A lot of rain and a lot of mail
Okay, they did the honourable thing at the golf today and called off the play before making us sit around waiting until dark. And that let me do the honourable thing and get this mailbag finished.
But not to worry, we’ll be back sometime tomorrow and Monday with the usual stuff.
Q: I was wondering if you caught the final segment of PTS (a week or so ago). I believe the guest was Chris King and they were talking about the newspaper business and blogging. It was interesting stuff. I would love to hear you one day on the 4-5 hour of PTS taking some phone calls. (No, I'm not selfishly asking you to devote even more hours to the job for us. Actually I guess I am.)
Kevin M, Maple
A: I didn’t here it, but I do know the issue.
Not sure how I feel about it, to tell you the truth; I think the way some of us “engage” readers and deliver the news in a more conversational fashion rather than by speaking down from on high as we used to is a change for the better. It’s up to people like me to carry that over in the newspaper product. And while I love to talk about this stuff verbally rather than just write it, I believe My Man McCown doesn’t want to give up that precious hour of air time to a guy like me.
1. Can you give us the correct pronunciation for Hedo's name?
2. Reading about DeRozan's mother's battles with lupus makes me wonder why it is that there is a common belief that North American players should not be eligible to be drafted right out of high school. If he had blown out his knee in his one year of college, wouldn't that make for a potentially interesting lawsuit (against the NBA and the NBPA for conspiring to keep out the youngsters)? Don't you agree that hockey has a slightly better approach - where the kid gets the money but can play in a proper minor league or junior league?
3. When you look back at the old days, before the constant pull of the blog, do you wonder how it is that you kept yourself so busy? Obviously your blog (and the blogs of others) contains a lot of tidbits and analysis that, in the days before the internet, presumably would not have found its way into print. Either that, or we don't get the same amount of information and analysis in the print paper that we used to. What do you think?
Alan G, Toronto
According to the Orlando media guide last season, it’s HEE-doh, TURK-oh-lue.
I have no problem with the NBA setting an age limit. It’s not like they are keeping kids from making a living. They can choose to play in the D League if they want at 18 or in Europe. So I have no issue with the way things are.
You’re getting far more information now and, yes, some of the stuff you get online you would never have seen in the paper. But there are physical limitations to how much we can publish in a paper so decisions on what to write had to be made. That’s where the internet and blogs are most useful; and why newspaper internet sites and blogs are exponentially better than those written by people who don’t have access to information to disseminate and only sit back and preach, often with no basis in fact.
Q: Doug - thanks for the great summer coverage. A caution: please don't misinterpret this question - I think that the mix of international players on the team makes for a team with a great style of play, and likeable personalities. Having said that, do teams get a share of their team's merchandise sold? If so, I am curious if you think anyone at MLSE might be supporting paying international players more than those similarly skilled because their jersey sales would be disproportionately higher because of a more captive audience in their home country?
Kevin R, Toronto
A: No, all teams share equally in things like merchandise sale so there’s no benefit to Maple Leaf Sports.
Q: With the salary cap dipping a bit this year, and David Stern claiming that the cap number will be lower even more next year, it got me thinking. Is this Stern's way of trying to scare, hope, and/or force the free agents of 2010 (ie Bosh, Wade, and LeBron) into re-signing with their current teams when the time comes? Or, with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement coming to an end at the end of this season, is it a positioning ploy for when the negotiating of the new agreement starts? Or, is it a combination of the two and to what percentage?
Leigh M, Samcheok, South Korea
A: It seemed to me to be a bit a posturing and a shot across the bow at the Players’ Association heading into negotiations, but it’s also a warning to fans that they might want to lower expectations about money being thrown around willy-nilly next summer since everyone’s expecting a free-agent free-for-all.
Q: I was just wondering, with DeRozan coming to the organization at such a young age, has anyone in the front office or one of the players taken it upon themselves to settle him into the city? Something along the lines of what Mario Lemieux did for Sydney Crosby?
Ryan M, Ottawa
A: Most of the players have people who work for them, or their agents, who help them get acclimated to the NBA lifestyle. The Raptors do have people on staff who aid in such things like finding places to live, cars to rent, etc; and the Raps will set up nutritionists and the like but it’s mostly friends and relatives who handle most of it.
