The start of the weekend mail
Good morning, folks.
Am goling to get some usual fare stuff done at the airport but there’s no promise. And with Milwaukee-Minneapolis-San Francisco ahead of us today, if I don’t get it done by 10 or so your time, it’ll have to be tomorrow.
But not to worry, the rest of the mail will get done later tonight, I’m sure.
Q: Doug, how blocked are the Raps from 2013's free agents due to their cap situation (assuming they amnesty Kleiza)? Can they still pursue restricted FAs through sign and trade scenarios? Would you view Jennings as an upgrade on the Rap's point guard position? Finally, do any of the lesser free agents intrigue you? I've linked to a list for convenience.
A: They’ll have some exceptions left to use but it’s impossible to say right now which ones they will have since the tax issue is still in play.
But they made their big free agent splash in the Gay trade, accelerating the move by about five months.
Jennings is better than the backups they have, yes; he is also going to probably get $10-$12 million a year and that’s out of this team’s ballpark.
And right now, I don’t see an awful lot of second-tier guys who are demonstrably better than what they have.
Q: Hello. Okay so if you got in a big NBA fight who would you rather have as your "second': Jeff Van G or Steph Curry?
NHL brouhaha: Gordie Howe or CD Howe?
MLB melee: Pee Wee Reese or Wee Willie Keeler?
Toronto media dustup...McCown or Grace Kelly?
Bob E, Kanata
A: Oh, Jeff’s wily and wiry, got to take him, no?
And I was once sitting right on the glass at the old Buffalo Auditorium and saw Gordie Howe, who I think was 50 and playing for Hartford at the time, level someone with a gorgeous elbow to the nose. Him, for sure.
And didn’t Wee Willie once say “hit ‘em where they ain’t?” Solid scrap philosophy, too, isn’t it?
And I am soooooo not touching any media dustup lest I find myself in one because of my answer.
Q: Hey Doug,
A couple of quickies:
On Wednesday you mentioned the road from Buffalo - Pennsylvania...I'm driving to Florida next week which interstate is that?
Trying to get inside Coach Casey's head a little bit, about why he wouldn't play Acy and Telfair (to play with Lucas) for a couple minutes to inject some energy on nights where his team is clearly flat?
A: That would be I-90 and best of luck to you. Always seems dreadful between Buffalo and just west of Erie. Give yourself some time.
Well, I don't think Acy's energy, such that it is, is worth the gamble and I think most coaches would rather gamble that guys who usually play will play better. And he did actually go to Telfair the other night in Cleveland and be had relatively no impact on the game.
Q: Good Morning Doug,
Not sure if you got your tickets yet but your new favourite band (Mumford and Sons) will be playing at the Norfolk county festival this summer, I hear it is sold out but perhaps someone of your stature may still be able to get tickets and take Super Son to the event. If he won't go, I will fill in.
I hear there may be a beer tent.
Question regarding boundaries in Basketball. If a player is taking a three point shot, and he touches the line, it is only a two.. but what is out of bounds, is it the outside of the line, or the inside of the line that defines the court? Reason I ask is I watched an older episode of Open Court and an opposing player directly in front of the ref and Coach Casey stepped on the line while he had the ball and the play continued. Was this just another blown call or is it the outside of the line?
Matt D, Dorchester
A: Cool, Mumford and Sons in Norfolk! I've got no juice down there now but if anyone's got a couple of tickets lying around that they can't use, just tell me how much and how I can pick them up.
It's the inside of the line that defines the court and I recall the play you're talking about and it was just another blown call.
Q: Sent from my iPad Just got back from Mango City, have you ever been? A cacophony of food smells, languages, vehicles, no intermission.
Once you get there, cost of living very reasonable your money will go a long way. Street food, history, entertainment, they hae it all. We will winter there in the future.
At one of the historical venues, a young Thai asked ‘where are you from?’ When I answered Toronto, a big smile was displayed and in broken English, the young man grinned: “Toronto Raptors and Vince Carter, he's my favourite player.”
Awesome! Enjoyed connecting while I was away..... Makes the world a smaller place.
John C, Mississauga
A: I’m always glad when I hear stories like this because it demonstrates the global reach that kid had, it was incredible.
And, no, I’ve never been to that part of the world; closest I ever got was the rather sanitized trip to the Beijing Olympics.
