Air Canada Centre
|City||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Team colours||Red, Black, Silver
|Owner(s)||Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment|
|General manager||Masai Ujiri|
|Head coach||Dwane Casey|
|D-League affiliate||Bakersfield Jam|
|Division titles||1 (2007)|
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, to become the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA. They originally played their home games at the SkyDome, before moving to the Air Canada Centre in 1999.
Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league attendance records and made the NBA Playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to a franchise high 47 wins and their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress and he was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader. In Bryan Colangelo's first year as President and General Manager, the first overall NBA draft selection of Andrea Bargnani and a revamp of the roster, helped the Raptors qualify for their first playoff berth in five years and capture the 2007 Atlantic Division title with 47 wins. In the 2007–08 season, they advanced to the playoffs again but failed to make the next four playoffs. In a bid to persuade Bosh to stay, Colangelo overhauled the team roster for the 2009–10 season, but Bosh signed with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in yet another era of rebuilding for the Raptors. After Masai Ujiri was brought in as the new General Manager in 2013, he traded Bargnani to the New York Knicks.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Logos and arenas
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Awards and records
- 5 Broadcasters
- 6 Fanbase
- 7 Community service
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Creation of the Raptors
The Toronto Raptors were established on September 30, 1993, when the NBA, as part of its expansion into Canada, awarded its 28th franchise to a group headed by Toronto businessman John Bitove for a then-record expansion fee of $125 million. The Raptors, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, played their first game in 1995, and were the first NBA teams based in Canada since the 1946–47 Toronto Huskies, though the Buffalo Braves had played a total of 16 regular season games at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto from 1971–75.
Initial sentiment was in favour of reviving the Huskies nickname, but team management realized it would be nearly impossible to design a logo that did not substantially resemble that of the Minnesota Timberwolves. As a result, a nationwide contest was held to help name the team and develop their colours and logo. Over 2,000 entries were narrowed down to ten prospects: Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas, and Terriers. The final selection—Toronto Raptors—was unveiled on Canadian national television on May 15, 1994: the choice was influenced by the popularity of the 1993 film Jurassic Park. The name Raptors is a common informal name for the velociraptor, a swift medium-sized dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur. On May 24, 1994, the team's logo and first General Manager, Isiah Thomas were revealed at a press conference. The team's colours of bright red, purple, black, and silver were also revealed; "Naismith" silver was chosen as an ode to Canadian James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. The team originally competed in the Central Division, and before the inaugural season began, sales of Raptors merchandise ranked seventh in the league, marking a successful return of professional basketball to Canada.
As General Manager, Isiah Thomas quickly staffed the management positions with his own personnel, naming long-time Detroit Pistons assistant Brendan Malone as the Raptors' head coach. The team's roster was then filled as a result of an expansion draft in 1995. Following a coin flip, Toronto was given first choice and selected Chicago Bulls point guard and three-point specialist B. J. Armstrong. Armstrong refused to report for training and Thomas promptly traded him to the Golden State Warriors for power forwards Carlos Rogers and Victor Alexander. Thomas then selected a wide range of players in the expansion draft, including veterans Jerome Kersey, Willie Anderson and his former Pistons teammate John "Spider" Salley.
Subsequent to the expansion draft, the Raptors landed the seventh pick in the NBA Draft Lottery, behind their fellow 1995 expansion club, the Vancouver Grizzlies. Thomas selected Damon Stoudamire, a point guard out of the University of Arizona, around whom the franchise would seek to construct its near future. Yet, the selection of Stoudamire was met with boos from fans at the 1995 NBA draft at SkyDome in Toronto, many of whom wanted Ed O'Bannon of UCLA, an NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player.
1995–1999: Struggles of a new franchise
In the team's first official NBA game, Alvin Robertson scored the first NBA points in Raptors history, while Stoudamire recorded 10 points and 10 assists in a 94–79 victory over the New Jersey Nets. The Raptors concluded their inaugural season with a 21–61 win–loss record, although they were one of the few teams to defeat the Chicago Bulls, who set an all-time NBA best 72–10 win–loss regular season record. With averages of 19.0 points and 9.3 assists per game, Stoudamire also won the 1995–96 Rookie of the Year Award.
In the 1996–97 season, the team improved on its win record by nine games. They selected centre Marcus Camby with the second overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. By the end of the season, Camby earned a berth on the NBA's All-Rookie Team while Stoudamire continued to play well, averaging 20.2 points and 8.8 assists per game. As in the previous season, the Raptors were one of only 11 teams to topple the eventual 1997 Champions, the Chicago Bulls. The Raptors also defeated the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz and Miami Heat, all of whom were eventual Conference finalists. However, the Raptors struggled against teams who were not of championship calibre, including three losses to the 15–67 Boston Celtics.
Early in the 1997–98 season John Bitove sold his ownership interest in the team and the team suffered numerous injuries and slid into a 17-game losing streak. Isiah Thomas resigned after his ownership bid for the Raptors failed and was replaced by Glen Grunwald. With Thomas gone, Stoudamire immediately sought a trade. On February 13, 1998, he was shipped to the Portland Trail Blazers along with Walt Williams and Carlos Rogers for Kenny Anderson, Alvin Williams, Gary Trent, two first-round draft choices, a second-round draft choice and cash. Anderson refused to report to Toronto and was traded to the Celtics with Žan Tabak and Popeye Jones for Chauncey Billups, Dee Brown, Roy Rogers and John Thomas. When the trading deadline was over, the Raptors became the youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.6. They had five rookies on their roster, including the 18-year-old Tracy McGrady, who at the time was the youngest player in the NBA. The inexperienced Raptors struggled throughout the season and their regular season record regressed to 16–66.
