Hey, the mail's back!
Welcome back to the weekly (weakly?) mail offerings. Lots here, some saved to parcel out next week but we’re always looking for more.
Everyone have a lovely, sunny, safe long weekend, it’ll be full of grass-cutting and yard work and house work and some more down time over here.
Happy Labour Day weekend.
Q: Hey Doug, Glad to hear you walked the Great Wall and took the luge ride, when I was there I completely forgot to take the luge ride down and I was berated by my friends for days after.
Question: Do you need to be over the salary cap to be an elite team in the NBA? Last year were the last 4 teams all over the cap (Boston, Detroit, Lakers and Spurs?)
I know there are bad teams over the cap New York, but is every elite team over the cap?
Do you think Toronto can be an elite team while not going over the cap?
Sean P, Toronto
A: Seriously, go check out the difference between cap and tax. Thanks.
I know what you mean, though. And yes, teams, even Toronto, can be elite by not exceeding the TAX level.
For the ’07-08 season, of those final four, Boston and the Lakers were over the tax level, the Spurs and Pistons werent’.
Q: Hey Doug, hope you had a good time in Beijing. Did you become a fan of any sports that we can expect regular updates on in the blog section? At the end of the playoffs for the Pistons, Joe Dumars went off and said that some major changes were due for the aging Pistons. There were some rumours immediately after the season, but nothing, aside from a coaching change. Can we expect more to come? If not, how can they get back together as they are currently constructed knowing that the man in charge has said that he basically does not like their team?
L G, Whitby
A: Sure, you can watch for archery and water polo and softball updates regularly.
Now, for the Pistons. There’s plenty of time left for Dumars to make a move and I’m pretty sure he’s working on some things. But if nothing gets done before the season starts, that doesn’t mean something substantial won’t happen before February.
I still think there’s a bold move to be made in Detroit and don’t doubt for a minute that Dumars will eventually make it.
Q: Did you have a change to gain any insight into how Delfino feels about the Raptors not re-signing him? If he were to come back to the NBA he'd likely have to take a paycut (when the exchange rate and taxes are considered, I believe he's making the equivalent of 8-9 million a year playing in Russia. I know he's said he wants to be in the NBA but do you think he'd be willing to take that paycut to play with Toronto specifically?
Serge P, Ottawa
A: We didn’t speak specifically about Toronto but if he can get $3 million or so a year from an NBA team, he’ll be back next season. Russia’s good and the money’s great but the NBA remains the best league in the world by a mile and that’s where people want to play if they can. And if they want to truly challenge themselves.
Q: Hey Doug, welcome back!
1. What, if any, lingering effect do you see emanating from what the American team experienced in the Olympics. Taking the top stars from the league and essentially re-teaching them the game along with the finer points of teamwork, respect and defense was the most enjoyable aspect of the tournament for me, next to the actual games of course. Will the establishment of a new culture for Basketball USA have a positive spill-over for the NBA?
2. Would it be possible to establish a Canadian Team that played permanently in the Euro-league? (I know we're not in Europe but we have to find the competition somewhere)
3. How does Argentina develop such top tier players with little more than Chile and Paraguay to compete against?
4. (Fantasy time) Would an all Spanish-speaking team made up of the best from Spain and Argentina beat the USA Once? How about in a 7 game series? Who would you place on the Spanish-speaking team?
Nik W, Ottawa
A: Holy smokes, been saving these up or what?
I expect little lingering effect on NBA games from the U.S. success in Beijing, an NBA regular season is an entirely different animal.
No, the Euroleague has its own way of determining who plays and they are not about to give the slightest consideration to an all-Canadian team that would, in my opinion, get drilled in almost every game.
Argetina develops players because their best players go and play on the top European clubs and in that Euroleague.
The best of Spain and Argentina on the same team, well coached, would give the Americans fits and that would be a helluva seven-game series. Too bad we’ll never see it.
I think, in the end, the Americans win in seven.
Q: Hi Doug: I'm sure you'll have several facsimiles of this question, but inquiring minds want to know: any update on José's injury? Any chance the severity has been downplayed and this could be a lingering or recurring problem this season?
Kevin R, Winnipeg
A: I’ve been answering this since whatever day it was he got injured. It’s a minor strain of a groin muscle, it’s not serious, if it had happened in the course of a regular season, I’m told he would have been out a maximum of two weeks. He’s got a month before camp starts and will return 100 per cent.
Q: Hi Doug, I've been asking questions about Sebastian Telfair for quite a while, and I am not sure if you didn't get a chance to see them, or you just don't know the guy that well. But that doesn't change the fact that I will still be asking for quite a while. Without further ado, my question: Do you think that Mr. Telfair could have become the next big thing if he stayed in college? His high school tapes were quite impressive and with enough experience in college he could have been a decent all-star by today’s standards. My question (okay, my second question) is that might he have been a better pick up for a back up guard than Solomon?
Dave C, Toronto
A: I think almost anyone, especially a point guard, would benefit from at least a year at college, probably two or three so, yes, he would have been better if he’d gone to school.
And, no, for the money and the situation in Toronto, he wouldn’t have been a better pick up than Solomon, actually. For the job the Raptors had, they needed someone mature, someone willing to sit and play when called on, not a young kid still trying to make a name for himself.
Q: Who's your favorite for ROY next year?
