The start of the weekend mail
Here’s the start of the mail; I was going to get up early and knock off the unanswered stuff but it seems I’d rather ease into the day, sip a coffee and loaf a wee bit.
So here’s this and I’ll putter around on the rest of today and get it done this evening.
Q: Hi Doug
My question has to do with the way trades go down. I thought I heard that Rudy, when he was traded, was able to go to supper with his old teammates the night of the trade, then the next day he was able to go back to Memphis to do some packing before he left for Toronto. In Ed's and Jose's cases we simply saw them get on a bus after having only a brief time to say goodbye. Where were they taken and why the difference in the way they were treated as compared to Rudy?
A: Mostly it had to do with logistics and flights and that kind of thing. Gay, for instance, had to get back to Memphis and then here because that’s where his passport was so he hung around with his team.
Jose actually just left the hotel to go somewhere and wait out the game, he flew back to Toronto on the team charter that night before moving on to Detroit. For Ed, it was easier to hang out in Atlanta and then get to Memphis to join his new team.
So the treatment really had to do with what was easier for everyone involved.
Q: Hi Doug,
With many players not wanting to come to Toronto because of higher taxes in Canada, what happens to Rudy Gay's contract? Wouldn't he be earning substantially less after the trade?
A: The tax thing is, frankly, a non-starter. Has always been, the Raptors have an education process for agents and players to give them information on how to mitigate any tax issues.
And, no, he won’t be earning “substantially” less but in any business if you move from one jurisdiction to another, tax levels change. For instance, Florida has no state income tax and if you work there and make the same gross amount as someone in a state with an income tax, you’ll pay a different amount.
The whole “Canada tax” thing is actually more a red herring than many make it out to be.
Q: Hi Doug,
At the time of Tyler Hansbrough's body slam of Jonas Valancuinas you mentioned that the Raptors sent a complaint to the league office. As I've heard nothing since, does this mean the league ruled that it was all in good fun and the officials were correct not to make a call?
As someone who appears to commit obvious fouls on every possession but rarely gets called, I've always wondered how Tyler gets away with it. Maybe the officials admire his grit and the fact that he's no better athlete than they are. Or maybe he's a distant relative of someone high up in the league office. I "keed" of course, but it does amaze me that he gets what we usually term "star" treatment.
Joe S, Kingston, ON
A: They obviously felt no suspension was warranted. Not sure I agree but that’s their call.
Q: Hello. Five games out, 28 to play. Having failed grade nine math, I was wondering if the Imlach Leafs could come from way behind, is it within the realm of possibility for the HOTC to beat the Deer for the right to lose four in a row to LBJ and the boys?
Any miraculous comebacks in sport jump out at you? Bobby Thompson? 2013 Lakers?
All the best!
Bob E, Kanata
A: I can’t see them doing it, the best I’ve got is them playing significant games in April for the first time in about three seasons at least.
And, no, this probably doesn’t count because it kills me to think about it but the Yankees being 14 games back of my then-beloved Red Sox in ’78 has to be up there, no?
Closer to home, how about the HOTH winning 10 of their last 12 or something like that and getting into the 2004 playoffs and taking Detroit to a deciding game that ended with Chris Childs’s mathematical blooper.
Q: Hi Doug,
I think Colangelo has made some good moves and some bad moves in the last 7 years, but I appreciate the effort he makes to try and improve the team.
Do you think ownership approving the Gay trade sends a message that they will keep Colangelo next year and beyond? Do you think they pick up his option for next year? If they do, do you think he will get an extension or a wait and see approach?
I am not a big fan of the "mid level" or just higher than league average contracts. In today's NBA you need to have 4 - 5 consistent game changers (who typically make $8-$10MM++) and then the rest of your roster can be rookie scale and minimum or just more than minimum guys. I get that you may need to overpay a bit to attract talent to a losing franchise (key - losing, not TO or Canada), but average talent gets you no where in the NBA.
I think Colangelo is trying to move away from that with the Gay trade.
(Gay, DeRozan, Bargnani - if he can find his game, Lowry - once he gets paid, Amir - with his improvement this year, as game changers,), (Jonas, Ross, Acy - rookie contracts), (Gray, Lucas, Anderson, Telfair, as low salary depth guys.) I hope Fields improves like Amir, but he may have a career in TO much like Kapono, where you see glimpses, but never really get much contribution towards W's.
What has been Colangelo's worst "mid level" contract? Kapono, Kleiza, Jack, Fields. He may have done well with Amir, but his other signings have been tough to swallow. Fields is ok, because it is only 3 years and he seems to have some intangibles, but I don't understand how the others makes sense in terms of building a competitive team in the NBA (He struck out
with Hedo and Jermaine O'Neill as well, but I thought those were both good gambles...I don't think the same way about these mid level contracts.
A: Wow, that’s a good combination of rant, dissertation and question there.
I’m going to get to the heart of it:
Yes, I think the least ownership will do is pick up the option year on his contract and they should: The plan that’s been in place since the year after Bosh left is playing out exactly as Bryan planned. That doesn’t sit well with fans who weren’t listening but it’s true.
Worst contract? Maybe Kapono but he got that corrected; maybe Kleiza but that can be overcome, too. And all of them were defensible when they were done, once again proving the timeworn theory that a lot of GM’s job is a crapshoot, trying things and hoping they work out because you never, ever know with any certainty.
