The start of the weekend mail
Well, that was a rather eventful NBA Friday, wasn’t it?
I presume now that Howard is done the other dominoes will fall and by the time we get to the end of business on Monday the number of possible free agents will have dwindled considerably.
That means a weekend of phones and texts and e-mails after we try to shape up the struggling 2-5 Mighty Navy Tigers.
Enjoy this, if there’s more on your mind, it’s email@example.com and and we’ll get to the others for tomorrow morning.
So Andrea has never lived up to expectations, according to some talking heads and scribes. The only expectations any athlete has to meet are those of the GM and Coach. If he doesn't then it is time to go. Present company excepted, there are a number of scribes and talking heads who have never lived up to my expectations. I expect them to be professional and report on teams and athletes objectively. I do not want them to get personal and vilify athletes who are doing things that the reporters could never do. If an athlete is not playing up to his previous standards that needs to be commentated on. If the athlete is a disruptive influence in the dressing room, then say so, but if the rest of the team says he isn't, don't say he is just to justify your comments. As far as I am concerned, a reporters expectations and opinions are the same as mine. They are like backsides. Everybody has one, but most are not fit for public viewing.
Enough of that. I come to the back up point guard spot. Is there a veteran out there that you think will be looking for work after the Free Agent Frenzy is over and be available after the F A F. (Free Agent Frenzy)
A: I don’t know about a veteran point guard because I think they see the kid Stone as a possible backup to Lowry; they are more likely to wait until much closer to camp – like even September – to see who has fallen through the cracks and who they can get as a third stringer on a one-year minimum contract. I think the priority now is using whatever moeny they might have left to bolster the front court, where they are pretty thin at the moment.
And I concur with your assessment on the “expectations” entirely.
Q: Assuming your new CFL gig is quasi—regular, are there any questions about the league (or the Argos) you’d like to pursue? Will you be going to Regina for a regular season game (as opposed to the Grey Cup?). You really should.
James A, Victoria
PS: Go (gag) Redblacks!
A: It'll be as regular as it can be as long as the crazy Raptors don't do too much over the course of the summer. Sure, I'll break off to do some Canada Basketball stuff every noe and then and maybe some other stuff on one-off occasions but Argos will get the majority of my time. And I think I'm getting the hang of it and I hope I can come up with some marginally interesting stories over the course of the summer.
I will most certainly be in Regina for Toronto's regular season game; am unsure about the Grey Cup, though, since that's right at the start of the NBA season.
I have a question regarding the recent Charlie V and Rodney Stuckey for Rudy Gay rumours. I'm not so much interested in the substance of the rumour as to why and how this becomes a story in the first place. Unless the Raptors were in full on tank mode, one would presume (and the later reports confirm) that the Raptors would reject this offer immediately.
I would have thought that this would have been a brief conversation between Joe Dumars and Masai Ujiri (or their respective sub-Henchmen) and never would have seen the light of day. But no, it is reported. How does this become a story? Is it the agents for one or more of the players pushing it for some reason on behalf of their clients? Is it the Pistons leaking their offer to the press for some PR reason? Or the Raptors doing the same? What is the process in these cases?
A: Every time you see one of those things/rumours/idiotic scenarios you need to ask yourself: Who benefits from it being out there?
Is it the Pistons, who want to be seen as trying to divest themselves of bit pieces?
Is it hte Raptors, who are testing the waters around the league and letting teams see a baseline for discussion?
Is is the players or their agents using the media to send a message to their teams?
All kinds of layers.
I agree wholeheartedly that it’s not necessarily “news” at any level but in this day and age, it seems every snippet of information one can gather needs to be put out there to be discussed, no matter who far-fetched or unrealistic it may be. My biggest issue is that the stuff that does get thrown out there represents such a small percentage of what’s actually being discussed and debated, it is not at all representative of reality.
And skewing what’s going on just to make a wee splash seems at some level a bit irresponsible.
Q: Hi Doug
I used to honour the baseball code for things like breaking up the double play and keeping them honest at the plate, but watching that "slide" in the Detroit game had me thinking how it could have cost a man his livelihood. Does the NBA have any such unwritten codes? I suppose justification for hard fouls would fall into the category.
Thanks as always!
A: Given the inherent danger that goes with large gentlemen flying through the air at great speeds and the kinship that NBA players feel with each other, there certainly is.