On March 12, 1998, Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd., the owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs, purchased the Raptors and the arena the team was building, Air Canada Centre, for $467 million. During the 1998 NBA draft, in what became a defining move for the franchise, Grunwald traded the team's 4th overall pick Antawn Jamison to the Golden State Warriors for Vince Carter, who was selected 5th overall. To bring further credibility to the Raptors, Grunwald traded Camby to the New York Knicks for Charles Oakley, a veteran with playoff experience. Kevin Willis, another veteran acquired from the trade, solidified the centre position, while the coaching staff temporarily rotated Brown, Williams and Doug Christie to play point guard. Both Christie and Williams became talented players in their own right; Christie developed into one of the elite defenders in the NBA, while Williams improved his play on the offensive end. New coach Butch Carter was also credited with much of the team's turnaround during the lockout shortened 1998–99 season. Although the team did not make the playoffs, many were optimistic with the impressive performances of Rookie of the Year Carter and a much improved McGrady.
1999–2002: The Vince Carter era
During the 1999 NBA draft, believing that the Raptors still lacked a strong frontcourt presence, Grunwald traded first-round draft pick Jonathan Bender for veteran power forward Antonio Davis of the Indiana Pacers. In the backcourt, Carter, Christie, Williams and Dell Curry played at the shooting guard position and Muggsy Bogues at point guard. The rotation of Davis, Oakley and Willis in the frontcourt and Carter's and McGrady's improvement helped the team make its first ever playoff appearance, fulfilling a promise Carter had made to fans in the previous season. Lacking significant post-season experience, Toronto was defeated 3–0 by the New York Knicks in the first round. Nonetheless, team improvements and the rise of Carter—who emphatically won the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest—attracted many fans around Toronto, many of whom were previously not basketball fans. The season was also the first full year played at the Air Canada Centre, after having played four years at the cavernous SkyDome, which was better suited to baseball and Canadian football. Overall, the Raptors concluded the season with a 45–37 record.
Still, playoff failures and Butch Carter's media altercations surrounding Camby led Grunwald to replace Carter prior to the 2000–01 season with Lenny Wilkens, a Hall of Fame coach and player with more than 30 years of coaching experience. The team roster was also largely revamped, including the signing of veteran playmaker Mark Jackson on a four-year contract. When Alvin Williams later emerged as a clutch performer, Jackson was traded to allow Williams more playing time. In the 2000 off-season, free agent McGrady opted to leave the Raptors in a sign-and-trade deal worth $67.5 million over six years, while giving a conditional draft pick as part of the agreement to the Orlando Magic, for a first-round draft pick.
As predicted by analysts, the team easily secured a berth in the 2001 NBA playoffs with a franchise high 47 wins. The Raptors won their first ever playoff series as they defeated New York 3–2, advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the first time in franchise history. Wilkens was praised for having Williams defend shooting guard Allan Houston and Carter defend small forward Latrell Sprewell, the two major Knicks offensive threats. The series with Philadelphia 76ers was a landmark for the Raptors in terms of performance and entertainment value. The Sixers relied on Allen Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo for their respective offensive and defensive abilities, along with steady help from Aaron McKie. Toronto was the more balanced team with Carter, Alvin Williams and Davis providing much of the offensive game and Chris Childs and Jerome Williams on defence. The series came down to the last few seconds of Game 7, when Carter's potential series-winning shot rolled off the rim. Carter was later widely criticized for attending his graduation ceremony at the University of North Carolina on the morning of Game 7, as he scored only 20 points on 6-for-18 shooting, after a 39 point performance in Game 6. Despite the loss, the season is generally considered a watermark for the franchise, given the Raptors' franchise high of 47 wins and advancing beyond the first round of the playoffs.
The relocation of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001, as the Memphis Grizzlies, left Toronto as the NBA's only Canadian team. In the summer of 2001, long-term contracts were given to Alvin Williams, Jerome Williams and Davis, while former NBA MVP centre Hakeem Olajuwon was signed to provide Carter with good support. The Raptors appeared to be on their way to another competitive season, with a 29–21 record going into the All-Star break and with Carter the top vote-getter for the All-Star game for the third consecutive year. Carter then suffered a bout of patellar tendinitis (also known as "jumper's knee") forcing him to miss the All-Star game and the rest of the season, and without their franchise player, Toronto lost 13 consecutive games. However, they were able to win 12 of their last 14 games, clinching a playoff spot on the last day of the regular season. The comeback featured some of the Raptors' best defence of the season, along with inspired performances by Davis and Keon Clark.
Despite Toronto's improved defensive performances, Carter's offence was sorely missed in the first-round series against the second-seeded Detroit Pistons. In the first game, Detroit overwhelmed Toronto 83–65, largely due to Ben Wallace's strong performance of 19 points, 20 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals. Detroit also won Game 2, but Toronto won the next two games at home to force a deciding and tightly contested Game 5 in Detroit. With 10.7 seconds left in the game, and the Raptors down 85–82 with possession of the ball, Childs raced down the court and shot a three-pointer that missed badly, apparently trying to draw a foul on the play, instead of passing to a wide-open Curry. In a post-game locker room interview, Childs repeatedly insisted that the Raptors had been down four points, not three. The Raptors' late-season surge was thus marred by a disappointing playoff exit; the Olajuwon experiment was also a bust, with the 39-year-old averaging career lows in minutes, points and rebounds. Furthermore, Childs, Clark, and Curry left the team, ensuring a new-look team for the next season.
