The dawn of a new era? Or something like that
Morning, everyone. How’s things?
Pretty zany night, no?
Some day I’ll tell you about it. Just suffice it to say that when you’re a barbecue guest at the home of good friends (Hi, Sue, Mike, Eric and Nicole!) and you’re fielding calls and e-mails and writing a story on a Blackberry, it takes a bit longer than you’d hope. Got it in about 10:30, which gave me time to at least end a lovely night relaxing.
But I will also say that I’m quite glad we never jumped on the Hedo-to-Portland’s-done on our own. Far better to put it out there on someone else’s hook until you’re absolutely sure. And there was never, ever a time that I was absolutely sure he was going to Portland, which is why prudence is sometimes the best.
So, Turk, eh?
What’s it mean?
Let’s look at some pros:
Another good ball-handler and initiator on the court.
A guy you can give the ball to at the end of the game and say, ‘make a play’ while you stretch the floor with Jose (a very good three-point shooter) in the corner.
Let’s just say – as Jeff Blair first pointed out on a radio show last night – that Bosh leaves (and no, I don’t have any idea if he will). Do you feel more comfortable going forward with Calderon, Bargnani and Turkoglu or Calderon, Bargnani and Marion? A no-brainer over here.
You can put Hedo and Bargnani in the pick and roll; you could never do that with Shawn.
Can you make this case: Toronto has the same kind of starting lineup now as the defending Eastern Conference champions? To wit: Calderon as Nelson, only better at many things like, oh, shooting and dishing out assists; Bosh in the Howard role, the guy who rolls to the basket on the high screen and roll, a far more accomplished scorer and while not a defensive intimidator, he’s passable; Bargnani does as much offensively as Lewis (check the stats, they are almost exactly the same); Turkoglu’s Turkoglu and, well, maybe DeMar DeRozan becomes Courtney Lee, which I don’t think is a stretch because now he doesn’t have to do anything offensively except make cuts to the basket, get on the boards and use his athleticism.
Let’s look at some cons:
The bench may not be deep. But Ukic this year will be an improvement over Solomon last year; Reggie Evans remains an excellent pickup and, believe me, Bryan’s trying to get something done to get another two and/or three in town. Right now, that’s a concern. There is also a lot of time between now and October.
Too much money. Turk’s deal is big but they’ve projected the numbers out and it won’t hamper them doing something with Bargnani or Bosh when the time comes.
Poor defence. Yes, another concern. But with a full training camp to install a system and the presence of Mark Iavaroni, it might not be as bad as you think. As one guy who’s in the gym with them a lot said to me yesterday: “If we work on defence every day, they have to get better.”
So, there you have some.
My opinion: What the hell, go for broke.
The league is built on talent and that’s as talented a starting lineup as they’ve had in years and years. Sure, if someone gets hurt they could be screwed which is exactly the same thing they’re saying in Cleveland and Boston. But if one of the starters goes down, I still think the other four can carry the load at least a little bit.
Look, everything’s a gamble.
This one just makes senses and, to me, was worth it. I like those pros far more than I’m worried about those cons.
Here's how they explained it in the Portland paper this morning.
Oh, and there’s this.
Here are some names that a guy in the organization gave me yesterday as possible guys who’ll fall through the cracks and be available on minimum salary deals when the economic pinch is truly felt later this summer:
Matt Barnes, Von Wafer, Gerald Green, Ronnie Price, Joey Graham, Jamario Moon (remember those last two?) and maybe even Shannon Brown, although that’s a stretch.
The point is, in these economic times, there will be bargains to be had and the one thing the Raptors can offer is a chance to play minutes, which is just what a guy on a minimum value deal wants more than anything.
Can they get a significant name? I don’t know, but there’s a chance they’ll get someone who’s more than a warm body at the end of the bench.
In other matters, my regular morning read of Tanya’s story shows Canada lost but still moves on at the Under-19 worlds.
Not a crippling defeat – they’ll still move on to the second round – but they now probably need three wins in their next four games to move to the quarter-finals.
What’s up with Shawn?
Well, he’s going to feel the squeeze worse than anyone. Unless Portland or Oklahoma City throws big bucks at him (they’re the only teams with money left that are likely to spend it), he’s going to have to settle for a mid-level salary.
That kind of sucks for him but it’s a sign of the times.
Okay, I see about 50 comments in there calling me all kinds of names. Better go hold my breath and post ‘em.
Back later if something happens.