as he’s soon to be known, The Draft Rights to DeAndre Daniels, has signed in Italy. The forward will play the 2016-17 season with Pallacanestro Mantovana of the Italian Serie A2 league, the team announced Monday.

This news will come as a surprise to some still hanging on to the hope of Daniels becoming a relevant piece for the Toronto Raptors. Coming right out of the draft, Daniels impressed in Las Vegas, averaging 10 points and 6.2 rebounds in 21.5 minutes, and it was clear why the organization thought his length may translate to the next level. The team’s second-round pick in 2014, Daniels spent what would have been his rookie season in Australia, then missed the bulk of last season with a Jones fracture in his foot. In a brief stint with Raptors 905 at the end of last year and with the parent club in Summer League, Daniels still looked to be working his way back into form and, to be blunt, looked like he would have needed at least a full season at the D-League level before being in the conversation for a training camp invite.

It’s tough to really judge Daniels’ progress since wrapping up at U-Conn, as even his time in Australia was slowed by injury. He averaged 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds while there and knocked down 34.1 percent of his threes, but he also shot just 39.6 percent overall, and it’s tough to translate those per-game stats from that environment. In his eight appearances with the 905, he averaged 2.9 points and 3.3 rebounds, flashing some nice rebounding and defensive instincts but again shooting poorly at 22.9 percent. He missed the opening game of Summer League with a minor injury, then fell out of the rotation, playing just 15 minutes in the tournament in total, and it seemed he may no longer be in the team’s immediate plans.

The biggest issue appears to be that the injuries he’s dealt with have prevented him from adding the requisite size to become a true combo-forward. A year in Italy to get full-time minutes may be the best thing to help catch him back up to speed, shake off any rust, and continue developing his game. He’s still just 24, so while the book may look closed on him for now, it’s possible he resurfaces as more than just a footnote in a trade, a la DeeAndre Hullett.

For the 905, their roster continues to get thinned out ahead of their second season. Of the players who finished last season on the roster, only three remain unsigned, plus James Siakam, who the team added from the free agent pool late in the year. They also own the returning player rights to three overseas players who are yet to sign deals for the coming season and, most notably, could land up to four players when the Raptors make their training camp cuts. E.J. Singler has agreed to repeat with the 905 if he doesn’t make the parent club, Drew Crawford is almost certainly heading overseas if he doesn’t, and the other three trying out likely fall somewhere in between. The 905 also have five draft picks to use in the draft, though that route doesn’t bare a lot of fruit, and they’re free to add up to four players from their open tryout, plus any from the available D-League player pool.

Player Last Season Years Remaining Notes
E.J. Singler Raptors 905 2 In camp with Raptors
Yanick Moreira Spain/France 0 Potential Affiliate Player
Jarrod Uthoff NCAA 0 Potential Affiliate Player
Fred VanVleet NCAA 0 Potential Affiliate Player
Drew Crawford Israel 1 Rights owned by Erie; in camp
John Jordan Raptors 905 2
Shannon Scott Raptors 905 2
Ashton Smith Raptors 905 2
Greg Smith Raptors 905/Minnesota 2
James Siakam Delaware 2 Acquired at end of season
Mustafa Shakur Germany 1
Will Sheehey France 1
Michael Williams N/A 1
Axel Toupane Raptors 905/Denver 2 In camp with Nuggets
Ronald Roberts Raptors 905 2 Signed in Turkey
DeAndre Daniels Raptors 905 2 Raptors own NBA rights; Signed in Italy
Davion Berry Raptors 905 2 Signed in Greece
Michale Kyser Raptors 905 2 Signed in Lebanon
Scott Suggs Raptors 905 2 Signed in Spain
Sim Bhullar Raptors 905 2 Signed in Taiwan
C.J. Leslie Israel 1 Signed in Cyprus
Ramone Moore Lithuania 1 Signed in Australia
Mitchell Watt Germany/Israel 1 Signed in Italy

  • Mike$

    Even though the pick didn’t work out, I still liked the idea at the time. That late in the draft there isn’t much harm that can come from drafting a player with that size, length and potential and sending them over seas to develop. Only 2 players drafted after him have found their way into the NBA so its hard to say that there was an obvious player we should have picked instead.

    The last few drafts MU has been grabbing older more mature players so next year might be time to grab a project again. With the draft and stash being used more it seems like a good idea because our Roster is already full of guys waiting for their turn to step up.

    • durantula

      dont disagree, but the part that stinks is one of those players is dwight powell, who the raptors worked out, is canadian, and the raptors could kinda use a young athletic PF nowadays

      ujiri very much chose to go with daniels over dwight powell, and thats panned out to be a pretty bad move, especially with how the cap picture played out for the raps.

      raps just grabbed 2 projects in poeltl and siakam. will be years before either of those guys are net positives on the floor, and thats in addition to bebe/bruno who have yet to graduate out of the ‘project’ category.

      • Mike$

        I wouldn’t consider either of those picks big projects. Both should be more ready than other players in the draft. Poeltl was a sophomore and Siakam is 22 and had 3 years of college. Siakam doesn’t have very long to prove he can play, this year in the dleague, next year breaking the rotation and 3rd year in the rotation. If he slows to much from that timeline he’ll be 25 and not in the rotation, which is basically a wasted roster spot.

        I don’t even consider bebe a project anymore. He’s 24 years old and was drafted in 2013. If he can’t break the rotation this year with no one else competing for the back up 5 spot, he’s not an NBA player.

        So that leaves us with Bruno and Poeltl as projects and saikam as a short term project. Thats not all that many imo and it should allow MU to go for those high risk, high reward type picks in next years draft with our later picks.

  • GoingBig

    Glad the 905’s GM Dan Tolzman is still on the job. He did a very good job last year gathering together an expansion.
    At least DeAndre’s getting paid in money and playing time.

  • R.D. Vaughan

    Is loosing so many players/turn over per season typical in the D-League? I remember watching the first few 905 games and being horrified at the brand of ball they were playing. It was me first, show off ball with little to no team play. The coach seemed to fix that faster than I had hoped and things rounded out as the season progressed.
    I ask the question as I had hoped that Poetl, Pascal and other possible Raptor roster players would start the ground running with the type of team I saw, at least by mid season if not later. It would be nice if the 905 were in the hunt for a playoff round this year especially as there are a number of expansion teams which they could leap frog. During a 905 broadcast I heard that an expansion team which were horrible made the playoffs their very next season so it could be done.
    I am aware that NBA promoted D-Leaguers and coaches bring prestige to their NBA franchise but this level of turn over to the uninitiated (me) seems excessive.

    • BlakeMurphy

      Yes, it’s very typical between seasons and even during a season. Such is life there.

  • Patrick

    Wud be interested to know what he’s getting paid by this italian team