Q: In the past you have looked at the actual stats behind certain adages such as you need a dominant centre to win the title or you need a dominant wing and whether or not those were actually found to be true. The signing of Jack leads me to wonder the how important the role of 6th man has been in a teams quest for a championship. (Not sure how long they've actually been giving out an official award for that) Also on that note, who in your opinion is the best 6th man in Raps history and does Jack have the chance to be that guy?
Michael S, Mississauga
A: I think a sixth man is vital to a championship team; not an eighth or ninth man, but someone who can come off the bench and fill a role when the inevitable foul trouble or injuries pop up. We saw it with Mickeal Pietrus this year and, of course, Lamar Odom.
Best in Raptors history? Hmm, tough one. They haven’t had a whole lot of success. I will venture to say Jose was and T.J. would have been, had he been able to accept that role, which he wasn’t. And, truth be told, with the exception if his inexplicable arithmetic problem in Game 5 of the playoff series with Detroit, Chris Childs was a pretty good sixth man when he was here.
Q: It's thanks to you and your efforts at providing a daily blog that I have come to enjoy basketball so much. I mean, I have always liked it, but now I really get it. The coverage presented by yourself and The Star on Mr. Jack has been superb. What a well-spoken young man! Along with his obvious charity, what I like most about him was the fact that he took umbrage with CB4 about the suit. I like the fact that Jarret wants to be in a suit and tie and vie for the title of best-dressed athlete in Toronto. It shows class.
Speaking of class... Junk Yard Dog. Is he still living in Toronto? What exactly is he doing? That man was the most laid back guy off the floor (on the street) that I have ever met. Smiling and talking. Talking and smiling. And, he was well-dressed, too. Actually, I have found that the basketball players are always the best-dressed athletes here in Toronto. Anyhow, feel free to edit away... I know I'm rambling. Cheers, Doug. A faithful reader whose only experience with golf involves a little windmill.
Andrew J, Toronto
A: The Dog? He’s been around the city a little bit making appearances and he’s still getting appearances through the NBA but he’s got no official affiliation with the Raptors.
Q: In regards to exploring the option to move Ukic due to the addition of Jack, would Ukic not be the best 3rd option for the team in case of injury to Calderon or Jack? I remember when Calderon got injured last year and how that worked out with Solomon and Ukic. Would Banks fill in as back up? or Delfino? I think Ukic is better insurance.
Aaron C, Burlington
A: Yes, he would, which is why I don’t think they should move him unless they have another 24-year-old point guard with one year under is belt ready to take his place.
But if he goes, I imagine they’d look at Douby in that role first.
Q: If the Carlos Delfino signing were to fall through, could the Raptors still pursue Linas Klieza?
Marc M, Burlington
A: If Kleiza has any interest in playing on a one-year contract for the minimum salary, I’m sure the Raptors will call in the event Delfino talks break off.
Q: Quick question about Steve Nash. With $3 mil, or whatever, of his pay being held back and to be paid after the end of his contract... how does this affect Sun's salary Cap? Is the full amount of the salary on the books for the 2 year contract period even though it will be paid over 3, 4 years???
Jeffery M, Saint John
A: It doesn’t. It’s just deferred payment, the cap hit will be the full value of the contract each season.
Q: Alright, I have to ask since you said your mailbag is light and wanted your thoughts. The video of Lebron getting dunked on was leaked and found by TMZ and posted on the web.
The quality is not great since it was from a cellphone camera and was NOT confiscated by Nike, and I know, I know its TMZ......but they apparently found it and had the *cough* guts *cough* to post it. It will also be interesting to see how Lebron and/or Nike react to this release. Any thoughts, ideas, rants????
Joe R, Toronto
A: No thoughts, really. A bit of over-exuberance by a company trying to “protect its brand” and then they got the bonus of buzz until it was released. The fact some NBA star got dunked on in some game, even by a college kid or whatever, frankly bored me to tears. Big whoop.
Q: I am probably the millionth guy to ask this but, any truth to the story that the Raptors are interested in Stefano Mancinelli?
Dan P, Toronto
A: No, there isn’t. Mancinelli is, according to Raptors sources I talked to, an athletic but very raw 3-4 not nearly ready for the NBA. He did play in a summer league with, I believe, Portland a couple of years ago and didn’t really do anything. I suspect most of the alleged “interest” is being drummed up Italy; there is none to speak of in Toronto.
