NBA notebook: Gunshots mar Raptors' title celebration

Four people sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds at Monday’s rally celebrating the Raptors’ championship, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said.

Jun 17, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and team mates show off the Larry O’Brien trophy to fans during a parade through downtown Toronto to celebrate their NBA title. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Three arrests were made, according to Saunders, who added that the investigation was ongoing.

A reported 1.5 million parked Toronto’s downtown for the Raptors’ parade and subsequent rally at City Hall. The shootings occurred at Nathan Phillips Square, adjacent to City Hall. Addition people sustained minor injuries attempting to flee the scene after the shots were heard.

Mayor John Tory said in a statement, “It is disappointing and I’m sure a source of anger for more than just me that anyone would carry a gun and discharge it at what was otherwise a joyous celebration.”

—While the Raptors celebrated, the next chapter for the team sits in limbo based on the future of star forward Kawhi Leonard.

“Holding that trophy, there’s nothing more special than that,” Ed Rogers, chairman of Rogers Communications, partial owner of the Raptors, said at the rally. “The three of us are going to do everything we can to not make this a one-year thing, but make this a dynasty.”

Leonard will opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent. The Raptors expected this bit of paperwork even before Leonard was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs last summer. What they won’t know until at least June 30 is whether Leonard ever will wear a Toronto uniform again, and Leonard declined to offer any hints Monday.

—Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said he isn’t concerned by reports of tension between James Harden and Chris Paul.

In a wide-ranging interview on ESPN Radio, Morey also disputed reports that Paul has asked to be traded and confirmed that he intends to come to contract terms with head coach Mike D’Antoni. As to an ESPN story that said there’s unrest between All-Stars Harden and Paul, Morey said the frustration stems from a desire to win.

“Two competitive superstars at that level, there’s going to be times when they are extremely competitive, extremely focused on how do we get to that next level, and when we don’t, there’s going to be frustration,” Morey said. “I’m frustrated, our top players are frustrated, Mike D’Antoni is frustrated. We want to take the last step and be the champion, and I think it’s good that there is tension in the sense that we all want to win.”

—The New Orleans Pelicans picked up the 2020-21 option for head coach Alvin Gentry, putting him under contract for the next two seasons.

Gentry, 64, has spent the past four seasons coaching the Pelicans, going 145-183 and leading the team to the second round of the playoffs in 2017-18.

The Pelicans went 33-49 this season. Anthony Davis requested a trade in the middle of the campaign and sat out or had his minutes limited for much of the second half.

—Pelicans forward Julius Randle will opt out of his $9.1 million player option for 2019-20, The Athletic reported.

The 6-foot-9 Randle signed a one-year contract with the Pelicans last summer that included the player option for 2019-20. With his expected opt-out, Randle and the Pelicans could negotiate a new deal, or Randle could pursue another team.

The Pelicans agreed to trade All-NBA star Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a hefty return of players and draft picks earlier this week. They now have the No. 1 and 4 overall picks in Thursday night’s draft, and they are expected to select Duke’s Zion Williamson with the top pick.

—Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after the Brooklyn Nets declined to make a qualifying offer, ESPN reported.

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Hollis-Jefferson later tweeted: “Brooklynnnnn I Love You.. can’t believe it’s been 4 years ha.. Thank you”

Hollis-Jefferson, 24, averaged 9.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in four years with the Nets, who acquired him in a draft-night trade after the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the 23rd pick in the 2015 draft. He started 147 of 234 games in Brooklyn, averaging a career-best 13.9 points in 2017-18.

—Field Level Media

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