And so begins the weekend mail
And a fine good day to you all.
One more shot to get in tomorrow’s mail if you like, or to send stuff for next week ‘cause it looks like it’s going to be slow around these parts.
Q: So just wondering...if the powers that be do not come to an agreement today (but I'm hoping that this is a moot question by the end of the day) what would be the last possible date to settle before having to call off the whole season?
And my apologies if this question has already been asked in an earlier posting.
Joanne W-F, Etobicoke
A: Well, as I recall, it was early January in 1999 and they were still able to piece together that lockout-shortened 50-game season so there would appear to be some time. However, the commish has been much more strident, it seems, in not only threatening longer “cancellations” so I would imagine the sabres would be rattled in mid-November as a “do it now or the entire year is gone” kind of ultimatum.
Q: Doug. I am really enjoying the TV and music memories and trivia you have been throwing our way. Here's a debate - originals vs remakes, and sometimes multiple remakes. I loved the black and white superhero series "Superman" (George Reeves) and "Batman and Robin," (Adam West) with their basic (non)special effects and tongue in cheek entertainment. I just lapped it up as a rug rat. But then Christopher Reeves in the movie series, and the latest TV reincarnation Smallville proved that reincarnations can be successful, as did "The Dark Knight."
So let the debate begin! Special effects or acting? Classic Hero or Misunderstood Brooding Human with real feelings? Black and White for the memories of childhood awe and excitement or Man-Cave appropriate adrenaline rush?
Allan F, Burlington
A: No way.
It stops and starts with Adam West, George Reeves and the oldsters. I have to admit I’m pretty sure I have been able to sit through an entire episode of Smallville but I don’t know that I could without screaming “Great Ceasar’s ghost!”
And the Batman stuff is way too dark for me; I love the campy nature of the old time stuff.
Q: Since the Bills are in town and Bills-backers are optimistic once again, how but a rundown of the best Bills teams of all time?
Mark T, Niagara Falls
A: Well, my immediate thought was the team that cost me the least amount of money back in the day when there’d be the odd weekly wager on the NFL. Not that anyone I know would know of a Niagara Falls saloon where that might be possible to accomplish, would he?
I still say the first Super Bowl team, 1990, was the best. Kelly, Thomas, Lofton, Smith, Talley, Conlan, Bennett, Odomes.
Oh, and Norwood.
Of course, because I’m old, I’d probably have to split my vote with the Jack Kemp AFL teams but not too many of us would remember those. Or old War Memorial Stadium, right?
Q: Hi Doug. Do think that the extended break away from the rigours of the game might be beneficial to some players in terms of letting their bodies recover from chronic injuries, fatigue, etc.?
Ed S, Hamilton
A: Without a doubt and that may ultimately be a good thing in the long run. But is the converse also not true: Would an extended break allow some of the less-disciplined among them go a bit to seed and therefore take it longer for them to get up to speed once a season begins? And would that lend itself to some bad games/players early in the season?
Q: FIBA 2016 Olympic qualifier at Toronto 2015 Pan Am games? Could it happen?
K J, Toronto
A: Oh, they wish.
I suppose it could conceivably happen, and I know Canada Basketball and the Games organizers would love it to because it would add huge interest to the Pan-Ams, but FIBA Americas sees the men’s qualifier as its biggest cash cow and unless the organizers hand over a barrel of two of money – maybe three or four, actually – it’s got no chance of happening.
But if there’s a Sugar Daddy out there who wants to pony up, I know FIBA will gladly take whatever cash it can get its hands on.
Got a bushel or two of bills lying around?
Q: Hey Doug. My question is about the average player's financial aptitude. Do you have any sense of how prepared most players are for a situation such as this? Are very many of them truly worried that they won't be able to make ends meet the longer the lockout continues. Do many of them plan their impeding early retirement?
Peter F, Mississauga
A: Let’s play a game:
Let’s say you work in a business with 450 or so other employees of varying ages, levels of intelligence and salaries. Among that group, you are sure to find at least a few who have no clue about financial planning and people who, if they lost their jobs, would be destitute in the blink of an eye.
Same pretty much for the NBA, you’ve got some guys who are bright and plan for the future, you’ve got some who are bright enough to know they have to hire people to help them to prepare for the future and some who are absolute spendthrifts who have no clue about getting ready for the impending end of the careers.
My sense is that the overwhelming majority of players fall into the first two categories and that we hear more about the latter group because they are better “stories.”
I also know that his current group has been warned for years to not only save for this year but for the future as well so if they screw up, it’s entirely on them.
Q Doug, it's game 7. You're the manager of one of the teams. Amongst Henry Rowengartner, Nuke LaLoosh, Kit Keller, Ricky Vaughn or Mel Clark, who would you want to start for you? Or how would you use each of these pitchers to lead you to victory if they were in your bullpen?
