Sunday's special mail delivery
Killing time waiting for the Patriots-Chargers and Packers-Giants while Super Son’s off with his peeps and the better half is learning all about CPR, figured I’d clean out the mailbag.
Herewith, then, are some snarky responses to silly questions. And legitimate answers to legitimate queries.
Q: I know things will change after the trade deadline, but as of now which teams will have the cap room to take a run at Jose? How much will they be able to offer? Could you update this post deadline?
Also, what is Moon's contact situation? I've read he will be a free agent this summer with Limited Salary Protection. What does that mean for the Raptors?
Dan W, Charlottetown
A: Since trades are bound to happen and we have no idea what the cap will be next summer, this really is an exercise in futility. But futility is right up my alley so …
Right now, the Sixers, Atlanta and Charlotte will all have the money next summer to offer Calderon something substantially more than the mid-level exception and if he’s interested in going to a team that’s going to win a lot, none of them fit.
The Raptors have an option on Moon for next year that they are certain to exercise so he’ll be under contract for something around $475,000, which might make him the best bargain the NBA.
Q: Doug I am sick and tired of seeing the Raptors get smacked around the last couple of years and have no one on the team do anything about it! The Oak man has always been my favourite player and it seems since him the only player that has been remotely physical has been Matt Bonner, which is pretty pathetic with all due respect to the Red Rocket.
My question is while I know this team is not built around toughness and rebounding like the team earlier in the millenium (Davis, Oak, JYD, even Willis). Is the great one (BC) doing anything about this? Are we ever going to get a physical nasty player again or are we gonna have to bring Oak, or Wayne Embry, or Mahorn, or maybe Laimbeer out of retirement?
Jef M, St. Catharines
A: You know, this is one of the great myths of all time, that you need someone to smack someone around to win. Tell me who on San Antonio, Miami, Detroit, the Lakers (the champs of the last 10 years or so) fits that bill?
The game’s not the same, there’s no need a Mahorn or a Laimbeer in this era.
Do they need more experience? Absolutely. Do they need an “enforcer?” Nope.
Q: This is not your typical "get Sam Dalembert" demand to BC... consider it an honest question. Why don't you think he would be a good fit here? He averages a double-double and protects the basket (2.5 blocks). And at 73% from the line he is not a Ben Wallace liability at the end of games. Is it because of his salary? ($10 mill IS quite a bit). Or is it a lack of potential?
Ed C, Toronto
A: Money has almost everything to do with it, he’s got a huge ticket. And he’s good, no question, but he’s on a bad team and you shouldn’t get fooled by guys who put up big numbers on bad teams. Does he start over Bargnani here? Are they ready to give up on the kid yet? Nope. Does that mean Dalembert’s a backup here? Probably. And that’s waaaaaaay too much money over too many years to pay a backup.
Q: I got a NBA 101 question for you. If Boston continues its dominance, minus a few flops here and there, and finish first in division, how can Raptors finish 3rd in conference. I know there's some kind of rule that relates to their record, but I don't know what it is or where to find it (NBA.com was no help).
Edi R, Oakville
A: You find the answer here.
Division winners are guaranteed a top four seed. Let’s say Boston wins 60 games, the Pistons win the Central with 57 wins and Orlando wins the Southeast with 46 wins. If Toronto finishes second in the Atlantic with 47 wins, they’ll be seeded third and Orlando would be fourth.
Q: Whoever the wise old sage was who recommended the black third jerseys, I commend him. It's about time they made a move like that, as a young, up and coming team they're missing out on some marketing opportunities by not having another jersey.
My question is, when are they finally going to get rid of the purple Dino logo and just go completely with the red ball/claw thing? I understand the nostalgic value and all, but let's face it, that thing was ugly in the 90's and it's not getting any prettier.
Dan P, Sarnia
A: On behalf of wise old sages everywhere, I say thanks.
I don’t imagine the dinosaur ever entirely disappearing, though they have moved more and more to the claw.
Q: Just wondering if Greg Oden will be eligible for rookie of the year next season when he actually gets to play a game? And if not, why are Juan Carlos Navarro and Luis Scola eligible this year when they were both drafted some time ago?
Zack R, Etobicoke
A: As I understand it, and no one’s corrected me yet, Oden’s signed a contract and been on a roster which means this is his rookie year. Navarro or Scola are in their first NBA seasons because even though they were drafted, they hadn’t signed and were therefore not, technically, in the league.
Q: I just read about the new black third jersey. I think the red and black will look really good but you didn't mention which logo they would have on it. So I'm guessing they'll have the current one and not the old one. I always envisioned that a third jersey could have the old retro logo on it. Since the Raps no longer wear purple don't you think a nice black and red combo of the old logo would look great on a black jersey? Maybe it's just me.
Thebe P, Toronto
A: As far as I know, there is no logo, per se, on the black jersey. Right now, it says ‘Toronto’ on the front and there’s a small Canadian flag just below the neck line on the back.
Q: I commend you on this blog, it's always interesting and fresh, and obviously takes a stellar commitment.
