You people ask lots of questions
Far too much here for anyone to get through in one sitting so I’ve save a bunch to put up tomorrow (and I’m sure more will filter into the system today) so not to worry if you’re not here.
Oh, and the women’s football? It’s gonna be a cool gig. Not a bad game (wretched first half, entertaining second) and my new favourite Canadian soccer player in Melissa Tancredi (I’m not really sure I had one before, though). Took a boot to the nose, broke it, blood everywhere and still came out after the game to talk to reporters. Plucky, tough. Neither really does her justice.
Okay, enough of that. Until Beijing, that is.
Q: Hey Dougie, maybe this Hassan Adams kid will turn into this year's sleeper. Now, I'm not the type to get fooled by a player's highlight reel. Obviously, (a clip I’ve seen) doesn't give a representative picture of the guy's overall game. HOWEVER... this guy isn't afraid to take it to the hole, and knows how to finish! The clip shows about five or six muscular, in-traffic slashes and dunks, which by my count is five or six more times than Moon did it last year. That alone endears the kid to me. But throw in the tenacious D that he is known for and I can see this guy maybe getting starter minutes at some point, probably at the 2 at AP's expense, but maybe even at SF. You agree?
Lee Z, Ottawa
A: I have no idea what Hassan Adams will end up doing here, or who’ll he’ll supplant in the rotation but I do know that my respected friend Dave D’Alessandro in New Jersey says Adams being cut was one of the most egregious personnel errors the Nets have made in years and that the Raptors brass who saw him at the free agent camp here were determined to sign him after about the second practice session.
I fully expect him to challenge Parker for minutes, if not the starting job at some time during the season based on what I’ve been told.
Q: Hey Doug, how realistic would it be for the Raps to come to the small city of Kingston? We're only about two and a half hours away from the heart of Toronto, and recently there has been a large sports venue built here. Would the organization ever consider them coming to a smaller-scale city in the near future to build on the growing popularity of basketball in Canada?
Sam C, Kingston
A: Sorry, my regularly-writing friend, can’t see it happening. Kingston’s a great city and all but I don’t know if it has the infrastructure – read restaurants, clubs and social amenities – that these guys would want.
What they should do is what old time baseball teams used to do, send a caravan of a couple of players, a coach, a front office type or two, maybe a beat grunt, to places like Kingston and Niagara and London and maybe Peterborough during the month of September to help promote themselves, and the game.
Q: It's all about the Color Man, Doug. Jack's back?! In a basketball market that sometimes gets talked down to Jack Armstrong is a guy who plays the Jester but also can break down plays and players in a way that basketball heads love. Great rumored move.
For me, Doug Collins is the best Color Man.
Mr. Smith, who is on your Color Man honor roll?
A: Of the current group? I’d put Jeff Van Gundy at the top, just a notch above Collins. I think Jeff’s got great chemistry with Mike Breen (best play-by-play guy out there) and a nice sense of humour.
Collins is good, to dry, though, for my tastes most times.
The others? I really don’t see enough local broadcasts often enough to really come up with a list. I’m not a fan of Reggie Miller or Mark Jackson, though.
Q: I want your job. Anywho, If/once the Knicks buy-out Marbury's contract, will BC think about signing him for the minimum (that's if Marbury considers it) as their back up PG (that's if Marbury accepts it).
Lotof 'ifs' but how unlikely is it?
Justin S, Sudbury
A: You’ve got a better chance of playing for the Raptors than Stephon Marbury does.
And, you know, on days like Wednesday, with a 6 a.m. wakeup to blog, a soccer story to write, four hours of press conferences to sit through, a conference call from Germany to listen in to and two stories for the web, three main pieces for the paper and a note on the new TV dude to write, you could almost have my job.
Q: Hey Doug, quick question, don’t mind if you don’t post me but you mind just giving me a quick answer? LOL. Just wondering who you think our next swingman is going to be. At the moment, it is a mystery to me and I would just like to know who is coming of the bench to give Ukic some help at the wing.
Imran K, Toronto
A: I have no idea who it’ll be and you know what? They don’t either. That’s why they’re waiting to see who’s out there later in the month and into August before they decide who’s in the mix with Parker, Kapono, Moon, Graham and Adams.
