The end of the weekend mail
Not a whole lot left here but enough to keep you busy for a bit and done early enough that I can get to eleventy loads of London laundry to do.
Have a good day.
Q: Greetings and welcome back. Most consistently followed correspondent you were over the course of the Olympics by myself. Consistently entertaining and informative, thank you for that. Onto a "list" request, beyond the Cheshire Cheese, the top 3 (or 5) places that you would like to visit by interest generated from your love of the written word. While personally, I have not had any really exotic travels, in hindsight most of those that I have undertaken stem from interest tweeked by having read something that is set in that particular locale.
Thanks for what you do,
Doug T, Brantford
A: I do think my love of Spain has something to do with my reading Hemingway a lot as a youngster, is that the kind of thing you mean?
So I’d probably say Cheshire, anywhere in Madrid I could sip sangria and relax and that’s probably it, actually. It’s more the overall ambiance rather than the specifics of the history.
Q: Hi Doug. Just wondering if you had an idea or list of who will be attending Steve Nash's camp. In particular, will the list include some of the younger players that SEEM to have the greatest potential, like Andrew Wiggins, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Anthony Bennett or some other members of the Junior team or NCAA?
Nick M, Hamilton
A: I don’t have the full list – or even a partial one – but the guy who told me about it over in London said he expected “all the top players” to be there. Of course, there are sure to be scheduling issues with some of them – school, in particular – but I imagine it’ll be a good group. Should find out it’s finalized sometime early in the week, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday.
Q: Hey Doug. First off, two suggestions for Montreal. For an after-game bar, it's called Dieu de Ciel, at Laurier and St. Laurent. They brew their own adult beverages, and it's one of the best little bars in the city. Second, for a wonderful breakfast, head to Beauty's at Mont-Royal and St. Urbain. Been there since 1946, and it's the best breakfast place in the city. 91 year old Hymie still runs around serving everybody, and you tell him I say hello.
Anyway, very quick basketball question. Should this Triano thing not work out, what are the chances Steve Nash decides to take the coaching job himself? I think it would put even more pressure on the young players to commit to the program.
Simon S, Toronto
A: Thanks on the Montreal stuff but it’s going to be a quick in and out with maybe the night before the game to explore. Game day will be shootaround, pre-game stuff and then more work.
As for the Triano thing, we now know it’s going to work out (little item with the expected staff in Saturday’s paper) but Nash was never going to consider coaching. His role is all front office.
Q: Hi Doug. I think you mentioned that the Barcelona Olympics was one of your favourites. Will you be attending the Rio Olympics? Do you think Toronto would be a good host city for a future summer Olympics?
Monty M, Toronto
A: Man, I have no idea about Rio, I’d like to think about it but that’s a very, very, very long time away.
Toronto? I guess they could but it’s a terribly expensive proposition. As one guy used to say, it’s seven years of construction for three weeks of inconvenience and a lifetime of debt.
But managed correctly, there are solid legacies from Games.
Q: Hi Doug. Welcome Back! Thanks for all those stories from London.
Will the Sixers beat out the HOTC for the eighth spot? Sorry, just wanted to get you back in the groove.
Who will be the first Big Smoke G.M to be fired? Burke, Anthopoulos or BC?
How about a reminder for the new driver in your household, Shep and the Limelites … Daddy's Home?
Bob E, Kanata
A: Aside from the fact three good men would lose their jobs, how cool and newsy would it be in the two cable giants finally took control officially and got all three on the same day at the same time? That’d be one helluva news conference wouldn’t it?
Q: Ok. I do love and wildly follow multiple pro sports. But here's what pisses me off most about pro sports.
NBA, NHL, MLB, doesn't matter.
Every year a CBA comes up, the owners say something like "Our league can't exist under the current agreement." Lockout, strike, whatever. There's some "work stoppage.”
Eventually, they come to some *new* system that is designed to make the owners control themselves. Then, the owners don't. 10 or 15 year stupid NHL contracts. Howard gets traded to LA because they know that they are the ones who can re-sign him. Same gosh darn thing every friggin' time.
Why bother? The owners have to know it's going to happen no matter what. So why bother? I'm 50 years old, and it's been the identical circumstances every single gosh darn time (the worst being the year that Expos got robbed).
Any insight into this?
Ken M, London
A: I wish I had, I have many of the same feelings that you do. It’s a dance both sides figure they have to do and the ink isn’t even dry on the agreements before teams start tying to figure out ways around it; generally by spending in exactly the same manner they were before.
You wonder when they’ll try the patience of fans to the breaking point but, obviously, we’re not there quite yet.
It’s frustrating and maddening and until fans start staying away for a long time, I don’t see how it changes.
Q: At the Olympics, I saw Jose's name on his jersey was spelled with an accent. Why isn't his Raptors jersey spelled that way?
Richard Y, Kincardine
A: Mostly because they like to use the English translation over here. I’m sure he pushed it, they’d change it but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal to anyone.
Q: Hi Doug. Thoroughly enjoyed living vicariously through your Olympic experience! Thanks for the articles and the blog.
Now that we are into the dog days of summer, and decompression is the order of the day, my question is this: what is your dream summer cruising car, and what is playing on the stereo?
Mark L, Abbotsford
A: Oh, it’d have to be a Mercedes Benz sports car convertible and, since I just got tickets for Friday’s show here, I’m thinking Springsteen would be on the top of the CD pile.
Q: Hi Doug. Welcome back from your time in London.
Since it's dog days of summer, I thought I'd have a bit of fun. I came across this fun interview with Bryan Colangelo and Demar DeRozan at summer league where he discusses fashion trends among the players and management of the NBA. Here's the link:
This brings me to my question. If you had to make a top 5 list of the best dressed or most fashionable Raptors of all time. Who would you pick?
Joe D, Mississauga
A: Charles Oakley is the best-dressed athlete I’ve covered, hands down. Kevin Willis designed his own line of clothing so he’s next on the list and then it’s all pretty much a blur because they all seem to dress far better than I. But Jerryd Bayless had some style, so did Chris Bosh as a matter of fact and the one and only John Thomas, Big Kitchen, used to have a sense of style, too.
Q: Can we now consider the Lakers a big 4.5? Kobe, Gasol, Nash & Howard with World Peace shooting open 3's. Is this one of the best starting fives in the post expansion NBA? Also, is their bench strong enough to make a championship run?
Wayne S, Charleston
A: Post-expansion? Oh, yeah. You could probably make the case that it’s the best starting five of the last half century.
Bench? Well, right now I’d say it’s not that bad with Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks, Steve Blake. Not particularly big but not bad.
Q: Hey Doug, this may drag on a bit.
Can you please explain how the Trade Player Exception works? I understand that it can be created when trading a player and it only exists for one year but, what are the workings of the trade player exception?
Secondly, Now that the Lakers have acquired Dwight Howard, they have 6 players for around $90million. This brings me to my question: Isn't there a limit to how much a team can spend on players? Even after passing the luxury tax, is there another cap on teams to limit them acquiring any more players?
I'm sorry if these questions are a bit unclear but take your best shot at it will you?
Thanks for your blog and everything you do!
Shariq D, Karachi
A: Not sure what more you want on the trade exception, you’ve got it down pretty pat at the basics. It can be used for one calendar year to acquire players without having to send out the equivalent salary. It is more often than not used in bits and pieces rather than in one fell swoop.
And, no, there is not limit; if a team is willing to pay an exorbitant tax bill and can add or re-sign players under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, they can do whatever they please and fill out the roster with players either under minimum salary deals or one of the exceptions allowed.