Q: Hi Doug
We just posted an article, *"15 Rules New Soccer Moms Should Follow”
I thought I'd drop a quick line and let you know in case you thought it was something you're audience would be interested in reading.
A: I offer – and I appreciate the gesture – with one proviso:
There are parts of if that should be read by Dads and Moms with kids in any sport.
Q: Hey Doug.
While the lack of a pick-and-roll PG on the roster has an obvious
impact on Bargnani's offensive game, I have been a bit distressed by the effect had on Amir's role in the offense. He's great at diving off picks, capable at drawing fouls, has a decent pick-and-pop jumper, and has generally made very large strides offensively (ability to get off his little running hooks when he catches the ball and his defender is in movement). He also has a knack for following up (or at least rebounding) his own misses. I know he is far from a well-polished offensive player and the team is not going to run regular iso plays or post-ups for him, but he has certainly proven that he can be an effective contributor on that end, beyond put-backs and decreasingly frequent baskets off rolls down the lane. It doesn't look like an effort problem or even really a slump, and obviously Gay's arrival means fewer shots elsewhere, but in February, Amir had noticeably fewer attempts and points per game than in January.
I suppose my question is whether you (or the coaches) are at all concerned that the team is not maxing out Amir's usefulness on offense, and if so, how might they seek to improve things so he can continue his offensive development/contributions?
I know the Raps have been playing well and this isn't a huge issue, but just curious about it in light of his slight tick-back this month.
Jaime, Cambridge UK
A: Yes, they are concerned with the lack of ball movement side-to-side and in pick-and-roll and that's typically been where Amir shines. But there is a period of adjustment whenever a high volume shooter like Gay joins a team and it's going to be a while before everyone figures everything out.
Q: Hi Doug
Some irregulars were a bit down on Landry Fields last weekend and it appears he might be traded in the off-season. But, I would suggest he is the most self-aware player on the team no one else makes fewer mistakes. He understands the game, including all the little things that are needed, he understands what his role is (and what his capabilities are) and the fact that his role varies from situation to situation. He defends with good technique rather than relying on athleticism alone, others have much more of this. He reminds me of Garbo in a lot of ways, which is great compliment.
One can only imagine what the result would be if could graft Fields' athleticism onto the physical ability and intensity shown by guys like Anderson and Gay, both of whom commit way too many errors in judgement.
Bruce C, Mississauga
A: Oh, he's a very smart player with a knack for making smart cuts and he rebounds well in traffic for his size. But his shot is so broken that I don't know if it can be fixed and that is going to be a huge factor in determining his future contribution.
Q: I've got us:
Discovering that Sebastian is a better #2 PG than John
Making the playoffs
Winning one playoff game
Losing the series
Letting Allan & Mickael walk
Shopping Andrea, Landry, and a '15 first rounder for one C/PF that fits in the rotation better with AJ & JV
considering an amnesty buy-out for Andrea, if there are no trading partners, instead of Linas
Looking forward to an even better season next fall ...
Do you see anything there that is highly unlikely?
Bo Klymkiw, Mississauga, ON
A: I didn’t check the date but I presume it was before the losses this week.
So, of what I see as unlikely:
Making the playoffs so that means winning a game; I don’t have a clue about Telfair and it really doesn’t matter because I see no way in the world he’s back next year.
They will let Pietrus walk for certain and probably Anderson, too; they have been “shopping” almost everyone all year.
And I think it a virtual impossibility they use the amnesty clause on Bargnani; no one believes me but he’s an asset that will attract interest.
Q: Hey Doug
Hypothetically speaking, what circumstances would the Raptors have to be in and what would they need to do to get Andrew Wiggins when he makes it to the NBA (provided he is as good as everyone expects him to be).
Would the Raptors even want Wiggins on their team given they have 2 solid wing players and a budding player in Ross?
During pick and rolls, the guards never seem to pass to a wide open JV...do the coaches not point this out? or do they just have no confidence on the kid?
A: Man, I haven’t had a Wiggins question in a couple of weeks. You folks are slipping.
So, what they’d have to do, hypotheticaily, is trade or give away DeRozan, Gay, Valanciunas, Johnson and maybe Ross and Lowry for old guys with bad contracts, worse attitudes and even worse skills. They they’d have to lose about 60 or 65 games to have the greatest odds to win the lottery and then they’ve had to get lucky and win it, which has happened for the team with the worst record two or maybe three times in the last 20 years.
