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What does signing Will Solomon say about the Raptors?

Posted by Arsenalist on July 29, 2008

The multi-faceted player that Bryan Colangelo hinted at acquiring didn’t turn out to be Bonzi Wells or Michael Finley but Will Solomon. The Raptors have signed the 6′ 1″ guard to a contract for the upcoming season and it’s logical to think he’ll be playing the role of Darrick Martin. The combo-guard played the last two season in Turkey and was the 33rd pick in the 2001 draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He also happens to look a little like Milt Palacio and if his play is anything like the former grandmaster, we are in good hands.

Once again the Raptors tap into the international market to address a need. Nathan Jawai, Hassan Adams, Roko Ukic and Will Solomon were all snatched from foreign teams and combined the quartet has very little NBA experience. With the exception of Adams who played a year with the Nets and Solomon who played the better part of a season with the Grizz, the Raptors incoming crew lacks meaningful NBA experience which could come back to haunt them. If Joey Graham and Kris Humphries remain on the 15-man roster come November, we’ll practically have 6 “scrubs” on the team. This evaluation might seem harsh when applying it to Roko Ukic but until he’s gotten himself in a groove and played through his initial NBA season, expecting anything significant out of him is probably unfair, just like it would’ve been for Calderon’s first year.

When Colangelo was talking about “concentrating talent” on the team earlier in the year I didn’t expect this degree of said concentration. After Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani and Jason Kapono, we are severely reaching for talent and ability. The “Big 3” will need to produce at a very high level and with great consistency if the Raptors plan on hiding their weak bench, something which used to be their strong-suit only a year ago. Say what you will about Carlos Delfino but the man could come off the bench and spark the team with his offense and defense, albeit not with great consistency. Right now we’re asking Hassan Adams to fill that role which you would think would be a drop-off. We’re asking Ukic to make-up for TJ Ford which you would also think is a drop-off (at least next year). We’ve basically replaced Rasho Nesterovic with Jermaine O’Neal which by itself is a great improvement but when you look at all the overall addition/subtractions, its hard to definitely say whether we’ve actually improved or not – especially considering the relative improvements other teams in the East have made.

If Colangelo is to be believed this signals our last signing of the summer which has to be disappointing. Colagenlo’s most important off-season has consisted of one big risky move and a few signings that are unlikely to have an impact given the talent of the players and the coaching philosophy on this team. Asking Mitchell to integrate half a dozen new players with below-average talent is asking too much and will result in us putting too much pressure on our Big 3. Taking Boston’s example last year this might not all be bad but keep in mind that Boston’s supporting cast was superior and their three stars are future Hall of Famers. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves, we’re nowhere close to the Celtics in terms of core talent or supporting cast.

Maybe Colangelo’s thinking is to test out the Bosh/JO combo and see if it actually flies and if the team is doing exceedingly well by the trade deadline or is one player away from legitimately contending, then make a move to acquire another true talent. This “wait and see” approach makes some sense but it sure puts a damper on a summer where much was expected of the Raptors. There were obvious weaknesses at the end of the season (rebounding, perimeter defense, athleticism) and we’ve addressed them to some degree but this pessimistic observer feels its hardly going to be enough.

The last thing I want to see on the Raptors is players being stretched out of their ability and ask of them things that they’re not capable of doing. We saw this last year with Jamario Moon and are poised to see the same complaints being directed at the likes of Hassan Adams, Will Solomon and Nathan Jawai. It’s a slippery slope when you start expecting things from scrubs and get annoyed when they don’t deliver. The supporting cast Bryan Colangelo has assembled does not fill me with confidence, mainly because of their lack of proven talent and experience. Sure, they might have potential to be good players but how long can we afford to wait? I though the plan was to fix the Raptors this summer, not sign players that in the best case will turn out to be average NBA players.

We’re not even close to contention.

Jason Kapono talks about the O’Neal trade and how it’ll help him get his shot off. He reckons O’Neal will do for him in Toronto what Shaq did for him in Miami. An optimistic view of things but I see what he’s saying. If you combine Bosh’s quickness in the post with O’Neal’s back-to-the-basket game you’ll get a diverse set of double teams which can open up the offense given the right pass out of the double.

“If O’Neal’s playing well on the block, that’s going to help us out. The more shooters and post players you have, you have the balance to create problems for the guys on the defensive end. Defenders must choose between helping out on the post or guarding guys who can make shots on the perimeter. It makes you want to get training camp started just so you can get him in here and used to our system and our sets and used to the guys. You can’t expect J.O to learn our system in two weeks. Obviously we are going to have a tough time in the pre-season and have a few bumps in the road.

I give Jermaine two practices to learn our entire “system”.

Matt Devlin finally replied to my email and it was a long one too. The Swirsk’s replies were never more than 10 words and I suspect Devlin’s will get shorter too once the season begins. He sounds like a very humble and honest guy but that’s what they said of Charles Manson. There’s an article about him in the Globe where he talks about how he’s going to focus the attention on the players and how he’s not a “hometown announcer” aka homer.

Ricky Davis signed with the Clippers and Renaldo Balkman got traded to the Nuggets in a move that fails to make sense for the Knicks. Andris Biedrins got re-signed for 62 million over 6 years, sounds like overpayment but given today’s NBA market its almost fair value.

