Nearly $ 2 million a year and a great growth opportunity. Mikhailyuk famously settled in Canada
24-year-old Svyatoslav Mikhailyuk will remain in the NBA and avoid moving to Europe. Almost a month had passed since the opening of the free agent market, and Mikhailyuk was left without a club. It seemed that the Ukrainian basketball player would not find a place in the best league in the world for the next season. However, these conclusions were hasty. Recently it became known that in the upcoming season the player will play for the Toronto Raptors. And this is a great opportunity for Mikhailyuk.
Mikhailyuk spent the first half of last season at Detroit, but ended up in Oklahoma in March as a result of an exchange. He played 30 matches for Thunder, in which he averaged 10.3 points, 3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 23 minutes of playing time. In early August, he received a qualifying offer from the club, but after a few days it was withdrawn. Mikhailyuk became an unrestricted free agent.
In the summer, several clubs showed interest in the player. In particular, there were rumors about his possible return to the Lakers (they chose Mikhailyuk at the 47th pick of the 2018 draft) or the Pistons, negotiations were underway with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards. Mikhailyuk chose Toronto. His agreement with the Raptors is for two years, with a player option for the second season. In the first year, the Ukrainian will earn $ 1.7 million, and in the second (if he takes the option) – $ 1.9 million.
In Toronto, Mikhailyuk will be able to count on playing time. There are no strong attacking defenders in the team. The owner of a partially guaranteed contract, Ishmail Wainwright, and David Johnson, selected in the second round of the draft, cannot be called serious competitors for Svyatoslav. Mikhailyuk will replace Gary Trent , who is likely to become the main player in the position of number two. Another defender, Fred Vanvleet, will be playing point guard following the departure of Kyle Lowry .
Perhaps Mikhailyuk will even manage to take the role of the first option from Trent during the season. Everything is in the hands of Svyatoslav. Svyat knows how to throw three-pointers with an accuracy of 40 +%, however, last season was an exception. The defender converted only 33.4% of his three-pointers. Mikhailyuk is still considered a strong shooter. We need to make allowances for the fact that “Oklahoma” and “Detroit” are “drain” teams, so that the degradation of Svyatoslav’s sniper skills is out of the question.
For three years in the NBA, Mikhailyuk has not been able to fully reveal himself. At Toronto, the 24-year-old defender will have another such opportunity. In the team, he can get a good role and stay for at least two seasons if he activates the player option next summer. And if Mikhailyuk successfully cope with the position of the second attacking defender in Toronto, then next summer he will be able to apply for a larger contract.
Mikhailyuk remained in the NBA, and this is the main thing. Encestando’s messages about their readiness to move to the Euroleague were hasty. Expectations from Svyatoslav in any case should be down-to-earth. Second-round picks for the most part don’t linger long in the NBA. Some never even go to court in their NBA club uniform. Not to mention participation in the League’s Rising Stars Game – an achievement that Mikhailyuk won in the 2019/2020 season.
Toronto is unlike Mikhailyuk’s previous clubs, Oklahoma and Detroit. The Raptors are not a drain club. Head coach Nick Nurse will demand maximum performance from Mikhailyuk on both sides of the court. Svyatoslav is able to live up to expectations. At least in the attack. In Canada, he received the minimum wage, but for a young guy, even almost $ 2 million is not bad money.
There is a player option for a second year of agreement, which guarantees a long-term league stay. There is no high competition for positions. It will be very interesting to watch Svyatoslav next season. Maybe he will shoot bright and the option does not even have to be activated, since the league clubs will express their willingness to offer him much more “minimum” when entering the market.