Jeff S, Victoria
A: Today, before any of the rookies has so much as taken part in a single training camp workout, let alone played a pre-season game or a regular season game?
Hmm, I’d say Greg Oden.
Or any one of five other guys.
Q: Hey Doug! Pretend your Brian Colangelo and help me understand why Joey Graham is still on this team.
Thanks! Love the blog, keep up the good work!
Joe C, Brantford
A: If I’m Bryan Colangelo, I see a glimpse of promise, an extraordinary athlete and I’m not yet ready to give up on a young player with those skills. Oh, and I need people to fill out my roster.
Q: Great Olympic coverage in the blog. Nice to get some insight into some of the sports that we don't normally hear too much about.
Onto my question (which I've submitted a couple times over the past year and haven't had a response yet) - With the "exodus" to Europe that's been going on due to the falling US dollar I'm wondering if NBA players and other pro athletes who sign with a Canadian team have to pay taxes just as regular Canadians would? If so, why would a player want to come north of the border and get taxed 45%, or whatever the number is, on their multi-million dollar salaries? Thanks.
Matt N, Toronto
A: I am nowhere near a tax expert but my knowledge of the situation concerning NBA players that they do pay some taxes in Canada but it’s not the same as you and I pay annually. I do know the Raptors work closely with agents and business advisers to lessen the tax burden as much as they possibly can. It’s not an issue any more for players coming to play for a Canadian-based team.
And to call half a dozen or so guys going to Europe an “exodus” is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?
Q: Seemed like Chris Bosh earned a lot of his minutes through his versality - more specifically how he was able to come out and trap on high screens. With J. O'Neal anchoring the D, do you see the Raps trying the same kind of aggressive trap - which seemed to cause a lot of turnovers, easy baskets and was often the momentum changer/dagger in a lot of games? (albeit in the 1st or 2nd quarter for most)
Ted B, Squamish
A: I would expect the Raptor staff would indeed use Bosh in that same kind of defensive role against the high screen and roll, especially with O’Neal under the basket. But, remember, it’ll be NBA players running it against the Raptors this year, not sometimes over-matched international players.
Q: After watching a lot of Olympic Basketball, I can't help but admire Luis Scola and the leadership role he took with Manu out of the lineup. Now I know that the roster is set for the upcoming season, but I couldn't help but wonder if BC had ever been interested in him. Any thoughts?
R V, Waterloo
A: I’m a big Scola fan, too, and he played great over in Beijing. His skills are exactly San Antonio drafted him in 2002 and waited on him to come; they traded him to Houston a year ago because they were set in the front court with the addition of Fabricio Oberto but I can’t imagine the Rockets wanting to move him. So, I guess it really doesn’t matter if Bryan likes him or not, he’s unattainable at the moment.
Q: Hey Doug, when a player gets seriously injured in the offseason (like Ellis), does he get paid by the team, the insurance company or he doesn't get paid at all? If its the insurance, how is it determined if the insurance pays or not?
Dennys B, Toronto
A: It’s the team that’s on the hook for the salary in a situation like Ellis’s.
Q: It appears that the Raptors spending limits will have 13 players to start the season. I expect Bosh, O'Neal, Calderon, Moon, Parker, Bargnani, and Kapono, to be the top seven. Barring injuries, which do you see as getting the most role time amongst Ukic, Solomon, Humphries, Adams, Graham and Jawai? I really like these players and constantly cheer for the "end of the bench crew", as I often have resembled that remark.
Brent E, Sudbury
A: To round out a nine-man rotation, I think you’ll see it being Ukic and either Adams or Humphries, depending on whether it’s a big or a small that’s needed each night.
Q: Am I the only one who's noticed that Bryan Colangelo's asset Jose Calderon of Spain conveniently didn't play against his father Jerry Colangelo's Team USA for the gold medal? And apparently Jose will be ready to go for training camp and his injury is of a minor concern.
Wasn't Jose about a 12 point a game guy last year and didn't Team USA win their gold medal by 11?
Is this a dastardly evil bit of line-up doping or just a pure coincidence?
(I recommend you write your answer in Spanish so it gets as much play overseas as possible.)
Estaban E, Uxbridge
A: This, my friend, is conspiracy theory run amok. Yes, I believe you may be the only person who noticed and wondered and asked. This might be the greatest conspiracy theory ever proposed. And the silliest.
Q: Welcome back Doug, and you were missed for the last couple of days. As you said, players will be returning and scrimmaging soon, will the Raptor brass want Chris to stay away and rest, or show up early and play with JO? Also, Jose was quoted as saying the Spanish team would have won if the officiating was better for the Olympic final. Sour grapes in your opinion or does he have a case. I thought the Americans deserved the gold medal and officiating did not dictate the winner (unlike some other games there).
Steph R, Glencoe
A: Bosh, and Calderon and Ukic are all going to have almost an entire month off between the end of the Olympics and their return, that’s enough time to satisfy everyone.
I think the officiating the gold medal game was spotty, but certainly not the difference. The right team won.
Q: Where would the 2008 Beijing Olympics rank if you were to rank your overall Olympic experiences from best to worst?
Dave R, Markham
A: Overall, taking into consideration workload, stories, fun, and general overall quality of the three weeks?
I’d rank them like this: Sydney, Barcelona, Athens, Beijing, Nagano, Atlanta. And the difference between the top four isn’t too great, Atlanta is last by a mile.