Thursday, July 30, 2009

Raptors acquire Marco Belinelli

On Wednesday, Bryan Colangelo made yet another off-season splash. The Raptors acquired SG Marco Belinelli from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for SF Devean George and cash.

Bryan Colangelo has made it no secret he likes Belinelli's game. Colangelo tried to get Belinelli in the 2007 NBA Draft, but Golden State picked him too early, drafting him #18th overall.

Belinelli averaged 8.9 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 rebounds in 21 minutes last season.

Overall, this is a HUGE steal. If Devean George played in Toronto next year, his minutes would have been extremely limited. To trade him for a guy who may be potentially be the 6th man, the Raptors certainly got the better end of this deal.

If I'm a Warriors fan, I'm outraged by this deal. Devean George doesn't bring much to the table, and is a much worse player than Belinelli.

Bryan Colangelo's magic keeps working. Belinelli will be another excellent piece off the bench. Considering Belinelli is a 2 man, I'm guessing Carlos Delfino won't be back in Toronto, but I'm fine with that. Belinelli, in my opinion, is a duplicate of Delfino, but at a much cheaper price--Belinelli only makes $1.5M next year. I'm guessing the Raptors will now bring back Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Pops brought a ton of energy off the bench last year, and I always liked his game. Pops would complete the roster, seeing as the Raptors have 1 spot left to fill.

Someone just give Bryan Colangelo EOY right now. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bobcats and Hornets swap players

On Monday, the Hornets traded Tyson Chandler to the Bobcats for Emeka Okafor. According to sources, this trade has been rumored for a few weeks, but just became official yesterday.

Okafor was drafted #2 overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. While Okafor has had a decent career, I wouldn't say he's lived up to his pick.

If I'm a Bobcats fan, however, I'm scratching my head. Talent wise, Okafor is much better than Chandler. Both players are somewhat limited offensively, but Okafor can score on post-ups occasionally and make short bank shots, while Chandler's range ends at the restricted area.

Charlotte is already a terrible offensive team, and adding Chandler certainly doesn't help. The Bobcats ranked 27th last year in offensive efficiency. Chandler is a much worse offensive player than Okafor, and his one offensive skill--the famous alley oop with CP3--won't work in Charlotte.

In my opinion, the only positive Charlotte gains out of this is financial flexibility. Last year, the Bobcats agreed to a 6 year, $72M deal with Okafor. Chandler makes roughly $11.5M next season, and has an early termination option next year.

If I'm a Hornets fan, I'm extremely excited about this deal. Replacing Chandler with Okafor is a huge upgrade, and may possibly put the Hornets back into the West's elites.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Early Seeding Predictions

Before the season starts, I thought I'd make my early seeding predictions, and guess where teams are come playoff time. Let's check 'em out.

Eastern Conference

1. Orlando Magic: This may come as somewhat of a surprise, but I truly do believe the Magic will be atop the East next season. Orlando did part ways with Hedo Turkoglu (where'd he go again?), Courtney Lee, and Rafer Alston, but look who was added. By bringing in Vince Carter, the Magic still have a very solid starting 5, and the bench becomes better with Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass, along with the pre-existing players, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus. Considering the team made the Finals last year, I think it will give the team extra confidence. On paper, the Magic have one of the best starting 5's in the league.

2. Cleveland Cavs: What? The Cavs didn't win the East? Kevin, you must be insane. I'm sure readers are thinking this. But does Shaq REALLY make the Cavs THAT much better? I have worries about this signing. How is Lebron going to penetrate when a 325 pound beast is clogging the lane? And isn't Shaq 37? Yes, he had an impressive year last year in Phoenix, but will that really happen again? And didn't the Cavs lose Sasha Pavolic? The Shaq move fixes an issue, but I really don't see how it makes the Cavs winning the East next year.

3. Boston Celtics: Ray Allen is 34. Kevin Garnett is 33. Paul Pierce is 31. And the so called "best off-season signing", Rasheed Wallace is 34. Age has eventually going to show for this team. Rasheed Wallace won't even start. It also looks looks like Leon Powe won't return to Boston. Sorry Celtic fans, but I don't see how another run for a ring is possible.

