A few views from elsewhere, and some of mine own
Took a break yesterday, figured most of you were doing the same thing, so now there’s a couple of days worth of stuff to catch up on from here and there.
Stuff like …
Sometimes you go to independent observers to get the information you need and when I saw a buddy from L’Equipe around practice, I knew I had to have a chat.
Here’s a take on Nicolas Batum from someone entirely disassociated with the Raptors, or him (and I paraphraise)
"Great athlete, long, good shooting range, needs to grow into his body because he’s still not strong enough. Good kid, very high basketball IQ, was a leader of a French team that won the European junior championship. He’ll be primarily a three in the NBA but could guard twos if he had to. Mature of his age but still some questions about his mental toughness on the court but all indications are he’ll get it.”
Then I run into another colleague who wonders whether Sacramento’s a possible trading partner in a T.J. Ford deal.
When I asked what kind of guy the Kings might want to divest themselves of, the first name mentioned was John Salmons.
And seeing how he believes divine intervention kept him from signing with the Raptors when he had promised to two years ago, I think that’s a non-starter. Unless, of course, God had a change of mind.
Line of the series, so far
Paul Pierce is on the podium and he’s asked a good question about similarities between himself before this season and Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, good players on good teams who were always getting better before bursting on to this kind of stage.
Here’s how it went down:
Q: I want to ask you about a fellow All‑Star forward Carmelo Anthony. When you look at your career before this season, are there similarities with you then and Carmelo now?
A: "I've never gotten a DUI.”
The place breaks up
There are all kinds of people floating T.J. for Shawn Marion:
Q: Doug, you said in Friday's mailbag that you "would be surprised" if Marion ended up a raptor. Here is why I think you'd better get ready to be surprised and why I feel that TJ and Rasho for Marion might just happen:
1. If Miami drafts Beasly (a significantly cheaper version of Marion) they may want to move the bigger contract.
2. Trading Rasho FORCES Sam Mitchell to start Bargnani (something you would have to think BC wants).
3. Marion is the rebounding and defensive addition sorely needed by the Raps.
4. Marion is a name... and a name will keep the fans happy.
5. The history between BC and Marion makes Marion a known commodity with consistent numbers (not a TJ waiting to happen).
I've gone through other versions of trade possibilities at SF (M.Miller, Turkoglu, Melo, Josh Smith, etc.) , but keep coming back to this one as it seems to fit both teams needs quite well.
Any chance you can expand on why you would be "surprised" if it happened? I'm all ears.
Ian M, Pickering
A: I’d be surprised because I don’t think Toronto would “rent” Marion for a year and that’s what it would be because he’s going to want a new contract for five years and something north of $90 million. No way Toronto pays that.
Your rationalization is good, but it doesn’t take into consideration the financial implications.
Also, I’m not sure Marion creates his own shot, or shoots well enough, to thrive in an offence generally predicated on the high screen-and-roll.
I’m sure you’ve all read, or are about to read, the Kobe Bryant story in this morning’s paper, right?
He was the hit of the session yesterday as everyone tried to draw him into talking about his mood, his teammates mood and how in the world the Lakers could possibly rebound from that spit up job of Thursday night.
"I borrowed Phil's peace pipe. We had a big Kumbaya meeting. No, everybody's fine. Everybody is in the same mood that I am. Everybody's ready to go. We're excited about the opportunity.”
And then, because some people have no sense of humour and these are truly too politically correct times, he probably recalled that there were critics of his (joking) comment that he was going to drink some wine, beer and about 20 shots to forget about the Game 4 collapse.
"I was joking about the peace pipe thing, too, seriously”
A spy tells me that workout the Raptors held Friday for six guys you’ve never heard of and may never hear of again was far from, um, good. Even if they buy a second round pick, it won’t be used on anyone who was there.
But Thursday’s shaping up to be a huge day. Plans are to get Batum in for a look, maybe Roy Hibbert and Mareese SPeights, among others.
And that’ll probably be the last big one before draft day. In the week in between, it’s more likely they’ll go see kids rather than have them in.
Once more into the mail
Q: Doug, I have never understood (well, I understand them, but think they are stupid for the most part) buy-outs of contracts. Eg. Alonzo Mourning: we know he wouldn't have played and I know it would look bad to other players, but I'd have paid him his full salary and made him live here instead of buying him out at $0.80-0.90 on the dollar! (Ridiculous! If he really doesn't want to be here, take $0.50 or $0.25 on the dollar you overpaid, whiny son of a ... )
So, rant over. My question is why wouldn't the Raptors wait with Garbajosa (to see if he can come back) before buying him out? I know things could get messy and become a distraction, but to save maybe $1mm by buying him out seems foolish seeing as $1mm in NBA dollars is like the change you get back from buying a Snickers bar with a $5! Why not see if he can come back and be the player he was before making a rash decision that won't make much of a difference to the team?
A: Timing. And a desire not to worry about things getting messy and a distraction have made this happen now. They obviously think now is the right time to have these discussions, probably because they want to have it resolved one way or the other before the draft and free agency so they have some certainty on the issue.