The start -- and the end -- of the weekend mail
Good job, ladies and gentlemen.
A strong finish to the week got this mailbag pretty full with some good stuff, much appreciated.
Now, while I wish I could have a day at the beach today – I could really use one – it’ll have to be a bit of loafing, some phone calls, maybe some stool time and trying to figure out how to celebrate Canada tomorrow.
Enjoy this, and the day.
Q: Hi Doug:
I might be in the minority but I happen to agree with your assessment of Bryan Colangelo in your Thursday blog. On paper, much of what he did over his 7 years here made sense. The problem seemed to be that the players he acquired never seemed to live up to their billing nor the level of play they exhibited in previous locations. You can point out numerous examples with Hedo and Bargnani being the biggest ones. How much of that was due to the fact that the organization may have been too "soft" on players when they came here?
Joe D, Mississauga, ON
A: I don’t think “soft” is the right word at all. I think the only one they might have mishandled was Turk when they gave him that training camp off when he returned from the world championships.
I suppose various coaches could have been a bit tougher but I don’t know if that would have worked, either. Unless you’re around these guys intimately every day – and we’re around but not everywhere – I don’t think we can presume to know how each has to be handled. Some players need coddling, some need to be taken to task more than others.
But I think it’s too much of a generalization to say any one was “soft” on anybody.
Q: Salut Doug,
Love your blog, read it daily. I have a question that has probably been asked/answered 1000 times but here goes: Why does the NBA insist on announcing trades after the fact instead of just letting a team make it own pick - like every other professional league does? I'm guessing that there may be a league policy that requires team to notify the league of trades via fax (carrier pigeon?), but if there is a reason for it, it is lost upon me. "Bush league" may be too strong a descriptor, but watching Shabazz Muhammed talk about playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves - while wearing a Utah Jazz cap - was the best illustration of why this looks dumb. On second though, bush league isn't too strong...isn't this league a billion dollar industry?
Craig M, St. Albert, AB
A: Bush league? No.
And yes, there are approvals that have be obtained for every trade, what’s known as “trade call” has to be held with the league office and the teams to make sure the deal meets the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement and there are physicals that have to be taken and past before any deal is official.
So while it may not look good to you, it’s prudent business.
Q: Hi Doug,
Love your work! You're absolutely dead on about the causes of the rise of basketball in Canada. I arrived in this country during the Harold Ballard years of Leafs hockey so it's no wonder I've never been a hockey fan.
Anyway, my question is about the fate of Bargnani: if no other teams want to get him in a trade, what would be the difference between the Raptors amnestying him vs. buying him out? With amnesty, the Raptors would still have to pay him his remaining salary, wouldn't they? Or if bought out, wouldn't Bargs come off the cap anyway?
A: If the amnesty clause is used, it takes the team off the hook for the salary as it pertains to the luxury tax; that’s not the case in any buyout.
Simple accounting and money savings means amnesty is preferred if possibie.
Q: Hi Doug, big fan of the blog. In the NBA draft, what happens if a team doesn't have a pick in when their time expires? Do they lose the pick? And has it ever happened before?
Keep up the good work!
A: Yes, they would forfeit the pick if they don’t make it in the five minute allotment for the first round or two minute limit in the second. I don’t believe it’s ever happened again and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ever got to, say, 4:40 or 1:45, that a call wouldn’t be made from someone at the league office to the team to say, “hey, what’s up there?” simply to avoid the embarrassment.
Q: Hello Doug,
Well, the NBA Draft 2013 was something special. The picks ranged from thrilling to head-scratching - and some were simultaneously both - and what was not usually must-see TV for me, became so compelling that I stuck with it to midway through the second round. Particularly enjoyed watching David Stern - in the final draft he will be presiding over - obviously having fun
with the audience, and found it hilarious that no sooner did David depart and Adam take over that the booing was instantly transferred to Silver.
But as entertaining as it was for me to watch, I bet it was an even bigger hoot for reporters covering it. And by hoot I mean super stressful. :)
So, my question is about your process. When Anthony Bennett was revealed as the No. 1 pick, how did your night change...and was it such a big story that in days gone by it would have been a Stop The Presses moment.
Lorie P, London
A: Let’s put it this way:
The e-mail conversation I was having with my boss right after the selection was entitled: HOLY SH--!
So, yeah, it was a bit of stress but, in the end, it only added one little story to my workload and changed the focus and tenor and play of the main piece.
