Restricted free agents with CAA connections: Torrey Craig
Torrey Craig’s had an interesting journey to the NBA. Craig went undrafted during the 2014 NBA Draft and spent his first three professional seasons in Australia. He signed with the Denver Nuggets on a two-way contract for the 2017-18 season. His play earned him a two-year, $4 million deal with the Nuggets.
Craig received a decent amount of playing time during the 2018-19 season due to injuries to both Gary Harris & Will Barton. He quickly developed a reputation as a defensive stopper, often tasked to guard the elite guards in the West from Donovan Mitchell to Demar Derozan to James Harden to Russell Westbrook.
Craig’s spotlight further illuminated during the 2019 Playoffs where he excelled during the Nuggets’ first round matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 18 points with 5 threes in Game 4 and also did a tremendous job slowing down both Derrick White & Demar Derozan.
Craig’s profile will further increase with the NBA games in Orlando this summer. It will be there where Craig can further amplify his defensive exploits and audition for the various teams watching these games closely.
The Nuggets are already slotted at around $111 million in active salaries during the 2020-2021 season, excluding draft picks (or $102 million if Jerami Grant opts out of his contract). While the Nuggets can afford Craig, they already have Will Barton’s long-term contract on the roster and are heavily vested into Michael Porter Jr. It might not make sense for them to invest a long-term deal in Craig.
To be fair, many teams will be in the running to pick up the South Carolina native. Certainly, even teams above the cap can attempt to use the non-taxpayer MLE to sign him to a long-term deal. The Phoenix Suns, for example, would certainly have interest in Craig, simply for making Devin Booker’s life easier.
The Western Conference, as a whole, would benefit if the Knicks swoop Craig away. He will turn 30 at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, so he’s no spring chicken. However, defensive stoppers are always needed on playoff contending teams; there’s no harm taking a look into signing him.