Your regular heavy Friday mail delivery
Lots and lots here but don’t fret if your query isn’t among them, have plenty more to work on today. Some of ‘em require research and others fit well in the blog.
Q: Thanks for keeping the blog going during the summer, you are doing a heck of a job as always. A couple of fun questions for you:
1. You are Bryan Colangelo on draft day and it's time to announce your pick. Donte Green, Joe Alexander, Brandon Rush, Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez, and Roy Hibbert are all still available. Who do you pick? Personally, I go with Lopez. I think he is exactly what this team needs.
2. You are still Bryan Colangelo and you just got a phone call from Rod Thorn. He's dying to unload Vince Carter for anything he can get and he calls us first because he feels bad for fleecing us. All he wants is Rasho and Joey Graham (clearly 50 cents on the dollar). Do you make the trade and try Vince 2.0? (Please note, I realize the odds of this happening are 1 in a million and I am not suggesting we propose this trade, I just thought the scenario makes for a fun question. Would Toronto welcome back Vince if we got him for next to nothing?)
Mike D, Toronto
A: Couple of interesting scenarios there, aren’t there? I’ll play along.
You like the other Lopez better than Hibbert? I haven’t seen Hibbert work but Lopez’s offensive deficiencies are huge at the moment; I know the knock on Hibbert is bad hands so I’m not sure he’s the right choice, either. And until I see the others work out, or learn more about them, I’m not ready to pick. The leader in the clubhouse might be Green, for what I’m hearing very early in the process.
The Carter question is a fun one. There’s no doubt he can still play at a very, very high level but the other crap that would go on around here might get so deep in his head it affects his play consistently. So, no matter the offer, I’d say He Who Shall Not Be Named can’t come back.
Q: I feel like I'm the only Raptors fan on the planet who's a little hesitant to throw T.J. out the door and anoint Jose as PG for the future. Don't get me wrong, I admire Jose a great deal for his team-first attitude and play but are we really ready to make him our #1 based on 2 months of great play? Everyone says his play dipped upon T.J's return but it actually began to dip before that. T.J. on the other hand has proven that he can play at a high level, when healthy, for 3 years. Lastly, I think T.J. still has significant room to grow. He'll never be Chris Paul but he has a similar skill-set and I think he'll mature and play at a higher level when he's not looking over his shoulder. Am I the only one who's not sold on giving Jose the reigns?
Aaron J, Markham
A: No, you’re not the only one at all, just keep reading here and the blog regularly and you’ll find more than your fair share of people who think T.J. is the answer.
I did, too. For a while.
But, personally, I think Calderon’s upside is greater. And, as I’ve said a billion times, the perfect scenario would be for T.J. to accept the role of a tempo-changing backup but he’s not nearly ready to accept that, as evidence by the way he handled himself in that role in the latter stages of last season. Watching him pout and try to take over games single-handedly coming off the bench was enough for anyone to realize that he’d be fine in a two-guard situation as long as he was No. 1.
Calderon has his flaws – and so does Ford – but I think when their careers are over, Calderon’s team is going to win more and he’s going to be considered a better player.
But you are certainly not alone in your assessment. And I could be entirely wrong. But I don’t think I am.
Q: Hey Doug, long time reader of the blog. With Arenas planning to opt out do you thing the Raps would even entertain such an idea? Also, if the Heat are desperate for a formidable backcourt would they part ways with Marion?
Jay P, Brampton
A: I think they would certainly entertain that idea but they don’t have the players/contracts available to make an offer to the Wizards in a sign-and-trade so we can forget that one.
I think the Heat like Marion, they like the fact his contract expires at the end of next season (if he doesn’t opt out, which seems unlikely) and, again, I don’t see Toronto having a package to put together to entice a trade.
I think they’ll talk to Miami with T.J. Ford as the centerpiece but a deal with Marion in it would surprise me.
Q: Hi, Doug I’ve tried many times to get you to answer my questions but it hasn't worked. I'm going to try a short question pertaining to the draft. I hoping you'll find this scenario interesting. I've read Miami is really interested in T.J. Ford. So if Miami doesn't get Derrick Rose like they want, we can do a trade giving up T.J. Ford and another player (TBA) for Miami's 3rd pick and Jason Williams (to match salaries).It would also help that he has one year left on his contract.