4. Toronto Raptors: Yes yes, y'all, the Toronto Raptors are back. I may be biased, but I think the Raptors have had one of the best off-seasons in the league. The team lost Shawn Marion, but gained Hedo Turkgolu. The bench is MUCH better with the Jarrett Jack and Rasho Nesterovic signings, and it appears another player may be added as well. Breath a sigh of relief Raptor fans--the future looks bright.

5. Atlanta Hawks: The ATL won 47 games last year, and continue to fly under the radar. Jamal Crawford was added to the roster and will only improve the team.

6. Chicago Bulls: Next year, I believe Derrick Rose will be behind a select few for best PG in the league. Rose had an unbelievable rookie year. With the possibility of the Carlos Boozer trade, the Bulls may sneak up on people once again.

7. Miami Heat: Okay, maybe I wrote this blog a little too early, considering not all off-season moves have been complete. But last I checked, the Heat are yet to do anything this off-season, and only won 43 games last year. The off-season isn't done yet, so the Heat may make a move or two before the season starts, but AS OF RIGHT NOW, the 7 spot is perfect for the Heat. Losing Jamario Moon certainly doesn't make them better either. Pat Riley--you gotta get on the phone...make your superstar happy.

8. Philadephia 76ers: The Sixers had one of the biggest steals in the draft, picking Jrue Holiday at the 18th spot. A week before, Holiday was projected to go #4, so falling all the way to #18 certainly made the Sixers happy. Holiday has a bright future ahead of him, but I think he'll take a while to develop. Andre Miller also signed with Portland, so I'm not sure about the Sixers next year.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Detroit Pistons. Sorry Joe Dumars, but you're team isn't much better than last year. I think the off-season moves the team has made doesn't make them much better, and rather evens out for losses that previously happened. For example--Rasheed Wallace signed with Boston, but Charlie Villanueva was brought in--talent wise, these two players are pretty even. One of the biggest problems for the Pistons last year was the controversy at the shooting guard position. Who would start--Iverson or Hamilton? Well, now Iverson is gone, and was replaced by Ben Gordon. Once again, this evens out, and is just another setup for another problem.

And yes, I know I left the Washington Wizards out--but until Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, and Gilbert Arenas play more than 20 games together, the Wizards won't make the playoffs.

Western Conference

1. LA Lakers: Assuming Lamar Odom returns, this is pretty obvious. However, if Odom doesn't return, we may have a different story on our hands.

2. Dallas Mavericks: Congrats Dallas, you're back. Mark Cuban has conducted a fantastic off-season, one that I believe will put Dallas back up there with the West's elites. Shawn Marion, despite not having Steve Nash anymore, still has much to offer. The Drew Gooden signing also helps, which will add more talent to the bench.

3. Denver Nuggets: The Chauncey Billups trade was one of the smartest moves the team has done in its franchise. The Nuggets had a fantastic season last year, and I believe the Nuggets will be in the thick of the playoffs for years to come. I do have worries though--Dahntay Jones signed with Indiana, and it appears Linas Kleiza won't be back either.

4. San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs have also had a great off-season. Not only did the team have a great draft, but traded for Richard Jefferson. Just because I believe the Spurs won't win the West next year, doesn't mean they won't go deep into the playoffs, which I believe they will. The Mavericks and Spurs may also flip flop.

5. Portland Trail Blazers: Kevin Pritchard may be the smartest man in the biz. The youth on the Blazers will continue to get more mature, and the future will continues to look bright for this team. The 5 seed may be a little low, but not bad a competitive West and an extremely young team.

6. Utah Jazz: No more controveries now that Carlos Boozer is gone. I look for this team to rebound after a disappointing season last year.

7. New Orleans Hornets: Remember the 2007-2008 when the Hornets were the 2 seed in the West? That was definitely a fluke. The Hornets are good, but that not good. I think it's safe to say that after last year, and probably next year, the Hornets are just an average team with an above average point guard.

