Thursday, February 26, 2009

Richie Rebuilds Raptors

Let’s focus on what is within the realm of CONCEIVABILITY about what could happen this summer. In other words, let’s speculate on how Brian Colangelo (BC) might be able to dig out from under the heap of shit team he has buried himself beneath.

Here is a chart of NBA team salaries and their free agents (stars indicate which free agents are restricted and a double star indicates player termination options) If you look at Atlanta, it means they will be 10.4 million under the salary cap and 22.9 million under the luxury tax. Meanwhile the Knicks are 16million over the salary cap and 3.6 million over the luxury tax.

According to this table the Raps are already committed to about 50million. I have read from a slightly more reliable source that it is only about 46million. Lets take the fact that the Raps are already committed to 46 million as a starting point and that they will still be about 22million under the luxury tax as gospel just for the purpose of this exercise.

Part One – Who to re-sign?

A couple weeks ago, BC almost made me drop a steaming turd in my pants when he suggested he wanted to re-sign: A) Marion, B) Parker, C) Delfino, D) Graham and E) Nesterovic. If he actually signs all five of these fuckers he should officially just quit with dignity before he gets fired by the wankers that make up the MLSE board.

Of these five aforementioned names, who should BC get back?

Marion – Yes, he is essential for reputation purposes. I fully expect him back in Toronto and I will explain why. If Marion walks away it means BC gave up Ford, O’Neal, Nesterovic, Baston and 2 first rounders for sweet fuck all in one year! Also, the Raps will likely be the only team able to give him something fair. What is fair? I personally believe anything over 10 million is too much. 7 million is a steal. I think it is REASONABLE to assume he could be had for 8 or 9 million per year in the current climate.
The next three (Parker, Graham and Delfino) I lump into a group of which I only think two of them (at the most) should be re-signed and I do not think any of them are worth more than 3.5 million.

Parker – Maybe he should return, on the condition that: A) he will come off the bench, B) not demand too much money and C) will be willing to tutor whoever the Raptors draft in the first round to replace him. Will he play for 3 million or could he get more in Israel? He wanted to go back there before this year. He might walk. Yet, BC is madly in love with him. So I don’t really know where he stands. My guess at this moment is that AP goes back to the Holy Land of Israel.

Delfino – Maybe he should return. Of these three, he is the one I like most since he is “kind of athletic” and can handle the rock. They say they want to push the tempo? Delfino is the best of the three to help do this since he has better handles and passing than Joey. Remember when he was the only guy who’d drive at Dwight Howard in the playoffs? I haven’t forgotten. I respected his guts in last year’s playoff series. (Delfino, Bosh and Kapono were the only three who played well in fact)

Graham – Maybe he should return. Good Joey is also solid in a fast break style and can play power forward in a small ball lineup. He is a good finisher on the break and has seemed to turn a corner lately. Could the Raps sign him to a contract of less than 3million per year? If yes, keep him. He’s a good backup to Marion.

Nesterovic – Maybe he should return. Is he better than Jawai, O’Bryant, Voskuhl and Humphries? Yes. The Raps need some toughness, rebounding and cannot afford to waste a top 10 pick on these skills when there is already such a glaring hole at shooting guard. Is Nesterovic a viable possibility to fill this hole? Sadly, yes. If not him then who? Maybe Brandon Bass or Channing Frye? They look to fall around the 3-5million salary mark. Nesterovic and Frye closer to 3million while Bass is closer to 5million.

Tally it up : Marion (9million) plus 2 wings (7million) plus Nesterovic /another goon (4million) = 20million. Fuck me! That’s a lot of money to spend on essentially keeping the same team! More changes need to be made in my view.

While I agree with Bunting that rebuilding is a great idea, I simply don’t think Colangelo is going to rebuild due to his homosexual tendencies towards Bosh, Calderon and Bargnani. So I am forced to consider a more conservative, realistic approach.

PART TWO - Other Free Agents

I have already mentioned the fact that I think Brandon Bass would be a good candidate to bring grit and toughness. Let’s be serious - other than a shooting guard - grit and toughness is what the Raps need more than anything. It needs to be number two on the team’s wishlist.