Ron E, Brampton
A: Dude, no disrespect but you’ve got to try harder.
Miami has the No. 2 pick not No. 3, Jason Williams is an unrestricted free agent and there’s no way in the sporting universe Miami trades No. 2 for TJ and any player who isn’t named Chris Bosh.
Q: With the pre-draft workouts now underway, I was pleasantly surprised when you reported that Toronto would be taking a look at Bill Walker. I quickly became a fan of his after watching him dominate games during March Madness with his heart and athleticism. If we decide to take the SG/SF route in the draft instead of going for a centre I think we could do much worse than adding an athletic slashing wing player like Bill Walker. Do you have any thoughts on what Bill could bring to the Raptors? Do you see many "impact" players available at the 17th pick that bring the type of game that the Raptors are currently missing?
Andrew W, Toronto
A: Glad I saved this one.
We saw Walker work out Thursday and while he was solid, he wasn’t spectacular and didn’t stand out any more than Chris Douglas-Roberts or Brandon Rush did. None of that jaw-dropping athleticism we’ve heard about but that might just have been a function of the half-court three-on-three games they played.
But, as Jim Kelly and Bryan Colangelo keep telling us, the workouts are only part of the equation that goes into making a draft pick.
Q: I've noticed that Bostjan Nachbar is an unrestricted free agent. Is this a player of interest to the Raptors? Would you consider him an upgrade over Moon/Delfino? Nachbar certainly has no problem taking it to the rim, he can hit the open three and he always seems to play well in the ACC. I imagine the salary he would command on the open market would fit the Raptors budget as well.
George T, Toronto
A: I don’t know if he’d be an upgrade but I think the possibility exists that he’s a replacement for Delfino.
Q: A bit of a random question here, but I miss talking about the Raptors. Do you think Anthony Parker could make a good coach one day? Probably not in the NBA, but perhaps the WNBA or College ball? Even colour commentary? (He seems like a funny guy and we all know he's a solid citizen.)
Amanda F, Barrie
A: He is a funny guy, we’re told. He doesn’t really show it too often to the media, though. I think he’d be better, and more comfortable, talking on TV rather than coaching but he’s also a big family guy and with a couple of young kids, he might just want to end his career and hang with them.
We’ll ask him when/if he comes back in the fall and let you know if he’s interested in coaching, it’s never come up in a casual conversation.
Q: I realize the chance at a ring has been a long time coming for Garnett. Who would you say is the best active player without a championship? Maybe a nice top 5 list would be appropriate. Does LeBron make the list despite only being in the league a couple of years?
Jeff D, St. Catharines
A: I guess if you’re talking about active players, LeBron has to be on that list. I’d put Iverson, Nash, Nowitzki on there, too. And maybe Jason Kidd rounds out a list of five?
Of course, that's leaving Garnett off until this series is over.
Q: Just a quick one here.
Any idea if any of the GM's around the league use the ESPN trade machine to check if a trade could work.
Also what do you think about AP and Rasho's expiring deal along with the 17th pick to Detroitfor Rip Hamilton?
Steve H, Mississauga
A: No, ESPN’s a lot of things but it’s not a resource for NBA general managers. They actually employ people who have the hard salary facts in front of them when they discuss trades.
And no, not in a million years does Detroit have remote interest in that trade.
Q: Hey Doug, since this is slow period for you I thought this would be good time to ask this question. It is basically considered by game analysts exhausting when a team down 10 or more points in the first half fights back in the second half to even up game. It has been my observation that the game has its own pace and is no faster or more physical when coming from behind. It is my opinion that losing only forces team to focus more than they had when they fell behind. Is being more focused the exhausting part otherwise I don’t get it?
Ron A, Mississauga
A: I’ve never bought into that “it took too much out of us coming back, that’s why we failed” explanation either, actually. The game is the game. You play hard the whole time, regardless of being up or down. There are ebbs and flows, as we all know, but it’s not “exhausting” in a physical sense to rally. I guess you could make the case that the extra concentration in a comeback – where every possession is significant – might be mentally taxing but, often, I think that’s a crutch.