And Ukic is a point guard, not a wing.
Q: Got the opportunity to check out the O'Neal press conference and was pretty impressed by the number of media types in attendance. Wondering how the turnout would compare to a major Maple Leaf signing.
Nate W, Toronto
A: Dude, if the Leaves had done something significant like obtain a six-time all-star and re-signed someone like Sundin, they would have had to hold the news conference out in the bowl.
But there were a lot of us there, weren’t there?
Q: What do you think of the Golden State Warriors signing Corey Maggette? Personally, I think they should have made a run at Josh Smith since he seems to fit their system perfectly.
Rick T, Toronto
A: I think they probably did make a call to Smith but I also wonder, in a Baron Davis-free Warrior world, if they have a “system” any more. He pretty much made it work.
And I absolutely think Maggette got too much money for his value. At $7 million, he’s all right, at $10 or whatever it is for five years, it eats up too much cap space.
Q: Hey Doug. Just watched the press conference for JO. Then headed over to the net and noticed Pietrus getting signed by the Magic. Doesn't it look like the Eastern Conference has gotten a lot stronger all of a sudden? Looking at the Raptors I don't see enough depth or improvement to challenge Boston, Orlando, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Am I way off base or is .500 a lofty goal here?
Garth S, Chilliwack, B.C.
A: I think, right now, that .500 is the absolute bottom level this team should be at, or expects to be at.
I’ll give you Philly’s better but Pietrus is a backup in Orlandoand, really, how much better is he for them than Maurice Evans was in his role? And I’m wondering if Joe Dumars will actually do anything in Detroit, if he doesn’t that’s just an old team a year older.
Q: Hey Doug, I have read a report that the Celtics just recently gave a workout to Darius Miles and he had an "impressive" showing. I know the Raptors don't have any cap room now, but don't you think Miles would've been a cheap and resourceful pickup for the Raptors at the wing position?
Dilpreet S, Brampton
A: There are a lot of issues with Darius Miles, his health, the fact there’s a report out there that he’s facing a 10-game suspension whenever he does play because of a failed drug test and I don’t think these guys would have any serious interest.
Q: A couple of quick questions for you. Today (July 9) you mentioned the Raptors have enough money for the one guy at the one price they expected. Who do you speculate the guy might be? And what type of money are we talking about? Finally, do you think the Raptors, given the strong Canadian dollar, should consider becoming a "tax team", go after a bigger name free agent and pay the price? I would have loved to have been able to get Maggette before Golden State nabbed him!
Jon E, Woodstock
A: The names of the types of guys I’ve heard now are like Tony Allen, Eddie House, guys like that. I’m sure there will be more as the free agency period plays itself out.
I think they should only consider becoming a tax team if it’s for the one stud three who answers all their concerns. I’m not sure that guy exists at the moment because they might be further away than one guy and being a tax team this year and next may hamper them from spending anything next summer. Any guy they sign that puts them over the tax is going to want a multi-year contract so you’re talking at least two seasons of paying and not “getting” tax money.
And no matter what they did, they couldn't clear enough cap room to get Maggette. Please, please, please, please, please, can we all put him out of our thoughts?
Q: A couple of questions for you:
1) It seems as though TJ Ford has gotten the short end of the stick in the Raptors point guard debate as he was unwilling/unhappy to come off the bench and as such was portrayed as selfish and not a team player. And since Calderon offered to give up his starting spot in a contract year, most Raptor fans seem to believe that Calderon is the epitome of a team player.
However, I do remember reading that Calderon was quoted in a Spanish newspaper that he hoped that the Raptors remembered his unselfishness and that it didn't really effect his contract status as other teams around the league were able to see what he was able to do.
Given your access to some higher ups in the front office, how much of the decision to trade Ford was influenced by being able to keep Calderon by offering him a starting position. And were there any rumblings that perhaps it was a quasi-strategic move by Calderon to show his commitment to team play and further enhance his market value?
2) Scrolling through the summer league, I noticed that John Lucas III was included on the roster. Does he have a chance of sticking as the 3rd PG or was this a favour for his dad to give his kid some more exposure? Also, with Ford gone, does John Lucas Jr (former 1st overall pick and NBA head coach) still have a role with the team as a special consultant/PG coach? Or will he be replaced by D. Martin?
