The end of the weekend mail
Okay, we didn’t quite get an over-flowing end of the weekend mail bag but we seem to have done pretty well.
Have at this, we’ll be back tomorrow and eventually there has to be some kind of significant Raptors news, I’d hope.
Q: Hello Doug,
It accompanies almost every NBA-trade-related tweet in my tweeter timeline lately and without naming names, who are these anonymous "league sources"? Are they people at the league office, or team officials or someone else entirely? And another question if I may? Bautista is experiencing batting success after donning Dickey's pants; do you know if he's really and truly still wearing them? And to keep the power potent do you think he's allowed to wash them? Would you? Have you ever before heard of players sharing pants or shoes or gloves and having a sudden change in fortune? Or RBI's? Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: They can run the gamut from general managers to henchmen to agents to players to anyone who works in a front office with knowledge of the decision-making process. I once had a guy who worked for a team (not Toronto) ask me to use “league source” instead of “team source” because it gave him another layer of deniability.
And I can quite understand the superstition of a using someone else’s uniform or whatever (they cannot be washed for however long things are going well, it takes the magic out of them) I haven’t heard a lot of it in the basketball and in baseball, I think it more usually runs to using someone else’s bat, not sure I’ve heard of clothing before.
But, again, no washing!!!!!
(And that’s not just because I hate doing laundry with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns and don’t think anyone should do it)
Q: Hello. Aaron Gray. Now that Dwight has left L.A. Could they use a lumbering big man when the Lakers play the Rockets?
Bob E, Kanata
PS: feel free to pass this great idea to M.U.
A: The woods are filled with Aaron Grays, imagine the Lakers can find one of their own.
But will dutifully report it to MU; not with the same sense of high comedy as when I sent one from a reader to BC that suggested the Raptors first trade Jose to Boston for Rajon Rondo and then move Andrea and Linas to Minnesota for Kevin Love and Luke Ridnour. That was classic!
Q: Hi Doug,
I just read an article on SI.com that suggested that the Warriors are shopping David Lee and actually placed a call to the Raps hoping to trade for Bargnani. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. The article noted the Raps favoured the deal with the Knicks and rebuffed the offer.
My question is this: why would the Raps favour a first round pick in 2016 over an all star caliber player for three years?? I understand the need for patience, but I am missing the drawbacks to Lee's game...the guy leads (or comes close) the league in double doubles...
Curious for your thoughts!
A: Well, I hate to burst everyone’s bubble like I have for a while when it comes to Lee but he’s not quite as well thought of by NBA types as he is but people who watch the games. There are some major defensive deficiencies to his game and with about $43 million and three years left on his contact, I’d run away from it as if my hair was on fire.
That deal for a tax team like Toronto is right now would be stupidly expensive and hamstring Masai for far too long.
Q: I remember wondering this back when you were flying around and there were some gripes about the airport etc., then the question somehow left my brain. It just popped back in. Do you have a NEXUS card? If no, why not? $50 for 5 years to jump the lines.
A: I am such a lazy SOB that I haven’t yet; it’s on the list of summer things to do but so is a Maui vacation or buying my own island and I’m not sure any of it is going to happen.
But your note is a reminder, maybe I should get on it.
Q: Hi Doug
I appreciate the good read every morning. Thank you.
It appears that half the teams in the NBA are loading up with stars once they have found a critical core of talent. Miami of course, Celtics before that and now Houston with D12 and possibly Josh Smith and Golden State. There does seem however a large dichotomy of talent throughout the league with the aforementioned loaded teams and the teams that are seemingly barren and in a mode to collect star talent through the draft. This does not seem to be a healthy model - you don't see this distinct a difference in the NHL, NFL or MLB. Is this a concern to the NBA as many league games will not be competitive as a result? Is the new luxury tax levies a result of the NBA trying to address this as an issue?
Rich, Woodville, NS
A: That’s precisely what the tax is for, to make it so financially punitive for teams to load up that they won’t. And we haven’t seen a grouping of stars this summer at all; not sure we will at any time in the future so I believe it’ll actually even out the talent as time goes on and that’ll be for the benefit of the game.
Q: Hi Doug,
Jose Calderon signs with the Mavericks, your thoughts?