But it was a bit frantic trying to get quotes, do some more research and figure out how I could get to see the kid the next day.
Frazzled for a few minutes, no question, but once we all got a deep breath and took a minute, it was just another work night.
Q: Hi Doug, Happy Canada day!
The winds of change have been blowing through the front office for the Raptors lately, but doesn't it feel now like M.U. is preparing to make some major changes on the court? Do you get that sense?
Trevor B. Saskatoon
A: My sense is that there will eventually be significant change to this roster but it won’t happen in some frenzied 24-hour period. If there’s one thing I think we learned from watching Masai in Denver is that patience is one of his attributes. I do think he will turn over some chunk of the roster, but over time.
Q: Hey there. I know you are not fond of addressing speculation but if the Bledso for De Rozan rumours are true, would that facilitate a move of Lowry to shooting guard? Do you think that is a better fit for him? Or will he then be on the block for sure with a PG acquisition? Thoughts?
Thanks s always
A: You’re right, not at all fond of it. But I also do not think Lowry is a shooting guard at any level, too slow defensively, too small.
Q: Hey Doug,
Long time reader, first time writing in. Just wondering what your top 5 free agent list would be for the Raps to pursue? Thanks.
A: I think I’m going to need a day or two to digest who’s out there and who might be a realistic target, depending on other teams’ interest and financial concerns.
Let’s say quickly right now, and this is off the top of my head stuff, but a list might include Tony Allen, Jason Maxiell, Paul Millsap and David West.
Are any of them realistic? Doubt it and that’s why I need some time to check things out.
Q: Hey Doug,
Love the blog. The draft having been this week got me thinking: what incentive is there for players to go into the draft rather than going undrafted and just signing outright with a team? For example let's say next year Andrew Wiggins is expected to be the top pick. Could he just not make himself eligible for the draft, and sign with whatever team he wants (provided they have cap room) for whatever salary? Would this harm him in any way? I know there is a rookie salary scale depending on when you are
drafted, would there be a restriction on his salary if he signed out of the draft?
Mustafa, Kitchener, ON
A: No, there’s no way for him to do that.
Q: Hi Doug,
I just watched a clip about Bennett saying how he looked up to Vince Carter growing up, and not so much Steve Nash. I'm sure a LOT of the young crop of Canadian talent emerging from Toronto is in the boat and it got me thinking: When Carter decides to hand em up, would Steve Nash reach out to him to help Canada Basketball in some capacity?
At first I thought no, but the more I look at it the more it could make sense. I think a BIG part of Vince (maybe you would have a better opinion than me on this) looks back with regret on his time in Canada, not just for what could have been, but for how much love he had here, and how big and great of a market Toronto is if you're an electrifying superstar. If he has ANY inclination to stay in the game I think a rising national program as an advisor, player development, assistant GM would be an unconventional approach, and it would be the perfect way to reintegrate with a fanbase I think may be willing to forgive (But not as a player). It probably wouldn't happen if just another guy was running the program, but if Steve Nash makes the same points I just did, it may sound a lot more enticing. What do you think?
A: Can’t see that happening in a billion years, I’m afraid. Don’t see any reason for Vince to do it whenever he’s done playing and I don’t think he’s really all that concerned about rehabilitating any image up here, to tell you the truth.
Q: Every year with the draft, teams are scrambling to move up or down or get a guy they like or since they didn't get their guy they look to trade the pick - its like trading frenzy. I'm sure there are still teams that are interested in guys they didn't get, but there never seems to be follow-up trades. So my question - is there any limitation on trading draft picks after the draft? I don't remember hearing that there were? I can't imagine every team is perfectly happy with the guy they get (even if they say that), so i'm just surprised there aren't follow-up trades.
A: None, deals can be made once players are signed after the moratorium is over.
Q: What would the league do if the Clippers now traded Rivers to Brooklyn?
A: Have a collective seizure?
Q: Hi Doug,
Thanks again for all the great coverage. Always great to get your analysis of what is going on with HOTH.
A lot of people are talking about the cleaning house that has occurred in the front office and are now waiting for a whole sale change of the roster. I understand the wish to change the culture and process, but I don't see this massive change in the roster coming this summer. I see Masai / Casey developing these pieces this year and then maybe, dealing them as they are hot.
Look at the pieces:
Rudy Gay - New Eyes -> New Range (All-Star Potential)
DeMar DeRozan - became very consistent with his mid-range game (one of the hardest shots in the league). If he can master the 3-ball, core asset on a great contract.