John S, St. Catharines
p.s. - Tell Oakley that his "pimpin ain't dead, pimpin ain't easy, the hoes are just scared" line is possibly the greatest soundbite in sports history.
A: There were all kinds of factors that went into the decision to trade T.J. There was the fact Calderon had proven himself more than capable of being a starter and running a team, there was the chance to lock him up for five years rather than risk losing him this summer and T.J. in two or three years. I don’t think you can pinpoint one specific thing over the others. And I think Jose’s character, both by giving up the job in the season but letting it be known in the summer that he wanted consideration for the starting role was not so much “strategic” as just part of his personality.
I don’t think John Lucas III has a shot at the open Toronto job, I think they want someone bigger who’s more of a combo guard. His dad’s contract is up with the Raptors, I can’t imagine it being renewed and there is no suggestion from anyone I’ve talked to with the team that Martin will be here in any capacity. That could change, but I would be surprised.
Q: A couple of questions concerning JO that hopefully are a little different from the typicals.
I was just wondering, seeing as this deal was long "confirmed" before July 9, what made the deal a staple? I mean, how do GMs know that the other party won't back off a deal and, in Toronto's case, potentially ruin the draft pick?
Also, what kind of person is JO in the locker room? I was assuming that he wasn't the greatest guy to look up to, but after watching the RapsTV report, one guy there mentioned that JO was "a great guy" in the locker room. Agree?
Jay C, Toronto
A: Because NBA general managers are men of their word; if they weren’t, they would never be able to make a deal again.
I haven’t covered a team Jermaine O’Neal’s played on so I can’t really speak to his dealings with teammates and coaches and media in the locker room. People who covered him in Indy and people whose opinions I respect tell me he’s a good guy. That’s enough for me right now until I see for myself.
Q: My apologies if this has been covered and I missed it. I was wondering about the format of the Olympic qualifying tournament and how it works. So there are 4 groups of 3 and only the winner of the group goes to the playoffs? Or the top two goes through? I just wanted to know if we need to win both to make the playoffs, or would a 1-1 record do. Winning both might be a tall order, but the hopes are definitely buoyed by the impressive showing in the win in the first ex. game against Germany.
Louis K, Richmond Hill
A: There’ll be a lot more on this in our big preview in Monday’s newspaper but here’s a synopsis.
Four groups of three, top two from each group advance to knockout quarter-finals. Canadawill have to beat either Slovenia or Korea to advance, and two wins will get them an allegedly easier quarter-final berth.
As it looks now, I would bet on Slovenia and Canada advancing from their group to play either Croatia or Puerto Rico in the quarter-finals.
The four quarter-finalists play semifinals, winners go to Beijing, losers play for the third and final berth.
Q: This have been about my fifth or sixth question with no response. Hopefully this will qualify an answer. Two questions, I heard that Oklahoma City has dropped the team name Sonics. What are they going to call themselves? Second question. We make comparisons of JO and CB4 to David Robinson and Tim Duncan. One being offensive savvy and the other being our anchor in defense. But, what about Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry? What can you tell us that would make this front court duo a success rather than a failure? I remember when Isiah made the trade for Zach Randolph, there was a lot of optimism of that front court duo.
Thanks for your time.
Anthony R, Mississauga
A: I understand they might have a ‘name the team’ contest in Oklahoma City and I’d submit Dust Bowls or Tumbleweeds.
I would also suggest the differences between O’Neal and Bosh and Curry and Randolph begins with talent, runs through work ethic, continues on to team attitude and finishes with personality. If this one in Toronto is an abysmal failure it will still be more of a success than the dysfunction that engulfed the Knicks.
Q: Thanks for the column Doug. It allows basketball fans living in the far corners of the country to keep in touch with what's going on. I am a newbie fan so I have a pretty basic basketball question. I hear the phrases like "He's good but he can't create his own offence" a lot at this time of the year, when free agents are being analyzed. What does it really mean to be able to "create your own offence"?
