Who's in, who's out and why
Here’s a little secret about the summer league:
The only thing anyone generally ever learns at summer league is who can’t play, not who can.
The games are sloppy and choppy, the refereeing is generally sub-standard (it’s guys and gals learning their craft, blowing the whistle on almost every possession) and the players? Well, the players are usually looking to find jobs in Europe or the D League; maybe an invitation to a real training camp would be in the offing but that’s usually just as camp fodder and without a legitimate chance to stick.
The most interesting thing about the Raptor roster is that they’ve only invited two guys –-John Lucas and Daniel Ewing -- with even a scant chance to get that 13th spot on the real roster.
I suspect it’s even more likely now that Bryan is going to sit back and wait to see who falls through the cracks of free agency to find that one-two, ball-handling shooter he wants for his last spot on the team.
So, no Jamario?
The way it was explained to me is that they think Moon needs to be in a gym and a weight room, working on his ball-handling and shooting, rather than be playing five or so games against marginal competition.
Makes entire sense, actually. Over the course of his minor league career, Moon’s probably playing in 500 games against summer league-type competition, so there’s really nothing for him to get out of games that he can’t get in a gym working on his own.
So, why Joey?
For the same reason Moon’s not there, actually.
Graham needs to work on his game skills, decision making in competition, knowing that if he gets the ball and wants to go left only to see a defender there, he should make a quick decision and go right. That’s the kind of stuff he doesn’t do in NBA games and the more times he plays, maybe the basketball instincts he lacks will improve.
I don’t hold out much hope – it’s hard to become instinctual so late in one’s career – but he needs to be in games rather than alone in a gym.
Oh, and in case another six or seven people are tempted to write into the comments section want to know: Roko Ukic isn’t there because he’ll be in Greece playing for Croatia in the Olympic qualification tournament.
And, yes, Andrea Bargnani is not playing in Vegas. He never was going to; he’s spending his summer working on his game on his own in Italy before heading to a training camp in Vegas later this month.
That’s where a lot of his work is going to get done, working out once or twice a day against other NBA players.
He doesn’t need to play marginally talented D League hopefuls in the summer league; his best work has to get done with intense individual instruction at something like the Grgich camp he’ll take part in.
Let’s go into the mail, and don’t worry if you don’t see yours in the next couple of days or so, there’s about a billion in the queue:
Q: Hey Dougie...does JO have a player option after the '09 season (i.e. can he opt out & become a UFA then), like Bosh has in '10?
Trev L, Halifax
A: According to the contract list I have, supplied by a well-connected front office friend, O’Neal does have an opt-out after the 2008-09 season.
Not sure how many of you saw the games at Ricoh last weekend (not enough of you, probably) but that’s a great little basketball venue.
I can absolutely see the D League team playing there whenever it gets here and it’d be cool for a WNBA team, too. Trouble is, even my good friends who are ardent supporters of the women’s game don’t think they could average even 5,000 fans a night for a WNBA franchise.
Yes, that was Matt Bonner hanging around the Canada game on Saturday night, chatting up Canada Basketball CEO Wayne Parrish and a raft of other ne’er-do-wells Matt met during his time with the Raptors.
And yes, he made a joking comment about getting himself a Canadian passport and playing for the national team.
I have no idea how immigration really works in this country but I’m sure someone in the upper echelons of Canada Basketball will see if the move is possible.
That’d be very cool. Too bad he couldn’t be with the team now; he could check that German basketball legend Chris Kaman in exhibition games this week.
Q: So I've read that cap's gonna be around 59 and tax 71 or something close to that, but what is the penalty for being over the cap but not over the tax level, say 65 or something like that?
Bryce F, Markham
A: No real penalty, except that a team over the cap can’t sign free agents to anything other than various cap exceptions that exist.
Big night tonight.
We should get a look at the official cap and tax numbers sometime this evening, maybe as late as midnight, and that’s going to determine more than a few salaries out there since the mid-level exception number will become official.
It’s not going to have a huge impact here but it might in one subtle way.
There is a chance, after the tax number comes out, that the Raptors withdraw their qualifying offer to Carlos Delfino, which will make him an unrestricted free agent.
(And before the hooting and hollering starts again, the Raptors ARE NOT going to re-sign him, they don’t have the money, don’t really want that kind of clutter on the roster again and it’s not going to change).
Anyway, I’m told Delfino has had at least one very financially lucrative offer in Europe but that he wants to remain in the NBA if at all possible and there are a couple of teams sniffing around and perhaps willing to pay him close to what he wants.
I’m not sure what his salary goal is but he made about $1.8 million last year so I’d think a three-year deal for around $7 million might be around his asking price.