Friday, July 16, 2010

Goodbye, Hedo.

July 9th, 2009: One of the happiest days of my life.

Hedo Turkoglu was now a member of the Toronto Raptors. Everything seemed swell in Raptorland. After all, Turkoglu was a major reason why the Magic made the finals in 2009, and his impressive season would only carry over to Toronto, right? The Raptors would now become a major force in the Eastern Conference. 5 years, $53M? So what? No defense and all offense? I don't care. I mean, it's Hedo Turkoglu. Hedo quickly embraced the fans, organization and city, claiming he "loved Toronto because of its diversity". We loved him, he loved us.

July 14, 2010: The best day ever.

Hedo Turkoglu was now a member of the Phoenix Suns. Hedo's annoying, don't give a damn tactics are now out of Toronto and are left for someone else to deal with. Hedo Turkgolu didn't live up to expectations at all, and actually made Raptor fans cringe every time he got the ball. Sure, we knew the mask refusing, "ball" saying, cap busting, no effort, skip game then go to club the same night Hedo, but Raptor fans unforuntetly never got to see the Hedo everyone around the NBA got to know back in his Orlando days. That Hedo never showed up. The sad thing is, he made $10M for doing absolutely nothing other then cause embarrasement and humilation to a team that wasn't in that good of shape in the first place. Blame Bryan Colangelo all you want for the terrible signing, but at the end of the day, Hedo was a big reason why the Raptors didn't make the playoffs. He didn't care. He didn't even like us. He skipped a game because of a "stomach virus", but was spotted clubbing later that night, then had the nerve to he wanted to leave the team because he got benched for the incident. What a joke. Hedo Turkoglu went from being one of the most loved athletes in the city, to the most hated in less then a year. I'm not sure what I find more funny--the fact that Hedo failed to live up to every expectation placed on him, or the fact that the Phoenix Suns are willing to take on his massive contract. Good luck, Phoenix.

Keep in mind...this is the same person who raved about Hedo one year ago. I fell immediately in love with the guy. I believed he'd make the Raptors a serious contender in the East, and fill a gaping hole in the frontcourt. It turns out, he didn't do that. He made every Raptor fan including myself, look dumb.

On that note, so long Hedo. Take your annoying tactics and get as far possible away from Candada as possible. I guess Phoenix, Arizona is far enough.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Raptors re-sign Amir Johnson

Amir Johnson, the Raptors sixth man and energy guy, is staying put in Toronto. Johnson inked a 5 year, $34M deal according to his agent, Kevin Bradbury.

It was widely believed that Johnson would return to Toronto, although he looked at four other teams before signing the deal. Considering Chris Bosh is all but gone, along with the fact that both Johnson and the front office wanted a long term deal, this contract makes sense for the future.

Johnson, who primarily backed up Chris Bosh last season, averaged 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in a little less then 20 minutes per game last season.

At first glance, it looks like Bryan Colangelo overpaid for talent yet again. But after looking at some expert analysis, as well as crunching my own numbers, this contract isn't as ridiculous as some may think. For one, Amir made $3.9M last year. Since Bosh will likely be leaving Toronto, Johnson will be playing in a bigger spotlight with more minutes. If Amir played as good as he did in only 19 minutes per game last year, he'll play even better with more extended minutes. According to, Johnson's per 48 minute production at the power forward position were 19 points and 13 rebounds per game. Eric Smith posted an interesting tweet last night, which also proves this contract isn't as ridiculous as one might think:

Amir made $3.9 mil last year. He was getting a raise. More minutes/bigger role coming. Agent surely sold 'upside' & 'potential' he got, on average, about $6.8 mil now. Would you have been happy with $5.5 mil? 'Cause I guarantee you he was... going to get at least that. So, are you going to lose sleep over roughly $1 milion (maybe less)?

This contract has the "if" factor written all over it. IF Johnson can add more dimensions to his game...IF Amir can play as good as he did when Bosh wasn't on the floor...IF Amir can realize his full potential, and realize he's much better then his Detroit Pistons days... IF Amir can understand his new role, realize the heavy expectations set on himself. If Amir can fulfill these obligations, this contract works out. Otherwise, Bryan Colangelo will have another Hedo Turkoglu on the team, and the BC bashing will only get stronger.