Q: Hi Doug, >
I know you went to Turkey for the World Championship, and I'm sure you've noticed how passionate they are about basketball (and sport in general), so I thought you might find this flash mob surprise interesting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2AFB25g4VM
Plus you'll see some familiar ex-NBA faces (Farmar, Vujacic, Erden) on Efes team. Imagine this happening to our HOTH, eh?
A: That’s classic! Wish I spoke Turkish.
Those zany Turks do love their hoops and the players.
Q: I'm really not buying into the Andrea-off-the-bench project that most seem to be envisioning as either his role or the best way to showcase him. I think if you look at the better 6th men of past era - Barbosa, Crawford, Terry, Gordon - they all have that streaky scoring ability like Andrea has, but I think their success as a 6th man comes with their mental approach; that being "I'm on for the next 8 minutes, I'm going to score no matter what, and I'm going to take shots no matter what," which is exactly what
makes these guys GREAT coming off the bench but BAD for starting. I see Bargnani as a guy who will continue to take his shots if he's feeling it AND if he perceives himself to be the number 1 option at that time, we've all seen him do it. But I think if he misses a couple he has a conscience about it, and if he sees a Gay or a DeRozan with a better match-up he'll defer.
That's why I ask, would it not be better to get Andrea minutes as a starter the rest of this season? I think of this for the long-term strategy.
He either gets his mojo back and becomes a legit and scary 3rd option on a good team, with better play you can either keep him or deal him with a higher value in the summer, and Amir seems like the kind of guy who would understand this if you explained the situation to him. You know you'll get effort from him, and he's their PF next year, but I also think you can convince him it's good for the team AND he's still your guy. What do you think?
A: For this team with his role and skills, I think coming off the bench right now is best. There aren’t nearly enough shots in a starting unit that includes Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan and the style they play doesn’t suit him as well as, hopefully, playing a substantial amount of time with a guard who adept at running high screen-roll.
And you’ve got some major league apples and oranges going there with a mention of Barbosa, Crawford, Terry and Gordon. Big league difference between guards and big men off the bench.
Q: Happy Weekend Doug!
I have read many comments (none from credentialed reporters I think) that suggested that the Rudy Gay move was proof that the Raps were likely going to renew Bryan's contract this summer.
Your recent comment that it was made known to you that AB would more likely be moved in the summer seems to suggest that Bryan is already planning moves past the end of his current contract.
What are your current thoughts on the likelihood of Bryan Colangelo being renewed and at what point do you think an announcement will be made about the GM position (before the end of the season, during the playoffs or once the Championship has been determined). A second relevant question, when does Bryan's current contract actually terminate?
Thanks and keep up the good work!
A: Well, I kind of answered the Colangelo question above but as a special aside for you, I’ll add this: He wouldn’t take into consideration his future when he does, or doesn’t, make deals. He operates in the now for most of those, doing what he thinks is best for the franchise, regardless.
I don’t expect we’ll hear anything on the option year until after the season ends, whenever that is. And that’s just prudent, in my opinion.
And it’s actually not relevant at all when the contract actually terminates. If ownership decides he’s not coming back, they will get someone in place almost immediately after the season ends to prepare for the draft and free agency period.
Q: Hello Doug,
I've heard in the past that a quality NBA centre can take up to 5 years before they reach their true potential.
Is the same true of Point Guards?
Watching the Washington game on Tuesday, I was struck by how selfish John Wall was with the ball.
He seems to be playing for himself, not for the team.
And let's not forget, he was the No. 1 draft pick 2 years ago.
Is this a normal learning curve for an elite Point Guard?
Or is John Wall not being coached well?
A: I think guards adapt more quickly, actually. Decision-making is decision-making, and while the calibre of opponent is far better, it seems to me that getting used to it comes faster.
As for Wall, I was never a big fan, his ability to run a team was always a question mark from conversations I’ve had with several scouts and we’re seeing that. I still think he has some talent but he also has limitations.
Q: Doug, you'll love this video of a dunking otter!
A: Tres cool.
Now, if it could do in a gym, that’d be out of the world! -
Q: Subject: Proximal FG%
I know you're not a fan of made-up statistics but this one caught my eye.
A couple of Harvard guys did a study on a stat they call "Proximal FG%" and it is defined as "the opponent's FG% when the qualifying defender is within 5 feet of the shot attempt." And their top five interior defenders are:
Larry Sanders 34.9%
*Andrea Bargnani 35.2%*
Kendrick Perkins 37.3%
Elton Brand 38.0%
Roy Hibbert 38.7%
Obviously that came as quite a shock, so my question is, do we need to make anything of this? Is it just some made up stat or is it because he doesn't rebound or switch on defenders very well we all forget that he is a 7-footer with some athleticism that can defend when he is motivated?
Link to the article if you are interested:
A: Proximal field goal percentage? Man, I thought people at Harvard had bigger fish to fry.
And, no, there is no need to make anything of it other than it’s something that academics decided to investigate. I’d suggest that there might be other factors than “qualifying defender is within five feet of the shot attempt” like are other defenders within six feet or four feet?
Anyway, it is a stat, I will say that.