Friday, July 3, 2009

A message to all angry Raptor fans

Being a die-hard Raptors fan, it's been a frustrating start to the off-season. On Wednesday, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva signed huge multi-year contracts in Motown. And yesterday, two shockers happened, as Trevor Ariza agreed to a deal in Houston, and Ron Artest signed with the Lakers. Ariza was desperately wanted by many Raptor fans, and according to sources, the Raptors front office wanted him as well. The idea of Ron Artest playing in Toronto was another possibility. But last night, many fans were heartbroken to hear neither of these players would suit up in a Raptors uniform next year.

According to NBA.com, the Raptors offered Trevor Ariza a much bigger contract than Houston, but Ariza signed with Houston "out of respect". But, in my opinion, Ariza signing with the Rockets makes no sense. Frankly, I think free agents should stay far away from Houston at a time like this--they have a broken Tracy McGrady, a Yao Ming whose career could be over, and no Ron Arest. Why would Ariza play for the Rockets next year? The team is in a terrible situation.

But unlike many angry Raptor fans, I'm fine with Ariza signing in Houston. Is it frustrating he didn't want to sign in Toronto? Yes. But there's more fish in the sea. I'm still fine with Shawn Marion. He fits into our system well, and I think he's a better player than what people give him credit for--by only playing 27 games in Toronto last year, he wasn't able to showcase how well he can contribute to this team. He walked into the middle of a messy situation, so I think with a new, fresh season, he'll perform better by playing a full 82 games with the Raptors.

And don't forget--the Raptors are still interested in Nuggets SF Linas Kleiza. Kleiza will a be a nice addition off the bench. By adding him, along with having DeRozan/Delfino, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Reggie Evans, our bench will be much improved.

So it is frustrating Ariza decided not to come to Toronto? Yes. But Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors still have many more options, and opportunity to make this team better. I've seen some Raptor fans write "Hope is lost in Toronto". I don't agree at all. If we can re-sign Marion, as well as add Kleiza, we'll be fine for next year.

Hopefully, Bryan Colangelo will get on the phone, and attract more free agents to the city of Toronto.

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