Till tomorrow.

47 Responses to “What does signing Will Solomon say about the Raptors?”

  1. […] – Arsenalist […]

  2. khandor said

    According to Bryan Colangelo, the player roster is now set for the start of next season:

    2008-2009 Toronto Raptors

    STARTERS: Calderon, Parker, Moon/Kapono, O’Neal, Bosh
    BENCH: Ukic, Kapono/Moon, Bargnani
    RESERVES: Solomon, Adams, Graham, Humphries, Jawai

    When you compare the content & quality with the team that began the 2007-2008 campaign:

    2007-2008 Toronto Raptors

    STARTERS: Ford, Parker, Kapono, Bosh, Nesterovic
    BENCH: Calderon, Delfino, Bargnani, Humphries, Garbajosa
    RESERVES: Martin, Dixon, Graham, Moon, Baston

    anyone who thinks that this year’s team is taking a step up the ladder in the Eastern Conference anytime soon is completely out to lunch.

    Jose Calderon is a significant upgrade at the Starting PG position over TJ Ford but other than that the ‘quality depth’ on this present roster is far below where it needs to be (and once was, at the height of the Glen Grunwald regime) in order to be considered as a LEGITIMATE CONTENDER

    Needing to upgrade their 2007-2008 roster with improved REBOUNDING & Defense … the Raptors addressed neither of those concerns with the acquisitions they made this off-season.

  3. Endo said

    What an anticlimactic summer this turned out to be. Once you do the math we prob gave up more talent, acquired more salary and added more scrubs than before. I was thinking we needed a rebounder and a scoring SF, we ended up getting another PF.

    Gotta agreed with khandor, GG had assembled some good talent and good core pieces and even some toughness in his stay here. We looked like an athletic team and had an identity, right now we’re searching for one and BCs going for the big frontline look which only works if the rest of the cast is above average which I can’t say we are.

    This Raptors team is going to be underdogs on most nights in Vegas.

  4. masterjuddi said

    I dont think BC is asking Adams to fill the role of Delfino. Acquiring JO has changed the outlook of this entire team. they no longer have 4 guys hanging outside while Bosh bangs down low, which will create move high % oppurtunities to some of the best shooters in the nba.
    We would be asking too much for Ukic to make-up for TJ Ford, but the addition of a vertern pg in Solomon(even though he’s euro experienced) wont make rookie mistakes.
    Overall I feel the Raps have improved. for once they have both an offensive and defensive identity and a undisputed starting pg. Kapono, Bargs and Parker need to step it up and Moon needs to know his role.
    I love the Kapono comment about JO not being able to learn the raps system in 2 weeks. I was wondering when the raps got a system? i thought it was when they traded for JO?

  5. […] If you would like more details on what this signing says about the Raptors you can check out today’s post over at The Arsenalist. […]

  6. malefax said

    I’m confused by the analysis both in the main post and by Khandor in the comment. It is possible that O’Neal will end up being disappointing, but even when he was injured, he provided both rebounding and defense. So why do you say the need for rebounding and defense hasn’t been addressed? That is clearly what he was brought in to do, and there is every indication from his career that he will do it.

    I thought that once the effect of the trade sank in, commentators such as yourself, who had been justifiably drawing attention to the Raptors lack of toughness, terrible defense, and poor rebounding, would be happy that Colangelo did about the best thing possible given what was available in the NBA to address that problem. But somehow, the loss of Carlos Delfino is supposed to make the acquisition of JO a wash? I don’t think so.

    It also seems to me that the JO trade is not really a big risk. The deal had two complementary aspects to it that made it have huge upside for the Raptors and very little downside. One part of the upside was that medically, JO is now healthy and he addresses by far the biggest issues with last years Raptor’s team — he is the perfect fit for what the Raptors needed. But perhaps more importantly, he has an enormous contract that is expiring in the summer of 2010. There will be huge demand for a contract like that as early as the 2009 trade deadline by teams who want to make a push for members of the 2010 free agent class. Any team that has given up on the season will be tempted by that sort of a contract, doubly so if JO is playing well. If JO turns out to be a disappointment, his contract will still be a very valuable commodity that Colangelo may be able to turn into something good.

    But, consider this: if JO drops 20 points and 10 rebounds a game and complements Bosh well, we may end up just resigning them both in 2010, Bosh for more money, JO for less. And that would be a good thing.

  7. Arsenalist said

    Aside from the salary tie-up, I don’t think there is anybody too against the JO deal. It presents Mitchell a challenge to integrate two PFs into the system but on paper it is a good enough deal.

    However, acquiring JO does not address the perimeter defense and wing scoring need which were two of the three biggest problems last year (rebounding the other). The point of the post is that the supporting cast BC has put around JO and Bosh is inexperienced and unproven and expecting contention or meaningful success from this group is optimistic.

    The scenario you pointed out where JO drops 20/10 is a best case one which is unrealistic to expect. I sure hope it happens but wouldn’t bet on it and would’ve liked to see the Raptors improve their role players so that they don’t have as many as 6 “scrubs” on the 15-man roster.

  8. fluxland said

    So is this the last piece to get Sam fired by December 01 2008 or what?… Nice work BC… you f*****g c**t!!!

    @malefax: take off the Chuck pink glasses.