Q: Most interesting off-season in years eh? So, I'm liking the moves so far, but I'm seriously confused. It seems to me that a good half court team is being constructed but the Raptors keep talking about how they want to run more. Am I missing something here? How is a starting group that includes Turkoglu, Bargnani, Bosh, and Calderon going to run? None of them are overly athletic, they can't defend, and they can't rebound. How are they going to generate these running opportunities?
Mark F, Toronto
A: In transition, as they did at the end of last season. You can “run” without being like Phoenix. And if there’s nothing in transition, you pull the ball up and run your stuff.
Q: Hey Doug! Why is everyone so down on Roko? Watching him play last season, it is clear that he has potential, size and is a willing learner. In case there are injuries to Jose or Jack, Roko can very much fill the primary back-up role. Also, Jack and Roko can share minutes as the PG primary back-up because Jack can be used as a back-up at the 2. And why not trade Marcus Banks for an expiring contract or 2nd round pick? Appreciate your answer.
Zeeshan D, Karachi
A: Please, forget this “trade Marcus Banks for an expiring contract or second round pick” junk, will you all? Don’t you think other GMs would look at his contract, and skills, and pass? It’s fantasy world unless Bryan’s a true magician and I think even he’s got his limits.
Q: Doug I noticed Bol Kong was listed as a tryout on the Canada men's senior team. You might know he's one of Canada's top talents and was given a scholarship to Gonzaga however he was denied a visa because he was born in Sudan.
Can you let us know how things are going for him? Is he going to Gonzaga and did he get his Canadian citizenship? It would be sad to see him not be able to develop his talent to the fullest.
Joe C, Kitchener
A: It’s an old story well told and I have never heard him mentioned as a national team possibility this year. In fact, he’s never even been in a workout.
Q: Hi Doug, I'm just wondering if the Raptors should bring in a Hall of Famer (like a Clyde Drexler) to work with DeMar DeRozan? It's kind of like what Patrick Ewing is doing in Orlando with Dwight Howard.
Yao S, Brampton
A: You’re probably right.
Why don’t they got get a guy who scored, oh, I dunno, maybe 25,000 points in the NBA, a guy who played on one of the great three-pronged offensive teams of his era, a guy who is in the Hall of Fame and a guy who’s been a coach for seven or eight years.
I wonder what Alex English is up to these days?
Q: Two quick questions.
Let me just point out that I love the acquisitions the Raps have made this summer and I think BC is the guy that is going to make Toronto contenders once again.
First question is about Pops. I know you’re probably sick of hearing about him, but if Colangelo wants to put together a "gritty" team would Pops not be the perfect fit? I was at an Oklahoma game last season and he was out there posterizing everyone in sight. It was incredible. Now I know it’s just Oklahoma, but we should have a guy who goes out there just to make the other team quiver when he’s about to throw one down.
Second question has to do with the current free agent class. What are the chances that the Raptors acquire David Lee instead of Delfino and Rasho? I know they would probably have to go over the salary cap, but I get the feeling that MLSE is starting to give Colangelo the room to create a contender and/or possibly a championship winning team down the road. So why not now? Sign David Lee and get him to come off the bench for either Barnagni or Bosh. That front court would be insane. Then, if by chance Bosh still wants to leave you got Lee as the core 4 for your future.
Justin L, Toronto
A: Tired of questions about Pops? Yeah, you got that right. Look, as we’ve mentioned a zillion or so times, there is no room for him, nor any inclination to bring him back in anything like a desperation move if they are able trade away a player and get nothing in return.
David Lee? There’s more chance of Pops playing here than David Lee.
Q: Hey Doug: Did you see that DeMar DeRozan was named to Draft Express Las Vegas League ALL 2nd team. Not bad!!!
Jason P, Toronto
A: I didn’t see that but I would suggest there were, what, 19 teams represented in Vegas? If the No. 9 overall pick wasn’t on either of the first two “all-star” teams, I’d be more worried than I would be happy that he was.
Q: If Delfino returns to Russia, do the Raptors keep his rights beyond this off-season? If so when do they expire? Thanks!
Lex C, Victoria
A: No, they have no hold on him whatsoever after this year. They rescinded their qualifying offer before the big four-team trade which made him an unrestricted free agent. They do, however, still have Bird rights on him because they did not renounce him.