The kids think everything's going to be all right
We all know there are some, um, issues with this local gang of basketballers but, I have to tell you, it was pretty interesting around the arena yesterday when we were waiting for another day of pre-draft workouts.
DeMar DeRozan wanders by, here comes Sonny Weems, there’s Jarrett Jack, Amir Johnson trundles by and Joey Dorsey makes an appearance.
None of them had to be in town, they could have easily got their work in wherever they spend their off-seasons, but they all wanted to be here so they could check in with the coaches and get some teaching.
I was trying to think the last time I saw five young Raptors all in the gym here in June and I don’t recall when it was; perhaps back in the early days of the Butch Carter era.
It’s not usually until September that everyone starts arriving back in town for a long season and I’m thinking it says something about these kids – and what they want to accomplish – that they came up now.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Amir, he was running late and we’ll probably get some time with him when we’re back there on Thursday but the others all said the things coaches like to hear.
DeMar wants to work on his penetration abilities because he knows if he beats his man off the dribble, he’s going to use his athleticism to get to the rim.
Sonny wants to extend his shooting range and work on his ball-handling.
And Jarrett? Well, if you read this, you know what Jarrett had to say.
Anyway, it may be not be the biggest news of the summer for this team but it’s a pretty good sign that at least the young kids are on board and looking to make things better.
A couple of Irregulars were asking last night about one of those infamous Question And Answer Hours and, you know, it kind of makes sense given where we are.
So, we’re figuring Friday noon to go over Game 7, the workouts this week and whatever else is on your mind.
Jarrett Jack’s a pretty bright kid – mostly because he shares my opinion of what used to be known as the planned Free Agent Summit.
While we were talking to him yesterday for this story, the conversation, as it always does with NBA types these days, got around the Summer of LeBron that’s coming.
The only part that makes it crazy is this free agent summit they’re talking about, that’s the only part that’s driving me up the wall. I hope they don’t do that, I hope they don’t all just sit around and ‘all in favour of me going here, everybody say I.’
“I hope they don’t do that.”
Now I never actually thought they would, I figured it was some extrapolation by a couple of guys looking for stories one day but it sure seems to have caught the fancy of a lot of people.
To Jarrett and me because his words are something I might say:
“This meeting stuff is just a little weird … I would never think to hear Magic and Larry and Kareem meeting up to see what’s going on.
“It’s like they’re trying to make a monopoly or something."
Family digression time.
Sometimes parents do silly things.
Figuring Super Son’s graduation from Grade 8 was a milestone, we figure a cell phone’s a good idea as a gift, right? Yeah, right.
He’s probably going to exceed the unlimited texting option (I got one from the kitchen while sitting on the front porch typing this) and the repeated – and I mean REPEATED – versions of some mindless song called Burning Soul or something along with the Super Mario Wii theme as possible ring tones is burning my ears.
Yeah, sometimes parents do silly things.
I’m sure a lot of you were like me and quite surprised when Steve Kerr hung ‘em up as GM or president or whatever his official title was out in Phoenix yesterday.
Well, the word I’m getting from talking to people hither and yon is that the reason was pretty predictable:
As you’ll read in my Coro-spondent’s piece here, owner Robert Sarver may or may not have decided Kerr had to take a pay cut (I’m hearing he did) and there is questions about whether or not the owner wanted to shell out the cash it’s going to take to keep Amar’e Stoudemire in town.
Whatever turns out to be the real story, the perception is this was a cash-driven decision.
Now, I’m hot and cold on Sarver. I thought he was a buffoon for a long time with his courtside antics, he redeemed himself a bit with the whole Los Suns things in my eyes but this one’s the tipping point.
Not only do I now think it’s a virtual certainty that Stoudemire walks, I don’t know how a guy with a reputation like Sarver’s getting is going to be able to attract either good free agents or good employees and I’m figure he goes frugal on his next GM hire.
Now, Kerr’s had his moments. Shaq was a stupid idea, Terry Porter was not much better but he’d redeemed himself a bit by getting Nash to re-sign, grabbing Grant Hill and putting together a pretty entertaining team.
I guess on the whole, Kerr’s tenure is like that of every other GM I can think of: Some good, some bad and a guy who just tried to do his best.
More Raptors news? Man, you folks must be in heaven today.
While chatting with DeMar and Sonny yesterday, both told us they plan to play for the Raptors summer league team out in Vegas.
Good calls on both accounts; they could each use the work and another sign that these kids seem to get it.
Got mail? I don’t have much so here’s your shot at sending a letter or two. Click here and we’ll start putting together the weekend missive.
Okay, because we had so much local flavour here today, we kind of gave short shrift to that series going on out in L.A. Which is okay because I’m going to need to fill this space tomorrow and what better way to do it than setting up a Game 7.
But I will leave you with this: Lakers in six.