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
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 82games.com, 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'..so 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.