    “very valuable commodity that Colangelo may be able to turn into something good.” Oh yeah? Like what? LeBron or Wade perhaps?

    “JO is now healthy” – like Grant Hill healthy in Orlando?

    That’s a lot of ifs you got there my man… ever consider what happens if either Bosh or JO go down in a heap?
    Christ, he might even go down in training camp.. then what.. oh I know we got BabyShaq… we’re good. Celtics look out!!!

    Arse, you can count me against the JO deal. I seriously have visions of this guy going down … and not very long after he is with this team. Fucking Colangelo… why didn’t he stick with GQ magazine fashion editor or something… f*****g dummy.

  9. Crank said

    As crazy as flux’s post is it does have one truth in it. Mitchell being fired.

    Put yourself in his shoes for a second, he’s got Hassan Adams, Will Solomon, Moon, Jawai, Hump, Joey G, Roko Ukic, a fading AP and the question mark Bargnani on the team. I hope we don’t expect him to produce wins with this lot. There’s a lot of things that need to go our way next season not the least of which is JO’s health, Bargnani’s improvement, magical perimeter D fix, Mitchell’s coaching, AP’s revival, Ukic’s PG play etc.

    As the post said, to expect any real meaningful improvement next season is optimistic.

  10. FAQ said

    The current Raptor roster is built for survival and not for championship. If this group jells nicely and makes it into the playoffs, it will be an over-achievement and something to celebrate. Let’s just sit back and try to enjoy the NBA in Canada.

    I expect BC will be urging Mitchell to continue developing players like Bargnani together with Humphries, Ukic, Graham, Moon, Jawai. These can become decent players or trading chips. No one knows yet.

    The core players like Calderon, Kapono, JO and Bosh are heading towards the 2010 shakeup of the league. Calderon and Kapono are tied down but JO will want to prove himself so that he can at least command a $10 Million salary for 2010-11 season. The difference would/could be offered to Bosh for a $25-27 Million salary in 2010.

    Raptors are still a work in progress …. so obvious.

    How will opposing teams defend against the Raptors? It’s obvious the Raptors are weak at SG and SF positions, so pressuring the PGs .. Calderon, Solomon, Ukic seems to be a good strategy. This will force the SG and SF to hang back to help the PGs, which will allow the defence to set itself. Will this cause more turnovers by the Raptors?

    How will Mitchell et al coach such a situation?

  11. CouldBeInteresting said

    Hey flux did your dog piss in your cereal again this morning!! LOL

    Why doesn’t everybody SLOW DOWN and put things in perspective. Do you think the Raptors are the only team trying to be contenders in this league? Do you think its EASY to put together a contender??

    So lets give the MAN BC some deserved credit. Dude turned this team around from a bottom feeder to a playoff team in impressive time. Could you imagine if Baboon Babcock was still GM! The reality is BC didn’t have a tonne of coin to spend this off season so he had to be smart in how he used what was available. Solomon is a solid pick up compare to anyone else he could have signed for that money. Jawai looks like he can give some relief minutes and fouls off the bench. True last year’s team offered more depth. Fact, that did SHIT for us in the playoffs. We needed to elevate our core group in a big way. The East is a whole lot better than two years ago. If we returned this year with last years core players, we would be lucky to sneak in at 7th or 8th in the East. The only other major deficiency on this team is coaching. At a minimum BC should consider bringing in a new X and O’s assistant coach to help Mitchell.

    Malefax I’m glad to see some people on here get the big picture of the JO trade.

  12. khandor said

    malefax,

    In the NBA, you address an area of need by trading from a different area, hopefully one of strength.

    Acquiring O’Neal while keeping Nesterovic would have improved the team’s interior D & Rebounding.

    Acquiring O’Neal at the expense of Nesterovic (plus Ford) is a marginal zero-sum gain.

    Meanwhile Parker, Delfino, Kapono, Moon and Graham represented a veritable glut at the Wing position on last year’s team … none of whom was used effectively in a summer transaction to upgrade the squad’s two primary areas of need (at least, at this time), i.e. Rebounding & interior D.

    Off-season transactions like these … i.e. (i) exchanging Nesterovic + Ford + No. 17 (Overall) for O’Neal, and (ii) signing cost-effective back-up players (like Colangelo did in the summer of 2006) … are NOT the types of moves a team SHOULD BE making at this stage in their development (i.e. heading into year 3), if the ultimate goal is to eventually compete for and win an NBA championship sometime down-the-road.

    Instead, these are the types of ‘treadmill’ moves made by a mediocre team that is simply trying to placate/delude (?) its fan base while reaping huge profits for its owners.

  13. Arsenalist said

    I’m co-signing khandor’s POV here when it comes to his take on the wing situation. We have not upgraded that position at all. Our interior scoring is better and the rebounding is marginally better (JO – Rasho = 2.2 RPG) but as far as addressing the perimeter D and wing scoring needs, we’re shooting blanks.

    We’ve put all our eggs in the JO/Bosh basket which might be OK if they both have career years but the chances of that happening in their first year is not high and that’s why a solid supporting cast is needed and that cast is not there.

    I understand that BC’s hands our tied when it comes to the cap but ask yourself this, is tying up 26 million in O’Neal and Kapono the way you want to go? I think the trade was a desperate move by Colangelo, one I think he had to make otherwise the fans would be on his case big time. It’s just that he’s done a poor job of filling out the rest of the roster – I think he could’ve used Parker, draft picks, Garbajosa’s expiring contract, Rasho’s expiring contract, TJ Ford and #17 a bit more wisely to get more bang for his buck.

