Mail's in to get you through a rain delay
Yeah, I know. Long time, no speak.
Nice day with my boys out at Argoland yesterday for work and then another glorious Yankee victory in a delightful late-afternoon affair.
But because I’m a helluva guy and you need something to do on what looks like a potentially gloomy Sunday, thought I’d put this up there before racing down to Royal Niagara to commit some golf.
Have a good one, see you later, although there's a very good chance I could be tardy tomorrow morning, too. Golf has a way of making that kind of thing happen.
Q: Question about the actual mechanics of the draft: How are the picks submitted to the NBA? By phone? Computer? Jet propulsion carrier pigeon? Or did the Raps have a representative behind that stage that communicated the pick to the commish?
Sean D, Toronto
A: Mental telepathy, actually. Or the league just takes all those silly mock drafts and gives teams guys, the thought of an actual draft is just bogus, it’s all fixed by the league office.
No, really, it’s by phone.
Q: Hey Doug, a few weeks ago, I saw that the 2011 All-Star Game would take place in Los Angeles though they already organized it in 2004. Is there any chance to see the event in Toronto any time soon? Julien B, Caen, France
A: Not soon, no. Various reasons – construction of condos at the arena, the Olympics, L.A.’s re-development around the Staples Centre area – there no availability for the game and it’s very much on the backburner at the moment. I’d guess 2014, maybe 2013, would be when they might consider making a bid but no one’s really talking about it.
Q: I need some clarity on the salary cap in the NBA. Your comments about signing Turq to a contract is really confusing. How is it that many teams can have multiple super stars on the team while Toronto only seems to be able to afford 1. I don't have a full grasp of how the cap works but it seems like there’s inconsistencies across the league. A team like the Lakers seems to have all the room in the world to sign big names, same as SA, Boston & Detroit, even the Cavs and Orlando. In Toronto it seems like we can only afford one superstar at a time. Is there something I'm missing? Your help clarifying is appreciated
Ian A, Vancouver
A: They don’t have all the room the world, actually. The can re-sign their own players but they can’t add players (with the exception of Detroit, which has been able to shed salary to get under the cap) without making transactions that send out as much money as they bring in.
The Lakers can do nothing except the mid-level exception other than re-sign Odom or Ariza, Cleveland couldn’t have added Shaq without dealing Wallace and Pavlovic and it was the same in Orlando. If you can find a trading partner and have the pieces to satisfy them, you can add so-called “sueprstars.”
Q: Thanks for the online chat and live coverage of the draft. Wasn't on for the chat, but enjoyed reading it after the fact. My question is regarding Joey G. Was he not one of the few Raptors who played beyond expectations last year? With a bit more consistency he would be a solid rotation guy, why does there seem to be no interest in bringing him back? What do you think he might get as a FA?
P K, Guelph
A: I have no idea what he’d get on the market and I think the relative disinterest here comes from the fact he had four seasons and ample opportunity to really seize a spot and didn’t. Time to move on.
Q: Can you explain what’s the green room during the draft? What was deal that Jennings later appearance long after he was picked. Thanks.
Athena H, London
A: The “green room” is where players invited by the NBA sit and wait out the draft; Jennings wasn’t invited, he wasn’t even in the arena and only made that late appearance because he hustled to the Garden from wherever he was after he heard his name called.
Q: Should Raptors fans be worried that the team may have drafted another Tracy McGrady? By all accounts, DeRozan is going to require some time to develop. As such, should we be concerned that by the time he is ready take his game to the next level, he'll also be taking his game to another franchise after the expiry of his rookie deal?
Dave G, Toronto
A: Sure, you can worry about that. But the rookie deals now last five years with various qualifying offers, etc., so if you want to worry for five years, I think that’s a long time.
Q: Thank you again Mr. Smith during these crazy, crazy days in Raptor land. Truth (your due diligence), is so much better then fiction (any number of fan blogs) at the end of the day. Kind of like a million monkey's sitting at a million typewriters and announcing that they had the draft figured out all along. Also, nice to see the Raptors' brain trust looking long term and not simply to CB-AD 2010 (aka Chris Bosh After the Deal).
While I appreciate DeRozan picking up the flag so quickly on twitter, maybe he should focus on becoming the first 'West Jet' rather then 'Air Canada 2.0'. A little smaller, fewer routes but a whole lot more enjoyable to ride. Besides, it also honours his west coast roots.
One last question. Purely theoretical in nature. What's better, twice the player at twice the cost for twice as long or half the player at half the dough for half the time? That's how I see the Marion vs. Hedo debate. My heart says Hedo but my head says Marion.
Matthew H, Toronto
A: Hmm, deep question.
And I have no answer.
Q: This one might be at toughie, but I was hoping you could help me with 2 questions that have long been stuck in my head.
1) The latest on the Ricky Rubio-Minnesota situation is that RR might go back to Spain and play a couple years, rather than play for Minnesota. If this is the case, what happens when he wants to try for the NBA again? Is he forced to join Minnesota, does he rejoin the draft at the time, or does any team have rights to sign him (which means Minnesota gets heavily ripped off)? Isn't there some kind of rule that when you enter a draft, you gotta play for the team?
2) In a related note, what prevents a team from just stepping out to Rucker Park, Spain, China, etc., going to the playground, saying to a local baller, "I like you," and sign that person on the spot right there? (Ie. if Ricky Rubio wanted to play for New York and New York wanted Ricky Rubio, couldn't RR just not declare draft eligibility, and then work a deal with NY to join the club?)
