Cleaning up from the Ford Fallout, among other things
I can’t believe this interweb thing is still working after the beating it took yesterday.
You’d think Chuck Swirsky was leaving the Raptors or something judging by all the comments and queries we got.
As was written in the very first installment of the Ford-O’Neal saga, the deal is not imminent, there are other teams in the mix for T.J. and no one knows for sure whether it’ll be consummated.
That said, the discussion with the Pacers are real, the Raptors do have a lot of interest in O’Neal (if his knee’s healthy) and it could start percolating again any minute.
And with all the comments yesterday containing so many questions, here’s as many answers as I can provide:
Who backs up Calderon?
There was an inordinate amount of concern over this one, which surprised me. Let’s say they do a Ford-Diaw deal, or a Ford deal to some other team for a big or the much loved Ford-Maggette deal. No backup there. Truth is, backup point guards aren’t hard to find. They are working on the Roko Ukic buyout and he could be the guy. They could sign a young one out of a free agency, maybe a guy like Pooh Jeter did enough in the weekend free agent camp to warrant a look.
That’s the least of their worries.
One guy I don’t think it will be, as some have suggested, is Carlos Delfino. Depending on what kind of offers he gets out there, it’s quite conceivable that Torontolets him walk. In a perfect world they’d probably like to keep him, this is not a perfect world. I still think with Moon, Parker and Kapono (especially if it’s the Kapono of the playoffs) you can make the case that he’s superfluous.
What about Bargnani?
If a deal for a centre comes to fruition, he comes off the bench, likely as a backup four. That way he plays against second unit guys mainly and has some success that helps restore his confidence. It doesn’t mean that anyone in the organization has “given up on him.” It means they found a way to improve the team – they think – top to bottom.
What about the tax?
Even with O’Neal’s numbers on the books – and this is running the salary numbers I have and figuring either Baston or Graham are thrown in for ballast and giving Jose a first-year salary of $8 million – I think there’s still enough cash this summer to spend the entire mid-level salary cap exception without paying tax.
The numbers I have came from an NBA GM and my math skills are okay, thanks to the calculator on this machine, so I’m pretty sure I’m right.
Anyway, they will have some money to spend this summer.
What do I think?
If it were to come off, it’s a gamble, no question. It gives them a two-year window to do something special and they’d have more than $20 million to spend at the end of it if the experiment fails.
Sure there are concerns about O’Neal’s knees, just like there are concerns about T.J.’s neck and back; if the deal happens it’s a gamble on both sides.
The upside with O’Neal is that he’s healthy and motivated to regain his place among the league’s elite and when he’s good, he can be very good.
The downside is he plays 50 games a year and these guys muddle through but, frankly, they’d probably rather muddle through with him playing 50 games than with Rasho playing 75 for a year and then losing Nesterovic for nothing in 2009-10.
Not knowing for sure what else is out there, I''d make deal.
Okay, let’s get on to other matters. Like that pesky draft that’s coming up Thursday.
What should we read into the fact the Raptors had North Carolina State power forward J.J. Hickson back in for a second look, the only guy they did that with?
Not entirely sure but it has to be a good sign if you’re Hickson. He’s 6-9, a bullish low post guy who, someone, gets it done.
Here’s how Jim Kelly summed him up:
"I think he really knows how to use his body, he has a knack for getting inside, he uses his weight very well and has all these little ‘flip’ shots and I don’t know how you exactly describe him but he shoots the lights out from down in the low block area and he’s played against big guys all his life.”
Let’s do a mail thing that’s divorced from the draft and T.J.
Q: I am aware of MLB's system for developing its umpires but what is the NBA's and why do they have such a hard time finding and developing decent refs? Maybe their development system needs tweaking as look at the amount of refs in college ball. I am a avid NCAA b-ball fan so I am aware of the lack of credible refs there as well but surely there are some good ones or ones that have the potential to become solid NBA refs?
Doug B, Toronto
A: That’s one of the big problems, there aren’t too many places for good young officials to hone their craft. The NBA looks to the D League, the other minor leagues and the WNBA to find officials. They use them in summer leagues and exhibition games but it takes time for them to learn the nuances of the game, and the craft.
While we were in the arena waiting for the workout to be over, noticed a crane on the main floor and, being the astute observer that I am, immediately thought, “what’s a crane doing on the Air Canada Centre floor?”
Seems the new scoreboard’s on its way. They were dismantling the old one and getting ready to put the new one up.
Heard it’s very cool, bigger screens, better quality video and, hopefully, the scoreboard part of the scoreboard is somewhere easier to see than right at the top.
Am sure you heard that Groom To Be Matt Bonner was in the weight room working out yesterday. He wasn’t alone.
The Hump’s in town, too, getting a little summer work in.
Yeah, she’s pretty damn good.
Oh, and all you Marreese Speights fans out there take note.
All I heard around the gym yesterday – coaches, staff members, people who saw him work out – was how disappointing the session was.
"Worst guy we had in” was one comment.
I’d suggest you’ve got a better chance getting drafted by Torontothan he does.
One last thing, for now.
Thanks for all the restaurant, cocktail lounge recommendations in Ottawa. It’s a few months until we’re there but all are being dutifully saved.