  14. khandor said

    CouldBeInteresting,

    I am not a Rob Babcock aficionado, not by a long stretch, BUT … it is not inconceivable to me that the Toronto Raptors could actually be better off today, 2 1/2 years after-the-fact, had they simply endured the extended re-building time-line proposed by their former GM, i.e. been bad for these last 2 seasons, missing the playoffs entirely … with the prospect of adding some combination of solid young players like Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, or Michael Beasley, et al., to a nucleus which included Chris Bosh, Morris Peterson, Charlie Villanueva, Jose Calderon and Joey Graham at the time.

    Contrary to what some NBA observers would have you believe … all MLSE did when they pulled the Bryan Colangelo rabbit outta-their-hat (Feb/2006) was yet another ‘caper/masquerade’ in the long and sad series of ‘quick/pseudo fixes’ which Toronto sports fans have been subjected to at the hands of the owners of the Maple Leafs/Raptors.

    Steady-handed and precise Hockey/Basketball acumen, over the long haul, is what’s been missing from this group of ‘elite level sports nincompoops’ (i.e. MLSE/Leafs & Raptors owners) for the last 40 years … and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though anything is about to change anytime soon.

  15. fluxland said

    @Couldbe: I just don’t like the over optimism going around Raptorland regarding the JO trade. See comments #12 and 13. People are not being realistic about the situation this team is in. And the big picture in the JO trade spells DISASTER, not LAST PIECE OF THE CHIP.

    Not to mention ppl are talking about 2010 as some sort of gold mine that will turn the Raps into NBA contenders.
    I’ve said it before and will again.. if you think 2010 means anything to us..you are out of your mind. What top level NBA player is interested in coming here?! LeNobody that’s who.

  16. anonymouse said

    Yes, Khandor, I’m sure Bosh would have re-upped with his 4 year deal with BabCOCK still in charge and the Raptors floundering at the bottom of the standings for the foreseeable future. Just like Josh Smith is re-upping with the Hawks and Deng and Gorden re-upped with the Bulls — and the latter was an actual successful team (until last season).

    And I’m sure Babcock would have picked Gay and Roy over Bargnani, as he proved himself with his successful ’04 draft.

    /sarcasm off

    And Fluxland, so LeNobody, including Bosh, will resign with the Raptors’ 2010 cap space. But how about, say:

    – Dirk Nowitzki (he’ll only be 32)
    – Michael Redd (hey, he re-upped with Milwaukee)
    etc., etc.

    … it’s not like 2010 will be LeBron/Bosh or bust.

  17. RaptorsFan said

    If we aren’t able to sign Bosh in 2010 but sign Dirk and Redd, then we are in big trouble lol.

    Contrary to some people’s belief that we can’t net anyone to TO because it is the subsequent ‘hellhole’ of the NBA (Rolleyes) I believe that we are able to at least get a player of Joe Johnson caliber, or Butler. My dreams would be happy for Wade to be here personally and I’m hopping for it, but obviously players like LBJ are out of reach.

    Just realized that Yao Ming is in the player crop of 10′ – Hey, with the large Chinese population in GTA, Yao can be both an upgrade talent wise, and a purely business oriented deal for MLSE to get their hands to more money.

    And Yao would definitely feel right at home here… more than happy.

  18. fluxland said

    anonymouse: Dirk is married to Cubes.. so seriously that will never happen.

    Same goes for any other NBA player. Toronto, like it or not, is the least desired destination by any NBA player. It also won’t matter how much money we have to throw around, in case you think that will make a difference, as everyone seems to think that shedding that contact will make a huge difference.

    The bottom line is TO is a NBDL team in the NBA at best, or a training team for foreign players to develop their NBA skills in. Take FAQs advice and enjoy the NBA action as it comes to town while putting your Raptors playoff and chip dream to bed. Thanks BC. Good times all around.

    RaptorsFan.. ROFL… Wade and Yao…bahhahahahha….that will be the day.

  19. RaptorsFan said

    I’ve always been amused by your antics and beliefs that TO is somehow the LEAST desired destination of all NBA players? I would love to hear you explain that though, one of the biggest cities in North America (#4 excluding Mexico City), full of richness and culture, great neighborhoods to live in, one of the least crime rate (safe), somehow makes it the worst destination for NBA Players?

    As I said, only the ignorant would still believe so. Not to say that the NBA doesn’t have people like that, but most would know that TO is a great city to play in. The only draw back is that you have the cross the boarder which is a bit time consuming but nothing major for a MULTI-millionaire earning his bills. O right, I forgot the big M, there is no marketing/endorsements here in Canada. lol. And how many players are getting heavily endorsed in the NBA other than the big stars like LBJ and Kobe?

    I would say there are a handful of cities I would not go to over TO – EASILY:

    OKC
    New Orleans (w/o the success – try finding someone to actually be convinced to go there)
    Milwaukee
    Minnesota – shit front office, middle of nowhere.
    Memphis
    Indiana
    Denver
    Detroit – now that’s a hellhole for anyone that goes there (though the piston’s are in Auburn hills)

    Then you have places like Charlotte, ATL, and Utah. Where you would also be pretty hesitant to move.

