When Bruce Brown made his Toronto Raptors debut on Thursday night, he did so wearing his familiar No. 11, and with $10,000 less in his bank account. That’s because Brown, after he was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Raptors in the Pascal Siakam blockbuster, decided to make a deal of his own.
Upon arriving in Toronto, Brown discovered that the No. 11 was occupied by Jontay Porter, the Raptors’ two-way player. Seeing as he knew Porter’s brother, Michael, from his time with the Denver Nuggets, and makes many times Jontay’s salary, Brown asked if he could buy the number off the big man.
The answer was yes. More so, the asking price was less than Brown was expecting. After all, what’s $10,000 when you’re making $22.5 million this season?
Brown wore No. 11 in college at Miami, but was unable to do so initially when he made it to the NBA as the No. 42 overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Detroit Pistons. The No. 11, of course, hangs in the rafters at Little Casears Arena in honor of Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas, who led the Pistons to two titles in 1989 and 1990. Instead, Brown wore No. 6.
When Brown was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2020 he couldn’t wear No. 11 there either on account of it belonging to Kyrie Irving. Brown, then just a third-year guard still looking to make his way in the league, did not have the clout to ask a future Hall of Famer to swap numbers. There, he went with No. 1.
Upon signing with the Denver Nuggets in 2022, Brown finally got his first choice and was able to switch to No. 11. After winning a title with Nikola Jokic and co., Brown earned a big payday from the Pacers and was able to keep his number there as well. Now, he’ll get his wish in Toronto after being part of a package deal in exchange for Pascal Siakam.
As the saying often goes, if you look good, then you feel good, then you play good. As it turns out, the $10K was certainly worth it on that front, as Brown went for 15 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting from the field in his debut game north of the border.
As for Porter, he made the switch to No. 34, and after putting up 10 points, four rebounds and four assists, went home to count his money. Not bad for a day’s work.