All in all, I'm happy for Amir. I'm glad he'll have another shot in Toronto, and he'll get the chance to be the Raptors starting power forward. Let's just hope Bryan Colangelo has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So long, Chris Bosh

After years of talk and speculation, the 2010 free agency period is just 8 hours away. In other words, the Chris Bosh era in Toronto will end in 8 hours. Raptor fans, media, and even front office people are under the impression their 5 time all-star won't return to Toronto--hell, Bryan Colangelo admitted it's "likely" his franchise player will sign somewhere else. Given the latest speculation, and Bosh's recent comments and tweets, I've come to the realization that my favorite NBA player, the guy who I grew up idolizing, the guy who I defended when my friends mocked, won't return to the Raptors next year.

I still remember the day Bosh was drafted. I was only 9 years old, but felt a special connection to the tall, lanky forward. After witnessing Vince Carter turn his back to the country that praised him, I began to realize that Bosh would be the face of the Toronto Raptors franchise and I'd be watching him in a Raptors uniform for years to come. Bosh soon became my favorite NBA player--I'd buy his jersey, shout his name out when I attended games, pretend I was him when I shoot hoops in my get the idea. I felt a stronger and better connection with Bosh, compared to Vince Carter. I don't remember a whole lot from Carter's Raptor days because I was very young. With Bosh, I can distinctively remember every minor detail during his playing days as a Raptor. He represented everything a positive athlete possesses. Whether it was donating a few million dollars to his foundation, or setting basketball camps in Dallas and Toronto, my admiration towards Chris Bosh was much deeper then basketball. Bottom line: Chris Bosh was a role model to kids like myself.

Chris Bosh made the Raptors a relevant team in the NBA. He was the reason the Raptors won their first and only Atlantic Division title in 2008 and allowed the team to make three consecutive trips to the playoffs. I'm not going to mention how the Raptors failed in the playoffs, because that's not the point of this blog - I'm here, not to bash our franchise player, but to celebrate his legacy, and show fellow fans how I'm feeling during a sad time in Raptors history.

It's a shame that such a good story will have such a tragic ending. It appears as though Chris Bosh has no intentions of returning to his hometown of 7 years, and has been continuously hinting that he's had a plan in place for a couple months. The first hint at Bosh leaving came at the end of the season. The Raptors finished a disappointing 40-42, and missed the playoffs thanks to a late season collapse. My suspicions grew when Bosh posted a tweet on Twitter saying "Been wanting to ask. Where should I go next season and why?". He later corrected himself, and posted a new tweet asking "Ok... Let me rephrase the question. Should I stay or should I go?". Nowadays, athletes can make headlines by the tweets they post. Bosh's hints have grown more frequently, and have caused shockwaves throughout the Raptor community. In fact, rumors have circulated that a sign and trade deal is in the works, which would send Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat for Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony. Although some media outlets believe this deal is dead, it certainly gives indication that Bosh will be playing his basketball in the United States next year.

I'm going to be one of the saddest people in the world tomorrow. Not only will my idol of seven years no longer be with my favorite team, but my favorite team's future will be in serious jeopardy. Without Chris Bosh, how successful will the Toronto Raptors be in 2010-2011? Michael Beasley, who looks to be involved in a potential sign and trade for Bosh, will have huge shoes to fill, and I'm not sure if he can. If the Raptors acquire Beasley, Chalmers and Joel Anthony, the Raptors free agency options will be limited since the team will be over the salary cap. If the Raptors have any shot of even making the playoffs next year, Bryan Colangelo must trade way Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon, or other big contract players in order to bring in proven veterans.

