Time for the mail
Oh, and don’t forget to be back here tonight at 8 p.m. for the big game.
Have a nice day.
Q; Hi Doug. Thought I'd send this again here, just in case it might have gotten lost in the blog stuff shuffle:
Would you have a Top 5 NBA Local Brews list to share? Somehow, I'd guess a Coors Light in Denver, a Schlitz (or even a Blatz) in Milwaukee, or a Steamwhistle in T-Dot may not be in the running. Just a hunch.
David M, Ottawa
A: Good hunch, although a Steamwhistle’s not a bad idea every now and then.
But so many cities, so many choices.
If had to go with five not to be missed over the course of a season, it’d have to be Yeungling, Harpoon (a Boston delicacy), Fat Tire when you get out west and when in Texas, I’d think a Shiner Bock would be something I might order. Now, you know me and my good friend Stella have a long-standing relationship but I guess she can’t round out the top five so I’m going with my current love, Sam Adams summer seasonal.
And, please, in the name of all that’s good in the world, if someone can find me a Samuel Smith Organic Lager, I will be eternally grateful. They used to have it at St. Elmo’s in Indy and a place I can’t remember in Seattle but I haven’t seen it in a long time.
Q: Hi Doug Great work with the daily blog. Are you on a contract year? Do insecure Toronto fans have to worry about you leaving the city? Will they boo you when you come back if you decide to leave? But all kidding aside ...my question is when a player asks for a trade, how do his teammates, who are still under contract, usually react to it? Do they feel that the player turned his back on them (especially if the request came mid-season)? Or is it usually a business decision.
Thanx again for your work.
Rob H, Victoria
A: I’m on a day-to-day contract, I work at the whim of Mother Star but if there’s a nice five-year, guaranteed-mid six figure deal out there, I’m listening (Kidding, boss!).
Of course, I can’t speak to the reaction of every player when a teammate wants out and I haven’t had a chance to talk to a single Raptor since the whole Hedo Nonsense broke.
But over the years – and we go back to Damon wanting out, and Walt Williams looking for a deal and Antonio Davis being disenchanted and, of course, HWSNBN, my experience is that most players know it’s a personal matter and there’s no resentment or anger. That said, it’s incumbent on the player wanting out to behave in a professional manner because teammates want honest effort, regardless of off-court circumstances. There were definitely teammates in the 20-game period before the guy got traded to Jersey who wondered about his commitment.
Q: Remember the whole "Lebron to Europe", "$50 million a year", "The Euro", "No salary cap" talk that was going on a year and a half ago. What was your take on it then?
Andrew R, Brampton
A: It was equal parts preposterous, posturing and boring then. I never for a second thought it was a viable option and I believe that’s always been the case.
Q: Hey Doug, g'day from New Zealand. This is a basketball-ish question at best, but I hope you can give your sage advice.
I've been here a few months and noticed something unusual - the newspapers and TV pay attention to women's sport! Well, one in particular - netball.
I'm not sure if you're familiar with the game, but it's sort of a cross between basketball and ultimate frizbee (think basketball without the dribbling or a backboard).
Anyhow, I was wondering what your thoughts were on the merits of having a women's sport that is entirely distinct from the men's one - rather than just a women's version of the major leagues?
Also, do you know if there are many players who cross between women's basketball and netball? Aussies being drafted into the WNBA, or Canadians going down under to play at a pro level?
Thane B, Blenheim, NZ
A: I’m familiar with netball and know it’s a very popular sport in Europe but it’s practically non-existent in North America and I’ve never known anyone to play it.
And I don’t think we need a “women’s specific” sport, actually, although I can see an argument that says it’d be better for them to attract attention to a game they alone play. However, as long as people don’t try to compare the game as played by women to the one played by men, I’m fine with having them compete in the usual sports.
Q: Hello Doug! Are you enjoying the World Cup Festivities down there in Boston? Must be kinda cool to be in a country whose team is actually participating in the tournament. So, while this football championship is without argument, the largest (in all ways) global sport spectacle there is, where would you say the Mens' Basketball Tourney rank for world attention? Do you think it sits in second place for global interest? By the way, have you ever attended one of these World Cup games? (And is the Stinky Ford Focus proudly sporting the Black Stars flag yet?) Thank you. Bafana Bafana Bafana!
Lorie P, London
A: As a single sport entity, I think the world basketball championship does sit second. I suppose a case could be made for rugby’s world championship but I don’t know that it creates the passion in Asia and South America that the world basketball championships do.
And it’s been quite interesting for a couple of days here. As I mentioned in this story this morning it was quite fun sitting on a stool next to a couple of fervent France fans watching their game against Uruguay and there was quite a Saturday afternoon buzz around U.S.A.-England.
Q: Hey Doug, do you think that relations between Hedo and the Raps (management, players or coaches) have been strained too much throughout all of this or is it still possible for Hedo to remain with the team and professionalism to somehow prevail?
Mike D, Hamilton
A: It’s broken but, no, I think the relationship between Hedo and the Raptors could be salvaged. That said, I don’t think it will. I think the bigger issue is how the relationship would be with the fans and I’m sure that cannot be repaired, which will lead Bryan to explore every trade opportunity. And I expect he will be successful in that search.
