Let the signings begin. With Andrea
Quiet day, quiet night. Calm before the storm?
We, as they say, shall see.
I will say this right here: If the numbers are right and the Raptors have locked up Andrea Bargnani for five years at $50 million – and I have no suspicion that those numbers are wrong – they got a bargain.
Maybe not a bargain in relation to real life but in the context of pro basketball, getting a 24-year-old, 7-foot centre-forward with Bargnani’s kind of skills on a contract like that is a deal.
We’ll be summoned to the Air Canada Centre for a big shebang this afternoon and I bet people in the organization will be crowing.
Regulars here will know I’ve always thought Bargnani had a chance to be very good and his play last year showed some flashes that would make even the greatest of naysayers at least take a look.
No, he doesn’t rebound like Dennis Rodman, or even Dennis The Menace some nights, but it’s undeniable that he was better at boxing out, taking care of his man and going to the boards last year than he was in his rookie season and especially his lost sophomore campaign.
He’s a good shooter who’s getting better, his mid-range game is improving and this contract is going to look pretty darn good in a couple of years, I suspect.
And now, having Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu locked up for at least five years and with Jose Calderon under lock and key through 2013, there’s a pretty solid core in place.
I imagine Chris Bosh has noticed.
So, what happened yesterday? A bunch of stuff, I guess, but nothing really newsworthy leaked out.
Dallas is the sole focal point for Marion at this time, the Raptors won’t take any money back, they need a third team, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. All of which we knew 24 hours ago.
But there had to be other stuff being kicked around for other guys, I imagine.
The silence was deafening from people who usually will at least chat electronically for a minute or two.
Not sure when we’ll get to the gist of what Bryan was doing all day, I imagine it’ll be sometime tonight or tomorrow morning and it now looks like the Hedo thing won’t happen until Thursday.
But watch around the league today to see what teams renounced who or said they were not going to re-sign this guy or that guy.
This story from Paul Coro’s kind of interesting, Matt Barnes is one of the guys who the Raptors thought might fall through the cracks.
There will be others and we’ll endeavour to find out who they are.
Hey, how about them Canadas?
Check this out, find out that the Under-19s beat Argentina and now move to the quarter-finals of the world championships and understand that’s a pretty significant win.
Not that they are guaranteed to be top eight in the world – although that’s quite an accomplishment – but because the kids on the team now get a rather significant reward for their work and it’s another way to show them that being involved in the national team program is a worthwhile summer endeavour.
The one thing that Wayne Parrish and his band of merry advisors (and put The Big M – Maurizio Gherardini -- right at the top of that list) have done is provide excellent programs for the kids who are the future of the senior national team and having them have some success means they’re moving in the right direction.
There’s no telling how this tournament will wind up – a medal sure would be important – but the challenge now is to make sure these youngsters stay with the program through their early 20s so that when they become ready to make a big step on the senior stage (which probably takes until their mid-20s or even later) they’ve got some more recent international experience to draw on.
Hey, how about that salary cap?
It’s $57.7. million this year and the tax level’s $69.97 million and no one I’ve talked to is much surprised at that since it was based on last year’s revenue and while the economic crunch hit during the season, most of the big-money sponsorship deals and the like were already in place.
But – and it’s explained quite well here in Marc Stein’s story – the real crunch is going to come a year from now because if anyone thinks there’s lots of money out there for corporate deals this year, they sure haven’t been paying close attention.
And that might mean teams with their eyes on two maximum-value deals might want to blink.
Hey how about them Yankees? I know at least one of you cares but the Mighty Yankees suffered an ignominious defeat last night, I think it was 19-16 or something like that.
Wasn’t a lot of gold glove defending, that’s for sure, and a mental blip or two on the bases proved, um, costly but what the heck, we’re 8-3 and that doesn’t stink.
And, as one of the guys I was corresponding with during the game on NBA matters (yeah, work really never does end this time of year) put it:
“Dammit. I hate a heartbreaker like that.”