Better late than never, or something like that
So here you go
Q: I wonder about some post-game issues you have as a reporter.
When you go to talk to players, can you cover both locker rooms or they're too far away so you need a backup? Also, do you enter the locker rooms or you wait outside?
And let's say you're covering the Cavs after the game. At the same time you have LeBron available, who you obviously want to tape, and AP and Moon, who could make a good story in catching-up. What do you do? Go to LeBron and ask the ex-Raptors to wait a bit? Trade the material with the colleagues? Or you have enough time to talk to all of them?
I'm just trying to figure the differences between European and NBA customs in the business.
Cheers Doug, and keep up the great work!
Toni H, Zagreb, Croatia
A: Most of the time, it is hard to get to both locker rooms after a game so what sometimes happens is you trade quotes with a colleague, or with a visiting writer. However, some players have a reputation for being a bit slow getting ready to do post-game media and some are quicker than others so you can judge each on a nightly basis.
The European system, where they have what’s called a “mixed zone” where the players have to physically walk by the gathered reporters, rather than have the reporters invade a locker room, guarantees quicker access but sometimes players just walk by and ignore requests for them to stop and comment.
Q: Hi Doug - I see that there is a pre season game in London. Any word on where the intrasquad game will be? And when?
Diane V, Toronto
A: If they play one of those scrimmages again, it’d be on the last day of training camp in Ottawa, which looks like Oct. 3.
Q: Hi Doug. Is there anyway you could find out and post the break down of how many Raptor games each sports station is going to carry. I.e. TSN, TSN2, The Score etc.
Ron E, Brampton
A: They are still putting those schedules together and we won’t get a look at them until September, I’m told. But when we get it, you folks will be the first to know.
Q: Are there any young up and coming Canadians with NBA potential?
Sean G, Niagara
A: Well, there are some highly-regarded high school kids from Canada playing in the States who have yet to do as much as take part in a single college practice, let alone a game. Maybe they make it – I hope they do – but the odds suggest no.
Q: Did you know that "Parrots" is the only anagram for "Raptors".
I guess I have an opinion and wonder if you agree: Other sports - like say Hockey - allow fans to relate better to the GM perspective and strategy (judging by fantasy leagues and message board discussion). In the NBA, the rules the GM operates under are too complex and not understood. This leaves fans only to relate to players or coaches, or hope for a miracle like the accountant finds a loophole to turn straw to gold. I think this explains the quantity of out-of-context personnel questions - such as wouldn't player X look good here.
This underestimates the fans, limits the enjoyment and therefore revenues.
Ralf W, Peterborough
A: Yes, the salary cap and all its machinations are difficult for most to fully comprehend. But, as long as GMs do and it allows the league to thrive then everyone’s okay with it.
Q: Hey Doug, Love the fact you are still trying to satisfy our Raptor addiction. How about a what are they doing now? I would love to hear what Alvin Robertson is up to now. The epic battles between him and Jordan during the first year made many of us fans. i can remember Jordan shrugging his shoulder at Alvin because (I'm guessing) Jordan made shots that he knew that Alvin had him covered better that anyone had in the past. What do you think?
Nick K, St. Catharines
A: It’s tough to track a lot of these guys down, usually we find out what so-and-so is up to by chatting with guys around the league.
Last I heard, or saw, of Alvin was at a game in San Antonio where he was working in construction or something like that.
Q: Hi Doug, love the blog. I was just wondering if you could shed some light on the process of obtaining a restricted free agent.
I'll use the Jarrett Jack signing as my example but any situation would work. And I apologize if the questions are of the novice variety. When Toronto sent the offer sheet to Jarrett, is he forced to sign it? What if he wanted to take less money with the Pacers? (i.e. better fit, family likes it in there) Would BC have had sources close to the Pacers to better understand their financial and personnel perspectives
Lastly, it seems that the story broke over the weekend, essentially giving Indiana more time to come up with a plan to retain Jarrett as the offer sheet couldn't be signed until the work week. Was that BC's way of giving Indiana the most reasonable time to deal with the issue? I appreciate your work and insight into daily basketball operations.
Adam C, Port Credit
P.S. I have a little one too (much littler) and I love hearing the super son updates.
A: No restricted free agent has to sign any offer sheet if he doesn’t want to but if an offer is extended, it’s generally after the team making it had discussed the possibility with the representatives of the players.
And, the seven-day window for a team to decide whether or not to match begins the minute they get the offer in hand, regardless of the day of the week
Q: Do you know of any network where we can watch the European championships?
Jack F, Milton
A: No, I know of no TV at the moment; I do know FIBA’s website offers streaming for a cost. Perhaps you can find a local saloon with a very strong satellite but even that’s a stretch.
Q: We always talk about the great free agent class of LBJ, D Wade and Bosh, but Carmelo Anthony is not mentioned, why is that? Is he being locked up by Denver long term already?
G C, Markham
A: Yes, he went another route and signed a longer deal than anyone else. He’s under contract through the 2011-12 season.
Q: Hi Doug. I remember in Joey's rookie year, they put him in the starting lineup right off the bat on the first game. And so you know that it most likely shook his confidence and he never truly recovered from that.
I bring that up because by now, most people know now that Brian Colangelo and Jay Triano have said that they will most likely start DeMar DeRozan at the start of the season. I'm wondering if you think this will have him end up like Joey in his rookie year where, as I say again, he lost confidence in himself from having a hard time guarding the very good Wings that he had to try and stop (Paul Pierce, ect..)