8. Phoenix Suns: Yes, the Suns made the playoffs, but only because the Rockets didn't. Steve Kerr may be an idiot, but the team still has talent. I liked the Earl Clark drafting back in June, as well.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Golden State Warriors. After a terrible season last year, I think the Warriors will be much improved next year. Stephen Curry has a very bright future, and I also like the Acie Law signing. This team won't make the playoffs next year, but a much better season is in sight for this team.

Like the Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder will also be much improved. Again, they won't make the playoffs, but long term, this team may be very good. Give it just a few more seasons, and the Thunder will be right in the thick of the playoffs. James Harden's potential is endless.

And yes, I know I didn't put the Houston Rockets in the playoffs. But c'mon, do they really have a shot?

Monday, July 27, 2009


The dog days of summer continue. The NBA off-season has officially reached a lull, causing writers like myself to ponder hardly on what to write.

With the Rasho signing, the Raptors now have $5M left to spend. I'm guessing the Raptors will bring back Carlos Delfino, and add him to an increasinly better bench. Delfino is seeking what appears to be overpaid money, but I still believe Bryan Colangelo should make a heavy push to bring him back. He was an excellent piece off the bench 2 seasons ago, and I'd love for his shooting presence to return to Toronto. It's not like a bench can be too good, right?

Drew Gooden has signed a deal with the Dallas Mavericks. It appears as though Gooden will sign a 1 year deal, worth up to $5M. I have always loved Gooden's game, and considering I'm a Kansas fan, it adds an extra bonus. I don't understand why Gooden has been bounced around the NBA so much in his early career--the guy's got talent. He brings an energy and toughness to any team he plays for. With this signing, along with the Marion sign and trade, I truly believe the Dallas Mavericks will be competing for the top spot in next years Western Conference. Mark Cuban has put together a fantastic summer, and the Mavericks may very well be back to their old form.

Many believe the Lakers will win the West once again next year--that may be true, but ONLY if Lamar Odom returns. It appears Odom will be back in LA, but nothing's set in stone. Odom was a vital piece to the Lakers, and I can only see the Lakers winning next year's West if he's back.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Welcome back Rasho

Earlier this week, Jarrett Jack was signed to a 4 year deal, and it was only going to be a matter of time until Bryan Colangelo made his next move. It appears the "matter of time" was only a 3 day wait, as Rasho Nesterovic agreed to a 1 year, $1.9 million deal on Friday. Nesterovic signed what is a called the biannual exception under the NBA's salary cap.

This move has been much talked about, as Colangelo has publicly said Rasho is just what the team needs in the second unit. Rasho, 33, averaged 6.8 points and 3.4 rebounds last season with the Pacers, starting 19 of the 70 games he played in.

Nesterovic made it no secret he wanted to return to Toronto--in a recent interview, he said he never wanted to leave. Rasho was also getting looks from European teams, and may have even taken a paycut to be a Raptor again. Rasho will play backup center, and with him, Bargnani, Reggie Evans and Chris Bosh, the Raptors have an impressive front court.

I love this deal--the Raptors have signed a solid, veteran big man for cheap money. The bench looks to be getting much better, and the future looks increasingly brighter.

I believe the Raptors have around $5M left to spend, but it must be on a player the Raptors have the rights to. I'm guessing with this money, Bryan Colangelo will continue to pursue Carlos Delfino. If the front office decides not to use this $5M, the Raptors can sign whomever they wish--just at a veteran minimum. So, talent wise, bringing back Delfino makes the most sense.

Sit back, and relax Raptor is good.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let the dog days of summer begin...

I hate this part off-season. Every NBA fan knows what I mean--the time when nothing's going on. The time when no one seems to be talking about the NBA, and rather the MLB and the Roy Halladay drama. The time when fans attempt to discuss the NBA, but finally hit a wall. And on this quiet, summer day in July, I'm forced to write about something non-Raptors related. So, attempt to sit back, and enjoy.

Ricky Rubio says he will part ways with his Spanish team, DKV Joventut, even if the Timberwolves can't bring the 18 year old PG to the NBA. Timberwolves President David Kahn was in Spain this past week to negotiate a buyout of Rubio's contract with Joventut. Rubio and Joventut are at odds over a buyout clause that could cost Rubio $6.6M. Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, the Timberwolves can only contribute $500,000.
Even if Rubio decides not to play with Minnesota next year, he won't play under Joventut.