So let this be my farewell goodbye, Mr. Bosh. Thanks for all you've done--both on and off the court. Although I was able to attend one of your basketball camps, kids who look up to appreciate your charismatic personality, and enjoy the fact that you give back to the community. Thanks for putting the Toronto Raptors back on the map. After Vince Carter left, the Raptors seemed irreverent and weren't looked at as a good team. Thanks to your efforts, the Raptors gained more recognition. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to three our four times a week, when the Raptors play one their regular season games. Thanks for the signing my photo when I attended the Raptors-Nets game this past December, and thanks for giving me a high-five as you walked into the locker room--I didn't wash my hand for a looong time. Thanks for signing my "First Ink" DVD when I pre-ordered a copy on your website. Thanks for being the greatest player in Raptors history with stats to back it up. Thanks for giving 100% effort on every play--both offensively and defensively. Thanks Chris. Thanks a lot. Wherever you sign, I wish you the best of luck. I hope you get something you didn't get in Toronto--a ring. I hope you get better supporting cast, whether that support comes from LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, or another superstar free-agnet. I know I'll be first in line to get tickets when the Raptors play your new team. When Herbie Kuhn announces your name, I'll applaud loudly--because I know a superstar deserves better then an average, Canadian team. Your years of service deserve loud cheers and clapping hands. Trust me Chris, I'd leave Toronto if I was in your position as well.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, I'll look to my right side wall and look at my Chris Bosh fathead. When I turn around, I'll see my Chris Bosh scoring title plague. I won't take either of them down. Rather, I'll cherish them for years to come, and think to myself...yeah, he was something, wasn't he?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Recapping the Raptors Draft Night

To many peoples surprise, the Raptors drafted Ed Davis with the 13th pick in last nights draft. Davis measures in at 6'10, and played his college basketball at North Carolina for two years. According to mock drafts, Davis was supposed to be drafted in the top 10, hence why he never worked out with the Raptors. He wasn't supposed to go #13, and that's why the Raptors drafted so well at their position. After being drafted, Davis tweeted (@eddavis32):

Thanks for all the support Toronto fans. I'm hella excited to be part of a great city and organization.

Going into the night, I expected the Raptors to draft Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry or Patrick Patterson. Aldrich and Henry went 11 and 12 respectively, and the team passed on Patterson because they believed "Davis was the better player".

After last year's draft, Chad Ford believed Ed Davis could be the #1 pick in this year's draft. Unforuntatlely, injuries and underachieving forced him to slide in the draft. Davis averaged 13.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 27.9 minutes last season at UNC. He was forced to sit out the last 13 games of the year with a wrist injury. Both Jay Triano and Bryan Colangelo believe the only reason Ed Davis slid in the draft was because of the injury, but both say the wrist is "fully healthy". Colangelo expects Davis to particapte in the Las Vegas Summer League in a few weeks. Here's his scouting report:


Active big man

Plays even bigger because of excellent length

Motor runs very high

Excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor

Good shot-blocker

Effective scorer from about 12 feet and in


Needs to add strength

Needs more experience, playing limited minutes right now

Many believe Ed Davis is Chris Bosh's replacement. With free agency only one week away, it's getting more and more likely that Bosh won't re-sign with Toronto. Both Davis and Bosh play the same position are approximately the same height. When asked if Davis was Bosh's replacement, Colangelo claimed, "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm confident that Chris is coming back, that's why a selection of Ed Davis at this spot is one that looks to be the right piece". By drafting Davis, this means the Raptors won't need a big man in return if the Raptors do a sign and trade with Bosh. I'm guessing they'll address another big concern, the backcourt. One of the biggest reasons why the Raptors underachieved last year was because of their backcourt issues--the team could get a substantial upgrade by signing and trading Bosh.

The Raptors also traded away a future 2nd round pick and cash for the 50th overall pick in last nights draft, Solomon Alabi. Alabi is a 7'1 center who played 2 seasons at Florida State. Alabi, who was supposed to go in the upper teens/lower 20's just hours before the draft, scared away GM's after discovering he had some potential health issues. He averaged 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks last season.

Overall, I believe the Raptors had a very good draft night. I believe with time, Ed Davis will complement Andrea Bargnani nicely, and will fix the defensive issues in the front court. Solomon Alabi was another steal in the draft, because he wasn't supposed be drafted 50th overall. The Raptors are now prepared for life with or without Bosh, and can address a different position in free agency.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Previewing the 2010 NBA Draft