Kirsty G, Alexis C, BC
A: In the basic sense, it’s a guy with good ball-handling skills who doesn’t need a screen to get off a shot, someone who can take his man off the dribble and get into the paint, either to make a basket or get fouled. Basically, someone with good all-around offensive skills.
Q: Hi Doug, I was searching the web in vain for information on Jose's (and Hassan Adams') new contract. I notice that in their official press releases the Raps always say something like "As per team policy the financial details were not disclosed". Do you know what the rationale for this is? Isn't there an obligation to notify the league office very soon as to the contract value, and doesn't the information become public at that point?
Mike K, Brampton
A: Au contraire. The teams do have to notify the league office but they keep salaries confidential there, too. We usually find out all the particulars through a team or league source and will as soon as I can get hold of someone who’s in Vegas. But Adams is getting a two-year, league-minimum deal which, for a player with one year’s experience, is $711,517 (US) this season.
Q: I saw Jerm-O posing with a #6 jersey during his introductory press conference. It just doesn't seem right to see him in something in other than #7. Do you think he will make a deal with Andrea to get his #7 back? It's not uncommon for a veteran player to buy his number back from a new teammate.
Craig A, Toronto
A: To hear O’Neal talk about the last couple of years in Indy, I’m not sure he wouldn’t like to put the No. 7 behind him, too.
Q: Love the blog, keep it up! We've been putting all our attention to the players surrounding Chris Bosh for a while now. We know Chris Bosh is an all star and will be for the years to come and expect consistency from him. My question is what part of his game can he improve in order to take this team to the next level? We all know the success of this team depends on his level of play.
Philippe A, Ottawa
A: I would suggest the one part of Bosh’s game that has to improve this coming season is his rebounding, and having someone like Jermaine O’Neal next to him to occupy some opponents is bound to help. Oh, and he can always shoot a better percentage.
Q: How do a couple of realistic waived and/or free agent possibilities from the Clippers sit within either your or the Raptors' braintrust's view as potential signings:
Quinton Ross (a lot like Moon without the athleticism, but much more consistent as a defensive stopper -says this "braintrust"); and
James Singleton (had a few good games when some Clippers were injured, would be able to match up with posting small forwards better than perhaps all than Joey)?
Geoff H, Toronto
A: I’ll give you the same opinion of those two I’ve had of a few other names: Are Quinton Ross and James Singleton REALLY any better than anyone who would play ahead of them here? Could they take minutes away, consistently, from Moon, Kapono and Parker? Maybe Graham, who starts the season as at least the fourth wing/swingman and maybe the fifth if Hassan Adams comes on strong.
Ross and Singleton are journeymen NBAers, there’s no need to add them here.
Q: Hey Doug, there was talk before about the potential to move Anthony Parker, because of his expiring contract, in order to address their problem at the wing (although I love AP's game its interesting to see who we can get for him). I know the Raps are probably not going to spend a lot of money on free agents but are they planning to maybe package AP to sign a middle of the pack wing? Would BC even give this a thought?
Jason R, Toronto
A: No, no, no they’re not. Why in the world would they want a “middle of the pack wing?” Middle of the pack is not going to improve any team. If they were to ever move Parker, it would be only to upgrade significantly and he’s way better than “middle of the pack.”
Q: Is Alvin Williams' contract still on the Raptors books?
I seem to recall hearing a couple seasons ago that it would be on the books for a number of years and the amount was about $6 million.
If it is still on the books, is it after this season that it comes off?
How much space is it taking up on payroll?
P.S. Looking forward to your Men's Field hockey blog. An idea long overdue!
Brian V, Toronto
A: No, they have no salary obligations to anyone not on the roster this year. Alvin’s done, Alonzo’s done, everyone’s done.
Yes, men’s field hockey, women’s football, baseball, softball, goofy things you can buy on the streets of Beijing to eat are all bloggable indeed. Don’t remember to tune in during the Olympics. Oh, and there might be some basketball in there, too.
Q: Do you think it would be stupid if the Raptors try to go out and see if Shaun Livingston, would come play in Toronto.
Nelson R, Toronto
A: I don’t think it’s stupid at all and I would presume and certainly hope, that the Raptors at least do their due diligence and find out how healthy he really is.