A busy week awaits
Well, now that we’ve got Grampa Grunt’s 80th birthday done and gone (and a fine fete it was, replete with cake and cocktails, a dangerous mix indeed), I can return to my regularly scheduled days.
Like early morning with here, days at the office and, perchance, a night or two of rest and relaxation.
But first, entertaining and informing the masses:
Big week ahead for the lads and the various people who cover them.
Think we’ll get official word on Hassam Adams and his two-year, minimum-value deal today, believe it’ll be finally time to officially unveil Matt Devlin as the new play-by-play guy on Tuesday and then the big day with both Jermaine O’Neal and Jose allegedly coming to town on Wednesday to do all kinds of fun stuff, including speaking with us.
Busy, busy, busy.
|Raptors could use the guy on the right; especially if the guy on the left isn't around.|
Speaking of this week, while all the shenanigans are going on at the ACC, the summer league team convenes in Vegas tomorrow for a couple of days of practice before starting to play at the end of the week.
We still haven’t seen a roster (I expect that’ll be out there today sometime) but am told by Someone Who’d Know that it looks like Joey Graham will be out there, trying to do something to resurrect his game after spending most of last season at the end of the bench or the inactive list.
Graham’s the enigma, of course. Good Joey, Bad Joey and all that. No one has any real idea whether he can be a major contributor this year or not (I suspect history holds and it’s more “not”) but there are those in the organization who still think he can be a major player here and they’re giving him every opportunity to prove it.
Oh, and one name I didn’t hear around the summer league team was Jamario Moon. There seems to be some question of whether or not he’ll play. I can’t see why he wouldn’t (it’s not like his game is entirely polished) but it’s not 100 per cent yet that he’ll be there.
So, I’m watching Canada drill Lebanon on Saturday and it’s Rowan Barrett’s 120th game as a member of the senior national team. Nice touch to have a little ceremony for him.
And it brings to mind a good one about a very good guy and an excellent ambassador for Canadian basketball.
It’s in Sydney, after the loss to France that denies them a chance to play for a medal, still one of the most crushing losses in Canadian basketball history.
A handful of players, who’ve taken the defeat rather hard, are hanging around the athletes village visiting with a gaggle of women sprinters, I’m told.
After some good-natured chat, Rowan makes the claim he’s quicker than the sprinters and would win a race right there and then (I’m not entirely sure if there was any kind of incentive in a wager, or whether any liquid bravery was involved but I imagine there might have been). Much chatter back and forth, the gun goes off, Rowan wins the race and general hilarity ensues.
Until it’s discovered he’s tweaked a muscle in his leg that forces him to miss Canada’s final, relatively meaningless, game of the Olympics.
I’m pretty sure if the team gets to Beijing, that kind of extracurricular racing would be off the agenda.
Here’s one from the mailbag, which is still pretty full
Q: Why Hassan Adams and not Gerald Green?
I'm confused. They both signed for the same amount of money and years. Green is younger and seems to have more upside than Hassan Adams.
Did BC just miss this one or was Green never even on the radar?
Solomon O, Nigeria
A: Green’s had three opportunities in the NBA and has washed out of all of them.
Adams was a tax-casualty in his one year in the league. I’d debate the “more upside” part of your argument.
I’m not sure Green was ever on their radar, he wasn’t when he was free last year and they took Linton Johnson and don’t imagine he figured into their plans this summer.
Hey, remember last year when Jay Triano was hired by USA Basketball to help coach of a team that would scrimmage the Olympic team under international rules because his extensive background and coaching abilities were too good for the Americans to pass up?
I’m betting that happens again this year right after summer league so he can help this USA team get ready for Beijing.
For all those who’ve asked, I have yet to find any place that will have live TV of the Olympic qualifier next week in Athens. I know NBA-TV and RaptorsTV will be concentrating on the summer league so I can’t imagine they’d show it. I’m sure it’s somewhere deep, deep, deep on some satellite but I’ve yet to find out where.
Looks like we’ll be tracking it on the internet.
Q: Doug, we know you travel a lot, but which city is duller - Billings or Des Moines? On to the real question, isn’t it refreshing that a player actually kept their word and stayed where he said he would ie: Agent Zero
Eric P, Mississauga
A: Actually, I’ve been to Billings, to watch these guys play Minnesota in a pre-season game, and if Des Moines is worse, I don’t ever, ever, ever, ever want to go there.
Agent Zero? Good on him for staying and taking less money. I think the team made a mistake with the offer but that’s just my opinion.
But when he said he took less money because he could do as much with $111 million as opposed to $126 million or whatever the exhorbitant numbers are, it was sort of refreshing in an otherworldly kind of way.
If you were at that game at Ricoh on Saturday and were paying attention, you saw one of Canada’s best referees at work and you’ll see more of her if you pay attention to the Olympics, too.
Dawna Townsend will be among the referee pool at the Beijing Games next month and it’s good to see good things happen to good people.
It has to have been a tough slog working up through the ranks of the CIS and FIBA to get such a prestigious gig and it’s a huge accomplishment to get a Games gig.
Oh, and it’ll give some of us another reason to check out the basketball in Beijing. And if you see games on TV, check out the refs to see Canada’s representative.