The end of the weekend mail
Told you there’d be some later Sunday.
Enjoy Canada Day.
Q: Hey Doug: Do you know what your assignment(s) will be for the Olympics? Are there any particular duties (other than ensuring that Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is still open) that you are looking forward to? When do you leave and return?
Tim H, Windsor
A: Haven’t really nailed down any specific assignments, the fun part of the Games is floating all over the place, a little track one day, maybe some diving the next, a day or two at the basketball. We usually don’t know for sure what we’re doing until the night before when we divvy up the best Canadian stories of the next day.
I’m getting in a few days before to get acclimated (and to spend at least one afternoon/evening at the Cheese) and hanging around a few days to decompress and perhaps take a train ride to Paris.
Q: Hey Doug. If Bryan Colangelo comes up to you this weekend and asks you for a list of 5 free agents we should pursue, what names do you give him?
Fuzzy D, Devonshire
A: Nash, Ilyasova, Batum, Hill, Pietrus; knowing full well that the most they get is two. There is a second wave of restricted and unrestricted guys they might want to take a quick glance at like Kirk Hinrich, Leandro Barbosa, Landry Fields, Jeff Green, Boris Diaw but they’re on the backup list.
Q: Doug, being that the Raptors need shooters, and drafted based on that premise, is it the most difficult thing a players has to learn, or a coach to teach?
Steph R, Glencoe
A: I don’t think so. It’d be near the top of the list but I think learning to defend in a team system at the NBA level is harder, learning to make split-second decisions with the ball might be a bit more difficult. Bad shooting form can be corrected with a lot of hard work but it’s more physical, the mental part of the game is harder, I think.
Q: Hi Doug. Good work on PTS today. In regards to the amnesty provision, can a team amnesty as many players as they want or just 1?
Enio P, Vaughan
A: Teams can use the amnesty clause only one time and only on a guy who was under contract to them on July 1, 2011.
Q: Hi Doug. If they have the assets and cap space to get him and he has the desire to go there, should OKC take a shot at getting Dwight Howard and forming their own big 3 with Westbrook and Durant?
Joe D, Mississauga
A: Of course they should but they don’t and he’s got his sights set on Brooklyn if you believe the reports.
Q: Hey Doug, If the raptors sign Nash, I am a little confused to why the raptors would want to amnesty Calderon. His contract in the market especially considering that it is a 1 year deal would be popular trade bait. And if nobody budges, we can just keep him as a backup point guard that could at times slide to the shooting guard spot. Calderon seems like a pro, and i think wouldn't mind backing up Nash for at least 1 yr, even under a limited role. (Plus if were stuck with Calderon for this yr, we have great insurance incase Nash gets hurt)
The way I look at it is that Calderon's 1 year/10.5 million dollar contract would be greater to have than the combination of Bayless and Amir Johnson. The reason I compare Calderon to those two players is because rumors say we are going to amnesty Calderon, but why not keep Calderon, amnesty Amir and let Bayless walk. His presence in the locker room as a leader and a vet combined with his shooting and passing would be an upgrade from Bayless. We don't need Amir Johnson because we already have Ed Davis. Amir is the one that we should amnesty, his contract is way harder to move, being that it is a multi year deal worth 6, 6.5 and 7 million in the next three years.
And worst case scenario, if we don't like the fact that we are paying a backup PG 10.5 million this year, you either ship him out in a deal or you sit for 1 yr with Calderon as the backup, and then the money comes off the books next year.
Anyways I would love to hear your thoughts to why amnestying Calderon is a better option.
Thanks a bunch for your time!
Mario A, Toronto
A: I don’t think it’s a better option at all but they think they may need that money to sign a free-agent small forward or two if a suitable trade can’t be arranged.
I do think there are other options – an amnesty on, say, Kleiza clears up about $5 million more – and I would presume they would explore them first.
But they make think it’s necessary.
Q: Hi Doug. In your recent blog, you played the "what if" game with Damon Stoudamire. Playing that same game, if Detroit had not taken Darko in the 2003 draft, any idea as to whether the Raptors have taken him over whichever of Bosh or Wade was still available at the time?
Mark S, Hamilton
A: That’s a good question that I’ve never asked Glen but my recollection is that they were pretty high on Darko, too. Lots of teams were, incorrectly, as it turned out and the Raptors did have a need for big men at that time. Would have been interesting and I’m quite sure a decision Glen is, in hindsight, glad he didn’t have to make.
Q: Hey Doug, 2 part question:
I feel out of the loop because I cannot figure out what HOTH stands for.
What is your favourite Olympic games? (summer vs winter)
David S, Calgary
A: Our weekly recap: Heroes Of The Hardcourt.
And I much prefer summer, even though they’re bigger and almost unmanageable; have only done one winter though – Nagano – but I don’t imagine I’d change my mind.
Q: The statement, "he’s got at least two or three years left in his career and the Raptors have the financial wherewithal to make him an offer more lucrative than almost any other team in the league," you made in your June 29 article free agency is concerning. Where is your crystal ball? And, more importantly, where's the journalistic responsibility to your readers to mention the invariable drop-off in production and Colangelo's tendency to overpay? Steve Nash's talent is undeniable, as was Isiah's, Cousy's, Frazier's and Payton's. This doesn't mean it makes sense to give him a 3 year going-away gift...even if tomorrow is Canada Day. The production difference between Calderon and Nash is low, should become lower each year going forward. How about a succession plan instead of switching one elder for another?
Jeremy T, Toronto
A: Why is it concerning? There’s no evidence to the contrary, his production hasn’t fallen off in a half a decade and it’s an opinion you may not share but many do.
