The start of the weekend mail
Good job, folks.
Lots here, some room at askdoug@thestar for tomorrow and a few left over that I can putter around on today.
Oh, and if you’re looking for stuff on the FISU Games teams, check out one of the top young reporters I know; Kelcey’s a Western student and got a cool gig covering the Games on the strength of her talent.
Q: Dear Doug,
This is more a goodbye than a question. I have really enjoyed your blog over Bargnani's seven years in Toronto, especially the live blogging which us Europeans could comfortably read in the morning - well, except Paolo, I guess.
Even though I am sure I will be still checking your work from time to time, the obvious question is: who is the New York Doug Smith?
A: I have a feeling we’ll lose some Irregulars now that Bargnani’s gone and I feel quite bad about that. Totally understandable but still regrettable. Would appreciate the odd check-in, though and I know my man Paolo will be all over the Pistons since they seem to be signing Datome, one of his guys.
Now, I have an awful lot of friends in the New York media so I’m not going to single anyone guy out.
But even at the risk of forgetting someone, if you were to pay attention to Howard Beck at the New York Times, Frank Isola at the New York Daily News and Al Iannazzaone at Newsday you will be covered off very, very well. But none of them does IGBT so not sure how that’ll help you.
But ciao, it’s been a blast.
Q: Hi Doug, thanks for giving me basketball stuff to read every day. I really appreciate it.
I'm a long-time NBA fan and played at the Canadian collegiate level, so I feel like I know the game fairly well at this point. My question is about the comment you made the other day about the teaching aspect of the assistant coach's role in the NBA.
I can see them teaching the specifics of the sets they run and some fundamental skills for some rookies and younger players, but can you elaborate a bit more on what else they're teaching, specifically to the older, established players?
I mean I can imagine what a coach like Kevin McHale or Mark Jackson might teach Dwight Howard and Steph Curry respectively, but what is a life-long coach teaching a professional player? I don't doubt what you're saying is true, as that was my experience with coaches at all the levels I played at, but I would just like to get a better understanding of it at the NBA level.
A: It’s subtle teaching, actually. It’s teaching better footwork at both ends of the floor, it’s getting the right spacing – you’d be shocked at the difference one step makes between getting someone opened and someone double-teamed – and it’s seeing slight tiny flaws in shots that can be corrected.
But a lot of it also simply grunt work, repetitive drills every day and making sure no bad habits creep in.
Q: Hello Doug,
With the recent signing of José by the Mavs and the resigning of Prigioni by the Knicks, I was wondering whether you knew anything about the Knicks being interested in José? At least to a fan with little theoretical basketball knowledge like me, it seems José could've been a nice fit in NY, especially now with Bargnani moving over there. It also could've led to a growth of the fan base, the same way I think many Spanish basketball fans started to follow the Raptors when José and Jorge joined the team (myself included, though I only lived in Spain in Malaga for 2 years, where I was so fortunate to be able to witness Garbajosa and his Malaga team win the Spanish championship that year).
On a side, for the first time in all these years I'm wondering whether I'll continue to follow the Raptors as much as I've done until now, now that José and Bargnani are gone. Main reason I'd stay would be to watch Valanciunas develop, as I love his personality and passion and work-ethic (if only Andrea had had more of that...).
Regardless of what I end up doing, I'll always continue to visit your special corner on the interweb to see how you and the Raptors are doing. Thanks for all your work, dedication, insight and snark these years! ('snark' is a word I learnt in your blog, never looked it up but I think I have a pretty good understanding of the concept now).
A: He would have been a nice fit for sure but at the price he commanded and the money the Knicks had to spend, I don’t that there could have been any significant interest. New York had to deal with its own free agents and didn’t have money to go out on the market, at least not to the lengths that Jose got.
And my man Garbo tells me I have to get to Malaga as soon as possible. Have seen Madrid and Barcelona but not Seville or Malaga and I promised him I’d get there for the 2014 worlds.
He wasn’t steering me wrong, was he?
Q: Hey Doug Interesting Caddyshack stuff...There is a course on Reesor Road in Markham Called "Bushwood" it's mascot is a Gopher, sound familiar.
Course record 62 held by Bubba Watson...Yes that Bubba Watson. He married the owners daughter.
A: I did know that, actually. And did you know that the owner’s daughter is the former Angie Ball, who had stints with Canada’s national basketball team?
Q: Greetings Doug,
Earlier today a story was hitting how Ed Davis did not want to join a summer league (http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/ed-davis-passed-summer-league-ball-because-coach-165349099.html).
Looking for your take on this story since you have follow him since he joined the NBA.
A: I don’t have a problem at all with a fourth-year guy not wanting to waste his time playing in games against inferior opponents as long as they get some gym time in on their own and Ed’s worked hard every summer since he’s been in the league.
I have no idea if Memphis did something like Toronto did and had a dozen or so regulars out in Vegas working as a group quite aside from the summer league. If they did, he should have gone; that it wasn’t brought up leads me to believe nothing even informal was going on.
Q: Hi Doug
A question of no importance, but helping to stock the mail bag :-)
Have you had a chance to catch our friend Matt Devlin doing a Jays game? I think he is outstanding, at least as good as his basketball broadcasts and in some ways better.