These may be stupid questions, but I just don't get these loopholes! Help a sucker out Doug!
Jay C, Toronto
A: Not stupid at all.
On the first, the Timberwolves retain his NBA rights in perpetuity; if he wants to come to the league, he has to go there unless Minnesota makes a trade.
And on the second one, they can’t just pick a kid off the street because of the draft rules that say any North American player can’t enter the draft, or the league, until one year after his high school graduation and international players have to be 18 years old.
If a player isn’t drafted in those scenarios, then they are eligible to sign with any team.
Q: How correlated is basketball IQ to actual IQ? Can the former ever come without the latter? Have you come across many basketball geniuses who couldn't string a sentence together? As an aside, I'd like to throw in a few nicknames for our new draft pick: Dr. Dr. (Dr Dre was taken) Demolition Man DeMarr the Destroyer (kinda lame?) Feel free to refine of course.
A: I don’t think there’s much correlation at all, as a matter of fact. You can be a brilliant basketball player with on-court instincts and encyclopedic knowledge of your opponent and the game and not know much about anything else.
Q: Love the blog and the snark! Keep it up! I hope you don't mind a hypothetical question but I was curious to know what effect this could potentially have on the Raptors... how would the Raps be affected, salary wise, if Shawn Marion walked away from them without a sign and trade? Would that open up any salary room or would that mess with the Raps roster plans, limiting them to signing free agents with the MLE only?
Peter H, Richmond Hill
A: Benefit? Well, if they can’t come to an agreement to keep him, and they can’t find even a bad sign-and-trade transaction, it would save them some money but that’s about it. They wouldn’t, for instance, all of a sudden have untold millions to spend on free agents, they’d remain with the mid-level salary exception. And that’s why it’s imperative that Bryan either get him back or turn him into some other asset.
Q: Hey Doug, so what are the odd's that Rubio doesn't even play next year because of his contract situation. I'm thinking Minnesota isn't planning on even playing him this year, and Flynn get's a year to show off, then they ship him out. Thoughts?
Joey H, Toronto
A: Not sure what the odds are. My best guess, after talking to a few people late Thursday night and Friday, is that rookie Minnesota GM David Kahn has himself in a big pickle and needs to deal Rubio in some summer transaction; perhaps including him in some sign-and-trade deal for a free agent.
Q: Hi Doug, now that Rubio's essentially part of the NBA, who's the top International prospect/player in your mind now?
Binson S, Markham
A: I’m a little bit light on my Euro knowledge at the moment since there were so few players in the draft but the one kid I keep hearing about is Yiannis Bouroussis, a centre at Olympiakos but he’s past the draft age and a free agent with a hefty buyout.
Q: "Anyway, digression aside, the cost is still too much. They could renounce everyone – Marion, Parker, Graham, O’Bryant, Douby and back the qualifying offer to Delfino – to maybe get Turkoglu and fill out the roster with a bunch of minimum salary dudes." Why is that? Last year we paid Marion, Parker Graham, O'Bryant and Douby about $26 million. Hedo can be had for around $10 mil. Raptors are only committed to $44 million right now. They have some $$$ to spend. Source hoops hype salaries.
Thomas W, Toronto
A: It’s the new math. Or at least the NBA’s math.
Yes, the Raptors have about $44 million committed if they renounce all their free agents; the cap level is going to be about $53 million. Give or take a couple of hundred thousand on each number, that leaves somewhere around $10 million under the cap – and therefore available for free agents – if they renounce everyone.
The trouble you’re having is that while, yes, those salaries may add up to $26 million, dumping them only gets the Raptors $10 million under the cap because they were over it to begin with.
Q: Just read your chat from yesterday before the Derozan press thing - got a laugh but of your reply to some fool who had been submitting a ton of ridiculous questions/comments - snarky Doug's funny.
Anyway, I was rooting for them to get Derozan (even used his name as a password a couple of weeks ago).
However, but all this talk about athleticism and "jump out of the gym" is getting old. We had an athletic guy last year who could jump out of the gym by the name of Jamario Moon but his shot selection and inability to get to the net drove me nuts. What are the things that separate this guy from Jamario besides age and potential? Will he bring more to the lineup in his first year than Jamario did?
Carl M, Codroy Valley, NL
A: I think age and potential are pretty much it, aren’t they? Toss in ball-handling skills and the fact I think DeRozan is a far more polished basketball player who is quicker and more athletic than Moon and it’s a gaping difference.
And he better bring more than Moon did in his first year or it’s going to be a long, long season around the ACC.
Q: Let's assume Doug that Hedo would accept 5 years @ 45 mill to play for the Raps. Should they do it? I say YES. Even if it means they have to fill out the roster with the best D-Leaguers they can find. But I want to know what you think?
A: No, they shouldn’t do it because it would turn out to be a six-for-one trade (Marion, Parker, Graham, Delfino, Douby and O’Bryant) and having been down the one big guy (O’Neal) and a bunch of minimum salary guys (Solomon, a 13-man roster) should have taught them it doesn’t work.
Q: Doug, is it possible for the Raptors to sign Rasho Nesterovic and Delfino, while resigning Parker and Marion? Will this put them in the luxury tax area? Also, who do you think a good candidate for the mid-level exception is?
Y D, Kingston
A: Of course it depends on the salaries but they think they can do it and stay below the tax level. Not sure about full mid-level guys out there, I haven’t had a lot of time to digest the free agent market yet, it’s been draft time. That’ll be a Sunday night-Monday job.