Shooting guard who can slash
Someone with grit and balls who can intimidate
Backup point guard (unless you love Roko Ono)
Scenario 1 – Marion Bolts for Greener Pastures

This would absolutely kill Colangelo’s credibility. I doubt it will happen because there aren’t any teams I can see that need him that also have the space to pay him.

However, for the purpose of argument, let’s say he bolts town on the first GO Train out. The only way to salvage him leaving would be to make a splashy free agent signing.

Oscar and I agree that a good candidate is Marvin Williams. However, when you see how far below the cap that Atlanta is, you gotta think they should be able to re-sign both Bibby and Marvin Williams.

If that doesn’t work, I advocate chucking money at Ben Gordon to solve the shooting guard conundrum.

If that doesn’t work, then overspend on D-League superstar, Ben Ford’s lovechild, known only as Mr Von Wafer. Hell, he is a great option no matter what. I want this guy to be the starting 2 guard next year. He’s better than Parker or Delfino. Does Houston have the flexibility to pay him?

Scenario 2 – The Raps re-sign Matrix but let the others walk

I think this is a good option. Why hang on to guys like Parker, Graham and Delfino when they are average benchplayers at best and borderline douchebags at worst? Lets try to spend money on another starter. If Matrix cost 9million there could still be enough to try to lure someone else to the Raps.

Paul Millsap would be money but he won’t be allowed to leave Utah since he is restricted.

You all know Colangelo has a raging hard-on for Linas Kleiza. If overpaid by Toronto, Denver may not be able to match. This really frightens me.

Hedu Turkoglu could be had if he opts out. Much like Kleiza, this possibility also terrifies me.

Best case: The Raps re-sign Marion, steal Wafer and also add a solid SG/SF through the draft. I realize that in this dream scenario the Raps have not fixed the problem of being a big bunch of pussies. Here comes my masterstroke…

PART THREE – The Trade Market

I’m not going to throw around Bosh or Bargnani trade scenarios because I don’t think they are likely.

However, it is abundantly obvious that the Raps need to get rid of at least one of these two shit bombs:

Marcus Banks
Jason Kapono
My dream scenario is trading either one of them to Philadelphia for Reggie Evans. He addresses the toughness problem and is buried on Philly’s bench behind a host of other forwards. He has NO skills, but he is gritty as fuck. Good enough! I’d prefer to get Bass, but I doubt it will happen.

Other than this, I am not really sure what trades could be swung to improve the team. But I gotta say, I’m open to ANYONE on the Raps roster being traded.

PART FOUR – The Draft

I cannot pretend to know a damn thing about the draft. However, at this juncture it is absolutely imperative the Raptors hit a homerun on their pick. This much I am sure of.

Ideally this would be a shooting guard or small forward. The current crop looks like one of: James Harden, Brandon Jennings, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jeff Teague, Earl Clark, Gerald Henderson, etc.

However, I am also open to the idea of selecting a tough power forward or center who can disguise the femininity of Bosh and Bargnani.

2009-2010 Starting Lineup

PG – Calderon, Ukic, Banks

SG – Wafer, Rookie 1st Rounder, Delfino

SF – Marion, Graham

PF – Bosh, Evans/Bass

C – Bargnani, O’Bryant, Jawai (Nesterovic)

What do you think? Personally, I’d prefer even more changes, but this seems more likely.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If a Tree Falls....

Well its finally done. I swore to myself that I would not write something new until BC traded Jermaine O'Neal to Maimi for Shawn Marion. Thanks to Pat Riely's dicking around, you have all been robbed of my insight into the craptastic Raptors.

So what do I think of the Matrix donning a Raptors uni? Well, to all the haters out there, I am standing up and saying, I really like this trade! I know, that's a pretty muted response, but you can't expect to say stand up and say that I loved it, when it clearly has its flaws.

Here's what I am thinking:

1. Marion is now the starting SF. Awesome!!!!!

A) Defense - He is hands down the greatest man on man defender on the wing that the raptors have ever had even though he has slipped. We no longer have to watch every elite wing in the L back our helpless defenders into the high post and hit gimmie turn arounds from the free throw line.

B) Offense - definitely trickier to integrate Matrix. Now I think we can all agree that Matrix's best seasons were with Nash. Which makes me think that he is a player that is really depandent on his pg to find him opportunities in the offense. Will jose find him those shots? We will see, but he is the best finisher that the raps have had since Vince left town.