  20. MUHDIK said

    wow,a lot of u losers are very negative.well,thats usually what u say about people who are negative….its quality not quantity u bitches…..btw,THE LIL CUNT MEJ IS GONE YIPPPEEE!

  21. CouldBeInteresting said

    I’m not suggesting that JO is the missing piece of the championship puzzle. I do believe this a reasonably calculated move which puts us into the second round of the playoffs. JO and CB4 could prove to be a very interesting and effective combo up front. Further this increases our investment in Kapono who is one of the best in the business right now beyond the arc.

    I am confused however with what some of you think our wing players would fetch. Are you suggesting that Parker, Moon, or Graham would land us anything substantial. Moving those guys would have generated a draft pick at best. Think about it, if your another GM would you give anything of greater value back for those guys? Lets be real about what these assests would return.

    As for the 2010 sweepstakes, anyone would like to land LBJ or DWADE but the reality is only a very few teams will have a real shot. The point is a big expiring contract would be of value during that time period.

    Lastly the suggestion that we would have been better off with Babcock is the thinking of a BABOON!

  22. khandor said

    Yes, Bosh would have re-upped with the raptors even if Babcock had been running (sinking?) the ship at that time … just like Okafor has done with the Bobcats.

    Bosh and Okakor have more “character traits” in common than do Bosh and Josh Smith. :-)

    =========================

    Yes, IMO, given his stated long term plan for success there’s a good chance Babcock would have selected a player like LaMarcus Aldrige, or Brandon Roy or Rudy Gay, etc. … rather than Andrea Bargnani … with the No. 1 (overall) Pick in the 2006 NBA Draft (possibly, after trading down in the first round).

    Or, let’s say he didn’t … and, instead, Babcock picked another ‘stiff’ like Araujo … which would then have led to an even worse finish in the 2006-2007 … AND, quite possibly, the draft rights to either Greg Oden/Kevin Durant (in 2007) or Michael Beasley/Derrick Rose (in 2008).

    =========================

    Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

    =========================

    Calling other posters “names” only makes you look bad in return.

    =========================

    CouldBeInteresting,

    * Rasho was a trade asset
    * Ford was a trade asset
    * Draft Pick #17 was a trade asset
    * One of the Wing players on the current roster was a trade asset
    * Garbo was a trade asset

    from which the Raptors generated … Jermaine O’Neal + Nathan Jawai.

    IMO, acquiring O’Neal WHILE keeping Rasho would have been a solid trade for the Raptors (from a long term perspective) … but adding O’Neal at the expense of Rasho + Ford is, at best, a zero-sum gain … especially when it also costs your team Carlos Delfino (who, despite his erratic play, was a serviceable G/F for this team in a back-up role last year) because you refuse to exceed the Salary Cap.

  23. FAQ said

    2010 — JO will be nicely positioned to fetch a 3 year $30-40 Million contract to end his career if he proves himself in Toronto. Bosh will be a hot commodity because of his age and will probably be looking for a 4 year $100+ Million contract.

    What will the MLSE strategy be for 2010? They can put all their eggs into Bosh and JO .. or they can direct BC to assemble a blue-collar team and perhaps a $10 Million max payroll per player.

    If the NBA degenerates into a ‘Celtics’ type buying of a championship, then it will shrink as minor city teams wither. Personally, I’m not interested in tribal-honking, adolescent-boosting of my bball ego (like those who fantacize over Toronto assembling a ‘championship’ team), because the politics of the NBA is rotting the game.

    The next two seasons are just a holding pattern until we hit the 2010 ‘sweepstake’ maelstrom … and watch where the big name players go together with their product endorsement contracts. Basketball is a delusion for non-athletic, immature, adolescent minds .. and that’s part of the ‘fun’ everybody seeks in life.

  24. khandor said

    RaptorsFan,

    Unlike some others, I agree with your take on the potential attractiveness of Toronto to certain types of quality NBA players, who the Raptors have acquired either via trade or through the Draft over the years, e.g. Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Kevin Willis, Vince Carter, Charles Oakley, Alvin Williams, Chris Childs, Del Curry, Morris Peterson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Chris Bosh, Charlie Villanueva, Jose Calderon, TJ Ford, Jermaine O’Neal, etc.

    In comparison to someone like Stevie Francis (who refused to go to Vancouver or Antonio Davis, who was reluctant to spend his entire career in Canada due to the unfounded concerns his wife had about their children not being ‘educated’ in American) … it hardly seems that it’s impossible for the Raptors to entice an UFA or two to ply their trade north of the 49th Parallel, as long as the price is right.

  25. khandor said

    re: Basketball is a delusion for non-athletic, immature, adolescent minds .. and that’s part of the ‘fun’ everybody seeks in life.

    It is always noteworthy when certain posters try to speak on behalf of a broad group … rather than simply for themselves. :-)

  26. CouldBeInteresting said

    ARMCHAIR QUATERBACKS UNITE!!!!!!!!!!! LMAO

    Do tell Khandor what all your trade valuable “assets” would have generated in the way of trade to help this team win in the playoffs NOW…

    Secondly, Babcock was here as an interim GM to help start the rebuilding process. To suggest he is one of the best basketball minds in the business today is just plain foolish. As for Babcocks drafting acumen, please update me on the current success of his selections. Oh and lets not forget his highly touted negotiation skills (ala VC for a bag of bolts). His only solid move was Jose.

