A little mail for the weekend
Hey folks, here is this week’s mail offering. Hopefully it gets you through until Sunday night, when we’ll be back for the in-game blog just before 8 p.m.
Nothing tomorrow morning, I believe sleeping in will be a very good idea. The Raptors brass is in Jersey seeing gang workouts (not of anyone with a legitimate chance at being No. 9 I was told) so there’s nothing cooking there and the Finals are quiet and I’ve got nothing to add out or Orlando.
So digest this and tell your friends and family to join us Sunday, might be the last game we get to see.
Q: Hey Doug, who do I need to lobby to get the Raps to come to Halifax for an exhibition game? (And please send their email addresses.) What factors go into the decision making? How far in advance are these decisions made? Halifax is a wonderful basketball town and the Metro Centre would be a sellout. The Raptors came before their first season but that now seems like light years ago.
Phyllis P, Broad Cove, N.S.
A: Believe me, if I had my way, we’d not only be there for an exhibition game but for training camp, too. Great city, nice arena, excellent people. But, alas, they set their schedules up so far in advance, you’d have to start lobbying now for 2010 and I’m not exactly sure who you’d be best to pester. I’d just go to the website, find a contact here and inundate them with your suggestion. Eventually, I’d hope they take it.
Q: A question about 20 million dollar men. If that is the max a team can give (either as current team or sign and trade), which players are actually worth it? Lebron, Wade, Paul, yes. (Kobe already has it for now.) Is Bosh worth 20 of 58/71 (however the caps work?) Play GM for us, how do you build a team when a player accounts for that percentage of your spending limits.
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: No player is “worth it” by any stretch of the imagination. But your $20 million man is a bit of a stretch since there are, by my count, eight in the entire league and they are all on – or close to – the final year of maximum value contracts they signed years and years ago.
Under CBA rules, the most any player can now make, to start a contract, is 30 per cent of the cap. If, as expected, it’s around $53 million next season (give or take a million) that’s a starting deal of about $16 million a season. And it’ll take three or four seasons, with maximum allowable raises, for anyone to get to $20 million.
And, yes, if you find bargains in other spots, or are willing to go above the tax level, spending 30 per cent of the cap on one guy doesn’t preclude building a good team.
Q: Hey Doug, not that the draft is approaching. Raps have a decision to make who’s their guy. I heard in an interview that it's hard to get DeMar DeRozan to come here? He might come but it's unlikely he'll be ready to run drills. Have you heard anything on that? And how big of a role do agents play in determining weather a player should workout for a team or not. I saw four drafts all picking DeRozan to the Raptors. I’m confused, especially if he's our guy at 9 and we desperately need a wing, can you please elaborate on this issue?
Spirow B, Toronto
A: Heard anything? I wrote it. But, not to worry, the Raptors have seen DeRozan work out and if that’s the guy they get – and he’s just one on a list of possibilities – they won’t be going into it blindly.
Agents? They play a huge role on who works out where. Sadly.
Q: In a previous column you mentioned that if the Raptors renounce all their free agents they would have $8.9 million to spend in 09/10.In 08/09 the Raptor salaries were $72 million including Marion, Parker, Graham, Kapono, Garbo etc. Exclude salaries from above and include R.Evans & salaries committed would amount to $44.5 million. Would they not have considerably more money to spend on free agents than $8.9M?
Steve T, Fredericton
A: Here we go again. The CAP level will be, under current estimates, somewhere below $54 million (and it will not be determined until early July) so the $8.9 is about right.
Q: Hi Doug! With the trade of Jason Kapono to the Sixers for Reggie Evans and with Alvin Williams close to joining the coaching staff, do you think we have a chance and interest (from the management)to sign Morris Peterson and Rasho Nesterovic as bench players? Thank you and keep up the awesome work of yours.
Don F, Scarborough
A: I know they have a big interest in bringing Rasho back, if they can make the numbers work, but there is absolutely no interest whatsoever in Mo. That is a non-starter.
Q: Another paper reporting that the Raps 2nd round pick from Greece is coming over next year -- True?
Jeff G, Vancouver
A: No. False. Very false. According to people in the Raptors organization, he is not nearly ready for the NBA and, if the information I’m hearing from both sides of the ocean is correct, his agent is using the Raptors as leverage to get a better deal in Greece.
Q: I still follow your blog religiously, though I haven't sent in too many questions lately, but here's one that's been on my mind. The NBA is obviously the best pro basketball league in the world, but how does the Euroleague compare from a financial perspective? i.e. player salaries and team revenues. On occasion, I'll hear about certain players opting to play in Europe rather than the NBA because they're being offered more money. How can this be the case if the NBA has significantly more financial muscle compared to the Euroleague?
Terence G, Mississauga
A: What you see in Europe, and what you can’t really see as much here because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, is a series of haves and have-nots over there. The big teams – Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, CSKA Moscow, perhaps a team or two in Spain – are not beholden by caps or taxes or anything like that so they spend. The other European teams, who don’t have nearly the same revenue from tickets or sponsorships or TV contracts, don’t spend nearly as much.