That sound like fun, doesn’t it?
And if they were that bad, they wouldn’t have any good wings so, sure, they’d want him.
On JV, they don’t run nearly enough high screen roll to use his talents but, right now, scoring isn’t an issue.
Q: Hey Doug!
I follow your blog regularly but never submitted a question/comment til now. As you (and other media types) appear to have pretty significant contact with sports stars and superstars does it give you the opportunity to obtain memorabilia that may be more challenging for fans to obtain? Is this something for which there is a policy in place which restricts or controls the degree and type of interaction between media personnel and athletes?
This is not to suggest that you would have access to players jerseys or such but could autographs or promo pics be easily obtained? There is no doubt in my mind that you wouldn't compromise your professionalism or integrity in pursuit of a sports memento and if this is a sensitive topic then feel free to ignore/delete this.
Does Casa Doug have a man-cave full off Raptor items or are your written articles and memories sufficient. Forgive me if I am getting too personal. Keep up the good work !!
PS: Part of this question/comment stems from the fact that I am involved in a local cancer awareness fundraiser and sports memorabilia for silent/live auction items always generates lots of interest and revenue. I know that most (if not all) players support charities and I am sure that they are inundated with requests for support. Is there a central clearing house or protocol which addresses such requests?
A: Since I don't collect memorabilia at all, it's not an issue for me but no one takes advantage of our proximity to players to build up a collection. In fact, we are reminded by a written warning on the back of the credential we were every day that it can be revoked for so much asking for an autograph during media access periods.
The only "collectibles" that I have and will eventually display in my bar are various credentials i've covered in my career.
As for your charitable pursuit, if you were to check the team's website and find a way to reach someone In community relations or with the Team Up Foundation, that might be s good jumping off point.
Q: Hi Doug.
I read in one of your blogs that they sent a video of the thuggery that Hansbrough did on Jonas V. but the league did nothing. Was wondering what happened with that before I read your entry and got my answer.
Which leads me to another question that's been bugging me. What about the obvious foul on Derozan for which Casey got fined for calling out the league? No apology or admittance from the league? (Probably saving face because Casey himself predicted an apology coming even though he knew he would be fined for his outburst).
You might have already answered this in one of your Q&A. If so, sorry I missed it.
(Which reminds me, hope Jonas V remembers what Hansbrough did on their upcoming meeting).
Great blog, great columns. Keep it up.
A: it was a blown call, pure and simple but there's no need for apologies every time someone misses a call. And if I recall correctly, someone told me the league didn't see it as an officiating error.
Q: Hi Doug:
Regarding the mailbag question today regarding High Canadian Taxes - it's just not true.
Last December, R.A. Dickey's agent requested tax numbers from Alex Anthopoulus and the Jays before accepting the Jays offer. Turns out that Toronto's tax rate is 16th in MLB - right in the middle of the pack.
Dickey's tax bill over the course of the deal was a mere $40,000 more than if he signed the deal in NY.
As a side note, my business partners in California wish they paid Ontario tax rates!
A: Debunking an urban myth, I love it.
Q: Hey Doug!
I just noticed something. Did you know that you are going to be in Phoenix at the exact same time that the World Baseball Classic is taking place. In fact, Team Canada is playing a couple of exhibition games while the Raptors are in town to play the Suns. Cool, eh?
Do you have any plans to take in some of their games? Or have you already been assigned to report on them?
Or is this a Not-Grace Gig? And what do you think...does Canada have a chance to do well in this tournament? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: I have noticed that and we’re trying to figure stuff out.
Canada actually plays its first game on the Thursday or Friday, I believe and I’ll be off to L.A. by then so that’s not going to happen.
But I do there about noon on Tuesday from San Francisco and there’s a chance I could see an exhibition game in between loafing and doing my Raptors stuff.
And, no, it’s not Not Grace, it’s the One And Only Griff! He arrives Wednesday so post-Raptor game frivolity is planned.
Canada’s chances? That’s one for me to dissect during some flight this weekend.
Recall you mentioning that Gasol brothers never played together. I was referring to growing up and Pau helping his younger brother. However FYI they were on same team 2012 Spain national team.
A: Gotcha. I thought the question was concerning their NBA careers; I’ve seen them play several times together with the Spanish team.