Felix T, Loughborough, UK
A: It doesn’t matter how I’d think about using them, actually. And I’d tell all of ‘em to sit down, pull up a chair and watch greatness at work because they would not be needed, they could prepare the champagne for the celebration.
I’d give the ball to one guy and one guy alone:
But if I had to take one of your list to start, it’d have to be Nuke, right? Annie would have him ready.
Q: Regarding the HOTH adding some high profile free agent. Given the change in the coaching and especially the fact that there has been zero opportunity to put those players already signed through any form of practise or game situations might the specific needs to be found in a not so high profile free agent still be a little difficult to quantify? Presumably, if the guy is not a "cornerstone" kind of player his value then would be measured more in the intangibles, work ethic, leadership or maybe even a fount of levity in the dressing room. All stuff that is fairly particular to the human dynamic of the rest of the team and coaching staff.
A digression, having found myself involved in B-fords' own version of the IGBT (with our Mayor as guest of honour) it strikes me that this whole live blogging thing is really going mainstream. Which, ordinarily, would cause my inner rebel to then avoid any form of live blogging anywhere, however, given that my initial exposure to this kind of thing was the ORIGINAL IGBT I can take comfort in knowing that whilst it remains available, I can, with clear conscience continue to enjoy and learn from the best one.
Thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: I do think they will be looking for more of a “character” guy than a stud and someone who might help one of the youngsters emerge as the voice of the team. That said, they would love to find a combination of skill and chemistry because I think this team needs to get just a wee bit older, if you know what I mean. But as has always been the case with Bryan, he’ll put a lot of stock in a players’ personality and ability to fit in with the current group.
Now, the IGBT? Yes, I do believe we might have been cutting edge, I certainly have seen enough copycats around our business – and the world as a whole – and it makes me feel a tad proud. Hope the Irregulars do, too, and we’ll have to find some way to push the envelope whenever things get back to normal.
Q: Andrea Bargnani vs Dwayne Casey.
I wanted to get your thoughts on what Bargnani's role on the Raptors will be given that Casey is a defensive minded coach, coaching a player who rarely attempts to play defense and rebound the ball.
What do you think the chances of Bargnani becoming a role player off the bench a la Barbosa. Andrea could be used to come in when the offense is struggling and try and create some shots for himself, and others.
Cody G, Hamilton
A: I think there is more a chance of you or I playing in the NBA this coming season as there is of Bargnani coming off the bench. Yes, he has some serious defensive and rebounding flaws – although he is a far better on-the-ball defender than most give him credit for – but instead of taking his skills away from the team by limiting use, I know Casey believes he can devise a system and coach Bargnani well enough to improve those areas.
Will the staff be successful? Impossible to tell but there is no appetite for making Bargnani a backup now. Nor should there be.
And the next time Bargnani creates a shot for others might be the first.
Q: In hockey, with hard cap, teams are somewhat protected from over spending thus controlling costs. For well to do teams like the Leafs, that means salary cost down and revenue still high. Which simply means they are making more money than before cap. NFL has revenue sharing.
Any talk on how NBA want to handle similar problem or do wealthy healthy teams just make more money with a cap? What do you see as a workable cap system?
Jim M, Guelph
A: Owners, not surprisingly, started the process with a desire for a firm, intractable cap and finally came off it because it never would have flown.
Personally, I don’t mind some variation of the way things were in the basketball, a relatively soft cap that allows teams to benefit financially from keeping their own free agents while allowing for some movement.
I’m not a big fan of a hard cap that forces teams to make roster moves solely based on money each off-season; there has to be some flexibility built in to the process.
Q: With the talk of a potential settlement thoughts of how the Raptors will be constructed this year have started. With Bosh signing in Miami I seem to recall there was a cap implication for the Raptors. What is the status of this? Will it depend on the negotiated settlement?
R M, Burlington
A: Ah, right. The old Bosh Trade Exception question.
Well, there was slightly more than $9 million left on it – and about nine days to spend it -- when the game went away in July and there’s been no indication whether or not it will exist under terms of the new deal.
But even if it does, Bryan sounded quite cautious the other day about a willingness to spend like a drunken sailor (apologies to drunken sailors) once the free agent gloves are off. I would be surprised if he blew it all in a hurry even if he can.
Q: Hi Doug: Fairly irregular Irregular here. I was wondering if in the wild possibility that the Star ceased to exist and you were looking for work, and a fellow at the NBA head office said, "have any job you want" which one role with the NBA would you want, or fit best in.
Jon K, Hamilton
A: I’d love to think I could take David’s gig but then … maybe not.
If I could be the guy who watches games, makes sure everything’s going okay and only jumps in during the most dire of circumstances, that’d be cool. Sort of an overseer of sorts.
But, given my new-found propensity for multi-media and this whole interweb thing, sitting back, watching games, and doing morning blogs and video cynicism each morning might be fun.