"I want to continue with the club but, after everything that's happened, I don't think they're too comfortable having me in their squad," said Rubio. "I want to play in a winning team, on a team that can achieve many things."

Rubio has two seasons left on his deal with Joventut. Considering Rubio made less than $100,000 last season, he doesn't have the financial assistance to leave his Spanish ball club.

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona are interested in signing Rubio to a deal. Unlike the Timberwolves, the respective Spanish teams aren't subject to the collective bargaining agreement, and have the option to pay the entire buyout fee.

Considering all this drama surrounding Rubio, I fail to understand why David Kahn drafted Rubio, especially since he drafted Jonny Flynn. Why go through all the problems with Rubio, when the team could have drafted Flynn and another rookie? It doesn't make sense to me, and it looks like Rubio will not be playing in the NBA next season. Regardless, I think Ricky Rubio will have a fantastic NBA career.

According to sources, contract talks have resumed between the Lakers and Lamar Odom. Last week, the Lakers withdrew their contract offers to Odom because Odom's agent began talking with other teams. Except Lamar Odom to return to LA--I can't imagine the team parting ways with both Odom AND Ariza.

Pretty boring day. Hopefully, some Raptors news will break in the next few days.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

...Now what?

As I wrote yesterday, Jarrett Jack is officially a Toronto Raptor--but now what? The Raptors have approximately $5-7M left to spend on free agents. A back-up big man and some extra wings are still key issues for the Raptors. Who can we bring in to fix these needs?

Bryan Colangelo has hinted that Carlos Delfino will be a Raptor next year. Delfino would be excellent to have back, considering how well he played for the team in the 2007-2008 season. However, according to sources, Delfino is seeking $5M a year--is he really worth THAT much? And hasn't Colangelo somewhat addressed that issue? Currently, the Raptors wingmen are DeMar DeRozan, Antoine Wright, Devean George, and Jarrett Jack. I'd love Delfino back in a Raptors uniform, but just because we have his Bird Rights, doesn't mean we need to overspend on him. He's not worth too much money if we have others to fill his void.

Another issue for the Raptors is backups at the big man positions. As of right now, the Raptors have Bargnani and Bosh starting, with Reggie Evans, Jake Voskuhl, and Patrick O'Bryant backing them up (assuming Pops doesn't return, which I don't think he will). That is not going to get it done on a nightly basis. Bryan Colangelo needs to bring in a proven, reliable backup to add more depth to the bench. Solid free agents are still available, for example Rasho Nesterovic and Drew Gooden. Should the Raps pursue one of them? According to Toronto Star's Doug Smith, the Raptors may pursue Nuggets' Johan Petro if the deal for Rasho doesn't work. With that information, I assume Rasho is the front runner. In his last contract, Nesterovic made $8M per season. Considering he's now 33, Rasho will have to take a significant paycut.

I would love Rasho Nesterovic back in Toronto. I think he'd give the Raptors much needed help, and add more talent to an increasingly better bench. Considering the Raptors have so much extra money, it's hard to pinpoint which direction the team will take.

Hopefully, Colangelo will make the necessary moves to make the Raptors stronger contenders in the East.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jarrett Jack officially a Toronto Raptor

I know I wrote about this yesterday, but I thought I'd follow up on it today... Last week, the Raptors signed Jarrett Jack to an offer sheet, a deal with $21 million over the next 4 seasons. Because Jack was a restricted free agent, the Pacers had 7 days to match the offer--which they didn't do. Rather than bringing back Jack, the Pacers are looking to add PG Earl Watson.

I'm guessing the Raptors signed Jack to the midlevel exception, because the deal pans out to average $5.25M. The Raptors still have around $5-7M, so I'm guessing Bryan Colangelo will look to add more depth to the bench.

The Raptors have had a fantastic off-season so far. I believe if all goes to plan, the Raptors will get the #4 seed in the East next season.