    P.S. I didn’t realize I was among children so I will be sure to refrain from name calling to protect the sensitve readers on this blog :)

  27. RaptorsFan said

    On a totally random thought:

    With the circulation of rumors surrounding a Josh Smith SnT, does anyone potentially think that we could’ve netted Josh Smith for TJ + Rasho + #17 if we didn’t do the O’neal deal?

    Their biggest need is a competent PG since Bibby is on the downside, and a big. We could’ve gave them those.

    We still would probably have to add a few incentives, but if that deal came to being we would have:

    Calderon/Ukic
    A. Parker/Kapono
    J. Smith/Moon
    Bosh/Humphries
    Bargnani/some filler big (Dorsey)

    Not as strong defensively like with O’neal, but Josh Smith is a rising star, and is one of the best shot blockers in his position. We would also probably be one of the most agile teams which is part of BC’s vision from what I read.

  28. Arsenalist said

    I prefer name-calling, especially swear words directed at female relatives. Derogatory verbs preferred.

    Seriously though, Babcock did some very dump shit while he was here. His good moves were Jose Calderon and getting Jay Triano here. The hiring of Sam Mitchell can also be considered good by some. Drafting CV was also a good move.

    He obviously screwed up the Hoffa pick big time and its hard for me to believe that we got what we could for VC. But even then looking back you have to look at that deal and say that its what enabled us to re-sign Bosh, create cap space to sign the likes of Parker, Garbo etc.

    I think one man`s name always gets lost in Raptor GM talk and that`s Wayne Embry. He was influential in setting up the table for BC to do what he did. Unfortunately, the one thing BC has killed since he got here is our flexibility under the cap which really is what we`re all complaining about whether we know it or not.

    You know where I stand: JO trade had to be made and I support it even though it kills us financially, its a risk we had to take. But as I already said and CouldBeInteresting should take note, we actually did have some assets:

    – TJ Ford
    – Anthony Parker
    – Garbo`s expiring
    – Rasho`s expiring
    – 17th pick in a good draft
    – Future picks (which we waste anyways)

    I know, not exactly the greatest but still enough to get more than one legit NBA player in the entire summer.

  29. nunya said

    Fucking deluded idiots and their deluded raptor phantom trades..no one is trading a J Smith for the shit from the Craptors….this team is chronically mediocre from top to bottom…
    Without a STAR wing player who can compete with Paul Pierce/LeBron James/Kobe Bryant/Dwayne Wade/Andre Iguodala etc etc this team is going NOWHERE.
    Nothing that was done in the off season is going to make this team anymore competitive than it was last year and NO, that is NOT good for business…losing teams are NEVER good for business in towns that don’t give a shit about that particular sport in the first place….the Raptors HAVE to win….

  30. Sorael said

    Not very positive are we. Well, since every possible worst case scenario has already been exhausted why don’t we drink a little kool-aid and look at the best case scenario.

    JO and Bosh remain fairly healthy all year, neither missing more than 10 games and they learn to play off each others talent. This would give Toronto one of the better starting front courts in the league.

    Calderon takes advantage of the starting role and continues to refine his game. Making him one of the better point guards in the league.

    Parker shows up to camp in much better shape and ends up playing more like himself from two years ago.

    Kapono plays like he did in the playoffs. Maybe even learns to improve his defence a little.

    Moon improves his offencive game enough that teams can no longer ignore him at that end.

    Bargnani rediscovers his jumpshot, rebounds a little better and continues to work on his inside game.

    Roko Ukic doesn’t fuck up in limited minutes.

    Humphries remembers that his best skill is rebounding and stops taking crappy jumpers

    Good Joey shows up more than bad Joey.

    Adams and Solomon prove adequate when called upon.

    Jawai learns a lot from Bosh and JO in practice.

    Mitchell figures out a consitant rotation that he likes.

    despite what most of you seem to think, this team isn’t that bad. They should still have the same strength as last year, good shooting and ball control. while their weaknesses should be less evident. Having a rebounder and shot-blocker of JO’s caliber in the middle will be a huge plus. This team had a decent shot at advancing in the playoffs for the second time ever. Even in best case scenario there is no hope of winning it all.

  31. CouldBeInteresting said

    Last comments on this rather lively blog today…

    CV’s biggest downfall, as analysts rightfully called, is his work ethic/attitude. I liked CharlieV but dude missed a real opportunity to work hard and earn quality minutes in Milwaukee. Don’t forget we could have selected Bynum at seven!

    As for VC, something had to be done. I just think he let the Raps get fleeced.

    Embry made it known he wasn’t interested in being the GM (beyond an interim basis).

    Lastly, I stand behind the JO trade because thats what we needed the most. We got absolutely killed inside. Bargnani at centre was a completely ill conceived plan. Trading for a high flying/lock down perimeter defender doesn’t put us over the first round hump. Having two solid defenders down low trumps a solid wing defender.

  32. RaptorsFan said

    @ #29 – Shit, looks like someones got sand up his ass.

    Look here, no one is asking you to follow them, bashers/haters that seemingly display zero intelligence should be the last to act as if they could do a better job than what is already done.