Also, another random question - if Yao Ming's career hadn't
been shortened by injury, what sort of a career and overall impact / legacy do you think he would have had?
Thanks for all you do.
Pete in Kingston
A: By some fluke of timing and confluence of events, I’ve heard a lot of Matt on the baseball and I concur that he does an outstanding job. Little known fact: Minor league baseball was one of his first broadcasting gigs.
Yao would have been a Hall of Famer as much for his play on the court as his impact off it. First 7-5 guy I can recall who shot technical free throws.
Q: Greetings to you today good sir.
I have a question (ok several, but they are connected ramblings) about the news conference recently held by Masai where Novak was introduced. As there were two other players involved in the trade coming this way, even tho Camby has expressed a desire to be traded or released, why weren't they at the news conference?
Can we then assume that Masai is indeed working on moving them and they are Raptors in name only? What if they can’t be traded and they have to be with the team for a bit? How will this play with the others on the team? Would it not increase their trade value if they were at the presser and at least saying the right things to assist Masai in getting something for them?
Or just not have them there to avoid the situation and possible questions that might come to the players directly?
A: Masai’s absolutely working on finding a way to turn each of those guys into some other asset but he’s having no luck.
And it made no sense to make either Camby or Richardson stand up in front of cameras and tape recorders and talk about how they didn’t really want to come for a variety of legitimate reasons. That’s PR 101 and we all accept and understand that, having had written since Sunday night that they were unlikely to ever set foot in Toronto.
Q: Hi Doug,
Haven't written in a while but haven't stopped reading. Just had a curious question about the salary cap (I know how much you like number crunching).
Anyway, let's say Team A has $10 million in cap space but they have a couple of their own FA who will individually command that amount. They could sign both and then be subjected to the (now harsher) luxury tax.
That part is straight forward. But what happens if Team A decides to sign a FA away from another team for that $10 million. Can they still re-sign their own FAs and exceed the soft cap? Or is there some sort of cap hold used up by their own FA? I guess what I'm asking is, does order of operations matter? I only ask because I don't think I have ever seen the second scenario.
I hope I have made my question clear!
A: That “cap room” would only exist after cap holds were taken into consideration for accounting purposes. But, yes, there are often timing issues in things like that where teams might have to release players or renounce rights in order to make the moves they want to make.
Q: Where is the JMNT coverage? Some big time prospects on that squad and a lil more Canadian National team coverage is always a welcome thing. I can't believe I still get met with blank stares when I bring up Canadian players.
If they aren't Wiggins (who also fit this bill about 12 months ago before the hype machine blew him up) no one knows.
A: We had a fair amount on the juniors in the morning blog, actually. They did okay; not as well as they’d hoped but okay.
And maybe you need to find other people to bring names up to?
Q: Hey Doug,
I realize the moves may not be done yet especially since Masai can still play his Camby/Qrich/Kleiza cards. But if the season started tomorrow, who do you think would be in Dwayne's 9 man rotation? Also, do you see any scenario where Camby or Richardson stick around?
A: This is an absolute total guess and don’t hold me to it, please.
And also realize that a lot of times, Dwane went at least 10 and sometimes 11 deep in a game; nine is my optimum number, not his.
But I’ll give you
Lowry, DeRozan, Gay, Johnson, Valanciunas, Stone, Fields, Ross, Novak and the 10th and 11th would be Hansbrough and Acy.
I’m not sold on Ross, though; he needs to show an awful lot this summer for me to put him out there regularly.
Q: Hi Doug,
Looking at the possible locations for Camby with his request of a trade to a contender, I can't see a team with a need. Would there be any chance the the HOTH let him sit until the season is underway and under performers/injuries open up a location? Would he be willing to accept those conditions if a deadline trade date or buyout were promised?
Thanks as always for starting my day
A: I haven’t looked awfully closely but wouldn’t an emergency veteran big who’d make no playing time demands fit in Miami or, say, OKC? I’m pretty sure there are fits.
But to your question, there’s no real rush to do anything so, sure, they could wait for months. And I don’t imagine Marcus would have a problem with that; I am dead certain his agent is scouring the league right now trying to find a team that wants him and he finds one, I’m sure he’ll bring it to Masai’s attention.
Q: Camby is an extra big that doesn`t want to be here. We are still one PG short of the three that we need. If we traded Marcus for the Spurs` Cory Joseph, then one could legitimately state that it’s possible that no more moves are forthcoming until regular season play begins ...
Bo K, Mississauga, ON
A: Since San Antonio had no interest in dealing Joseph to Toronto when they called about him last year at the trade deadline, I’m not sure the Spurs are interested in moving him now.
But I’d sure make the call and see and would bet that Masai has already or will shortly.
Q: Hiya Doug,
Whose coffers do the luxury taxes fill with the new deal? Does the NBA league office get the money? It's a truly unfathomable number (to me).
How can Prokhorov actually believe he can bank roll his way to a championship? Does he not read your blog??
A: The money is split among the teams, nothing stays with the league. And let’s see where the Net are at this time next year, that’s when the gigantic tax hit would happen and they might be able to move some salary between now and then.