Jarrett Jack will be introduced at 2:30 ET today. Fans can watch the press conference on Raptors TV, or James Borbath will also have a live blog party during the press conference. Check out for more details.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Recapping a busy weekend...

What's up everybody? I was in North Carolina the past week, so I wasn't able to blog as much as I usually do. But now, I'm home!

This past weekend was a busy one for the NBA, and I haven't blogged since let's get right down to it.

After many doctor options and opinions, Yao Ming has finally decided to undergo surgery on the hairline fracture in his left foot. Yao's expected to miss the entire 2009-2010 NBA season, and the Rockets don't expect him back until the 2010 training camp. Obviously, this is huge blow to the Rockets, and I really don't see how they can make the playoffs next season. Tracy McGrady will also miss a good portion of next season, and with him, along with Yao on sidelines for the foreseeable future, I don't see how it's possible. In a very competitive Western Conference, how can the Rockets make the playoffs, with Trevor Ariza being "the guy"? Now that this news has finally broke, I wonder if Ariza is second guessing himself for signing with Houston.

In my opinion, however, Yao Ming is extremely overrated. I know I'm stating the obvious, but he's just a tall guy. That's all he is. He's not very athletic, he's extremely soft, and gets blocked by guys 2 feet shorter than him (literally). For a guy his height, averaging 9.9 RPG last season is unacceptable. Dwight Howard is 7 inches shorter than Yao, and he brought down nearly 14 RPG! I think for a guy whose 7'6, Yao's numbers should be much more dominant than they are. I'm not trying to judge Yao based on his stats, but these numbers certainly show how soft he is.

Another developing story is the situation with Lamar Odom. Lakers' owner Jerry Buss withdrew his offer to Lamar Odom, because Odom's agent neogiated with other teams. The Lakers reportedly offered Odom a $30 million deal, over the next 3 seasons. Odom is seeking a 5 year deal worth $50 million. According to sources, Odom could re-join the Heat, but according to Yahoo!, Odom wishes to re-negotiate with LA.

But frankly, is Lamar Odom REALLY worth $10 million per year? Absolutely not. Odom will be 30 years old in November, and to ask for that amount of money is ridiculous. Hedo Turkolgu got a $10 million deal, and people were up in arms as to how lucrative the deal was--is Odom really worth as much as an overpriced Turkoglu? It will be interesting to see much Odom does indeed make in his new deal.

On Saturday, the Utah Jazz matched the Trail Blazers' offer to Paul Millsap. Because Millsap was a restricted free agent, the Jazz have now retained the 4 year veteran at a 4 year/$32 million deal. In my opinion, this was an excellent decision made by Utah's front office. Millsap was very impressive when filling in for the injured Carlos Boozer, and he deserved to come back. I'm guessing this means the Jazz will part ways with Carlos Boozer, which is another smart move. Boozer still has a lot of talent left in the tank, and will be an excellent pick-up to another team. Boozer does however cost more than Millsap, and is much more prone to injury. Considering Millsap is younger, less risky to injury, and cheaper, this move makes sense for the Jazz.

According to sources, the Cavaliers have signed F Jamario Moon to an offer sheet. Moon, of course, was a Raptor season, until being traded to Miami in the Jermaine O'Neal deal. The Cavs' offer is worth a little over $2 million per season, and at least 2 years are guaranteed. Considering the Heat want to clear up cap space, this signing may happen. But if I'm a Cavs fan, I'm scratching my head over this deal. It doesn't make fit very well in terms of the system. Moon, while he's very athletic, doesn't drive as much he used too. I don't understand why the Cavs would sign Jamario Moon, considering Matt Barnes is still a free agent. I'm guessing the Cavs like Moon's athleticism and length at the wing position, but the deal doesn't make much sense to me. 

Marquis Daniels will reportedly sign a bi-annual exception deal with the Boston Celtics, but may become a sign-and-trade. This is a very good move for the Celtics, considering how talented and cheap Daniels is. The team seems to be shaping up nicely, but I still don't think the C's will win the East next year. I'm still liking Orlando. Sorry Celtic fans!