2002–2006: Another period of struggle
The 2002–03 season began with the same optimism that the Raptors exhibited in three consecutive playoff seasons, although it faded early. Carter, while voted as a starter in the 2003 All-Star Game, suffered a knee injury, while Davis expressed disinterest in Toronto, and Wilkens' laissez-faire attitude created a team that lacked the motivation and spirit of the previous years' teams. The team was ravaged with injuries, losing an NBA record number of player games due to injury. Furthermore, the Raptors recorded the dubious honour of being the only team in NBA history to not dress 12 players for a single game in a season. Wilkens was criticized heavily by the Toronto media for his inability to clamp down on his players when necessary, especially given this was the year that Wilkens overtook Bill Fitch for the most losses by an NBA coach, with his loss total getting dangerously close to his win total. The Raptors ended the season with a 24–58 record and Wilkens was fired. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, when the Raptors were given the 4th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft and brought another star to Toronto in Chris Bosh.
Canadian country singer Shania Twain helped launch the new red Raptors alternate road uniform at the start of the 2003–04 season, and the jerseys made their debut in a 90–87 season-opening victory on October 29, 2003 against the defending Conference Champion New Jersey Nets. Davis and Jerome Williams were traded early in the season for Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall. After 50 games, Toronto was 25–25 and in a position to make the playoffs, but injuries to key players sent the Raptors plummeting down the standings. Rose, Carter, and Alvin Williams all suffered injuries as the Raptors struggled to a record of 8–24 in their remaining games. The notable individual season performances were Carter's 22.5 ppg, Marshall's 10.7 rpg and rookie Bosh, a 6–10 forward-centre who averaged 11.5 ppg and 7.4 rpg and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. Williams' knee injury turned out to be career-ending.
For the 2004–05 season, the team moved into the Atlantic Division and the Raptors decided to revamp the team. Raptors President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Richard Peddie fired Grunwald on April 1, 2004, after the team ended the season three games short of the eighth and final playoff spot in the previous season. Head coach Kevin O'Neill and his four assistant coaches were also dismissed immediately after Grunwald's termination. Toronto interim manager Jack McCloskey said: "While the blame for that certainly does not rest on O'Neill and his staff alone, we need a change." Rob Babcock was named General Manager on June 7, 2004, alongside the appointments of Wayne Embry as senior advisor and Alex English as director of player development. Sam Mitchell, a former NBA forward and assistant coach of the Milwaukee Bucks was hired as new head coach of the Raptors.
Babcock's first move as GM was drafting centre Rafael Araújo—selected eighth overall—in the 2004 NBA draft, in a move that was criticized by fans and analysts, considering highly touted swingman Andre Iguodala was drafted with the next pick. Babcock signed point guard Rafer Alston to a 5-year deal. After Vince Carter's annual charity game, Babcock implicitly revealed to the media that Carter's agent had asked for a trade confirming Carter was discontent. The Toronto Sun reported that Carter felt he was being misled by the Raptor's hierarchy during the General Manager search and had concluded that as long as the managerial structure at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. remained intact, the Raptors would never be an elite team. Carter was finally traded mid-season, ending his six-year tenure. Toronto received Alonzo Mourning, forwards Eric Williams and Aaron Williams and two mid-to-late future first round picks from the New Jersey Nets. Mourning chose not to report to Toronto, forcing Babcock to buy out the remainder of his contract at a reported $10 million, leaving him free to sign with the Miami Heat. Eric and Aaron Williams were supposed to add defensive toughness and rebounding, but were generally under-utilized for the entire season. Analysts had predicted Babcock got the bad end of the deal, and the trade eventually cost him his job.
Carter's departure heralded a new era for Toronto. Bosh stepped up to the role of franchise player and performed well in his sophomore campaign, ranking tenth in the league in defensive rebounds. In contrast to Bosh's emergence, Araújo struggled to keep a spot in the line-up, and became unpopular with fans and local media. Although the ACC was often well-attended due to the Raptors' 22–19 home record, their inability to win on the road (11–30) and poor defensive record made Mitchell's first year as head coach unimpressive. Additionally, Mitchell had problems dealing with Alston, who openly expressed his unhappiness with Mitchell in a post-game interview. Later in the season, Alston was suspended two games for "conduct detrimental to the team" for reportedly walking out of a scrimmage during practice. Notwithstanding the unrest, in their first season competing in the Atlantic Division, Toronto maintained the same regular season record of 33–49 as the previous season.
The Raptors continued to rebuild during the 2005 NBA draft, selecting Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham, Roko Ukić and Uroš Slokar, with Villanueva's selection being very controversial amongst basketball pundits and Raptors fans alike. The Raptors started their training camp by trading Alston to the Houston Rockets for Mike James, and signing free agent José Calderón as a back-up for James. Despite the infusion of new players, Toronto's overall 2005–06 season was a disappointment; they set a franchise record by losing their first nine games and 15 out of their first 16 games. With losses mounting and media scrutiny intensifying, the Raptors hired legendary ex-Purdue coach Gene Keady as an assistant off the bench to help develop the young Raptors team, as well as establish a defensive persona for the team. On January 15, 2006, the Raptors set a franchise points record in a 129–103 win over the Knicks when Villanueva hit a three-pointer late in the game, but less than a week later, the Raptors gave up an 18-point lead against the Los Angeles Lakers, and allowed Lakers star Kobe Bryant to score 81 points, the second highest single-game total in NBA history. With media scrutiny intensifying once more and the Raptors entrenched at the bottom of the league in defensive field goal percentage, Toronto fired Babcock.
