Is there more coming? There has to be.
I’d love to sit back and digest exactly what this team is going to be like next year but you know we can’t for one simple reason: Bryan can’t be done.
The way I see it, there are still two crying needs on this roster: some frontcourt depth and a starting small forward.
I don’t think a frontcourt of Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani, Ed Davis and Reggie Evans is good enough by any means and whether it’s finding a starter to let Johnson come back off the bench or finding a suitable backup who’s long and athletic, something has to be done.
As for the small forward?
I think you diminish the energy of a second unit if you try to play Weems and DeRozan together and there will be some size and defensive issues to deal with when they are on the court at the same time.
Kleiza? I’m not sure he’s a great fit in a ball-movement kind of offence that wants to run a little bit. He’s a good player, no question, who can do a lot of things but I don’t know that he’s ready to handle extended starters minutes right at that moment. Maybe he evolves and eventually does, right now I’m not convinced he’s ready.
So where does a GM turn?
He turns to his assets and tries to turn them into better assets, and right now the assets he has are point guard depth, that big trade exception and the expiring contracts of Reggie Evans, Marcus Banks and Marco Belinelli.
What they can fetch is entirely unknown and to sit here and guess is folly.
I don’t know – and don’t imagine I’ll ever find out – just who is available out there. I’m going to try to find out a couple of names that they may have asked about and see where that leads us but in this day and age, there seems to be a lot of clamming up being done by GMs, scouts, contacts throughout the league.
But rest assured, if you or I can see the deficiencies in this roster, you know full well that the guy in charge does and if there’s one thing we’ve come to learn about Bryan, it’s that he’s more than willing to make a deal he thinks will improve his team.
When does it happen? Who knows. I’d bet sooner rather than later because he’s out in Vegas surrounded by dozens of other GMs and that’s like a perfect storm to a trade-minded guy.
Turk for Barbosa?
Pretty good deal, I guess.
Gets Bryan out from under a so-so contract he gave out, saves about $23 million or so over the life of the deal and Barbosa, if he’s healthy, seems like a pretty good fit for a team that wants to run a bit.
And there’s no reason to think he won’t be healthy; I’d have been concerned if a 27-year-old speedster had leg problems or knee woes, but a wrist injury? They’re easily overcome and there’s no reason he can’t be back to his usual self when next season rolls around.
Where’s he fit?
Well, he’s a backup combo guard no doubt about it; I think one of the plans was to let him and Diaw work in some kind of tandem running things on the court together but of course that plan was waylaid when the Charlotte deal was scuttled.
But Barbosa’s a valuable piece and I can see him fitting in pretty well. He can get around his man, he’s lightning-quick on the break and he brings a level of speed to the Raptors that they’ve only ever had when T.J. Ford was here.
It’s good, I guess, that the Heroes Of The Hardcourt, Summer Edition, have Thursday off.
They can go get sized for their rings.
Mail? Let’s take one more shot (well, we’ll probably take another one tomorrow) and see what we can get.
Click here if you’d like to send a card, a letter, a greeting but no rants, okay?
I’m thinking that with the summer upon us soon it might be time to scale back just a wee bit; the plan will be, I presume, to do the usual pap and drivel here Monday to Friday and then just have one omnibus weekend mail bag so I can maybe get some extra downtime on weekends.
Am going to try to start it this week but that just means Bryan will come up with something silly for me to do Friday and react to on Saturday.
Hey, how about my Argos!
2-1? That’s juggernaut city, folks. And, having covered them all of one day, I’ll take ownership of their turnaround.
And I do like Chet, er, Cleo Lemon as a pivot.
Back to Summer League for a second.
You know what I think of it and I haven’t watched a single second of a single game but I have talked to people who are out there because I figure you want to know what’s going on.
DeRozan and Weems look really good, lots of good chemistry; DeMar seems to have worked quite hard in his ball-handling and they’ve had some highlight reel stuff. That’s to be expected, of course, since they’re facing mainly non-NBA talent, but the thing people are most impressed with is the improvement in things like ball-handling, defensive awareness and cohesion.
Early reports on Ed Davis? Athletic, hasn’t had moments of mind-wandering too often, can keep up athletically and has more offensive game than some thought, at least at the summer league level. Seeing how he hadn’t played five-on-five since February, everyone seems pleased with progress.
Solomon Alabi? First day, got this: “Hope he likes Erie.” Since then, he seems to have become more comfortable. Remains a long-term project.
And now the guy everyone wants to know about: The New Legend Joey (Not Tommy) Dorsey.
Kid’s a bull, built like a linebacker and doesn’t mind contact at all. Has looked good and aggressive and solid on the boards. Is he a keeper? Depending on how many guys they end up with on the final roster, there are those who think he might just get some kind of non-guaranteed deal.