Good news for Raptor fans--Jarrett Jack is officially a Toronto Raptor. The Pacers didn't match the offer, and rather agreed to terms with Earl Watson. The Raptors now have a proven back-up point guard, thus adding more depth to the bench. The Raptors still have extra money to spend, so hopefully Bryan Colangelo will use it wisely.

That's pretty much it for now. Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Recapping the Summer League

The Las Vegas Summer League ended yesterday for the Toronto Raptors. In the final game, the Raptors edged out the Bucks 84-83, thanks to a last second shot by Quincy Douby. The Raptors finished 3-2 in all, winning the last 3 games.

I don't know who impressed me more--DeMar DeRozan or Quincy Douby. Both put up exceptional numbers. In these 5 summer league games, DeRozan averaged 17 PPG and 4.2 RPG. Not bad for a rookie whose never played at the NBA level. Granted, this is the summer league, and the competition isn't great..but he certainly gave a good first impression.

I was shocked by Douby's performances. For a guy who was lucky to get off the bench last season, he certainly impressed. He averaged 18 PPG and 3.8 APG.

Summer league doesn't mean much...but it's always nice to get a first impression of players, and see if any improvements have been made from the previous season.

With the exception of the front office, the summer is over for the Toronto Raptors. No draft, no summer league--now we just have to wait until training camp in September.

Meanwhile, Jarett Jack coming to Toronto may very well happen in the upcoming days. Indiana is yet to match any offer, and probably won't.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Will Bosh sign an extension?

As every NBA fan knows, July 1st, 2010, will be the start of a very interesting off-season. Several superstars, including Amare Stoudamire, Yao Ming, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James will be able to shop the market, and free to sign with other teams.

Because of this, every Raptor fan has that one big question on their mind—will Chris Bosh stay in Toronto?

Considering the fantastic off-season Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors’ front office have had, Bosh may be inclined to stay in Toronto. According to Bosh’s Twitter page, he seems very excited to work with Hedo Turkoglu, Devean George, and Antoine Wright next season. The Raptors also have much money to spend, so Chris will more than likely be welcoming other teammates to Toronto. Add the drafting of DeMar DeRozan, the Toronto Raptors could have a very bright future.

On the contrary, however, Bosh may still leave. Considering the Raptors play in Canada, the team plays somewhat under the radar, unlike other teams. Compared to the US, the market isn’t as well known in Canada.

Since Bosh is an all-star, he may feel like playing in the US is a better option to increase his popularity.

In a recent interview with Fan 590’s Eric Smith, Bryan Colangelo said he will offer Bosh an extension sometime this summer. Bosh has made it public he would like a max deal, so I’m guessing the Raptors will offer him around $17-19M per year.

NBA experts have predicted the salary cap in the 2010-2011 NBA season will be around $50-54M. That is a huge decrease from this upcoming season, as the salary cap for the 2009-2010 season is $57.4M. If these predictions are true, not only will these athletes take a potential big pay cut, but it will limit how many superstars go to a certain team.  Given this, Bosh may feel inclined to sign an extension. With the economy only getting worse, Bosh may be getting the most “bang for the buck” if he signs now, rather than waiting a year.

I don’t know where I stand on this—part of me says he’ll be a free agent next July, and another part wants me to believe he’ll sign an extension this summer. My gut feeling is saying he won’t sign an extension. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t leave Toronto, however—he may become a free agent next summer, to then sign a new contract with the Raptors.

Either way though, Colangelo is hoping Bosh will stay in Toronto—and it’s showing by this great off-season he’s putting together. The Raptors now have a very solid starting 5, and it appears a better bench will be added.

Chris Bosh will have to make some tough decisions in the near future. Hopefully, he will stay in Toronto for years to come, and the future will continue to be brighter for the team.

Answer my poll question. Will Bosh sign an extension? I want to see where other Raptor fans stand on this issue.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Raptors win first Summer League game

The Raptors won their first summer league game last night, outlasting the Trail Blazers, 92-87. The Raptors are now 1-2. DeMar DeRozan had another solid night, scoring 15 points, as well as 5 rebounds and 3 assists. The previous game, DeRozan scored 20 points, so it appears he may be getting into the groove of the NBA.