The 2005–06 season was not a total disaster. Villanueva's play impressed both fans and former critics as he came in second in NBA Rookie of the Year and recorded 48 points in an overtime loss to Milwaukee Bucks, the most points scored by any rookie in franchise history and the most by a rookie in the NBA since 1997. Bosh was also named a reserve forward for the Eastern All-Star Team in the 2006 game, becoming the third Raptor after Vince Carter and Antonio Davis to appear in an All-Star Game. On February 27, 2006, the team named Bryan Colangelo, the 2004–05 NBA Executive of the Year, the President and General Manager of the Raptors. Known for his success in transforming a lottery Phoenix team into a 62-win offensive juggernaut, his hiring gave hope to many fans. Still, Toronto ended the season weakly when Bosh suffered a season-ending thumb injury. The Raptors lost 10 in a row after Bosh's injury and finished the season with the fifth worst record (27–55) in the NBA.
2006–2010: A period of mixed fortunes
The 2006–07 season represented a watershed year for the Raptors franchise. The roster was overhauled, including the selection of 2006 NBA draft number one pick Andrea Bargnani, the acquisition of point guard T. J. Ford in exchange for Villanueva, and the signing of shooting guard Anthony Parker and small forward Jorge Garbajosa. Bosh was given a three-year contract extension, while Maurizio Gherardini of Benetton Treviso was hired as the club's vice-president and assistant general manager.
The first half of the season produced mixed results as Toronto struggled towards the .500 mark. After the All-Star break, Bargnani continued to work on his defence and shooting (averaging 14.3 points per game (ppg) and 3.9 rebounds per game (rpg) in 12 games for the month of February 2007), and he was selected as the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for the second straight time on March 1, 2007. Bargnani became the third Raptor ever to win the award twice, joining Vince Carter and Damon Stoudamire. Toronto ended the regular season with a 47–35 record, securing the third seed in the Eastern Conference for the 2007 NBA Playoffs along with the Atlantic Division title, as well as homecourt advantage for the first time in franchise history. Bosh was voted to start in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. The Raptors were also praised for their improved defence, ball-sharing and tremendous team chemistry. Colangelo, Gherardini and Mitchell were credited with Toronto's turnaround this season, which was one of the best in NBA history in terms of league standing and defensive ranking. Mitchell was subsequently named the 2006–07 NBA Coach of the Year, the first coach in Raptors history to receive the honour, while Colangelo was named 2006–07 Executive of the Year. On April 24, 2007, the Raptors won their first playoff game in five seasons, with an 89–83 victory over the New Jersey Nets, but lost the series 4–2. The series was notable for pitting ex-Raptor Carter against his former team. The Nets took home court advantage in Game 1, holding off a late Raptors rally in the fourth quarter. The Raptors pulled away in another tight game to even the series at one game apiece. When the series shifted to New Jersey, the Nets took charge of the series, winning games 3 and 4 in routs. New Jersey had a chance to win the series in game 5 in Toronto, but the Raptors took a 20-point lead after one quarter. Still, New Jersey managed to chip away, and had a chance to win the game, but Boštjan Nachbar's three-pointer missed at the buzzer. Needing to win in New Jersey to force a game 7, Toronto held a one-point lead with under a minute to play in game 6, but Richard Jefferson hit a layup with eight seconds left to play. Toronto attempted to try for the game-winning shot, but Jefferson intercepted a pass to seal the series for the Nets.
Several changes to the roster were made before the 2007–08 campaign as Toronto sought to reproduce the same form as the previous campaign. Most notably, the Raptors acquired Carlos Delfino in a trade with Detroit for two second round draft picks, and signed Jamario Moon and three-point specialist Jason Kapono as free agents. On the other hand, veteran swingman Morris Peterson joined the New Orleans Hornets. Despite being defending division champions, the Raptors were widely tipped as outside contenders for the division and conference titles. Bargnani's inability to play well consistently, coupled with injuries to Garbajosa (75 games), Bosh (15 games) and Ford (31 games), derailed the possibility of a smooth campaign as the Raptors chalked up six fewer wins than the previous season. The Raptors ceded the division title to Boston, and qualified for the 2008 NBA Playoffs as the sixth seed, where they were pitted against the Orlando Magic. In Game 1, Dwight Howard gave the Magic their first playoffs win since 2003 as they practically led the entire game. Howard would put up a 29–20 in Game 2, as Hedo Türkoğlu scored the final four go-ahead points to give the Magic a 2–0 lead. The Raptors would respond with a strong Game 3 victory keyed by great point guard play from Ford and José Calderon. However, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Keith Bogans keyed strong three point shooting in Game 4 and overcame Bosh's 39 points and 15 rebounds to bring the Magic out of Toronto with a 3–1 lead. Howard would finish off the series in Game 5 as impressively as he started–21 points, 21 rebounds, 3 blocks. Whereas the preceding season was considered a success, the 2007–08 campaign was considered a disappointment. Weaknesses in Toronto's game—rebounding, defence, and a lack of a swingman—were brought into sharp focus during the playoffs, and changes were expected to be made to the roster.
As it turned out, a blockbuster trade was agreed in principle before the 2008–09 campaign: six-time All-Star Jermaine O'Neal was acquired from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Ford (who had become expendable with the emergence of Calderón), Rasho Nesterović, Maceo Baston, and Roy Hibbert, the 17th pick in the 2008 NBA draft, giving the Raptors a potential boost in the frontcourt. Meanwhile, Bargnani, who had spent the summer working on his interior game, was projected to come off the bench. The Raptors also introduced a black alternate road jersey for the season similar to the earlier purple design that was dropped a few seasons ago. It had a maple leaf featured on the back neck of the jersey, symbolizing the Raptors as "Canada's team". Despite the introduction of O'Neal, who brought home the rebounds and the blocks, and a much improved Bargnani, the Raptors were too inconsistent. Following a 8–9 start to the season, Mitchell was fired and replaced by long-time assistant Jay Triano. Triano tweaked with the starting line-up to no avail as the Raptors fell to 21–34 prior to the All-Star break. O'Neal and Moon were then traded to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks, but with the losses mounting, the Raptors soon fell out of the playoffs picture, and were eliminated from contention with seven games of the regular season remaining. The Raptors eventually finished with a 33–49 record and headed into the next season with a potential overhaul of the core: Marion could become a free agent; Bosh could become one after 2009–10; Parker would soon turn 35; and Bargnani had his breakthrough season. On May 12, 2009, Triano was given a three-year term for the position of head coach.