    Mediocre from top to bottom, I guess we should trade in our top player in Bosh for a STAR wing, let’s see where that will get us.

  33. malefax said

    Khandor: You say Nesterovic being JO will be a wash. I say it will likely be a big upgrade. We shall see how the cookie crumbles.

    And, as an aside, I never suggested that the Raptors themselves would necessarily be landing any big free agents in the 2010 draft (although them resigning Bosh should be possible). What I suggested that with all the teams out there wanting to be able to make big offers to those guys, a 23 million dollar expiring contract will be extremely valuable. We might well be able to trade JO for a less used all-star. Think the Pau Gasol trade (although probably not THAT good).

  34. MUH DIK said

    arsehole…i see u lead the charge with the negativity.get a grip bitchtits.

  35. khandor said

    re: Secondly, Babcock was here as an interim GM to help start the rebuilding process. To suggest he is one of the best basketball minds in the business today is just plain foolish. As for Babcocks drafting acumen, please update me on the current success of his selections. Oh and lets not forget his highly touted negotiation skills (ala VC for a bag of bolts). His only solid move was Jose.

    I would never suggest that of Rob Babcock.

    Maybe you missed the part where I said that I am NOT a Rob Babcock aficionado. :-)

    That said, neither I am a fan of a GM who says one thing then proceeds to do another.

    In my book that is called being duplicit.

    Nowhere does it say in the NBA GM’s Handbook For Building A Championship Franchise that it is mandatory for a Legit Contending team to go over the Salary Cap … but, neither does it say that a team with such aspirations down-the-road MUST BE DEATHLY AFRAID OF EVER EXCEEDING THE CAP and refuse to do so at all costs.

    When the Raptors fill out their roster with off-season player transactions like these:

    2006-2007
    – draft Andrea Bargnani No. 1 (Overall)
    – trade Villanueva for TJ Ford
    – trade Araujo for Kris Humphries
    – trade Bonner & Williams-E for Rasho Nesterovic
    – sign Anthony Parker
    – sign Fred Jones
    – sign Jorge Garbajosa

    2007-2008
    – sign UFA Jason Kapono
    – trade two 2nd-Round Draft Picks for Carlos Delfino
    – sign Maceo Baston
    – sign Jemario Moon

    2008-2009
    – trade Ford + Nesterovic + #17 for Jermaine O’Neal + #42 (Nathan Jawai)
    – sign Roko Ukic
    – sign Hassan Adams
    – sign Will Solomon
    – not renew the contract of Carlos Delfino

    it does not signal to me that this franchise has any serious intentions of ever doing what it takes to assemble the type of roster which is required to go deep into the NBA Playoffs and one day win the League Championship … which is what I believe all NBA teams SHOULD aspire to achieve for their fan base.

  36. khandor said

    malefax,

    That is not exactly what I’ve said thus far.

    Without back-tracking through the thread, I think I’ve said something like, “… trading Nesterovic + Ford for Jermaine O’Neal is at best a zero-sum gain.”

    Like you, I, too, believe in seeing how the cookie crumbles. :-)

  37. MUHDIK said

    …wankers.im embarrased for most of u…..hey,maybe we can email colangelo and ask him to emulate jesus at the wedding in cana?think of the possibilities!

  38. fluxland said

    @RaptorsFan… re: least desired destination.

    My opinion of TO being as such begins not with the city of Toronto, but with the organization. Let’s face it, not too many kids play ball dreaming of playing for the Raps, and most definitively not the ones in the US. In 15 years this organization has done nothing to create a culture or history that may appeal to an US bball player.

    Then you can start getting into other things… like the difficulty in the crossing the border, not necessarily for the player, but their relatives and family. Not to mention the difficulties in moving them hear permanently. Even though that may have it’s reservations beyond the border. And then you can get into the other reasons…some of them just don’t want their kids raised here – in a anti US environment. etc etc… Either way you put it… I would like to see an agent sell this place to a TOP LEVEL US NBA player as a desired destination, unless we are talking MAD money.. in which case, you know its not going to turn out well if that is the only reason why they are coming here.

    Your list is sketchy… I would give you Minny, Memphis and Milwaukee, but I am willing to bet if you threw in TO in that mix and asked any NBA player what would be their last choice.. they would say TO.

    —-

    @khandor – your list of players, IMO, indicates very little as to players having desire to player here. Some were drafted and left at the their 1st opportunity… others came here to finish their careers (read get paid or get used as marketing tool – the Dream playing here is a freaking travesty) And the ones that left, I am sure, had nothing positive to say about their experiences here to their colleagues in the US.

  39. khandor said

    Flux,

    If the right GM/Management Team was to be put in place with the Raptors franchise, there is no doubt in my mind that Toronto would eventually become a PrimeTime destination of choice to top flight NBA players … much like the Blue Jays eventually came to be perceived by the likes of Joe Carter, Robbie Alomar, Dave Winfield, Jack Morris, Paul Molitor, Tom Henke, Duane Ward, Ricky Henderson, Dave Stewart, etc.

    Pat Gillick and Paul Beeston, working for Labbatt’s/CIBC/etc., together with Cito Gaston and Gene Tenace (etc.), were the right combination to eventually build-up that organization to the point that, when the Money and the WINNING were right … top flight MLB players had no problem being drafted by Toronto, being traded to Toronto, signing as a Free Agent with Toronto, and/or re-upping with Toronto.