Quincy Douby continues to impress with his scoring ability, as he had 20 points last night. In these first 3 summer league games, Douby has averaged 19 points per game...not bad for a guy who was lucky to get off the bench last season.

I don't own Raptors TV and I'm on vacation right now, so I'm unable to watch these games. But from what I'm seeing from the box score some players have been impressive. Summer league doesn't mean very much, but it gives me a first impression going into pre-season.

The Raptors next game is tomorrow night against the Phoenix Suns.

On a side note--according to many sources, the LA Clippers are in "very serious" talks with Allen Iverson. Of course, the free agency period started July 1st, so Allen Iverson has been without a team for 13 days. This deal would make the Clippers better, but by no means does it put them in the playoffs. With Blake Griffin, the team could possibly have a brighter future, but not anytime soon. The Clippers are still in much disarray, and many more moves have to be made to put the team over the edge.

But if this deal goes down, many Miami Heat fans should be infuriated. Dwayne Wade will be a free agent in 2010, and the team has done nothing so far to make him want to stay. Wade has publicly said "getting to the playoffs" won't be enough, and a contending team must be in the works. The Heat didn't even make it past the first round last season, so what's the front office waiting for? Are they going to bring pieces in to help D-Wade? Wade told Pat Riley he's willing to wait, but there's only so much a superstar can take. How long can really wait?

It will be interesting to see what the Heat's plan is for the rest of the off-season.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jarrett Jack to Toronto?

On Saturday, I wrote the Toronto Raptors have many options with the $10-12M they have to spend--it appears Bryan Colangelo will take a chuck out that money within the next few days. On Sunday, the Raptors extended an offer sheet to restricted free agent Jarrett Jack. Jack split time in Indiana with T.J. Ford last season, averaging 13.1 PPG and 4.1 APG.


The deal is worth $21 million over the next 4 seasons. I’m guessing this is the mid-level exception, considering it pans out to average $5.25 million per year.


One of the biggest issues for the Raptors is the backup PG position—Jack would definitely fix that problem. Roko Ukic, while he still has potential, isn’t ready to play a backup roll yet. He needs more time to develop his game.


According to ESPN, it is unlikely the Pacers will match the offer, considering the teams financial situation. Last year in Indiana, controversy swirled around the PG position—Jarrett Jack and T.J. Ford split time, but both wanted the starting roll. I don’t think there will be a PG dispute in Toronto. I think going in, Jack knows he will backup Jose Calderon, creating a better mindset, which should avoid problems.


Overall, I’d love Jarrett Jack in Toronto. He’d fix a key issue, and add more depth to the bench. Hopefully, Bryan Colangelo will be making a big splash with his first use of the money.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Raptors lose close one in Summer League Opener

Last night, the Raptors played their first summer league game against the LA Lakers. The Raptors lost a nail- biter, 85-84.

The league is held in Las Vegas, and runs from July 10th-19th. This is the first opporunity for Raptors fans to see rookie DeMar DeRozan in action. He scored 10 points on 5-12 shooting, as well as collected 5 rebounds. Here's the recap:

Quincy Douby was the Raptors high scorer with 16 points. Ironically, Douby was supposed to be apart of the 4 way sign and trade deal, but ended up staying in Toronto at the last minute. Patrick O'Bryant had a nice game as well, collecting 15 points and 5 rebounds.

Some other guys contributed nicely, as well. Smush Parker, former Laker, put up 9 points, and Brent Pentway added 7. I don't see either of these players making the team, however.

The Raptors next game is today at 4 PM ET against the

Friday, July 10, 2009

What's next for the Raptors?

As I wrote in yesterdays blog, the Raptors have hit the jackpot. Bryan Colangelo was able to give the team much cap room flexibility, as well as traded for Hedo Turkoglu. All in all, it was a great day in Toronto, and the Raptors have much to look forward too.