The inevitable roster shakeup for the 2009–10 season began when Kapono was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for the aggressive veteran forward Reggie Evans. Toronto then drafted DeMar DeRozan with the ninth pick, enabling them to fill a spot on the wings. This was followed by the signing of free agent Hedo Türkoğlu, which in turn led to a sign-and-trade agreement involving four teams, with Toronto landing wing players Devean George (later traded for Marco Belinelli) and Antoine Wright, while releasing Marion, Kris Humphries and Nathan Jawai. Around the same time, Parker headed for the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Indiana point guard Jarrett Jack was added and Nesterovič brought back to provide cover for the big men. Finally, Delfino and Ukić were moved to the Milwaukee Bucks for Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems. It became increasingly clear that Colangelo, in securing a credible nucleus for the future, was doing this to persuade Bosh to stay beyond 2010. While the Raptors were off to a sluggish start, they picked up the pace around the All-Star break, reaching a season-high seven games above .500 and standing fifth in the Eastern Conference. Bosh was recording career-highs in ppg and rpg. However, a season-ending injury to Bosh after the break coincided with Toronto's descent down the standings from the fifth seed to the eighth, and they ultimately relinquished their spot to Chicago a few games before the regular season ended.
Before the 2010–11 season began, there was much anticipation around the league over the fates of an elite pack of free agents, featuring the likes of Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Amar'e Stoudemire. Bosh and James eventually chose to converge in Miami with Wade, and the sign-and-trade transaction that ensued resulted in the Raptors receiving two first-round draft picks and a trade exception from Miami. Prior to this, Toronto had drafted Ed Davis, also a left-handed power forward like Bosh. After Bosh left, Colangelo sought to trade Calderón, Evans and the disenchanted Türkoğlu for Tyson Chandler, Leandro Barbosa, and Boris Diaw, but the trade involving Chandler collapsed at the last minute, as Chandler was traded to the Dallas Mavericks instead. Belinelli was then traded to New Orleans Hornets for Julian Wright, and 13 games into the season, Jack, David Andersen, and Marcus Banks to New Orleans for Peja Stojaković and Jerryd Bayless. Bosh's first return to Toronto was received to a chorus of boos, but not as nearly as harsh as what former Raptors Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter received upon their return. Toronto as a team regressed and were only able to secure 22 wins in the regular season.
Prior to the 2011–12 season, Dwane Casey, who was an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was officially hired as the new head coach on June 21, 2011. In the 2011 NBA draft, the Raptors used their number five pick to select Jonas Valančiūnas, a centre from Lithuania. However, this season has been shortened, due the 2011 NBA lockout. NBA team owners and players later agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement to end the lockout, but it meant that 16 regular season games had to be cancelled, 8 of which were home games. The Raptors finished the season with a 23–43 record.
During the 2012 off-season, Colangelo worked hard to lure Canadian free agent and two-time MVP, Steve Nash, who became a free agent after playing for the Phoenix Suns, to play for the Raptors. Reports indicate that Nash was offered a three-year contract in excess of $30 million, but he turned this deal down, much to the disappointment of many Canadian basketball fans, as he turned to the Los Angeles Lakers instead. In lieu of Nash, the Raptors acquired point guard Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets for a future first round pick. Lowry, combined with the 2011 draft pick Jonas Valančiūnas and the 8th pick in the 2012 draft Terrence Ross, began the next phase of the re-building process. On January 30, 2013, the Raptors acquired Memphis Grizzlies star Rudy Gay and centre Hamed Haddadi in a three-way deal that sent José Calderón to the Detroit Pistons and Ed Davis, along with Pistons players Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye and a 2nd round pick to the Grizzlies. Hamed Haddadi was later traded, along with a second round pick, to the Phoenix Suns, in exchange for guard Sebastian Telfair. The 2012–13 season was the first season since 2009 that the Raptors finished the season with a winning home record, despite their overall losing record.
During the 2013 off-season, the Raptors traded former 1st overall pick, Andrea Bargnani, to the New York Knicks for Marcus Camby (was waived a few days later and signed to the Houston Rockets), Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, a first round draft pick, and future 2nd round picks. New GM Masai Ujiri also added Tyler Hansbrough, D. J. Augustin, Dwight Buycks, and Austin Daye via free agency. On September 30, 2013, the NBA announced that Toronto would host the 2016 NBA All-Star game. 
Logos and arenas
- SkyDome (1995–1999)
- Occasional games (1995–1999):
- Air Canada Centre (1999–present)
Toronto Raptors roster
- 1995 – March 1998: Isiah Thomas
- March 1998 – April 2004: Glen Grunwald
- April 2004 – June 2004 (Interim): Jack McCloskey
- June 2004 – January 2006: Rob Babcock
- January 2006 – February 2006 (Interim): Wayne Embry
- February 2006 – May 2013: Bryan Colangelo
- May 2013 – present: Masai Ujiri
- 1995 – 1998: John Bitove, Allan Slaight, Isiah Thomas
- 1998 – present: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
|#[a]||Name||Term||Regular season||Playoffs||Awards won|
|Games coached||Wins||Losses||Win–loss %||Games coached||Wins||Losses|
|6||Sam Mitchell||2004–08||345||156||189||.452||11||3||8||2007 NBA Coach of the Year|
- a A running total of the number of coaches of the Raptors and thus any coach who has two or more separate terms as head coach is only counted once
- b Spent entire coaching career with the Raptors while in the NBA
- c Elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach
Awards and records
Raptors games are primarily broadcast on television by TSN and Sportsnet. Through MLSE, the Raptors also operate the Canadian version of NBA TV (formerly known as Raptors NBA TV), which airs reruns of Raptors telecasts along with other news and analysis programs focusing on the team and the rest of the NBA.
