A little late but wildly entertaining nonetheless
I know, I know, I know.
Late. Got caught up with Canada stuff a lot of Friday and the mailbag suffered. Sorry. But there’s more than enough here to give you plenty to do over the course of the weekend.
Be back Monday with some summer league wrapup and probably, a few more Canada thoughts.
Q: Having just returned from a family vacation out west where we stayed in 10 different hotel/motel/B&B over 18 days, I have a travel question for you.
Do you tend to stay and dine at the same places in the same cities to bring some sense routine to the travel or do you like the non-routine of trying different places each time?
Richard Y, Kincardine
A: I’m a creature of habit, and a creature of the excellent Marriott rewards program so I tend to stay in familiar surroundings when I’m on the road. Nothing extravagant, just nice and comfortable and where you’re not likely to be surprised.
Same goes, in a lot of cities, for restaurants on off nights and adult beverage emporiums for the post-game wind-down period.
Hope you had fun on your holiday.
Q: Speaking of the Braves, remember Ernie D? Floppy socks! Any word as to how he's doin'?
Roy P, Toronto
A: You mean Ernie No D? Oh, yeah, I remember him back in his Providence days. And we still see him every season at games in Boston, he’s like a greeter or something at a casino near there and hosts one of those inane in-game shooting contests at Celtic games.
Q: I read that the Mavericks are offering Brandon Bass and Jerry Stackhouse for Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings. Do you agree with me that the Raptors could put together a better offer for Artest - ie Parker, Moon, and Humphries and/or Kapono - then the Mavs? Artest would look awesome at the SF spot.
Rob R, Hamilton
A: Maybe from this end it looks better but it depends on what the Kings want. And as far as I know, they want nothing Toronto wants to offer and I’m not at all sure the Raptors have any interest in one year of Ron Artest. For all the off-court reasons you can imagine, of course.
Q: Now that the mighty Leaves have released their sked when can we expect the NBA schedule for next year?
James G, Toronto
A: I thought I’d get more than one question on this. They expect to see a draft schedule in the office maybe within a week and the full schedule should be officially released around the end of the month or maybe the start of August. But not too long from now.
Q: I was wondering; with the millions of dollars athletes are making in today’s world, is there a specific clause in their contract that states the player must donate a minimum amount of money to charity?... I highly doubt this exists, but I think that the NBA and all major sports leagues should institute a rule that says both the owner and players must donate a certain amount of money to various charities.
Maybe then moron athletes like Michael Vick, and Jamal Tinsley wouldn't be able to afford to fight dogs, or get into shootings at strip clubs on an hourly basis.
Am I dreaming? Or could this/does this exist?
Marc D, Barrie
A: No, there’s no clause about donating money but as part of the basic players’ agreement, each player has to make a specific number of public appearances for the team each year. These can range from the old Stay In School initiative or something like the NBA Cares program or the reading program the league has.
Q: Quick question regarding Jorge Garbajosa. Did the Raptors release him because they felt he was not physically capable of competing at the NBA level anymore following his injury or was it merely for salary cap reasons? At the end of the season, Colangelo, in interviews had frequently stated how much the team was looking forward to his return. So, what happened?
Joe D, Mississauga
A: There were serious concerns about his long-term health and that played a big role in the decision to negotiate a buyout, as did clearing up a little bit of money and a roster spot. And, actually, the quotes at the end of the season were more in regret for having lost Garbo for last year, not that he’d be a huge contributor going forward. I have a hunch they knew in April that they’d try to work out a summer buyout.
Q: What do you think about Adam Morrison? He probably won't fit in with the Bobcats under LB and he has a ton of talent. Though he isn't a superior athlete could he possibly bring the wing scoring the Raptors need? Anthony Parker is solid but we could use more out of a starter.
Armstead D, Lawrence
A: I don’t think very much of Adam Morrison, actually. Good shooter who can’t create his own shot and, in his rookie year, couldn’t guard you. And I know there are people in the highest levels of Raptordom who feel precisely the same way. So I’d put him entirely out of mind.
Q: The Raptors have played three games already in Vegas and no sign of Nathan Jawai? I could swear I read in the blog that you spoke to someone who saw him play? Second, how about CJ Giles? What a stud--the kid really brings it. I've been watching the live streams on nba.com and am impressed (he's the only guy out there worth watching). BC needs to sign him up to a contract before another team scoops him up. I know he’s had some issues in college but we have a pretty solid group of role models that he can learn from in our locker room. Hey, and if it doesn't work out we could always drop him right?
