Ready for a busy week?
For some reason, I've got a sneaking suspicion that this could be a biggie, lots of rumors and a big deal before the draft. Nothing concrete at the moment but just a feeling.
I'm not sure they've found Mr. Right at No. 17, everyone who'll be left is going to have some flaws and if they can package the choice with, say, T.J. I think they'd do it.
We already know they've kicked the tires on Boris Diaw and I imagine that's just the tip off the iceberg. For every report that gets out there, figure there's half a dozen others that general managers, coaches and agents are able to keep to themselves. It' up to the intrepid grunts to ferret out as many of those other ones as possible.
This week will include a lot of posturing, and some reports that are flat out wrong. But from what I'm told around the league, there's all sorts of serious discussions taking place.
Everyone figures Portland's trading out of No. 13 for the right deal but the word on the street is that there is no fit with Toronto at present. The Blazers aren't all that thrilled with the thought of Ford running their team and they are desperately seeking a point guard.
Hang on, kids, we're in for a bumpy week.
From the Department of Underwhelming News, the following prospects (suspects) will be in to workout for the lads today:
Guards Ryan Bell of Carleton and Jaycee Carroll of Utah State, forwards J.J. Hickson of North Carolina State, Josh Duncan of Xavier (Ohio) and D.J. White of Indiana and centre Vlad Kuljanin of UNC-Wilmington.
Bell and Kuljanin are good Canadian lads, nice of the Raptors to give 'em a look.
As for possible draft picks? Hickson's the only one with a remote possibility of being a Raptor on Friday morning. And the fact this is his second workout in Toronto may mean everything, it may mean nothing.
Let's start the weekly mail:
Q: Doug, have you heard about (or do you think it's possible) that the Raptors might get involved in a trade with New York to move up in the draft and maybe get David Lee as well? Our expiring contracts would be attractive to New York. We would probably have to take back one of their terrible contracts in return but is there any scenario you see as working out for both teams?
Steve M, Toronto
A: I haven't heard of any serious discussions between Toronto and New York, I'm sure they've talked in passing but not about anything of any substance. And I'm told Mike D'Antoni is quite all right with Nate Robinson as his point guard so a T.J. deal isn't likely.
So, no, I don't see a scenario that works out, although nothing at this time of year would surprise me.
Hey, all you cool cats in Ottawa.
See you in late-September.
Am told that training camp's all set for Carleton, starting around Sept. 29 or 30 and winding up with a intrasquad scrimmage at the university on Oct. 5, I believe it is.
Any and all restaurant recommendations welcomed.
Lots of questions out there about the search to replace the Swirsk. Not a whole lot to report at the moment, I'm told they have talked at least briefly to the The Score's Tim Micallef but not sure how seriously.
The one name I keep hearing in lots of different conversations is Matt Devlin.
No idea when they'll make the decision since they're juggling a couple of other balls in the air, too.
Did you catch reports over the weekend that Greece's Olympiakos is looking to offer AP something in the neighbourhood of $24 million over three seasons?
They can offer that, the moon and half of Athens if they want, AP's not going anywhere unless the Raptors release him from the final year of his contract and no one I spoke to in Toronto yesterday can imagine that happening.
Q: What's up with Canada's Gotham Doug? First Cliff Fletcher, now Cito Gaston. If Sam Mitchell is next to walk the plank, is it conceivable the Raptors could also look to the past? Your pick? Do you still have your disco shoes?
Bob W, Winnipeg
A: I'd be all for Butch making a comeback, if only for the entertainment value for us beat guys. He was a classic story-teller.
I'm pretty sure I burned whatever remnants I had of the disco era. Wisely.
Oh yeah, do me a favour, would you? If you're looking for something to do on the coming weekend, check out the national men's team in its exhibition games with Lebanon and New Zealand.
They don't play here very often, it's been about five years now, and they could use some support.
Go here to get all the details.