No lottery luck in this precinct
Pressure’s on at 40 Bay St.
Can you imagine a worse lottery scenario than the one that played out last night?
I guess if the Knicks or Nets got third, it might have been, but that’s about it.
|And with this, the playoff race in the East tightens up.|
Chicago takes Rose to go along with Hughes and Deng and it means they don’t have to trade for a point guard. Or they take Beasley to give them a low-post beast and no way Toronto makes them better by dealing them Ford.
And then Miami takes Beasley to go with Wade and Marion or they take Rose to fill out a formidable backcourt. If they get Beasley, they still need a point guard but can you imagine Toronto flipping them one to make them a 45-win team? I don’t know about that.
All of a sudden, two bad teams are good and the bottom half of this year’s playoff lineup – read Toronto, Philly and Atlanta – are a tad nervous.
That puts a tremendous amount of extra pressure on Mr. Colangelo to improve the roster and on Mr. Mitchell to get the most out of it
The summer, or at least the time between now and the middle of July, just got a tad interesting for those of us who have to follow and write about this squad.
Okay, this is how it works, sometimes.
Reporter calls someone in the organization, trolling for a story. They get around to talking trade and the chat goes like this:
"So, what have you got going?”
"Think you could get Melo and Camby away from Denver?”
“Sure, for a steep price.”
"What else is out there?”
“Well, Miami might want to do Haslem, we like Wilcox in Seattle and God knows what they might do in Chicago.”
"What would it cost you?”
“We would move Player X if we had to.”
“Any other teams talking.”
"Bet Toronto wants to do something, they’ve got to move one of those point guard and I’m sure they’ll shop Ford.”
“Sure, maybe they’re tired of the big kid, he had a pretty bad year.”
"The Bargnani kid?”
Presto, change-o, story gets written, my inbox gets filled.
That’s an over-simplification, of course; but sometimes that’s how it goes down; that way there are names in the story, chat rooms go bonkers and a guy sitting in a local looks up and sees Bargnani on TV with a throw line to a possible deal.
Lovely world, isn’t it?
A lot of the names you read in various stories are absolutely legit when it comes to interest. But there is a long, long, long, long, long way between interest and something getting done. Just a gentle reminder.
Sitting watching halftime of last night’s game and there was Avery Johnson goofing with the ABC-ESPN dudes. Last week, he was in the TNT studios with Chuck, Kenny and Ernie.
Guess what Avery’s going to be doing next season while he sits back and spends some of Mark Cuban’s money?
Let’s get into the mail:
Q: I was wondering, with the recent comments made by J.J. Reddick, why do players say this kind of stuff in the media? Do they think the coach or the team are going to say "hey, we should play him cause he said he wants to play or trade me"...?
Also, with what is going on with OJ Mayo, is his draft status hurt now?
I really think he should have stayed in college, but I guess that can't happen anyway.
Zack B, Scarborough
A: I have no idea why players say such crazy things – it diminishes their trade value (as we may have learned from He Who Shall Not Be Named and others) and it makes them sound, in this case especially, like a whiny kid who’s never done anything wanting to make some noise.
But, as reporters, we love it.
And, no, I don’t think Mayo’s stock drops much, if at all, because of questions about financial improprieties. We did see Marcus Williams tumble a bit when he came out of
Connecticut with some, um, issues, and Boston College’s Sean Williams might have gone higher a year ago if not for his off-court problems. But Mayo? I think his talent still makes him a top six or seven pick.
Okay, as we approach workout time for draft picks, let’s make one thing clear.
Most teams will entertain between 30-50 prospects over the next month or so, either in individual workouts or free agent camps.
They will end up drafting two players and, perhaps, inviting one or two others to camp in October. They will maybe fill out a summer league team with the debris from those workouts and camps.
So every time you read a story or a note about this guy or that guy being “signed” by the Raptors, or the Raptors being “interested” in some guy you never heard of, remember that a lot of this time is wasted. And those guys are mostly fodder.
You check out Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy, on the day before they did the Celtics-Pistons game last night, watching the John Lester no-hitter at Fenway?
They looked like regular fans, high-fiving guys after the last out.
Of course, regular fans who somehow got third row seats at Fenway.
Still, very cool. And makes a lifelong Red Sox fan hope for an early June night off in Bostonso he can do the same thing.
Here’s another dip into the mailbag:
Q: Regarding Jamario's contract, it is great that his salary is being doubled, but were the Raptors limited by the amount he could have been offered? It somehow doesn't seem right that for a guy who started as much games as he did, and played well enough to make the Second All Rookie team, he only gets paid $700K, while some who will remain nameless, make off like bandits (salary relative to effort/production).
Colin W, Toronto
A: The fact is, next year’s salary was set almost a year ago now. Toronto signed him to a one-year deal with a team option for the second and he knew going in to last season what he’d make next year.
Sure, he’s a bargain but a year ago he had no guarantees of anything and a chance to make the league-minimum of about $711,000 must have looked pretty good.
I guess the Raptors could have made a bigger offer last summer but why would they? They had no idea what they were getting.