Q: Doug, I'm an Antoine Wright fan, starting when he was with Nets. I think you covered him very fairly this year. Any idea where he might end up playing next year? Is Toronto definitely out of question?
John M, Hoboken
A: I have no clue where he might end up, I do know Minnesota and Cleveland were interested in him at times last year.
Nothing, as you know, is for certain in this world so I guess there’s a possibility he could come back (and some of it might have to do with what they do with Hedo) but I’d say it’s a long, long, long, long shot at the moment.
Q: Throughout the playoff series, Michael Finley is pretty much invisible. At times, it seems like Boston could've given his scoring ability a try? What gives?
Ken Y, Oakville
A: He’s got no game left. Pure and simple. He only gets in under the most dire of circumstances.
Q: With the officials calling some of the games really closely it got me thinking about players who have a knack for drawing fouls. I've always thought Paul Pierce was great at this, particularly when it comes to getting guys up in the air and then jumping into them or just putting the ball towards the hoop anytime he's fouled (to make it a shooting foul).
My question is, who would be your top five or top 10 foul-drawing players of all time? Thanks Doug, keep up the great work.
James S, Port Perry
A: I just have a personal list of three culled from my time around the game and I’ll give you Reggie Miller, Michael Jordan and Dwayne Wade.
Q: Doug. Who pays for all the flights, hotels, meals etc for potential draftees? Is it each team that brings them in or do some of these kids pay out of pocket? It seems like this would cost tonnes to bring in 10-20 a year for evaluations?
Dean E, Hamilton
A: The teams foot the bill, which is why you’re seeing more things like the big gang workouts for late first-round and second-round possibilities in places like Jersey this week and Minnesota last month so that teams can split costs.
Back in the day, kids who had declared for the draft but not signed with agents because they didn’t want to jeopardize their college eligibility had to pay their own way but now that the timing has changed on when kids can withdraw from the draft, that never happens.
Q: Curious about your opinion on the timing of the draft (late June) vis a vis free agency (July 1). A case that may well apply to the Raps, free agent A decides July 1 he wants to go to team B who offers a sign & trade package that includes player X that they just drafted last week but free agent A's old team would have taken a different player in the draft if only the draft was after the start of free agency. Any clarity on the NBA's rationale for these dates would be appreciated.
Manny W, Toronto
A: Well, you have to understand first that this is quite a unique year so everything has to be tempered by that fact. And, the truth is, most teams have an idea before the draft what their free agents are going to and have explored – likely through back channels – various scenarios.
But, no, it’s not a perfect situation but as long as the league uses July 1 as its point to determine salary cap numbers, it’s something that teams are going to have to deal with.
Q: Hi Doug, I know you don't want to get into trade scenarios so I won't ask you to tell us who you would like to stay or go. What I would like to know is what you feel is the Raptors focus this off-season. Obviously Bosh is a big topic. What kind of front office work will be done if he stays or goes? Most importantly, are we going to be good next year. All those scenarios that people have come out of a desire to see the Raptors win. From your perspective, what opportunities do we have this coming year?
Brett F, Lethbridge
A: The breadth of this question makes it virtually impossible to answer. The focus is – as it is every single summer – on making the team better, in any way, shape or form and because there are so many moving parts – Bosh, Turkoglu, the draft, the point guards, Amir Johnson – you cannot possibly pick out one or two things. It also means the opportunities are pretty much endless. And I have no idea if they’ll be good next year, it’s the great part of sports, no one knows.
So that’s pretty much a non-answer to an unanswerable question.
A: You mean aside from the “hey, look at me” tossing of resin in the air ala LeBron stolen from Michael?
Q: Hi Doug. I know hockey players are known for some of their weird superstitions or pre-game rituals. Is this as prevalent in the NBA? What are some of the oddest or most unusual superstitions and/or rituals that you've either witnessed or heard of? Are there enough of them to make a top 5 or 10 list? Thanks!
Dominique K, Ottawa
As far as I can tell, and this is just anecdotally talking to friends and colleagues, there really aren’t a lot, at least that we know of.
I do remember Voshon Lenard, when he was in Toronto, used to sit stone-faced at his locker staring at a TV screen playing a video of that night’s opponent; I believe Rod Strickland used to chow down on some junk food just before the game and Mike Curry, I believe it was, used to pound coffee to get him going.
Other than that, though, this is generally a boring bunch.
Q: Hey Doug. Great blog. Quick question, is it true that Andrea Bargnani is untouchable? I personally do not see him as a franchise player if Bosh leaves. Who would you pick as the new franchise if Bosh leaves, DeRozan or Bargnani?
Zaid T, Scarborough
A: No one’s “untouchable” in the right circumstances on this team; that’s a myth perpetuated by fans who like to read more into things than are there.
And why pick one? Why is there an incessant need to define a “franchise” player? Tell me who it is in Boston, for instance. Why not try to get a few good players and let whoever emerges that night as the key guy be the “franchise” player that night.