Jesse N, Markham
A: Jawai played one game, sat out Thursday with a strained groin and I’m not sure about Friday.
CJ Giles? Sign him to a contract? Why? So he can fight Hump and Jawai as the fourth, fifth and sixth big man role? Sorry, no way in the world that’s going to happen.
Q: Will Leo's performance with the National team have any impact with his Raptor color commentary duties? It seems he is going to come out of this National team fiasco as the villain.
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: No, no matter what happens at Canada Basketball, and nothing will for months, it won’t have any impact on his TV gig.
Q: Just a quick question. Why didn't Carlos Delfino get more offers from other teams? From what I read he only had interest from Detroit.
I'm a little baffled here because I see guys like Roger Mason Jr. and James Posey sign big contracts, then I see guys like Carlos and Keyon Dooling get virtual nothing when they have similar stats.
Is it all in the agents, or am I missing something here?
Chi L, Toronto
A: I can’t speak for all the GMs who didn’t lavish lucrative contracts on a player who’s been up and down his entire NBA career but I’d think most of ‘em liked the guys they have more than Carlos.
Posey? You can’t deny he’s done more in his career than Delfino has and Mason plays an entirely different position and fills a specific need in San Antonio.
Keyon Dooling? Nice backup and if he’d play for the minimum might be a good fit here.
Q: Darius Miles.
Never thought I'd hear myself saying that, but apparently he's attempting a comeback to the NBA after microfracture surgery. He was working out with the Mavs and by all accounts he had a very solid showing.
He's stated he's willing to accept minimum salary to play for a team.
He'd be a cheap option to fill a hole on the wing position. Versatile, not an amazing shooter, but he'll be motivated this year to prove he can play again at an NBA level. Not much downside on a minimum deal...
Steven V, Toronto
A: I guess the downside would be that great athlete, not an amazing shooter seems to describe Jamario Moon, no? And I have no reason to think that a surgically-repaired Darius Miles, who hasn’t played in more than a year, gives ‘em any more than they’re already getting. And still doesn’t address the need for a combo guard in that 13th-man role.
Q: Greetings oh wise and wondrous sage of all things Basketball and Women's Soccer,
Two quick questions. The first will probably be directed to your web elf/maven/grunt: why is "by Toronto Star" showing up in Google Reader instead of your name? It the Star becoming a variant of the borg where we don't read you we read your employer? Will your personality start changing soon? Will your hair style become a weird mix of Mary Ormsby, Royson James and Slinger?
Second, if the national team dumps the coach and gets a non-Canadian to stir things up (a la most national footy teams) what are the odds they could pull a rabbit out a hat and get Phil Jackson?
Mike D, Oshawa
A: Hmm, you’re presuming I know what Google Reader is? I’m hoping one of my elf/maven/grunt/bosses reads this and has some clue what you’re talking about because, unfortunately, I don’t.
Odds? Hmmm, if I was a gambling man, I’d say, oh, let’s take stab here at, hmm, okay: A billion to one?
Q: Why won't the Raps go over the cap and pay some luxury tax? It’s not like they are a deep team! They still need a wingman who can create off the dribble and having a back-up point guard with SOME NBA experience wouldn't hurt either.. They are soo cheap!!
If they really want to win they should add a 2 or 3 who can start games. Not to mention another glue guy on defence. The way it stands now, they have improved. However, if they can't stay healthy they will be worse off. If they really want to compete for a championship they should show us they are serious and bring in some more proven talent.
Dan W, Toronto
A: Pardon me one second
They are over the cap, they don’t want to pay the tax. Even if they wanted to pay the tax the largest starting salary they could offer anyone is the mid-level ($5.585 million) less Roko’s number ($1.25 million) and $4.3 million isn’t going to get anything of substance.
But you’re probably, they just don’t want to win.
Q: Your blog (Friday) stated that the Raps have Eddie House and Tony Allen on the radar. I didn't think they had enough room under the luxury tax for anything more than maybe the veteran's minimum. Surely if that's all that's on the table, either of those guys would go back to Bostonbefore they choose to be on the end of the bench here.
Do the Raptors have something more to offer or is there some other enticement that can be dangled in front of either of them?
Richard E, Toronto
A: They could very well take the same offer from Boston, if it’s offered. And from what I’m hearing Boston isn’t all that interested in getting either of them back. If they are, they may go; but there’s been precious little done to suggest the Celtics are looking to keep either of them.
Q: So I have a few questions about Canada Basketball and the Toronto Raptors.