Like all Raptor fans, I want to be watching an energetic, confident and happy DeMar DeRozan, not DeMar DeMoralized.\
What do you think about this? Thanks.
Sky D, Killaloe
A: I think it’s rather unfounded concern, the kid seems to have all the confidence in the world but I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it unfolds. And I’d actually dispute the contention that the first few weeks of his career ruined Joey’s next three seasons; he played well at times after that, most notably in the final 16 games of the 2007-08 season.
Q: Hi Doug, over the years you've made note of the fact media only ever get to see the last 5 minutes of so of "practice" and you've also shown little interest or excitement at the idea of being able to watch full practices.
Maybe the Dream Team was a yawner (as were the actual games) in practice but I direct you to a story I found on Henry Abbotts excellent True Hoop blog: "Open Practices Made Smarter Reporters and Fans"
It's hard to argue the points made in the article and defies your typical "I'm bored and so should you be" attitude. Especially when Coach Jack Ramsay says "These guys have such pride, they don't want to be embarrassed in front of anyone. They play harder."
With basketball plays being fairly similar throughout the league and there not being many "secrets" shouldn't the NBA teams consider charging admission to practices? Especially with the league facing cash flow problems?
Josh S, Toronto
A: I don’t think they should open practices and I’m virtually certain they won’t, even if they could make a couple of bucks.
Two reasons: In Toronto, for instance, there physically isn’t enough room around the practice court for the media to sit or stand; and coaches and players have told me often they would feel constricted by having audiences at their workouts. A coach would not feel comfortable reaming out some player for a mistake if there was an audience, that’s simply fact.
Now, if they had some change of heart and opened things, it’d be my job to go and I would.
I also read that blog item of Henry’s and one thing you need to realize is that the Ramsay-era Blazers they’re talking about are from more than 30 years ago; it’s an entirely different world now.
Q: A couple:
A) Could the Raptors bring in a consultant or two during pre-season camp and/or early in the year? One option that came to mind was to bring in Oakley to work the bigs over with rebounding drills/practice.
B) If so, would it be helpful or perhaps too distracting with all the different coaches given the relatively limited time to get the team on the same page (esp with so many key new faces)?
Tom L, Toronto
A: They could, I guess, but I can’t see them doing it. They’ve put together what they think is a very solid staff of coaches and they’d rather just let them do their work. A “consultant” who drops in, teaches and goes away might cause some resentment among the staff and it might send mixed signals to the players.
Q: Hi Doug, as an Italian long-time fan of the Raptors (you know, from the Vincenzino Esposito era!!!) I'd like to hear your opinion about a hypothetical FIBA head coach on an NBA team. Would he succeed?
P.S. I consider Mike D'Antoni a 100% FIBA coach, but most of the people I talk to don't.
Pino P, Campobasso, Italy
A: I would think it would be next to impossible for a coach from a EuroLeague team to come to the NBA and have success as a head coach right away. The dynamics are hugely different – the coaches have far more control over every aspect of a players’ life in Europe, there are few agents to deal with, there are far fewer games, etc.
However, if some young EuroLeague coach wanted to come over and work as an assistant in the NBA for a few years, I imagine he could get used to the life and the system and be able to move up to a head coaching position.
And Mike had a lot of NBA experience as an assistant and as a head coach in Denver to go along with his European training.
Q: Assuming Mark Blount is waived by Minnesota as is expected, could he be of value to the Raptors if they had TWO open roster spots?
Richard S, Lethbridge
A: Personally, I don’t think he could help whatsoever and neither does anyone I’ve ever spoken to in the Raptors front office.
Q: Hey Doug, The question I have is concerning freshly drafted rookies and how soon they begin to receive financial compensation from their respective franchises. I'm wondering this because a lot of these guys don't come from affluent backgrounds and getting acclimated to a new city, finding a place to stay and so forth may cost money and require credit that some of these guys just don't have yet. For example, would a team like the Raptors help a player like DeMar DeRozan in this regard if initially he is unable to support himself financially?
Johnny T, Mississauga
A: All players – rookies included – start getting paid once the season begins in late October. But I’m sure between the clubs, and the players’ agents, there’s much bridge financing that goes on.
Q: Hey Doug, just wondering, because I was not paying much attention to Raptors back in the days, can you recall what were on the scouting reports for VC and Joey back before they were drafted by Raps? I'm curious if what they thought about DeRozan is similar to VC than Joey, since they are the only wings they drafted out of college with a lottery pick. Thanks
K X, Scarborough
A: As I recall, there was no question that Carter was going to be a special player and there were greater expectations that he’d have an immediate impact than there are about DeRozan. Joey? He was a project, raw and athletic but I think the scouting reports on the new guy were better than they were on a guy who ended up being drafted 16th overall.
Q: Hey Doug, how ya hitting them? Long and straight or short and crooked? On to the basketball question.....with the dream free agency class coming up; some of these young fellows on the same team could create quite a legacy for themselves by possibly winning multiple championships. So why do so many players wait until the end of the career to win one, instead of creating a legacy? They still should never have to worry about money even for their kid's kids.
Kevin V, Waterloo
A: It’s been my experience that most players would rather maximize their earning potential – and create a legacy on their own with their own teams – early in their careers rather than jump around the league looking to be a second-fiddle even if it means having a better chance to win.
Oh, and I’ve got the gentle fade going rather than the violent slice, thanks very much for asking.