Bryan Colangelo is preparing to embark on the most important off-season of his career. With Chris Bosh set to become a free agent in just 9 days, Colangelo must do whatever he can do keep his franchise player in Toronto and keep the Raptors relevant in an ever-so increasing NBA market. However, thanks to media reports and speculation, experts believe Chris Bosh will leave Toronto in a sign and trade deal. On the contrary, fans like myself are trying to be as optimistic as possible and pray every night that Bosh stays in Toronto. As far as I'm concerned, these media reports are nothing more then rumors, and Chris Bosh is the only person who truly knows what he'll do in free agency. Although I'm only 16 years old, Chris Bosh is someone who I've looked up to since he was drafted in 2003. It's going to be an extremely hard pill to sallow if Bosh leaves, and it's going to even harder to watch the Raptors fail next season without their all-star. These past three years have been stressful for me, because as a Raptors fan, it's disappointing to see my team underachieve year after year. Needless to say, this upcoming summer will determine Chris Bosh's fate. As of right now, Bosh will leave Toronto for another team--back when Bosh was giving his season ending press conference, he admitted changes need to be made in order for him to stay in Toronto. Unfortunately, as a fan, all I can do is sit back and wait for the pieces to fall in place. I can't dictate what Bosh and/or Colangelo do in the coming weeks, and I certainly can't control where other free agents sign.

The Raptors' off-season officially starts on Thursday, where the team will have the 13th pick in the NBA Draft. For fans of the NBA like myself, the NBA Draft is one of the biggest, most important days of the year. It's the first step in a very long off-season, and is a great opportunity for teams to improve or build their roster at an inexpensive cost. Granted, the 13th pick won't sway Bosh one way or the other, but it's the first step in a series of (hopefully) many more steps.

I've always been a believer that the Raptors should trade the pick for a veteran. In my opinion, adding a veteran would be more appealing to Bosh, compared to a unproven rookie. Although the Raptors probably couldn't get a significant stand out veteran by trading the pick, I believe by facilitating a package deal, a player deserving of attention would land in Toronto. However, media reports suggest the Raptors will indeed draft a rookie.

The Raptors have many presentable opportunities at the 13 pick. Since Colangelo has indicated he wants to trade either Jose Calderon or Jarrett Jack, the Raptors could go the point guard route, and draft a point guard who could fix the defensive issues in the backcourt.

NBA Insider Chad Ford has had the Raptors drafting Texas' guard Avery Bradley in several of his mock drafts. Bradley was #1 on ESPNU's Top 100 back in 2009 (which also included John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Xaiver Henry). Here's his scouting report, from


Explosive scorer

Very quick

Long arms

Wiry strong

Big-time vertical leap

Terrific first step

Good midrange shooter

Lockdown defender


Undersized for his position

Lacks NBA 3-point range on his jumper

Notice how he's a lockdown defender. He's defense would certainly fix the Raptors defensive issues. However, he is a 6'3 shooting guard, so the fact that he's undersized doesn't help his case. Bradley was scheduled to work out for a second time for the Raptors, but backed out because of an ankle sprain. The ankle sprain, according to reports, will end his workouts but should be healed in time for summer league. Chad Ford's newest mock draft, which released earlier today, has Avery Bradley going #17 to the Chicago Bulls. I'm guessing his stock has fallen because of the injury.

In today's mock draft, Chad Ford has the Raptors selecting Patrick Patterson from Kentucky. Although Patterson had a decent year at Kentucky, he flew under the radar because he played alongside guys like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. Patterson, who is a 6'8 power forward averaged 14.3 points per game and 7.4 rebounds last year. Unlike Wall and Cousins, Patterson declared for the NBA Draft after his junior year. Here's his scouting report:


Long, athletic big man

NBA body and strength

Explosive leaper

Excellent shot-blocker and rebounder

Good finisher around the rim

Has range on his jump shot out to 15 feet

Plays physical in the paint


Lacks ideal size at the 4

Needs to be in better shape

Still very raw with his low-post moves

Why does Chad Ford believe he'll land in Toronto?

"The Raptors could go in a number of different directions here. With Bosh likely out the door, Hedo Turkoglu pining for a trade and the team shopping Jose Calderon, you can expect the team to look radically different next season.

Finding a center is atop GM Bryan Colangelo's list. If Bosh leaves, he'd like to move Andrea Bargnani to the 4. But of the top big men left on the board -- Orton, Whiteside and Solomon Alabi -- none of them is close to being ready.

