Raptors to Deny Valanciunas, Wright, Miles of Championship Rings

The Toronto Raptors caused quite a stir over the weekend when they announced that a number of fan favourites will be denied to opportunity of receiving championship rings.

Those who were on the Raptors roster as of June 13, including Eric Moreland and Jordan Loyd have and will all receive rings. Meanwhile, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and CJ Miles, all three of whom spent some time on the Raptors roster last season will not receive rings.

“Its not an easy decision,” General Manager Bobby Webster said. “but, to be honest  I think it’s standard. I mean we did our homework, we talked to teams and I think – I don’t remember – there was maybe one scenario where a team offered one. I think it was Anderson Varejao in Golden State but I think it was a really unique circumstance.”

Valanciunas, the longest tenured Raptor of the trio, missed five weeks of last season and was traded along with Wright and Miles to the Memphis Grizzlies for the services of Marc Gasol shortly after his return from injury.

”I think Varejao was just different,” Webster said. “ I think they had to waive him for a roster reason. I don’t think they wanted to trade him. I forget but it was a little bit different. We obviously thought about it but at the end of the day it’s who was on the court June 13th. That’s kind of how we decided it.”

The Raptors decision has drawn some ire from the team’s fanbase, especially as it pertains to Valanciunas, who spent seven long seasons with the club and was on hand at the Scotiabank Arena cheering his former team on in the first round of the postseason. Valanciunas himself was expecting a ring after a brief conversation he cited having with Kyle Lowry.

“Well, Kyle (Lowry) texted me ‘What’s your ring size?’ So I don’t know,” Valanciunas said shortly after the Raptors captured the franchise’s first championship.

Whether or not you are in agreement with the Raptors decision or not, it’s important to place things into perspective. The Raptors traded all three players because they believed that the Gasol move would push them over the edge – and it did. What the trade deadline blockbuster suggested was that without the move, the Raptors did not believe they could win. Valanciunas, Wright, and Miles, although favourites across the fan base were ultimately moved to help improve the team. They did not play a factor in the team’s championship run and were not on the roster at the time the Game 6 final buzzer rang.

Sometimes tough decisions must be made, but the truth is, the Raptors made the correct call.


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