The Raptors have enjoyed a consistent fanbase throughout their history. The Toronto Raptors set NBA attendance records in their 2000, 2001, 2002 seasons when they made the playoffs. Attendances dipped slightly between 2003 and 2006. This improved during the 2006–07 regular season, an average of 18,258 fans attended each game (13th in the league), which translates to 92.2% of the Air Canada Centre's seating capacity. Following the success of the 2006–07 season, Toronto became one of the league leaders in season ticket sales for the 2007–08 season. Their television ratings, however, are considerably lower than other more established Toronto sports teams and most other sporting events shown on Canadian television.
The value of the Raptors franchise has risen over the years. In 1998, the franchise was bought for US$125 million. With the continued popularity of the Raptors, the value of the franchise doubled from US$148 million in 2000 to $297 million in 2004. The value of the franchise grew again from $315 million in 2006 to $373 million in 2007, and $400 million in 2008, before falling to $386 million in 2009. In 2010, the value of the franchise was $399 million, according to reports by Forbes.
On game day, the fans are usually entertained by the Raptor mascot, the Raptors Dance Pak, and the 4 Korners Raptors Soundcrew during pre-game, time-outs, and intervals. Giveaways are sometimes bundled with tickets to encourage attendance. Further, whenever Toronto scores more than 100 points in a home game, win or loss, fans can redeem their ticket for a cheese or pepperoni pizza slice at standalone Pizza Pizza locations throughout Ontario for the business day after the game that was played. This is part of a promotion made by the Raptor's official pizza sponsor.
The Raptors have also been one of the most active NBA franchises over social media, with an official Raptors Twitter handle, Pinterest page, and regular Google+ hangouts, among others. In the 2011–12 season, the Raptors started the Raptors #RTZ Twitter hashtag, a unique way to bring fans together. Moreover, one tweet each game night is chosen as the "tweet of the night" with the winner receiving tickets to an upcoming home game or Raptors merchandise.
The Raptors Foundation was the charitable arm of the Raptors, dedicated to assisting Ontario's registered charities that support programs and sports initiatives for at-risk children and youth. The Foundation strove to lift spirits and change lives for young people by supporting local and provincial organizations that provide recreational, educational and other youth-oriented activities. Through its community ties and with the help of its corporate partners, donors, Raptors players and volunteers, the Foundation has successfully raised more than $14 million between 1995 and 2007, and reached out to thousands of other charities. The Raptors Foundation was one of three parts of the Raptors' community service program. The other projects are Raptors Community Relations and Raptors Basketball Development, both of which focus on providing basketball development programs. The Toronto Raptors lead the NBA for amount of money donated to the community. In 2009, the Raptors Foundation merged with the other charitable arms of MLSE's other sports franchises to form the Team Up Foundation.
- Toronto Huskies, the Raptors' geographical predecessor in the NBA's predecessor league
- Canada Basketball, the organization that oversees basketball in Canada
- "Laying the Groundwork for the NBA in Toronto". Toronto Raptors. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
- Buffery, Steve (2004-11-03). "The road was paved". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-08.
- Donovan, Michael Leo (1997). The Name Game: Football, Baseball, Hockey & Basketball How Your Favorite Sports Teams Were Named. Toronto: Warwick Publishing. ISBN 1-895629-74-8.
- 1995–96 Standings, nba.com/history, accessed June 16, 2007.
- "Former Raptor arrested on 6 warrants", cbc.ca, February 1, 2007, accessed April 25, 2007.
- New Jersey Nets at Toronto Raptors, basketball-reference.com, November 3, 1995, accessed May 9, 2011.
- Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors, basketball-reference.com, March 24, 1996, accessed May 9, 2011.
- Damon Stoudamire Info Page, nba.com, accessed June 16, 2007.
- 1996–97 Standings, nba.com, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Giant Killers on the Rise, nba.com/raptors, accessed April 23, 2007.
- Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors, basketball-reference.com, December 8, 1996, accessed May 9, 2011.
- 1996–97 NBA Game Results, basketball-reference.com, accessed April 21, 2007.
- 1997–98: New Arena Brings New Hope, nba.com/raptors, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Beck, Howard, "On Knicks' Sideline, a Survivor Faces a Stern Test", nytimes.com, November 1, 2006, accessed April 12, 2007
- Grange, Michael "Stoudamire finally content", globesports.com, March 3, 2007, accessed April 21, 2007.
- 1997–98 Standings, nba.com/history, accessed June 16, 2007.
- NBA AT A GLANCE / DAILY REPORT, latimes.com, March 28, 1998, accessed July 7, 2011.
- Vince Carter Info Page, nba.com, accessed June 16, 2007.
- 1998–99: Raptors' Best Season Ever, nba.com/raptors, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Antonio Davis Bio, nba.com, accessed April 8, 2008.
- 1999-00: Future Looks Bright for Raptors, nba.com/raptors, accessed June 16, 2007.
- 1999–2000 Standings, nba.com/history, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Lenny Wilkens Bio, nba.com/history, accessed June 16, 2007.