Q: Is it wrong for me to not care about the old Celtics-Lakers rivalry, and just simply focus on the current teams?
I mean, I understand and appreciate the history...I just don't want it to seem greater than the actual series (which seems to be the way this thing is playing out).
Mike S, Georgetown
A: No, it’s not wrong at all and I guarantee there are others who are sick and tired of Russell and Chamberlain and Bird and Magic already.
I don’t personally believe this series will live up to its hype but, with five days to write between the end of the Eastern Conference final and the start of the final, the hype’s been a good way to pass the time.
Q: I can see some possibility of the Raptor's being able to land Maggette by sending them Ford and change. I have always liked Richard Jefferson and feel he's a better team guy. So I have two questions:
1) The Nets aren't one of the teams looking for a PG. What do the Raps have that NJ would want??
2) If you had the choice between adding RJ or Maggette which would you choose and why??
Carl M, Codroy Valley, NL
A: That’s the problem with the Nets deal, if they move Jefferson, they’d probably want a wing back. Don’t see a fit unless New Jersey will take a wing with less talent than Jeffersonand some expiring contracts in a bigger deal.
Personally, having spoken to a few people around the league and here, both players are flawed but I’d rather see Jefferson here.
Q: Was just reading the draft measurements and combine results. Curious - why does the NBA measure players with shoes on? It doesn't help to compare players unless you assume they'll all be playing throughout their careers with the same shoes (and in some cases lifts?) that they're measured in. Is it for marketing? Being able to say player ABC is 7' tall (where he's actually 6'10).
Chris R, Toronto
A: I think they measure them in shoes ‘cause they play in shoes. And you’d be surprised how guys shrink or grow as their careers progress.
The measurements you get once the career starts are, every now and then, estimates rather than fact.
Q: Since there is not much going on with the Raptors right now I'll ask you a non-raptors related question. Do you think that Kobe Bryant is good enough to immediately put any current NBA team into the playoffs? (in the sense that he is just an additional player on a team, no trading involved)
Chaz E, London
A: Yes, he is that talented. If he was with Miami last year, they’re in the post-season, same with Seattle.
Q: Hi Doug, Few quick questions
1) is the length of this layoff to the final normal? Which team do you think it might affect more negatively?
2)Scanning the Seattle PI, it is starting to look really ugly, will the Sonics Lawsuit actually proceed without a settlement and do any of the players have a way to opt out of going to Oklahoma?
David P, Ottawa
A: The layoff’s a bit abnormal in that it’s both teams with so much time to kill. Usually, one of the conference finals stretches out to seven games, leaving one rested and one not. This year, the way the days fell and the way TV dictates the schedule for the finals (Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday) there was an extended rest for both teams. If both conference finals had ended in five games, the series would have begun on Tuesday. I think it’ll help both teams, actually. The Lakers got some rest for Kobe’s knee and back and the Celtics got some much needed rest after playing every other day for about three weeks.
On the Sonics thing? I think we’ll know in a month whether they can leave this year or have to stay for two more but no, the players have no say whatsoever. They are employees who work where the job is.
Q: I know the coaching position is already been taken care of for the Raps, but in this business nothing is for sure. What do you think of Flip at the helm of the Raps?
Thoughts on Westbrook? I think he could serve the Raps better than any other player drafted 10-20.
Jay P, Brampton
A: I think Flip at the helm of the Raptors is not going to happen and should not be discussed.
And Russell Westbrook will be long gone before the Raptors pick. Too bad, I think he’s going to be good.
Q: Correct me if I am wrong, but as the way I understand it, anybody can enter the NBA draft, you just have to pay a fee, which I think is about $100.00. If this is the case, and I decided to enter the draft next year (not because there is any shot of me being drafted, but just because I think it would be worth $100.00 for the opportunity to be in the draft), would I then be able to attend the pre-draft camp and take part in the player measurements and combine testing? It would be pretty cool to see my name next to all the other guys on nbadraft.net.