2. Marcus Banks - I have gone on record many times saying that Banks gets ripped just because he is owed 4 million for another 2 years. At the same time people insist that Delfino NEEDS to be resigned this summer for a 500K less and an extra year, but that is worth it cause Delfino is the shiznit. I think Banks in the off guard spot on the second unit will be as good as Delfino on the offensive end. He is probably the 4th best athlete on the team, and on a team that is too white I welcome the additional pigmentation.

3. Trading a future non lottery first rounder. Colangelo definitely seems to hate first round picks outside the top 13. I don't share the same level of outrage that some of you have displayed. The pick has excellent lotoo protection especially since
the protection doesn't runout for 5 years. Many of the people who have said that a 17 pick really wasn't going to help the raps can't turn around now and say the raps gave up the "future" of the franchise. Yes, the raps gave up some potential young talent, who could be a solid rotation player, but I doubt this first will "haunt" the raps forever. Did BC give up a little extra to not pay JO 22 mil next season? For sure, but its not the end of the franchise.

As for the warts on this deal, I am not going to talk about them here. Most of the print media in this city hates it, so if you want to fill up on some haterade, I suggest you go to those sites.

Wednesday marks the start of a new era, I am excited again!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Don't Call It A Comeback Cause I'm Here To Talk About Amare

Ah fellow Raptors fans. I haven't written anything about our intrepid Dinos in a while, mostly because I have been compeltely disgusted by their play. However, word out of PHX is that the Suns are looking to move Amare Stoudamire, and they are willing to settle for some pretty shit pieces like Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas, or Raef Laferenz's contract, and a bag of Sour Patch Kids.

Now here's a thought to blow your minds Raptors fans. How come Colangelo doesn't make an offer for Amare, Barbossa, PHX's 1st rounder, and Matt Barnes for Bosh and Kapono. All the parts about this trade makes too much sense not to happen.

Amare has a history with BC, and he is equally as talented as Bosh. He is a better offensive player, and he does give up something on defense, but I would argue that Bosh is a vastly overrated defender. Bosh is a better rebounder than Amare, but Amare can hold his own in that catagory.

Now some of you will have objections due to concerns that Amare has had microfracture surgery. But let's look at reality, in the pasat 2 seasons, Amare has missed ZERO games due to knee problems, and Bosh has missed 12 games in 2007, 10 games in 2008, and at least 1 game (and probably more considering he is out right now with a knee injury) in 2009. At worst I would say that Amare has an equal chance to see his career ruined by knee problems.

I am not going to breakdown the advantages of swapping Barbossa for Kapono. If you don't think the Raptors are getting the better end of that deal, you should probably just keep watching hockey.

So the projected lineup for this revamped Raptors squad would be:

Starting Lineup: Amare, Bargnani, Jose, Barnes, and Barbossa/Parker
Bench: JO, Barbossa/Parker, Graham, Roko (on occasion)

I don't know if that team would be a contender in the East (ie at the level of Cleveland or Boston), but I DO think its infinitely better than the shit show that the Raptors are rolling out right now. In this deal, the Raptors rebuild their bench by bringing in a legit scoring option/ballhandler for the second unit (Barbossa or the demotion of AP) to team with JO to form a formidable 1-2 punch off the bench. As an added bonus, Graham/Moon get to battle it out for the backup wing mins rather than have us suffer with the prospect of watching either start.

Plus the Raptors can become a running team, by putting Barbossa in the backcourt with Jose, and sliding AP over to the 3 spot. That lineup can put its foot on the gas, and run most teams out of the gym. And for all you old school lovers of defense, at the end of the 4th quarter, and you need a stop, just put JO in for Barney, and I would argue that this Raptors squad is much more equipped to play in the NBA.

Worst Case scenario would be that Amare leaves in 2010 (which he won't cause he is a pay cheque player, and he ain't leaving $35 million on the table cause its cold). But isn't that the same worst case with Bosh. Maybe the grass seems greener to me, and Amare is inferior to Bosh, but all I know that the Raps haven't won with Chris, and if BC waits too long, we may end up getting 20 cents on the dollar for Bosh.