Better late than never, I guess
Okay, finally, got this done (although in my defence, it’s not yet 10 a.m. out here so it’s really not that late). Lots here and lots left over that I’ll get to over the course of the weekend as I try to not blatantly cheer for the Celtics so I can get home a couple of days earlier. I’d like nothing more than a compelling, thrilling seven-game series to cover but since this one looks like it’s over, why not do the honourable thing and end it Sunday instead of making us all traipse back to Boston for the formality of getting the series over. Anyway, on to the good stuff:
Q: Hey, Doug, tell us again about the Garbo buyout and the financial implications. Thanks. Oh, and I love the blog, am a regular reader and think you’re a peach of guy.
Luv, everyone, everywhere
A: Ah, thanks, you flatter me.
Anyway, the money thing with Garbo.
Here’s the dope on buyouts.
The savings come in the form of a lower “cap number” on the player being bought out. Not tax vs. cap or money in the coffers but cap technicalities.
Here’s how it was explained to me by Someone Who Knows. Let’s say Player A is owed $10 million over two years on a contract that’s bought out. Let’s say the contract is for $5 million each year and the buyout is for $8 million. Instead of being on the books for $5 million in each of the two years, the player goes on the books at $4 million each year. It just lessens the cap number for that player for the length of his contract. In the Garbo case, if his deal is for $4.25 million next year and they buy him out for $3.5 million (and I have no idea if that’s even in the ball park), that’s what he’ll be on the books for. It’s not nearly enough to get Toronto under the cap or change what they can spend on free agents but it does give them a bit more wiggle room as they approach the tax level.
Q: I just read about BC being added to the Board of Directors for Canada Basketball. I have to say, I like what BC has been doing since he got here; not only with the Raptors, but trying help develop basketball within Canada. It seems like doing things such as trying to get a D-League team here, or joining Canada Basketball may be going above and beyond what is expected of him. My question is, are these normal things for a GM/President to be doing within his team's community (or country in this example)?
Amanda ., Barrie
A: I think it’s rather unique to Canada, given the franchise’s place in the community and the country. I think it’s an excellent move for Canada Basketball, which is really, really trying to do the right things now, and an excellent move by Colangelo. Glen Grunwald did the same thing and it’s nice to see the leaders of the country’s only franchise take an honest interest in helping the game thrive. Other general managers and presidents do important work in their communities, it’s only here you see a guy like Bryan trying to help the most he can the sport across the country.
Q: Doug what do you do if you are the Wizards GM with Agent Nothing (I mean Zero)? Of course they have to sign him but with his rash of injuries I think he is a HUGE gamble and they might be better off by trying to sign and trade him to someone else who is willing to gamble.
A: I don’t think they have to sign him at all. I think they will but I’m sure they’ll look long and hard at the financial terms. If I was the Wizards, I’d re-sign Jamison first and then explore sign-and-trade possibilities with Arenas.
Q: Hi Doug, I have a list question for you. I have seen a lot of historic footage of games with the Celtics lately and knowing that you were a childhood fan, I was wondering if you could compile an all-time starting five of the Celtics (any player who has played for the Celtics past and present are eligible)? Can you also tell us why?
Louis F., Woodstock
A: Wow, that’s a tough one. Let’s go with: Bob Cousy (no one ran the fast-break better). Sam Jones (you don’t remember him, but man could he play). Larry Bird (duh!) Kevin McHale (see Bird, Larry) Bill Russell (only the greatest “winner” in the history of professional sports) And, of course, Havlicek comes off the bench.
Q: I was wondering why Rudy Tomjanovich's name never comes up in rumours for all the various coaching vacancies. Is it his choice not to coach any more? Is it because of his health problems? I think he's one of the best coaches in NBA history.
Rob W., Scarborough
A: I talked to some friends of Rudy’s around the finals and he’s doing well but has no desire whatsoever to get back into coaching right now. But you’re right, he was one of the all-time greats.
Q: Doug, how's life on the left coast? Hobnobbing with the celebs? I hope so. Here it is: does money make the man? How do Boston,LA, San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, etc do it? How do they afford and sustain these triple threat max-money-type rosters? And is it that simple? Break the cap and win? The obvious exception is NY, but a litany of crummy personnel choices is responsible for that debacle. Back to it: at what point does a club like the Raps say "you gotta spend money to make money. Let's bring in another all-star (max money) player, break the cap, and win and profit from the experience and the exposure - NOW." When does spending more make you more? How did the likes of LA, Boston, and Dallas come to terms with those financial decisions? Does it make fiscal sense for Toronto to break the cap? Does the currency swing open that door?
Shane L, Pickering
A: Again, it’s not “breaking the cap” it’s paying the tax. And that’s what they’ve done in Boston, Dallas and Phoenix. They come to those terms because either ownership has too much money (Dallas), they are taking a short-term gamble on winning (Boston) or they are trying desperately to get below the tax level (Phoenix). You can’t put the Spurs in that category, they have drafted well (Ginobili, Parker), gotten lucky (the Duncan lottery) and spent wisely, staying right around the tax level.
But, please, don’t get the cap and tax threshold mixed up. The Raptors, are, will be, and have been, over the cap almost every year.