- 2000–01: Raptors Taste Playoff Success, nba.com/raptors, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Not Just Any Williams, raptorshq.com, accessed May 9, 2011.
- Tracy McGrady Info Page, nba.com, accessed June 16, 2007.
- NBA Playoffs 2001, nba.com, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Associated Press. Philadelphia Rapts Up Series With Toronto, nba.com, May 20, 2001, accessed April 20, 2007.
- Maaddi, Rob, "Carter criticized after loss" cbc.ca, May 21, 2001, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Ganguli, Tania, "In his first Eastern Conference Finals, Vince Carter lets go of the past", articles.orlandosentinel.com, May 16, 2010, accessed May 14, 2011.
- 2000–01 Standings, nba.com/history, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Grizzlies History, nba.com/grizzlies, accessed June 16, 2007.
- 2001–02: Raptors Face Adversity, nba.com/raptors, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Vince Carter out four weeks. cbc.ca, November 8, 2002, accessed November 15, 2011.
- Raptors vs. Pistons, usatoday.com, April 21, 2002, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Raptors vs. Pistons, nba.com, May 2, 2002, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Hakeem Olajuwon Info Page, nba.com, accessed April 21, 2007.
- 2002–03: Injuries Halt High Hopes, nba.com/raptors, accessed June 16, 2007.
- "Raptors' Wilkens ties futility record", cbc.ca, April 2, 2003, accessed April 21, 2007.
- 2002–03 Standings, nba.com/history, accessed June 16, 2007.
- 2003–04: Bosh Shines In Dark Season, nba.com/raptors, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Chris Bosh Info Page, nba.com, accessed June 16, 2007.
- "Toronto sack O'Neill, bbc.co.uk, April 17, 2004, accessed April 21, 2007.
- "Raptors Announce Basketball Operations Staff", nba.com/raptors, June 7, 2004, accessed April 21, 2007.
- "Sam Mitchell Named Raptors Head Coach", nba.com/raptors, June 29, 2004, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Mannix, Chris, "The truth hurts", sportsillustrated.cnn.com, September 16, 2005, accessed April 22, 2007.
- "Vince speaks, but says little", slam.canoe.ca, accessed April 22, 2007.
- "Raptors, Alonzo Mourning end contract", insidehoops.com, February 11, 2005, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Burns, Marty "Trade Analysis: Carter heads south of border", sportsillustrated.cnn.com, December 17, 2004, accessed April 21, 2007.
- 2004–05: End of the Carter Era, nba.com/raptors, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Associated Press. "Raptors trade bust Araujo to Jazz for two", sports.espn.go.com, June 8, 2006, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Raptors Schedules & Results 2004–2005, nba.com/raptors, accessed April 21, 2007.
- "Mitchell-Alston feud brews as Toronto heads to Cleveland", cbc.ca, December 4, 2004, accessed April 21, 2007.
- "Alston benched in Raptors loss", cbc.ca, February 9, 2005, accessed April 21, 2007.
- "Raptors send Villanueva packing", cbc.ca, June 30, 2006, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Raptors Post Up, nba.com/raptors, November 20, 2005, accessed April 23, 2007.
- Raptors Hit Jackpot, nba.com/raptors, accessed April 12, 2007.
- Raptors Post Up", nba.com/raptors, January 15, 2006, accessed April 12, 2007.
- Webb, Royce, "Kobe makes records wilt", sports.espn.go.com, January 23, 2006, accessed April 23, 2007.
- 2006–07 Season Preview: Toronto Raptors, nba.com, accessed April 23, 2007.
- "Rob Babcock Relieved of Duties", nba.com/raptors, January 26, 2006, accessed April 21, 2007.
- Hornets' Paul Named the 2005–06 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year, nba.com, May 10, 2006, accessed April 23, 2007.
- Charlie Villanueva Info Page, nba.com, accessed April 12, 2007.
- "Colangelo Named Raptors President and General Manager", nba.com/raptors, February 28, 2006, accessed April 23, 2007.
- "Charlie Villanueva Nets 48 in OT Loss in Milwaukee", nba.com/raptors, March 26, 2006, accessed April 23, 2007.
- Raptors Schedules & Results 2005–2006, nba.com/raptors, accessed April 23, 2007.
- 2005–06 Standings, nba.com, accessed April 23, 2007.
- "Raptors re-sign star forward Chris Bosh to contract extension", nba.com, July 14, 2006, accessed May 9, 2011.
- "Raptors Name Gherardini To Basketball Staff", nba.com/raptors, June 22, 2006, accessed June 17, 2007.
- Smalls, Anthony, "The Rebirth of the Raptors", nba.com, April 12, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- "Bargnani Named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month", nba.com/raptors, March 1, 2007, accessed March 23, 2007.
- Raptors Post Up, nba.com/raptors, April 15, 2007, accessed June 17, 2007.
- 2006–07 Standings, nba.com, accessed April 22, 2007.
- "Raptors voted all-star starter" cbc.ca, January 25, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Schuhmann, John, "Testing the Bosh Theory", nba.com, March 23, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Feschuk, Dave, "Italian building block", thestar.com, April 21, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Pelton, Kevin, "Insider Preview – Sonics at Toronto", nba.com/sonics, March 11, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- "Sam Mitchell Named 2006–07 Coach of the Year", nba.com/raptors, April 24, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Colangelo Named 2006–07 NBA Executive Of The Year, nba.com/raptors, May 14, 2007, accessed May 16, 2007.
- Raptors Post Up, nba.com/raptors, April 24, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Raptors Post Up, nba.com/raptors, May 4, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Raptors Acquire Carlos Delfino From Pistons, nba.com/raptors, June 15, 2007, accessed July 22, 2007.