Amir - Can start but great energy guy off the bench.
T Ross - to0 early to tell.
Andrea - Ok would like to move him but what are you going to get. Better to see if he gets on a role off the bench and deal him either this year or next when his contract is expiring.
4 out of 5 worth taking a shot and seeing how the season goes - remember be Patient!
Also DD and Amir what to play in Toronto those are the guys Masai and Tim want.
JPT-Raptor in London
P.s. Keep brand as is or go Huskies (white and blue) not that complicated.
A: Or you could say:
Rudy Gay: Ball-stopping, shot-happy veterans who isn’t going to get any better.
DeRozan: Played well on a 34-win team and hasn’t proved his worth at $9.5 million per season.
Amir: Good backup.
T Ross: Too early to tell if he’s a bust, no one knows.
Andrea: Salary cap albatross.
All depends on your perspective, I tend to lean a bit more your way but I can see the other side, too.
Q: Hi Doug,
I watch PTI with Kornheiser and Wilbon every day and I think that their personal bias towards specific teams make the show more engaging. Apart from the show, reporters with obvious bias like Wilbon, Bill Simmons and Magic Johnson then go on to do national coverage of the most important NBA games of the season. Again, I think that these specific biases, as long as they are known to the fans, make the reporting and commentary that much more engaging. (a-la Simmons vs. Doc last night)
On a different level you have t.v announcers hired by a team and that travel with the teams, and, again, show an overt bias towards the team they are supporting.
Considering these different levels of reporter bias, I am curious why you, as a report, are not allowed to hold a particular bias in your reporting. In your blog you can comment on your support for the Jays, your hatred for the pucks, but you can't pick a basketball team???? I think especially with the way reporting has changed with social media, and your interactive blog, you should be allowed to voice your own bias in those mediums. Even if you "team" isn't the Raps I think it would be more engaging if you could engage in debate allowing for you to be human and be routing for a particular team!
Since I know you are have the whole, "I have to be objective" thing going my question is, when is it o.k for media to show bias, and when is it frowned upon.
A: I don’t think “bias” is the right word; “support” probably fits better.
And I will admit it’s a fine line that’s getting more blurred every day but I do think we can jokingly support a team as long as we don’t have to cover it for news on a daily basis. I think readers like that we have some fan in us; again, as long as it doesn’t carry over into our reporting duties.
I do think it’s easier for a columnist or a broadcast personality to show those colours than it is for a beat grunt but that line is blurring these days, too.
I think it’s more acceptable in the more conversational parts of our jobs that straight game reportage; in blogs and columns rather than game stories, if you know what I mean.
Q: Doug, something was bothering me about the Finals and I think that I figured put what it is. The Spurs play a fascinating style whose offense seems to be centred on Parker and Ginobili attacking the net at the very edge of control. They either find an opening and shoot or hit the open man when the defense reacts by doubling or tripling the ball carrier. In normal conditions, against average teams not playing at the intensity level of the Finals this approach works extremely well (although Manu seems to have lost half a step). Against a good defensive team like Miami, playing 110%, as the Pucks would say, it didn't work. Too often they did not get a layup/decent shot, and the passing lanes were clogged so they ended up with a desperation shot or pass attempt - the number of times one of them was in the air with nowhere to go was scary. This is something you coach youngsters, don't jump unless you know what you are going to do once you are in the air.
A: No, you don’t teach it to kids but players at the level of those guys can get away with so much more for a couple of reasons. One, their vision is so great they can see things when they are in the air – not always, but often – that makes the play make sense and, two, they are so familiar with each other and their teammates, the just know where someone will be. Parker is probably the best player in the league at “leading” his teammates with passes simply because he knows where they are going.
Q: Enjoy your blog each day. But the restaurant thing? A couple of quick thoughts:
The most obvious, different chefs.
Less obvious. You may have hit the restaurant when the dish was first on the menu and the head chef was cooking it to set it up for the minions. I've noticed that the more a dish gets cooks, the less edgy and spicy it is. Eventually it bears only a passing resemblance to the original.
It may still be good, but it's a faded copy.
Bev (from Vancouver)
A: This was a chain roadhouse two or three days apart, just struck me as odd but I see your point.
Q: What's next for Myck Kabongo? I was absolutely shocked when he went undrafted last night. Were you as taken a back as I was?
Any chance the Raptors offer him a spot now that they have dropped JLIII?
A: Well, we got this answered Friday when Kabongo signed a summer deal with Miami and, no, after talking to a few scouts and people who knew the draft well, I wasn’t entirely surprised at all.