Teams can also offer things like housing and transportation, tax breaks and other financial inducements that aren’t available over here.
But, remember this: Big money in Europe, or supposed big money, is all relative. A guy like Carlos Delfino, for instance, got money that’s not much more than the average NBA salary; it’s just that no one over here wanted to offer even that much.
Q: I noticed that the NBA has changed the NBA finals MVP trophy to the Bill Russell award. Question: Why on NBA.com do they have Boston beating the Lakers in the 68-69 series, but with Jerry West as the Finals MVP? Shouldn't that trophy belong to Russell, since his team won?
Ray K, Toronto
A: Um, because voters chose him. And there is no rule or regulation that says the MVP has to come from the winning team.
And I also think it’s absolutely great that they’ve named the trophy after the best winner in the history of the NBA.
Q: I am sure you are tired of cap questions, but here is one that I don't think you have ever talked about. Does an organization have to deal with outside free agents instead of their own first in order to maximize their spending?
For example, the Raps have 10 million in cap space for this summer.
To keep it simple, the Raps sign Marion for 10 million a year and they are at the cap. No chance of going over the cap so free agency is done for the Raps.
Second scenario is if they sign Artest for 10 million a year with that same free 10 million in cap space, and are up against the cap, can they then sign Marion with his Bird rights to go over the cap? Again, do you have to take care of outside FAs instead of your own?
Brian M, Barrie
A: First off, the Raptors don’t have $10 million in cap space at the moment and the only way they can get it would be to renounce all their free agents – which means they lose the Bird rights to those guys – and decline options on Douby and O’Bryant so neither of your scenarios is possible.
In the first one, if they clear the space the offer Marion that deal they would be under the cap and not be eligible to use the mid-level exception.
In the second one, they could only offer Marion – or anyone – the mid-level exception.
And think of this: If they renounce Marion, meaning they forfeit Bird right to him, do you honestly think he’d have any interest in coming back? Why not just sign Marion as a Bird rights guy for whatever amount you want and then use the mid-level exception to help fill out the roster?
Q: I was wondering what impact (if any) the Reggie Evans deal will have on Joey Grahams future as a Raptor. Keep up the good work on the blog!
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: From people I’ve spoken to in the organization, Joey didn’t have much future as a Raptor before the trade so the transaction had no impact on him whatsoever. That could change -- there are no absolutes at this time of year -- but one had nothing to do with the other.
Q: How can the Raptors-Sixers make a trade when there are still games going on? What if Orlando or LA wanted either one of those players (hypothetically speaking of course)? Are those teams contacted prior to the trade being finalized? Thanks!
Lex C, Victoria
A: Teams out of the playoffs can begin making trades the day after they are eliminated; teams that don’t make the playoff can begin making trades the day after the season ends.
And if the Lakers or Magic wanted Kapono or Evans, they’re screwed.
Q: I wanted your opinion on this, Ben Gordon is a free agent this year do you think it would be a good move to try signing him? And what do you think they would have to sacrifice to get him ?
Greg T, Toronto
A: My opinion? Ben Gordon in an offensive black hole who doesn’t get to the rim, doesn’t defend particularly well and it would be unwise to even think about renouncing all their free agents to clear the space they’d need to sign him.
Q: Thanks for answering my question a few days back re: Alston vs Neslon. Got another question for you. Whenever there's a series winner there's always merchandise given to the team right after they win. So both teams must print the products. Where can I buy the losing team's products? I'd LOVE to have a 2009 Eastern Conference Cleveland Caveliers hat or shirt to wear the next time they come to visit!
Justin L, Etobicoke
A: Sorry, you’re not going to find any. Some is destroyed – it’s part of the contract with the manufacturer – and some is donated to global charities and might, perhaps, maybe, be found in some developing nation.
Q: How would you explain the snarkiness that seems to typify the tone an NBA coach has when speaking to the media? Are they constantly being peppered with inane questions? Are they a thin-skinned bunch? Are they tired of being blamed too often and praised too little?
Phil L, Toronto
A: They get a bit tired of the same old questions; yeah. They are also smart enough to know what angle a questioner might be taking and they might not want to play along knowing that if they say something, it could be either misconstrued or taken entirely out of context.
Q: Hey Doug, does BC have plans to extend Bargnani this summer? I’m actually shocked that he hasn't being talked about yet. Sure he is restricted but let’s say he has a decent season and some GM who missed out on the 2010 sweepstakes overpays for him. Does BC acknowledge that risk and gets a deal done soon?
Tim D, Mississauga
A: You can rest easy. According to people I talk to, they’ll discuss an extension this summer. But look at the flip side of your argument: If he has a decent season and thinks he’ll hit it big in 2010, why sign an extension? Not saying that’s what he’ll do but you look at the situation from only one side and that can be dangerous.