    When you’ve got the wrong management team in place, however … what you get is the unfortunate history, and the largely wasted opportunity to hit it big (in terms of building a model franchise and challenging-for/winning League Championships), which is the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club.

    It’s the proper management team which needs to come first, not the other way around.

  40. fluxland said

    Khandor,

    Is that to say that you do agree with #18 (in part)? : )

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the last comment. I just don’t know how many “fans” are aware of this being the biggest contributing factor in creating such an atmosphere.

    Most, like RaptorsFan, are convinced the right people are in place and believe my argument has to do with the actual city of TO. Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough.. my point was (as you pointed out by mentioning the root of the problem) that the organizational culture is not in place. That one that is there, concerns itself, as you have mentioned before, with the bottom line while putting out sub par (not championship level) product on the floor.

    They believe the problem is Sam M. and his inability to get the most out of his players. It’s never BC, its never the ownership… it that c*** TJ Ford and Sam M.

  41. CouldBeInteresting said

    Flux,

    I’m glad to see the lights have finally come on :)

    Moving TJ was the right decision but most of all we absolutely need to get rid of the MITCHELL. If one were to evaluate Mitchell’s coaching performance in his two playoff series appearences, he would get a BIG FAT STINKING F. Dude was outcoached so bad it was painful. Having sad that I’m obviously confused as to why you continue to endorse him.

    As for all this talk of the right culture, you guys must have your heads in the sand. The only top name free agents to resign in Toronto are Carter (best player Toronto has ever had) and Bosh. To drill down further, these were players who reupped with Toronto. Please name ONE top tier FA (from another team) who signed with Toronto. Having said that I’m not saying no one wants to come TO. The better the Raps do, the easier (relatively speaking) it is for to attract quality players. Hence, another fringe benefit of the JO trade. Just don’t see Toronto being a PRIMETIME destination. Shit we barely have any games on TNT!!!

    Your welcome and good night kids LOL

  42. fluxland said

    The light are always on around here. Although, peoples perception of their brightness may vary. Trust me… shit is on like 10 million candle power.

    I for one DO NOT believe moving TJ was the right move. Nor do I believe Sam deserves ALL the crap he gets and takes. As the man himself said..for the most part he puts the team in the position to win… the fact players fail to execute when the pressure is on.. is hardly his fault.

    Re: culture… in 15 years of this teams existence you named TWO TOP FAs resigns. What does this tell us? YES, in fact NO ONE wants to come to Toronto. IMHO of course. : )

    ARSE ROFLMAO at opening in #28.

  43. CouldBeInteresting said

    Are you kidding me! Sam changed the offensive scheme to start the Orlando series. Dumb. Combine that with the fact this is not some verteran team that MAYBE could have adapted to the new sets. DUMBER.

    Sam would be a good fit for Charlotte or Memphis. He is good at getting young guys to work hard and do the little things right. As a team matures, the approach grow more sophisticated. This is where Sam hits the wall. To say otherwise is wrong. Why do you think the (Jordan) Bull’s dumped Collins and went with Jackson?

    Let me ask you point blank Flux, are you denying that Sam didn’t get a facial (so to speak) when he went up against L Frank and S VanGundy?! The playoffs are when the men get seperated from the boys.

  44. fluxland said

    I didn’t realize you argument regarding Sam was towards the Magic series only. In that case, yes, one could conclude that Sam got a facial, as you say.

    How eva.. had he stuck to the old plan.. you would have been cryin about how he never changes it up and got facial again. So, whatever.

    At the same time, I do not place the sole blame on Sam.. as some of the players straight up sucked. Using “Sam changed the offensive scheme” while speaking of professional basketball players is… well weak and pathetic if you ask me.

  45. khandor said

    Flux, yes, to #18 … until the Management Team is made right in TO.

    CouldBeInteresting,

    #4. TJ Ford has his strengths and weaknesses … as do other Raptors’ players.

    #3. Sam Mitchell also has his strengths and weaknesses.

    #2. Bryan Colangelo too.

    The fundamental change in this organization that NEEDS to happen first is at the very top, with the people who run MLSE.

    #1. Until there is a different ownership group put in place … and Richard Peddie, Larry Tanenbaum, Ontario Teachers Pension Fund, etc., are removed from operating control of Toronto’s franchise in the NBA … the Raptors are not going to do what it takes to win a League Championship.

    MLSE has not been able/willing/capable/etc. of doing it with the Maple Leafs and they have a snowball’s chance in h*ll of doing this with the Raptors.

    ===================

    When I speak about the Raptors, it needs to be understood by others, that I do so in that specific context, which identifies the culprits responsible for the situation in Toronto in that specific order, #1, #2, #3 and then #4 … because, in the operation of a Professional Sports Franchise, that is how the layers of accountability MUST be addressed, even though as mere fans there is little any of us can do to bring about a change in any of these specific areas.

    The fans in Seattle DESERVED a new local owner for their team.

    IMO, so, too, do Raptors (and Maple Leafs) fans.

  46. MUH DIK said

    khandor is a tool….it makes me laugh when peons wax philosophical.

  47. khandor said

    muh dik,

    Even in the world of ‘tooldumb’ … some are sharper than others. :-)

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