A visitor is coming to town
I know, it’s late but any night that ends with the DJ playing Danny Boy, Maggie May and My Way back-to-back-to-back with the gang in full throat has a way of wreaking havoc with the sleep patterns.
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|There's no need to shout. He's just here as an observer.|
This ought to get the cobwebs out of the early morning heads.
Marc Iavaroni’s coming.
Seriously, he is. To Toronto. Like, tomorrow. And he was with the Raptors last week in Philly but went unnoticed.
The deal is he’s on some “coach and idea sharing” mission or some such; unemployed coaches come and hang around teams for a few days, offer their insight.
This, of course, is the first time the Raptors have ever done anything like this and of all the unemployed coaches to pick in all the world, they had to get Iavaroni, former head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, former long-time assistant in Phoenix – where that Colangelo guy held sway – and the apple of the eye of a lot of Raptors fans.
Now, before any of you get too worked up, he’s here to be an observer, won’t be on the bench or anything this year and is not – I repeat IS NOT – going to be the next head coach of the Raptors.
But when he and Jay Triano break bread some day, and they surely will, I can imagine it’s going to be like some quasi job interview.
Can you envision Jay with Iavaroni as his lead assistant? I can. And I’m pretty sure there are people in the organization who can.
What was that on Sunday? A win? An easy win? A win over a team with a better record, such that it is.
Hands up everyone who thought, at some time during the game, “what if?” What if Jose doesn’t get hurt, what if Andrea’s the starting five all year. What if, indeed.
But here’s a warning: You are what your record says you are and the Raptors are 24-44. If they finish strong, and there’s every possibility they can, no one can forget the flaws that have been displayed this year.
Seven wins, or six wins, or nine wins the rest of the year are as much fool’s gold as anything.
Reaction: The legend grows
I’m talking to a guy who has some power in the organization – before the game, mind you – and we agree the best thing the Raptors can do right now is shut Pops Mensa-Bonsu down.
Really, three more losses and he develops a backache, or a headache, or “flu-like symptoms.”
Of course, that’s after he gets a wink and a nod on a two-year deal starting next year.
All the guy’s doing know is costing Toronto money and driving up his value on the open market.
You think other teams aren’t noticing 8 1/2 rebounds a game? You think scouts aren’t talking among themselves? You think there’s going to be some competition for his services on the market?
Q: In your in-game blog you mentioned a salary quote from Hoopshype was wrong. I was wondering where you get your salary info from and how reliable it is? Thanks as always
Jim T, Toronto
A: My salary information is 100 per cent absolutely correct. It comes from absolutely unimpeachable sources that I won’t divulge. Believe me or not, when I give you a salary, it’s bang on.
Here’s a very interesting thing about Pops and how Will Solomon and Patrick O’Bryant screwed everything up.
On trade deadline day, about noon, the plan was to get nothing done, waive Will Solomon that afternoon and fill in his roster spot with a big man they’d had in working out the night before.
And since those guys were Pops Mensa-Bonsu and Antoine Walker, surely to the basketball gods they would have done Pops over the old, no-defending, three-point-shooting piece o’ junk Walker, right? But, no, they get involved in that three-way deal to dump Solomon and get O’Bryant and they end up not getting Pops for about two weeks.
Imagine if they hadn’t done that financial deal with the Kings and Celtics.
How much would The Legend have grown already?
In Indy, they seemed quite dismayed at Sunday’s turn of events.
Okay, let’s say they are bound and determined to hire Jay back – and I seriously think with a few more wins they will – and they don’t want the perception that Iavaroni would be the “head coach in waiting” and the fan favourite after every four-game losing streak, what do they do?
Well, a wise man or two suggested that maybe they make a call to P.J. Carlisemo.
Great assistant, history of winning, probably done as a head coaching prospect after three shots at it, familiar with Jay from the summer Olympic team gigs, familiar with Bryan from the same thing.
A bit, you have to admit.
They’ll be wearing O’ The Green again tonight here in Charlotte and if they win again, I bet they try to petition the league to wear them until they lose.
Speaking of Charlotte, when you wade through a billion words of NCAA basketball stuff, you eventually get to this.
Go back to the end of the 2005-06 season, the one with 27 wins.
There was no concern about whether you could “build a team” around Chris Bosh but that’s exactly what they did.
They got two wings in Parker and Garbo, a point guard in T.J. and some depth.
There was no question that Bosh, who signed a contract extension that summer, was “the guy.” He was the team’s leading scorer, its best player, top rebounder, main front court presence.
By adding talent they “built” around him and, presto, won 47 games and the division title.
I think it’s fair to say the pieces on this team (Bosh, an emerging Bargnani, a healthy Calderon) are far better than they were on that team and it worked out pretty well.
Q: Thanks for posting my comments re Patrick O'Bryant during the Indy game. I'm sorry to use incorrect info on his salary (whether it’s $1.62MM or less) however there's still something noteworthy here about BC's lack of due diligence. You would think there would be better evaluation prior to bringing in a player who got released by GSW after only 2 years (and after being drafted #9 overall), someone who had no chance to get off Boston's bench even though Boston is crying for "big" support, and someone whose twin brother and personality is Loren Woods. I know, I know, you're to take your chances sometimes on bigs (like Pops) but you're understated the financial impact of this move by your 300K savings comment. How about stating the amount to be expended off the salary cap?
Michael C, Toronto
A: Okay, this is probably the last time we should discuss that guy at the end of the roster who never plays. It’s not like he’s important or anything.
Look, they took a chance on a young big, no huge deal.
It’ll end up costing them $500,000 next year – that’s the guarantee on his deal and all that’ll count towards the cap or tax – and, honestly, that’s chump change. The financial impact is negligible. Honestly, $500,000 is nothing.
They did due diligence, they thought maybe the guy could play and, frankly, they needed a warm body on the roster to get to the league-mandated minimum of 13. He couldn’t play, they at least got a guy without a huge number to carry forward next year.