The Raptors have been looking closely at Avery Bradley, but their inability to find a trade for either Calderon or Jarrett Jack makes taking Bradley a risk. So look for them to focus on the best big man left on the board: Patterson. He may not be a flashy player or filled with upside, but he is tough, plays hard and will be solid at the next level. At pick No. 13, that's all you can ask for. Think of him as this year's Tyler Hansbrough".

Although I wouldn't mind Patterson, my ideal draft choice would be Cole Aldrich. Considering I'm a Kansas Jayhawks fan, I had the pleasure of watching Aldrich throughout the college basketball season, and I loved what I saw. Aldrich is a 230 pound, 6'10 center who can cause havoc in the paint. Aldrich averaged 11.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game in 27 minutes of play time last year. Here's his scouting report:


Very skilled big man with soft hands

Good basketball IQ, tough

Solid perimeter shot

Solid rebounder and excellent shot-blocker

Excellent passer for a big man

Soft touch on his jump shot

Shooting range extends all the way to the 3-point line

Better athlete than you think


Questions about his motor

Not particularly explosive or quick

Not great in the transition game

I love Aldrich's game for a number of reasons. For one, he's a beast down low on both offense

and defense. He nearly averaged a double double. He averaged 3.5 blocks per game, thanks to his freakish 7'4 wingspan. He's NBA ready and could be an impact, whether coming off the bench or starting. Most importantly, he's a center. Last season, Bargnani and Bosh didn't have the defensive tools to cause problems in the paint--Aldrich would certainly fill that need.

Aldrich had his second workout today at the ACC, along with West Virginia's Devin Ebanks. Bryan Colangelo hinted today that he is pursuing a second first round pick.

Thursday marks the beginning, of a very long off-season for the Toronto Raptors. Buckle up folks, this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The List

Chris Bosh's agent, Henry Thomas, has told the Toronto Raptors that he's narrowed his list of preferred teams down to five, two sources told's Chad Ford. The list--which includes the Rapto, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Knicks (in no particular order) was given to management in case Toronto wants to construct a sign and trade deal (assuming Bosh doesn't want to re-sign with the Raptors). Contrary to belief, Bosh has no interest in signing with one of his home town teams in the state of Texas, or the up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder.

"It's been narrowed down to handful of teams, including us", Bryan Colangelo told the Toronto Star without providing more detail.

Of the four teams (not including Toronto), I believe the Lakers present the most interesting sign and trade scenario--the Raptors have shown great interest in both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. However, a source said "If the Lakers win the NBA title, I think the chances of them shaking up the roster goes down dramatically".

I also believe the Knicks could be a likely destination for the all-star. Like Bynum and Gasol, the Raptors have shown interest in David Lee, who will very likely leave the Knicks. Beside these two teams, I can't imagine the Raptors facilitating a deal with the Heat or Bulls--neither team presents a good enough player for the Raptors to acquire in return. Yes, the Raptors could land Taj Gibson or Joakim Noah from the Bulls, but sources believe that's highly unlikely.

A sign and trade would be beneficial for both the Raptors and the team Bosh may sign with. The Raptors will get a player in return, and Bosh would get one more year and more money on his contract.

The source also said that Bosh's decision hinges on where LeBron James signs. "If LeBron decides to go to either New York or Chicago, I think that's where you'll see Chris land," the source told Ford. "If LeBron stays in Cleveland, I think the process is more wide open."


Bosh and his agent have denied the report, and claim a list hasn't been given to the organization. "Why would I do that?" Thomas said about the wish list. "We're still in a process of evaluating a lot different situations." Thomas also said that Bosh is not committed to a sign-and-trade deal.

I personally don't believe this report for one minute. Bosh and his agent have definitely given a list to management, and Bryan Colangelo has been quoted saying the report is indeed true. Given the fact that Bosh is denying the report, along with his Twitter incident a few weeks ago, I think it's safe to say Bosh won't re-sign with Toronto. I don't blame him for wanting to leave, but as a Raptors fan, it's very disappointing to see his Raptors tenure (possibly) coming to an end. However, it appears that if Bosh departs Canada, the Raptors will get something in return. Bosh and Colangelo have agreed to "work together" regardless of Bosh decides to do.

July 1st, the day free agency officially begins, is only 41 days away.  Cross your fingers, Raptor fans.