Q: Do you think that if the Lakers had Andrew Bynum in the line up, it would make any difference? It looks like it did not impact their success in the previous series.
Monty M, Toronto
A: I think it would have made a huge difference. I’m not sure how well Lamar Odom would have done playing small forward but he’s better suited to that spot and there’s no way Pau Gasol isn’t better as a power forward rather than a centre. And it would have turned the non-factor Vladimir Radmanovich into a non-entity.
Q: From a TV standpoint watching games at the Staples centre is great because it seems they almost black out the crowd and the court seems brighter then most other NBA courts/do you notice that there and can’t the Raptors do this? It would hide all the empty platinum and gold seats after the half-plus the basketball looks great on TV. Also I hope you get to drink plenty of Stone Beer while you are out there-highly recommended.
Andrew S, Burlington
A: They light the arena just like a Broadway stage, exactly the same thing they do at Madison Square Garden. It’s very, very cool but also very, very expensive and I presume that’s part of the reason more arenas don’t do it.
Stone beer? Have never seen one, will have to search one out.
Q: You said to scratch Denveroff the list of teams for a T.J Ford trade because him and AI wouldn't work. But what if the Raps were to offer T.J, Rasho, and Parker for AI. I know I am reaching here but it does seem to me like Denver is going to make a major move.
B M, Toronto
A: Denver, which already has a couple of bigs and plays a style that AP wouldn’t really fit, would turn that down, I’m certain. Besides, I’m told they are not dealing Iverson, which makes the possibility moot.
Q: Hey Doug, will Toronto ever make a bit to host an NBA All-Star game? Also, does Garbo's buy-out change anything with our draft pick?
Jay P, Brampton
A: I’ve heard for years they are interested in getting the 2011 all-star game, which hasn’t yet been awarded. And, no, the Garbo issue has no impact whatsoever on the draft pick, they’ll still take the best available player.
Q: This isn’t really a question (more of a comment) I’m telling you right now that Roy Hibbert is the man to take. The Raptors need a centre and he will be a solid player in years to come.
Chad J, Mississauga
A: Bryan? Are you reading? Your problems are solved.
Hibbert may indeed have a solid, journeyman-like career. They can do better than that at No. 17.
Q: Hey Doug, I'm wondering if you feel your writing style as a newsman has changed since you started blogging. Is it hard to write so formally for a more general audience when you can play around and be more informal in the blog. Which do you prefer?
Steve M, Toronto
A: It does change from one format to the other, you can be more conversational in this forum than in the newspaper but the goal remains the same: To be informative, entertaining and get news published first. Right, but first. I don’t really prefer one to the other actually but I think a bit more of my personality, such that it is, may come out here than it does in the newspaper. But the newspaper “style” hasn’t changed and I think I’m still trying to find my voice here on the internet.
Q: Love the blog Doug. I had a question regarding the former face of the franchise Vince Carter. Where do you see his career going? Do you think he will ever win a championship as a leader and go-to-guy on any team? How much of Kidd's decision to leave the Nets was weighted on the fact that Vince was not "bringing" it every night.
Nitin V, Waterloo
A: I think his career track has pretty much been defined: Brilliant athlete with maddening inconsistency of effort. A championship? Not in New Jersey. A leader? I don’t think so, it’s not in his DNA.
And I don’t think his play or personality had much to do with Kidd’s decision at all. It was a part of it only in the fact that Kidd didn’t see the Nets winning and while Carter was there, it wasn’t solely because of him. He was just part of it.
Q: Everyone was raving about the steal LA managed for Gasol. He seems to be one of those great regular season players but not much in the playoffs. I would think he still has a lot of upside but has your opinion wavered? Thanks
David P, Ottawa
A: I’ll dispute that. He’s averaging about 17 and 10 in the final, which is nothing to sneeze at. But he’s also not what people want him to be, a tough, hard-nosed, physical presence. He won’t be that, ever, and to ask him to change is wrong. He is, as they say, what he is. A gifted athlete who is more finesse than power. Is that bad? No. Is it what people want? No.
Q: Hi Doug, another quick draft question for you. I know most of the online mock drafts are crap, but most of them have DJ Augustine and/or Ty Lawson available around the 15-20 spot. Having 2 high performing point guards was always one of biggest assets that the Raps had last year. Assuming TJ won’t be here when the ball is tipped off in October, do you think the Raptors brass may pick up a backup point guard through the draft? Thinking into the future, it seems to me that either of those guys would do well playing and learning behind Calderon. I think we may also overpay for the same type of guard through free agency or in a trade. And as much as we may need a wing or a big, we can’t go through the season with only 1 pg on the roster.
Kelly M, Oakville
A: I cannot see right now a scenario in which the Raptors use their pick on a backup point guard. They’ll likely get Jose under contract for five years, they’ll find a backup somewhere other than in the draft.
Of course, if they pick up an extra draft pick, that’s one thing they may be looking for.
Q: Doug, are you in favour of trading CB4 for Carmelo? If not, why?
Paul S, Markham
A: No, I’m not. At all.
A Raptor team with Anthony and without Bosh is no better than a team with Bosh and without Anthony.