My question is this: Do you see Colangelo (either this year or next) acquiring a savvy veteran to help Bosh with his leadership role on this team? In high school, college and the NBA, Bosh has always been the go-to Guy, and right now the only 'veteran' he's got to look up to is Darrick Martin. Next year Martin will be gone, so I think this team will need a new guy to fill that veteran role. Let's not forget, Bosh is still only 23.
Mark I, Oakville
A: You know what? Bosh is almost a savvy veteran now. I can see Colangelo looking for a veteran big or swingman with some extensive playoff experience at the trade deadline. But by next year, Bosh will be in his sixth season, he will have been in the playoffs twice and he’s becoming the veteran presence you want. He’s an old 23, as a matter of fact.
Q: Not a Raptors related question, but without concern for contracts and cap, would you do a straight up trade for B. Roy for D. Wade?
Second part - which of the two was the better signing: Nash by the Suns, or Shaq by the Heat? It's easy to choose Nash because he has won two MVPs and nearly a third, while Shaq is wasting away on a bottom feeding Heat team this season, but he did help bring Miami a Championship while Nash has been unable to match that feat.
Jack C, Ajax
A: Without concern for contracts and cap? Hmm, I’d rather have Brandon Roy on my team than Dwyane Wade today.
Who was the better signing? Which team has had the most consistent success (regular season and playoffs) since those two players signed? Wouldn’t you say Phoenix? I would. So I’d say Nash was a better signing and if the Heat have to pay Shaq $60 million more before he retires, that just hammers the point home more.
Q: Roko Ukic (last week) made a statement regarding the Raps saying that he will talk about this matter at the end of the season. Roko is on loan to Roma from FC Barcelona and he says that the Raps need to speak to them about the buyout. From what I know about the situation is that the Raps can put up the $500,000 and that they reached an agreement Barcelona. So my question is. Roko just needs to make up this decision and pay the remainder of the buyout to come over? Or are there still some technicalities?
Ross T, Toronto
A: That’s exactly how it works. Roko and Barcelona come to an agreement on a buyout price, the Raptors can contribute $500,000 to that total and he has to pay the rest out of future earnings. There are no other issues at play, except for Ukic and Toronto to work out a contract.
Q: All right, it seems that my last mailbag question (regarding Jose's Bird year and contract expectations) was almost exactly replicated in today's mailbag (Jan 18), right down to my expectations for your response (something to do with Jose's agent). So, here goes another one:
Watching the Suns-Lakers game, I was shocked at severity of the Lakers fans booing of Kwame Brown. He had a craptastic game, but at least seemed to be giving an honest effort. Having lived through the Hoffa years, can you give us your bottom 5 "worst treatment of a player by their home fans"
Ira U, Richmond Hill
A: Okay, you have to realize I only see one, maybe two, road games a year involving specific teams so I don’t have the greatest wealth of experience to go on and I won’t get to five.
I will say Stephon Marbury in New York this year and Jamaal Tinsley in Indianapolis this year would be right at the top of the list. I remember back in the day that Dallas fans use to boo Steve Nash when has playing hurt (’97-98 maybe?) and that was just plain stupid. I’d put Brown on that list twice, once in L.A. and once in Washington.
Oh, and the absolute worst had to be Larry Murphy. (Oh, wait, horrific pucks flashback, sorry).
Q: Just wondering who is off the books for the Raps at the end of the season? I really don't see BC making any trades by the deadline. I think he'll keep his team the way it is and depending how much money the team has for 2008/2009 (any idea) he'll use that to pick up a banger. Your thoughts about BC trading this year.
Jacques L, Toronto
A: I think a trade this year is more likely than not, there’s a need for a big, another point guard and there are a whole bunch of swingmen on the roster who are the same guy and that glut needs to be eased.
And as it stands now, the only guys who drop off the books are Jose (about $2.5 million, sure to be re-signed), Juan Dixon (about $2.9 million, likely to be gone) and Darrick Martin (about $1.4 million, more likely to be gone). Rasho’s got a player option he’s more than likely to exercise.
Q: Is Sam your favorite Raps coach of all time?
Chris B, Fort McMurray, Alta.
A: With no disrespect to the gentlemen who went before him, for the total package of personality and success, I’d say yes. But he’s also the longest-serving coach in franchise history and if someone like Butch Carter had lasted four years, he might carry that mantle.
Q: Why won't the Raps try and get Marco Belinelli? He's not getting any minutes at Golden State and is a talented SG. He could be a great asset in, say, 2 years and would be great for motivating Bargnani. Or would he be too expensive?
Thomas G, Antwerp, Belgium
PS: You ever heard of another Belgian Raptors fan?
A: As a stellar supporter of Stella Artois, I wish we had more Belgian fans who’d send me stuff.
I don’t know that they won’t ask about Bellinelli, they liked him around draft time and I don’t imagine the interest has waned. I would imagine when Colangelo talks to Chris Mullin, Bellinelli is one of the prime topics of conversation. Expensive? He’s on his rookie deal, he’s dirt cheap.