Basketball Canada seems to be lacking any quality players to fill out the roster and the only players who seem capable do not play for the team. Is there any hope for the future or should Canada close up shop and admit that as a country we are just not that good and ship all our talent to play for USA.
Now the Raptors questions. I feel the Raptors are at least 1 wing player away from challenging for a play off spot this year. I know depth at the centre and power forward position is good but it would be better to have an all-star quality centre, all-star quality power forward, good wings and a good pg. I think that maybe take a few players like Bargnani, Joey Graham, and maybe even Jason Kapono and package them for a player like say a sign and trade for Iguodala and take a few of these "talented" players from the Raptors summer league squad to fill out the roster. I have not checked salary cap numbers but I figure that with Kapono, Graham, and Bargnani it would make up the numbers and a give the Raptors a starting lineup of O'Neil, Bosh, Igudala, Parker, Calderon. I think this line up would challenge for a title. The bench would be Jawai, Giles (summer league), Humphries, moon, Ukic, and 2 other guards.
Neil B, Mississauga
A: Let me get this straight. You want to close Canada Basketball? And ship our players to the United States, despite the, um, issues like, oh I dunno, citizenship and talent that would arise? Riiiiiight. There is a future, it's just not here yet, I've said for years that I thought reality was the next major international competition Canada would be in would be the 2010 worlds and I haven't changed my mind. This team acclerated things a bit by looking good but, in the end, depth of talent and the roster moves hurt it. But a future? Yeah, there is one.
And, let me also get this straight? You don’t think this Raptor team as currently constructed can challenge for a playoff spot but gutting the bench to add one wing player makes ‘em able to “challenge for a title?” Riiiiight.
Sorry, dude, those are both farther than far-fetched.
Q: Hey Doug, is it just me or do you think the WNBA Outdoor Classic between New York and Indiana should have a darker colored surface or at least a surface like Rucker's Park? I just hope they have it later in the day because if it is midday that surface could produce a glare effect for the fans. Depending on how this event goes can you see the NBA following suit with a pre-season or regular season game outdoors?
Leroy B, Lethbridge
A: I’m not sure what colour they’ll have but if I know the NBA, they’ll have taken TV glare into consideration. And the NBA is actually having an outdoor game this fall, a pre-season game between Phoenix and Denver in Palm Springs later this fall. Trouble is, the NBA pre-season’s in October and that limits the locales for games.
Q: Keep up the good work on the blog. You never seem to really have a day off.
With all this Brett Favre drama going on it reminded me of a question that I have had on my mind for a while. When an NBA player decides to hang up the sneakers during a contract, what financial obligation does his team have to him. Does he get a percentage of what he was to make?
Andrew L, Pickering
A: That seldom happens but when it does, it’s usually after the team and player have negotiated some sort of buyout, which would indeed give the player a percentage of what was left on the deal.
Q: I have a question and I'm not sure if it would help the Raptors but I'm interested in finding out the answer. Is it possible for the Raptors to sign Alvin Williams now after we bought him out 2-3 yrs ago? I know we already have Calderon and Ukic. I’m not sure who is the 3rd person who will be able to play PG, but I think he would accept a cheaper contract for us. I know the Raptors are really close to the tax threshold but just say we had just enough money and Alvin was willing to take minimum would you sign him as your 3rd PG to help tutor Ukic and have around just incase he could pick up his game again? I say it would be really cool to bring back Alvin!
George K, Toronto
A: As much as everyone loves Alvin, and no one appreciates what he did here more than I do, his career is over. We need to move on.
Q: I was going to write this in after the JO trade and held off but a conversation over the weekend with some buddies made me think of it again.
How much pull/say does Bosh have on roster decisions? Specifically, how much input, if any, did he have on
1) The JO trade. Smitch said on the Fan he was involved in the process all along. Did they consult Bosh as well?
2) Forderon. Given alot of our plays run through him, did they take into consideration who Bosh preferred to play with?
Two of us thought Bosh was consulted about the Ford trade while the other two thought he didn't have a say. I just figure given he's our franchise player, you want him engaged in the process but obviously leave the final call to the powers that be. Care to be the tie breaker here?
Shachin G, Toronto
A: Bryan told us that he kept Bosh aware of all trade possibilities out there for Ford. I don’t think the player had the final say but if he had been adamant that he couldn’t play with someone, it’d probably give the Raptors rise to look elsewhere.
So, I guess it’s still a tie. He was consulted by his opinion was just one of many that Colangelo sought before making the final call.