Trevor B, Saskatoon
A: I was happy for him and not at all surprised. If you’ll recall, Dallas tried to get in on the Toronto-Memphis trade when the Grizzlies were going to move Jose on but it didn’t work out. Interest has been there for a long time and once it became clear the Mavs were not in the Howard equation, they moved quickly to snap him up.
I think it’s a great situation for him, imagine he’ll work very well with Dirk and he’s playing for one of the top coaches in the league in Rick Carlisle.
Q: Hi Doug,
I apologize if you're being inundated with Bargnani questions, but here's one more nonetheless. I remember last week in the mail bag, you said the Raps didn't really make any mistakes with players, except perhaps with Turk when they let him sit out training camp. I was wondering though, even if they didn't make a mistake per se, now that we have the benefit of hindsight, was there something they could have done differently to help Bargs realize his potential? Sometimes I think that if he'd somehow ended up on the Spurs, he'd be an all star by now.
I seem to remember you suggesting that Bargs suffered from a lack of consistency from the organization: too many coaches, too many position changes, etc. (Didn't they try him at the 3 at one point?) I also remember you saying you think he probably would have fit best as a 5. Maybe if they'd played him as a 5 from the start, never traded for O'Neal, and stuck with Sam Mitchell for longer, he'd be a better player? A lot of people seem to think he was coddled too much. Maybe he needed to come off the bench earlier in his career?
Can you think of any revisionist version of history in which Bargnani has a long, successful career with Toronto? Or was Bargs always going to be the Roman Enigma, no matter what the Raps did?
Thanks Doug, and keep up the good work!
A: I’m going to give M Grange ™ credit for consistently hammering the face Bargnani should have been a five right off the bat. I wasn’t as convinced as Mike was but always thought they should have put him in the post a lot more; he has a nice little fadeway on the baseline and if he’d worked more on his footwork, could have improved a little jump hook in the paint.
I guess the various coaches didn’t quite see it that way.
And who knows, he might have not had the work ethic to make that move but I do think they should have tried it a little bit more.
I once heard Ann Medina say that a secret to being a good reporter is to sometimes ask "the stupid question". So, I guess it might be ok to look foolish making a stupid suggestion.!
Toronto hopes to become a national team that happens to be located in TO. What brought the country together, coast to coast? The "Last Spike"!! Ta Ta!!
Introducing "The Nothern Spikers". Do basketball players "spike" the ball or just "dunk" it?
Enjoy pondering, railing in, the thought; for however long!
Have a good one,
A: Sorry. If it was a professional volleyball team it’d be unique and I might be okay with it (although it would be a tad cliché) but thanks for the try.
And, no, there are no stupid questions; only stupid answers.
Q: Hi Doug - I think this works under the cap rules and wondered what you thought. When Camby comes then package him with Gay and Lowry for Nash and Gasol. Gives us the PF we need, Nash brings fans and Lowry wasn't a fit anyways. For L.A. a center to replace Howard if he leaves , a second scorer in Gay and a younger PG.
A: Not sure if the numbers work but even if they did, not sure it fits in with what Toronto wants to do right now.
Makes marginal sense at Laker end unless they have issues with Lowry and I wonder how Gay and Kobe would co-exist with the number of shots to go around. Although since Kobe won’t play for months, it might mitigate things.
Q: I'll be keeping an eye on twitter today to see who breaks the Howard signing story 1st. My money is on Adrian Wojnarowski with Marc Stein coming in a distant 2nd and Stephen A Smith would be my sleeper pick (he called the Doc Rivers trade). Wojnarowski seems to quite often break the news 1st.
How does he do it? Is he in tight with a bunch of NBA executives and agents? How does he keep them on his good side and still try and be an unbiased journalist?
A: That Friday was such a mess it was hilarious to watch it unfold on the tweeter. Howard was sure to be going to Houston, he was still mulling it over, sources said he’d do this and do that and do this other thing.
And in the end, not sure anyone was “right” more than my friend Sam Amick at USA Today, who killed the story all night long.
As for Woj, he’s hugely well connected, works hard and for anyone off us “staying on the good side” means working diligently and fairly and treating people and stories with respect. Pure and simple.