Q: Hey Doug. With the oh so public news that Turkoglu is unsatisfied with the Raptors organization, and the city & fans of Toronto, this obviously handcuffs Bryan Colangelo and limits the amount of leverage he has in any trade discussions. What's to stop the Raptors from trading the Turk to a team along with a lump some of cash to pay a portion his contract or at least an agreement to pay whatever percentage of his contract until its maturity? Does the NBA allow this? Would this impact his contract for trade purposes (ie. if he's owed $10M/year for 4 years and we send $8M along in cash would that then make his contract worth $8M/year for trade purposes?) I look at the Texas Rangers and the A-Rod trade that they still owe him money for and it got me thinking.
Thanks Doug, and keep up the excellent work!
Matt N, Toronto
A: No, the maximum amount of money that can change hands in a trade is $3 million and it cannot be used to lessen the salary cap situation of either team.
Q: I know the Bullets... um Wizards.... um... what ever they are going to be called keep saying they don't want to trade Arenas, but I would love to see his crazy act in Toronto. I know that Jack Armstrong says He brings a "high Knucklehead probablity", but where elese are they going to find someone who can create his own shot, get to the line, have unlimited range, play both 1 and 2 and provide security services?
Rob N, London
A: Quite aside from the numerous off-court “issues” there are, I think you might want to consider the fact that Arenas has played a grand total of 42 games and has had three knee surgeries in the last three years before figuring he’d help an awful lot. He may, but you’d have to be very, very wary of his health.
Q: RE: the new CBA. When you look at the various pro leagues and recall the ideas you've heard, what would be the highlights / top five which would make the most fan friendly as well as competitive compromise? I love the rules which give some insight to the GM game and feel that any game is ultimately limited to the ability to be up for grabs for any team that does it right as apposed to rules that take advantage of players (NCAA) or a free for all that allows big money (NY) to buy trophies.
Dave H, Istanbul
A: Istanbul? Hey, if you run into Hedo, tell him to give me a call, would you? Thanks.
I do like the way the NBA has structured its deal that makes it easier for teams to retain their best players, it builds a loyalty you don’t see in many other sports.
However, I kind of like the NFL’s non-guaranteed salary situation, although I think there needs to be some flexibility that would allow a player to earn, say, 75 per cent of his total money if he’s cut before a deal expires.
Other than that, I guess it’s the usual. I did like the one-time tax amnesty the NBA allowed its teams and perhaps having that available every five years or so would be a good idea.
I’m not a fan of no-trade clauses, which are predominate in hockey, I believe, and like that the NBA makes it virtually impossible to have one.
Q: Top of the morning to ya, Doug. As I look around my city here in China, I can't help but notice the good things development can bring for the future, and as such, I can finally say, I'm fine if Bosh leaves Toronto. And I hope that if he does leave, it's for picks and young, promising talent.
I think Andrea is ready to be a franchise player--at least the team should give him a chance. Anyway, I have 2 questions, and I don't want you to speculate because I like that you don't do that. Rather, I mostly would like to hear what you would do and how you think it would work if the following transactions were to transpire.
Turk and some package to the Kings for one of their 2 promising bigs. I know trading Turk is difficult and Evans needs the ball in his hands, but Noccioni and a young big, seems good to me.
BC swings for the fences and re-signs Bosh and does a S&T for Joe Johnson sending: Turk, DeRozan and the 13th pick. Now, I know this is unlikely, but the Hawks still have Crawford and Turk would work the high pick and roll well with Horford and Josh Smith.
What do you think? Again, not so much interested if you think it'll happen, more of a "how would this work" for the teams involved.
Josh F, Ningbo, China
P.S. ...Do you know if any other sports writers/bloggers read your blog? I know you never tout your abilities and success, but really, I would think you must be considered a good benchmark for all things Raptors related, no?
A: What I would do? I’d be as proactive as possible on the Turk front, call every GM looking for a package that includes a young player, even if it means eating a so-so contract in return.
And I’m Bryan, I might indeed call Joe Johnson’s people on July 1 to guage any interest; I’d also call the agent for every big-name free agent to see if there was a chance they’d consider Toronto and if they saw a sign-and-trade package that works.
And, believe me, Bryan is going to try and shoot for the stars because he’s that kind of guy, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Oh, and I don’t know who or how many other people in my business read here, I presume more than a few, though, because it’s what we do, read each other’s work.
Q: Hi Doug, I just came across this interesting article about "clutch" performances in basketball and thought it was a great read.
After analyzing whether Kobe Bryant is the best at this, this Raptors related tidbit, or better put nugget, was unleashed:
Kobe finished worse than our beloved Andrea Bargnani in clutch field goal percentage (how this is calculated is explained in the article.)
Nihir M, Toronto
A: It goes to my time-worn theory that stats can be made to say anything, really. And while there may be empirical data that says LeBron and Wade are better, I still want the ball in the hands of Kobe Bryant – who has more championships than anyone on that list – than I do anyone else.
Call me silly, but even on a team that had LeBron and Kobe on it, I’d still want Bryant to take that shot.
Of course, those “clutch” situations don’t take into account opponent, significance of game, whether it was something like the fourth game in five regular season nights and I think that’s part of the issue, too.