Q: Doug, why are some contracts public for basketball players ($111 M for Arenas) and others are undisclosed (Calderon's contract). For trade and salary cap managing purposes, why are certain contracts "suppressed" by management?
Jeet M, Richmond Hill
A: Management in every pro sport would like to keep every salary under wraps, known only by other teams and the league. When salaries get out, it’s usually because someone inside the team, or close to the player, leaks it. That could be done to show how good the agent is, to show other players what the market’s like, any number of reasons.
Q: A CBA 101 question for you, Doug: I know that Bosh signed for the league maximum. What is it exactly? Now Bosh makes in the teens of millions of dollars. So how exactly is Jermaine O'Neal being paid $22 million?
Mark D, Kingston
A: Actually, “maximum” varies. In 2008-09, the maximum a player with six years experience or less can make is the greater of $9 million or 20 per cent of the total cap; a player with over six years experience can make $11 million or 30 per cent of the cap.
O’Neal makes so much more because he signed his deal so many years ago and was rewarded with annual raises each season. Bosh is a bit behind him in the experience race and, therefore, the maximum salary race.
Q: On your blog you described Nathan Jawai as 'Raw,very raw'. The last guy that was considered 'raw' was Pape Sow(I was a fan of Pape). My questions are why didn't the Raps give him more time to develop? (was it the injury? was it a roster spot?) or is it all timing for a team to give a player with 'raw' skills the chance to get better?
Patrick C, Ottawa
A: Pape was here for two full seasons before he got hurt, that was plenty of time to shed the “raw” label and he never did.
But I talked to a guy who talked to Pape in Vegas this week and he’s doing really well, has no lingering problems with the neck and is his usual jovial self.
Q: A quick one for you. Toronto hasn't had a charity all star game in a while. Any word on whether Mr. Nash or Mr. Bosh might consider holding one here soon again?
They're always fun to watch and for a good cause.
Steve H, Mississauga
A: They are also a nightmare to put on, with players pulling out at the last minute or just not showing so I expect we’ll never see another one here.
Q: What do you think the Nuggets are up to with the $10 million trade exception they have now? And if they don't do anything do you think they can even make the playoffs in the west?
Vasee Y, Toronto
A: I don’t imagine they’ll do anything with the trade exception until at least February around the trade deadline and only then if they think they’re one piece away. It was a financial-based move and the finances aren’t going to change.
And I believe, like last year, they will be life and death to make the playoffs in the west. If I had to guess now, I’d guess they’d miss.
Q: I feel this is an issue that has yet to be addressed and a question that needs to be answered: Is Leo Rautin's son Andy on the Canadian basketball team based solely merit? In the only game I saw him play against Slovenia, he looked terrible. Granted the rest of the team looked bad, and I don't want to base my judgment on the only game I've seen him play. This is the reason why I'm asking you. He's a young college player coming off major knee surgery. I would think a more accomplished and mature player could have taken the spot instead. You will have to admit the optics of the situation does not look good. With the news of Ken Read stepping down from Alpine Canada to allow his son to compete on the Canadian team, perhaps this is a good policy to adopt on the basketball side as well. And don't worry; I'm not making a veiled attack at you for coaching your son's baseball team.
Vincent L, Toronto
A: Andy Rautins is on the team on merit. No question. I don’t think there is a more accomplished, mature player out there who’d be available, either. But it’s an interesting point you make about the Read situation at Alpine Canada and the parallels here.
Q: Hi Doug quick question is Drew Neitzel available and if so do you think he would be a good fit in Toronto, I think he is a bit better then the Ukic kid
Junior B-A, Toronto
A: I believe Drew Neitzel is available and he is nowhere near as good as the Ukic kid. Sorry. Not a good fit here, won’t be here and would be utterly stunned if he was on an opening night NBA roster.
Q: In my opinion the only piece the Raps are missing now is an athletic, long wingman. What's your take on this?
Also, what are the chances Jose can make the all-star game next year? His stats are potentially going to be enormous.
Andrew M, Toronto
A: Yes, an athletic long swingman would be nice. So would improvement from Jamario Moon, who happens to be long and athletic and plays the wing.
I am not going to venture a guess about next February’s all-star team until at least the season begins. Sorry
Q: You've probably heard of this question already. Do players and staff from MLSE receive salary in CDN? Will then be players and staff do their "groceries" from the states consider the whole loonies situation? What about yourself?
J L, Richmond Hill
A: I have heard it before, probably answered it before, but the coaches and players are paid in American dollars. The staff? Most of them are paid in Canadian dollars. And I don’t understand the second half of your question.