Alex H, Oakville
A: Nice try but you have to actually be invited to the pre-draft camp and, no disrespect intended, but I can’t imagine an invitation to you would be forthcoming.
Q: Chad Ford of ESPN released his mock draft the other day. He speculates the Raps may take Donte Green, or perhaps Robin Lopez with the 17th pick. He also notes that the Pacers may be looking at a PG like Ford, and that O'Neal may be on the trading block. Can you comment on any of these speculations? Thanks!
Geoff M, Oakville
A: Having seen a bunch of Lopez’s workout here (as you may have read in the blog), I think he’s too offensively-challenged to be a Raptor. I haven’t seen Green work so I can’t comment on him at the moment.
And it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Pacers moved O’Neal, his time with that team is up, I believe.
And, no, I do not in any way, shape or form think the Raptors should have any interest in him.
Q: Doug, what is your opinion on trading Moon this offseason? It might be a good time to sell high. Package him up with a large contract and try to fool a team to get someone better. Honestly, I think this is the best Moon can become, a good athletic defensive stopper who offers little offensively, and his next contract will start costing $3-5 million per year. It's either the swingman or shooting guard position that needs upgrading next season.
MK L, Mississauga
A: I don’t think it’s a terrible idea but he’d have to be part of a larger transaction as a throw-in because at his salary (about $711,000) you’re not going to get equal value in return.
Q: Hi Doug – What percentage would you give to a possible trade of Ford and maybe a Rasho or Bargnani for either Brand or Boozer. Can't Brand renounce his contract this year? i.e. Clippers risk getting nothing for him next year.
Douglas L, Toronto
A: Zero. Maybe less.
Q: Hey Doug. All the pictures on NBA.com have the current Celtic and Laker players in throwbacks. They aren't going to wear throwbacks during the series...right? I would find that would be too strong of an obsession with the past that would compromise the events of the present. Twenty years from now during another Celtic-Laker battle, what jerseys are they going to wear to honour the Kobe-Garnett rivalry if this series relies on the old ones?
Phil S, Burlington
A: As far as I’ve been able to find out, they’ll wear their usual jerseys during the series. But you know the marketing people, anything’s possible.
Q: I've been reading your blog for a long time now and I must say, it keeps me interested at work! Back to the main topic, is it possible for the Raptors to trade Bargs, TJ, Joey and Rasho for Elton Brand and Corey Magette. I'm sure the Clips want to rebuild and get away from the huge contracts in their stars. They will not only get youth but also an expiring contract in Rasho.
As for the Raps, we would be getting the slasher (Corey) and a strong centre (Brand) to team up with Bosh and Calderon and AP. Other than Calderon, we have a defensive beast of a line and I can smell champions in 1-2 years.
Samson L, Markham
A: No, that’s not possible.
The considerable financial reasons aside, tell me why the Clippers would want either Graham or Nesterovic, who both have contracts that expire next year.
If they can’t get more than that for Brand and Maggette (and they’d have to do two separate sign-and-trade deals anyway) they should revoke the franchise.
Q: Why is that Rasheed Wallace is considered such a valuable player (and an all-star this year) by so many, including yourself. Even going so far as saying that Rasheed is as important to a team as Bosh. He doesn't shoot a great percentage for a big man, has the Bargnani disease of taking way too many threes at an average percentage, and his numbers of 12 pts and 6 rebs this year isn’t anything to write home about. Not to mention his propensity not to give 100% and temper tantrums. Why Doug, why?
Ron M, Markham
A: Because, when he wants to play, he can be the best power forward in the game. Trouble is, his mind seems to wander too often.
Q: I have to ask (again) what it would take to get the 2nd pick overall from Heat - assuming the pick is up for grabs and Beasley is available is a package of Ford + Bargs enough to get it done?
Bo C, Toronto
A: Since I’m not Pat Riley, you’re really asking the wrong guy.
But, in my opinion? No, I don’t think so. Sorry.
Any deal to obtain the No. 2 pick would have to be big enough to gut the Toronto team and it’s not worth taking two steps back to, eventually, take one forward.