Q: How come the Raptors didn't have any picks? Did they give their 1st round pick to the pistons in the Calderon transaction?
Wouldn't be crazy if Raps trade for their own pick back from OKC?
Any chance BC becomes the new Deputy Commissioner? and eventually League Commissioner?
A: The first round pick went to Oklahoma City by way of Houston in the Lowry and Harden deals; the second-rounder went to Memphis in the Gay trade.
And, no, I don’t believe that’s in Bryan’s immediate future.
Q: Hi, Doug,
Several questions - do you think there would be a place for Myck Kabongo with the Raptors, assuming he's not drafted? What would have to happen with the current roster for that to be a possibility?
What do you think of the potential as NBAers of Nik Stauskas and Kevin Pangos?
Dave F, Kingston
A: We’ve got the Kabongo answer so we’ll leave that alone for now.
Stauskas and Pangos need some more versatility in their games right now; they are very good college shooters, the latter more than the former, but they need development before they can think about the next step.
Q: Hi Doug, I am with you on your feelings regarding the job BC did. And I am sure that we go back to the time of most of the major signings/trades, most felt they were good to great. It is a crap shot and you win some lose some. What do you think his legacy will be like in 5 or so years? Hope you and yours have a great Canada Day! Let the flags fly proudly!
Scott M, Ilderton
A: Five years from now? People will be ragging on Masai for his perceived flaws and Bryan will be an afterthought; that’s the era in which we live.
It should be as it should be today: He took some shots, some worked, some didn’t but he gave an honest effort every day on the job.
Q: Hi Doug
The season is over, and the draft is coming up and as I think about my own vacation I wonder about people who work in basketball operations. Like the President, GM, Assistant GM, Coach, and his advisors. Is there ever a time when they get a week off or two when they don't have to think (maybe not think but worry) about basketball at all? If there is when would that be?
Thanks for the great season!
Chris M, Toronto
A: For most of the league – and it goes for us, too – August is a down month and a time to recharge. It’s after the free agency period is over for the most part and before the run-up to camp begins in September.
That’s when you’ll find most executives out of the office and relaxing, although there is always a little bit of work to stay on top of.
Q: I'm somewhat baffled at the Doc Rivers to LA Clippers -Trade? Deal? Arrangement? Agreement? I thought when this thing started with Garnett and Rivers the NBA stepped in and said that the collective agreement doesn't allow for players and non players to be traded together. Isn't a 2015 1st round pick a real future player covered by the Collective Agreement. Can you
explain how this agreement works here?
A: For the purposes of trades, future draft picks have no monetary value, they are nothing.
Q: Hi Doug!
Thanks for answering my question last week.
I'm not sure if this has been asked/answered already. But if it has I apologize.
Over that past few seasons I've noticed that Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has consistently broken a number of stories, but often times the articles are written in such a way as to "slant" or "spin" the story to the side of a particular camp involved such that the stories sometimes feel one-sided. That being said, do you feel that this is part of the process of being the first to get the story (ie. in order to break the story first Woj needs to agree to present the party providing the information in the best light or the light that they choose) or is the slant/spin of the story just a product of his personal views and opinions?
If it is the former, what are you thoughts as a journalist?
Ryan from Toronto
A: I’m not sure I see the consistent “slant” that you do but it would having nothing to do with any quid pro quo arrangement.
Woj works extremely hard, is well connected with agents and front office personnel and that’s how he gets so many quick breaks on stories.
Q: Hello Doug,
The Toronto media and Raptors broadcast team are always known to proudly tout Canadians past and present who have played in the NBA.
One Canadian former NBAer who never seems to get mentioned (though you did mention him coming to town to meet Tim a couple weeks back) is Rick Fox.
It seems like he's that "funny" uncle that no one seems to want to talk about, but knowing glances from family members give one the sense that there is more to the story than is being (not) said. Is there something "funny" about Rick? Did he at some point disparage his homeland and is now being treated as a red-headed stepchild or am I being overly suspicious?
Lastly, is it chomping at the bit or champing at the bit?
Brian V, Toronto
A: No, nothing funny at all, actually. It’s just that he has had other irons in the fire and has moved to different pursuits, same as a guy like, say, Todd McCulloch.
But I am still hearing that we could see more and hear more of Rick around the Raptors and NBA TV this fall. Hope so, he’s a good guy I’ve known for a couple of decades and I think he’d bring something to the organization.