But what's next for Bryan Colangelo? According to an interview with Fan 590's Eric Smith, Colangelo stated the team has the MLE of $5.85 million, the BIE of $1.9 million, as well as additional $2.2-4.2 million. You can hear the rest of the interview here:

So financially, the Raptors are doing VERY well. With this money, the Raptors will be able to bring in some solid players off the bench and fix that issue. In my opinion, I would bring back Carlos Delfino with the $2.4-4.2 million. Colangelo has expressed much interest in bringing retaining Delfino and it would be nice to have him back. He was excellent for us two seasons ago, and I liked what he brought to the table. Hopefully we'll be able to bring him, along with his shooting ability back to Toronto.

If I'm Bryan Colangelo, I'm also bringing in a backup point guard. Guys like Juan Carlos Navarro, Anthony Carter, and Ramon Sessions are still out there--all three would be excellent backups for the Raptors. Roko Ukic, while he still has potential, hasn't put it all together yet. He needs to develop his game more if he wants to backup Jose Calderon. Hopefully, the Raptors front office can bring in a backup point guard, because I believe that was a big issue for them last year. When Calderon went down last year with a hamstring injury, we didn't have a point guard. Because Roko was still raw, the Raptors were forced to put Anthony Parker at the point. While he wasn't bad at it, it's not his natural position. The Raptors need to bring in a proven point guard if they want to be successful next year.

Lastly, I think the Raptors should bring in a big man. Last time I checked, we don't have a lot of backup big men who can play behind Bargnani and Bosh. The Raptors traded for Reggie Evans a few months ago, but that's pretty much all they have. Maybe the Raptors can bring back Pops Mensah-Bonsu? Rasho Nesterovic?

With the amount of money the Raptors have, many opportunities are presented. Hopefully, Bryan Colangelo uses it wisely, and gives the Raptors much needed support off the bench. The Raptors have a very good starting 5--if Bryan Colangelo can give the team a bench, I believe the Raptors can get the 4 seed in the East.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bryan Colangelo=Mastermind?

Bryan Colangelo is finally getting the credit he deserves. Last night, a much rumored deal went down, in which 4 teams were involved in a very complicated sign and trade. Though it is hard to explain the terms of the deal, the Raptors hit the jackpot.

Last week, the Raptors agreed to terms with Hedo Turkgolu, thus having to depart ways with Shawn Marion. Marion was the centerpiece of this deal, and was signed and traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He will earn in the neighborhood of $39 million. The Mavericks also get Greg Buckner, and Raptors' big man Kris Humphries. Humphries, in my opinion, is an underrated big man, and will probably replace Brandon Bass' role as the scoring big man off the bench.

Buckner's contract isn't guaranteed and he'll likely be waived, but he won't be the only one after the trade is completed. The Mavericks sent Jerry Stackhouse to Memphis along with $3 million in cash. The Grizzlies will probably waive Stackhouse since he's guaranteed only $2 million of his $7 million salary. Memphis will also get PG Quincy Douby from the Raptors. His contract isn't guaranteed as well.

Orlando agreed to sign and trade Hedo Turkoglu to Toronto rather than allowing the Raptors to sign him directly. The Magic will also get a trade exception worth $8 million, so the Magic will have some money to spend.

But the Raptors are the big winners of this deal. Because of the massive deal Turkoglu got from Toronto, the Raptors were forced to renounce their rights to several players to give Turkoglu the five-year/$53 million deal they'd agreed to, or a sign and trade had to be worked out. The Raptors can now bring back players like Carlos Delfino and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, because Orlando did a sign and trade. The Mavericks also sent Antoine Wright and Devean George to Toronto, to give the Raptors some much needed bench support. Oh, and we're not done--The Raptors also retain their mid-level and biannaual exceptions, to add even more depth on the bench. Wow! What a deal! Not only do the Raptors have a very solid starting 5, but the bench will be much improved. Not only will the Raps bring back Delfino and Mensah-Bonsu, but Bryan Colangelo is rumored to be interested in Linas Kleiza, as well. The Raptors have so many options now.

If this deal works out, I can see the Raptors as the 4th best team in the East, and going deep in the playoffs. Bryan Colangelo has struck gold. I knew he had a plan for us--I just didn't think it would work out this well.

Overall, the Raptors have had a GREAT offseason. Hopefully, it's enough for Chris Bosh to stay in Toronto.