- Raptors Sign Jamario Moon, nba.com/raptors, July 10, 2007, accessed July 22, 2007.
- Ulmer, Mike, "Kapono Happy to be Joining Raptors", nba.com/raptors, July 12, 2007, accessed July 13, 2007.
- Hornets ink Morris Peterson for 4 years, cbc.ca, July 23, 2007, accessed August 9, 2007.
- Feschuk, Dave, "Raptors will defend crown", thestar.com, October 31, 2007, accessed November 1, 2007.
- Dwight Howard's 20–20 Game Leads Magic Past Raptors, NBA.com
- 2007–08 NBA Season Summary, basketball-reference.com, accessed May 4, 2008.
- Ulmer, Mike, "Raptors Head Home For The Summer", nba.com/raptors, April 30, 2008, accessed May 4, 2008.
- Smith, Doug, "Blockbuster deal for Raptors", thestar.com, June 26, 2008, accessed June 27, 2008.
- Raptors unveil new alternate road uniforms, thestar.com, September 25, 2008, accessed October 14, 2008.
- Mitchell Relieved Of Duties, Jay Triano Takes Over On Interim Basis, nba.com/raptors, December 3, 2008, accessed December 3, 2008.
- Aldridge, David, "Raptors trade O'Neal, Moon to Heat for Marion, Banks", nba.com, February 13, 2009, accessed February 14, 2009.
- Chandler scores 17, Knicks beat Raptors 112–103, nba.com, April 5, 2009, accessed April 11, 2009.
- 2008–09 NBA Season Summary, basketball-reference.com, accessed April 16, 2009.
- Smith, Doug, "Raptors hand the reins to Triano", thestar.com, May 12, 2009, accessed May 13, 2009.
- Philadelphia 76ers Acquire Forward Jason Kapono From Toronto, nba.com accessed June 15, 2009.
- Griffin top pick in NBA draft, sports.espn.go.com, June 26, 2009, accessed June 27, 2009.
- Stein, Marc, "Four-team trade gets league OK", sports.espn.go.com, July 9, 2009, accessed July 10, 2009.
- Cavs, Parker have a deal, news-herald.com, July 10, 2009, accessed July 12, 2009.
- Bogut aiming for training camp, sports.espn.go.com, accessed August 24, 2009.
- Grange, Michael, "Jack could provide fringe benefits for struggling Raptors", The Globe and Mail, July 12, 2009.
- Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors Box Score, basketball-reference.com, February 20, 2010, accessed May 9, 2011.
- MacKenzie, Holly, "Bulls top Raptors in showdown for last Eastern playoff spot", nba.com, April 11, 2010, accessed May 8, 2011.
- Smith, Doug, "Raptors acquire two first-round picks, trade exception for Bosh", thestar.com, July 10, 2010, accessed July 10, 2010.
- Smith, Doug, "Raptor rebuild decidedly Sun-ny", thestar.com, July 12, 2010, accessed July 13, 2010.
- Bobcats send Tyson Chandler to Dallas, not Toronto, thestar.com, July 14, 2010, accessed July 14, 2010.
- Maroco Belinelli Traded to New Orleans For Julian Wright, raptorsrepublic.com, August 11, 2010, accessed August 11, 2010.
- Smith, Doug, "Raptors trade Jack for Stojakovic", thestar.com, November 20, 2010, accessed November 21, 2010.
- Smith, Doug, "Bosh shrugs off boos as Heat down Raptors 103–95", thestar.com, February 16, 2011, accessed November 15, 2011.
- Raptors hire Casey as head coach, globeandmail.com, June 21, 2011, accessed July 1, 2011.
- "Toronto to host NBA All-Star 2016". NBA.com. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- Brendan Malone Coaching Record, basketball-reference.com, accessed July 22, 2008.
- Darrell Walker Coaching Record, basketball-reference.com, accessed July 22, 2008.
- Butch Carter Coaching Record, basketball-reference.com, accessed July 22, 2008.
- Lenny Wilkens Coaching Record, basketball-reference.com, accessed July 22, 2008.
- Kevin O'Neill Coaching Record, basketball-reference.com, accessed July 22, 2008.
- Sam Mitchell Coaching Record, basketball-reference.com, accessed July 22, 2008.
- Zelkovich, Chris, "Raptors putting on a show – who's watching?", thestar.com, March 30, 2007, accessed June 16, 2007.
- 2006–07 NBA Attendance, sports.espn.go.com, accessed June 16, 2007.
- Smith, Doug, "Ticket sales put Raptors in model franchise territory", thestar.com, September 5, 2007, accessed September 6, 2007.
- NBA Team Valuations, forbes.com/lists, January 25, 2007, accessed June 15, 2007.
- #14 Toronto Raptors, forbes.com, December 6, 2007, accessed February 6, 2008.
- NBA Team Valuations, forbes.com, December 3, 2008, accessed December 6, 2008.
- #11 Toronto Raptors, forbes.com, accessed November 15, 2011.
- NBA Team Valuations, forbes.com, accessed November 15, 2011.
- Pizza Pizza contests, pizzapizza.ca, accessed January 20, 2010.
- Toronto Raptors fans hungry for 100-point pizza promo, Toronto Star, accessed April 2, 2012
- "Toronto Raptors Social Media". NBA. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Raptors Foundation, nba.com/raptors, accessed April 7, 2007.
- Team Up Foundation mlseteamupfoundation.org, accessed February 18, 2012.
- The high cost of sports charities, thestar.com, accessed April 29, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Toronto Raptors.|
- Official website
- Toronto Raptors on Facebook
- Toronto Raptors on Twitter
- Toronto Raptors page at basketball-reference.com