And I would debate the ‘production difference’ when you take everything into consideration but your opinion is your opinion.
I will point this out since you seem bent on the though Nash will somehow magically break down: He hasn’t missed more than eight games in any season over the last decade.
Q: I just heard news that J. Nelson has opted out of his contract with Orlando. With this news do you see the Magic going after Nash as well to replace him? If so, does this hinders the Raptors chance of getting Nash? I know if I was Nash I would be salivating at the thought of throwing lobs to Howard.
Also the presence of having Nash might entice the big man in Orlando to re-sign.
Anyways, thanks for the blog as my day doesn't begin without it.
Ian B, Toronto
A: I don’t think it hinders it at all; Orlando has to deal with the Howard issue first and foremost and I don’t see them having the financial means to make a significant offer to Nash and, without Howard, that’s a pretty average team barley better than the one in Toronto.
Q: Hi Doug. Quick question. I love the Nash talk, but don't think he may be the best long term FA option for the Raps. Do you agree they might be better off making a run at Dragic (young, tall PG who can pass and defend) or Ilyasova (bring some rebounding to the sf/pf spot)?
Do the Raps have even a "Jim Carey in Dumb & Dumber" chance at signing Deron Williams? Would they call and even get past his agent?
David W, Toronto
A: You may not think that and that’s fine; I think he would be and that’s fine, too, isn’t it? And I’m sure if things don’t work out with Nash, they would take a very long look at Dragic, who has never been a full-time starter in the NBA.
I think they would have Ilyasova on a list of possibilities, too, although I know some people in the organization think he’s more a four than a three and would probably seek someone like Batum before.
And, no, they have no chance whatsoever on Williams; if they make a call, it’s wasting a dime.
Q: I know you hate trade speculation but, do you know if Phoenix is considering taking back contracts for Nash in a sign and trade? Jose might be a good mentor for Kendall Marshall for a year.
Chris F, Ottawa
A: Have no indication there's any interest in doing that with Toronto
Q: From the major What If department... do you think if the Vancouver Grizzlies still existed that there would be any debate about where Steve Nash was going to end his career?
Brian K, Hazelville
A: If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we’d all have a very Merry Christmas. So, sure, there would be no debate.
Q: After you convinced me repeatedly to forget about Sonny Weems, and never really giving a straight answer as to why he has no chance of returning, Raps make qualifying offer? What's up with that? Why the hate for Weems?
Actually, Hate is to strong for you.... Why the general distaste? We Raps fans are big on Weems. It was a good story at the time. He was just a throw away player we got for a couple of Euros, and he was arguably as good as our lottery pick that year. That’s why we want him back.
Marcus T, Newmarket
A: It’s not “hate” at all, come on. I don’t think he’s a particularly good player, they have more than enough talent at that spot and bigger fish to fry. I hope he has a long and productive career in the NBA but, shockingly, 30 GMs seem to concur with me rather than you since the offers aren’t flooding in.
You may want him back but it isn’t going to happen and, frankly, it’s time to move on. Maybe to Pops Mensah-Bonsu or Slokie!
They extended the qualifying offer merely as a bookkeeping exercise and to retain the rights to an asset to put in a sign-and-trade deal if someone wants him and has something to give up. It’s prudent and the same thing they did with Carlos Delfino after he went to Russia.
Q: Hey Doug: This is from one of your responses in Saturday's mailbag:
"The league is filled with people like that, names you might not know but men who do excellent work behind the scenes."
My question concerns the word "men." Are there any women that you know of who do excellent work behind the scenes, either for teams, or the NBA itself?
Thank again for all the work you do - do you sleep for more than an hour???
Tim H, Windsor
A: Not in front offices in basketball operations, as far as I know. The Lakers employ, or employed, a female NBA advanced scout but that’s about it.
Q: Hi Doug. Enjoyed your draft night bloggy thing. Got a few questions for you:
If the Raptors were to release Calderon by exercising the amnesty clause, could they in turn re-sign him for a lesser amount?
Given how crappy the Raptors have been over the past 3 years, I am somewhat amazed that all they have is $10 million in cap space. It just doesn't make sense to me. What am I missing?
Who else beyond Nash might the Raptors be looking at as free agents?
Thanks again for a great blog!
Mark L, Abbotsford
A: No, they couldn’t. A team that uses the amnesty clause on a player cannot re-sign that player until the terms of his contract are over, which in Jose’s case would be the start of the 2013-14 season.
And you might find it not making sense but no matter how bad a team’s record is, players still have to be paid and, in fact, having even $10 million puts Toronto among a very few number of teams with any significant amount of money to spend.
Q: Doug. I have no problem with the pick, but I wondered if the Raps tried to trade down a touch. Do you know if they tried?
Houston was looking for a top ten, their 12 and 18 for number 8 would have been interesting. I think that they would have gotten the same guy at 12 and 18 could be a solid player. If Houston really wanting a top ten was true, well why not try.
I thought the same with Bargnani years ago. Imagine if he was the second or third pick, pressure would be a little less.
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: It would have been interesting if it’d been offered by it wasn’t so it’s moot. And, yes, there were several breathless reports that Houston was dying to get into the top 10, might even have been true at one point but it sure didn’t turn out that way, did it?
- Q: Past history suggests that Austin Rivers will hit at least one game winning shot against the Raptors - and he will do it with Terrence Ross guarding him. Sigh.
Jason L, Toronto
A: Probably. And the IGBT will blow up. And I’ll giggle.