Chris Boucher’s story has performed out like a feel-good sports activities film, the type the place everybody cheers for the underdog.

Using an in a single day bus as a homeless teenager. Dropping out of highschool and dealing as a cook dinner in a Montreal rooster restaurant. Tearing his ACL in his senior school season at Oregon and going undrafted.

Three years later, the 27-year-old re-signed with the Toronto Raptors for a two-year deal reportedly value $13.5 US — the richest contract in NBA historical past for a Canadian who went undrafted.

A reporter identified that now he should buy a restaurant.

“It was actually exhausting earlier than, so it is so much simpler now,” Boucher stated.

The Raptors on Wednesday formally introduced the re-signing of Boucher and signing of Aron Baynes, who hopefully will fill the centre spots left vacant by Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.

The 27-year-old Boucher averaged 6.5 factors, 4.5 rebounds and block final season, injecting power off the bench.

His hefty contract is the most recent chapter in his can’t-make-this-stuff up story that noticed him rise via Raptors 905, incomes each MVP and defensive participant of the yr within the G League.

Boucher stated the brand new deal will not change him as an individual.

“I believe via the years I’ve realized who I used to be and the folks I must be round, and COVID-19 additionally sort of structured me a bit higher on what I would like, what’s vital,” he stated.

“I believe cash will not change that. It is positively going to assist me with my household. I do not need my mother to work no extra. That is positively one factor I will maintain. And… I believe simply to attempt to hold the love of basketball, attempt to get higher, not get too snug and be taught from my errors.”

Baynes Fan Membership

A few hours after Boucher’s Zoom name, Baynes nearly met the Toronto media. Sprinkling his solutions with “mate” and “cheers,” the New Zealand-born Aussie confirmed why he is so fashionable.

He has some of the fashionable athlete fan accounts on Twitter with 62,000 followers. The account heralded his signing with Toronto, posting: “TARONTO RAPTORS” and “TAMPA BAYNES,” the latter in reference to the Raptors’ momentary residence base to start out the season.

The account additionally posted a tweet defending Baynes’ three-point shot together with Kyle Lowry’s age when a reporter predicted the Raptors can be worse this season due to these elements.

“Aron Baynes had already confirmed that his three-pointer is actual and Kyle Lowry won’t ever drop off for he’s immortal,” the submit stated.

Baynes stated the account makes him giggle.

“They’re normally fairly entertaining so to me there’s a variety of positivity coming from it, which sort of goes in opposition to the grain . . . it is bringing in additional positivity on social media and it is a good factor so I positively observe them and I’ve an excellent giggle a variety of the time,” Baynes stated.

Baynes as requested whether or not the fuzzy beard has made him fashionable.

“I do not know mate,” Baynes stated. “The beard has simply been one thing that the missus advised me in the future ‘you are going to develop a beard out,’ so I choose my battles and that wasn’t one I cared to combat about.

“Everybody says ‘pleased spouse, pleased life’ however I sort of subscribe to the ‘mildly irritated spouse, extra entertaining life,”‘ he added with fun.

Whereas Baynes’ three-point capturing cooled down barely after a scorching begin final season, with Phoenix the 6-10 ahead shot a career-best 35.1 per cent from lengthy distance. He additionally averaged profession highs of 11.5 factors, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 22.2 minutes. He scored 20 or extra factors seven occasions, together with a career-high 37 factors in opposition to Portland on March 6.

Requested to be aggressive

Bettering on the three-point line has been a serious focus for Baynes since his rookie season in San Antonio in 2012-13. He noticed how the league was evolving to favour three-point capturing, and specifically, what Golden State was doing.

“The early discussions I’ve had with [head coach Nick Nurse], he is stated, ‘Look, we will want you to be aggressive and Kyle’s nice at discovering guys, and he will provide you with a variety of time and area,”‘ Baynes stated.

“I am wanting ahead to going on the market. However on the identical time, I am by no means making an attempt to power it, I am looking for the very best shot for the group. And that is what Toronto’s been about through the years, is looking for the very best shot.”

Baynes, who signed a two-year deal reportedly value $14.three million, ought to see extra of the ground this season than ever earlier than. He is wanting ahead to it. And whereas he is 33, his message is: by no means cease enhancing.

“Working underneath Nick and with the opposite coaches, there are positively issues I can be taught extra and get higher at,” he stated. “However yeah, I really feel very assured that I am going to have the ability to go on the market and attempt to work for it.

“The physique feels good. We have had 9 months now to get the physique feeling proper, so I am going into it in the very best form I have been in, so I am actually wanting ahead to getting on the market and attending to work.”

Coaching camps open on Dec. 1, whereas the common season ideas off on Dec. 22.


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