You're not to undercut someone when they are in the air, driving to the basket or taki g a shot. It's okay to defend them aggressively but not to put them in danger of grave injury.
Q: Hi Doug.
I've been looking for any information on the Raptors summer league. Like maybe the roster, I did see all games are being shown on NBA TV and I see they start on the 13th vs. Miami but not much more can I find. I imagine they'll have Ross, Acy and maybe Valuncunis please excuse the attempt at spelling) I think this would be a good time to try and invite cobongo again spelling sorry
A: You'll be getting your fill of summer league news in the next couple of days. When I last spoke to someone who'd know, the roster should be set Monday -- it's a bit fluid putting the back end of it together -- and the team has a mini-camp set to start July 10 with games three days later. Yes, Vlanaciunas, Ross and Acy are supposed to be there, and I believe Stone may be as well; the rest of the roster really doesn't matter.
Q: Three questions:
Some recent coaching hirings had the title 'associate head coach' as opposed to assistant coach - believe it was Alvin Gentry in LA - is that position something new, like a step above an assistant coach? Makes me think of a Dwight & Jim debate.
Also, and this is maybe more opinion, I read somewhere that Dwane Casey was going to get more of a say in hiring his assistants this summer implying he didn't have that same ability when he was first hired. Obviously the holdovers (Nori, Roth, Hughes) were already here, but were the other new coaches last year 'forced' onto Casey's bench?
A more general question, how much say does a head coach have in determining who his assistants are, and do they report to him or would they be considered co-workers and report to the GM?
Brad (from Collingwood)
A: “Associate” is a step of above assistant, it’s a way to offer promotions to former assistants, perhaps pay them a bit more, denote a higher level of responsibility. You see that not all teams have them, though.
And Casey’s alwasy had a say in his staff, he is actually the one who hired Johnny Davis and Tom Sterner back in the day but, like in any business, there is a chain of decision-making. Dwane, or any head coach in the league, would have to run his decision on assistants past his boss, it’s usually just a rubber stamp.
And assistants report solely to the head coach, anything otherwise would be asking for trouble.
Q: Any word on the coaches? If I remember, the contracts of all Dwane's assistants expired at the end of June. You would think by now the Raptors would have made some kind of announcement regarding their coaching situation. There is a rumour that Johnny Davis is being considered for a position on the Lakers coaching staff but that's about it.
A: Yes, you would think they would have and they may soon but the impression I'm getting is that they aren't at all interested in saying who has left and they'll just eventually announce who's coming.
But here's what I know, and have mentioned a couple of times: The only guys from last year who were told they'd be back are Micah Nori and John Townshend. The rest are gone. Eric Hughes has already joined Jason Kidd's staff in Brooklyn, I hadn't heard that about Johnny and I'm not sure what's become of Scott Roth or Tom Sterner.
I know that Nick Nurse, last year's D League coach of the year, is coming in and I hear it's 99 per cent certain that Popeye Jones is going to join Dwane's staff. There should be one more that we'll hear about the first of the week.
Q: I read that maybe Camby won't come to Toronto and in that case Raptors would be forced to buy him out.
This situation has happened before.
It doesn't seem right that someone under contract can refuse to honour it and the consequences are a $reward plus freedom.
Is this one of those NBA normal gentlemanly practices or some legal option entrenched for the players.
If its the former ... then why don't the Raptors just refuse to play along.
Report or be suspended without pay..that way at very least the player would remain an asset for trade.
I don't get why so little effort made to maximize assets.
Set a precedent.
A: It’s not perfect, no. But at some level it makes some sense. There are financial savings to be had – the money saved on any buyout is cash in hand, even if it doesn’t ease cap or tax obligations – and that’s a factor. And there are optics to worry about, whether fans like it or not. It’s all well and good to talk about playing hardball and being tough but there are future relationships to consider, you may need to work with that player or his agent to facilitate a trade or do some deal in the future; there is as much relationship-builidng to think about as there is hard-ass reputations to build.
Since the Commonwealth team has such a preponderance of wing players, why not change the name to The Wings? Think of all the cross promotion opportunities.
Now that Camby is back( even for just a minute), any chance of Mighty Mouse returning?
Any news on Hobbs?
All the best!
Bob E, Kanata
A: Mighty Mouse would be a good addition to Dwane’s staff, but I’m afraid even he’d admit that’s about it. Be nice to see him though.
Hobbs was a Lugnut, now he’s a FisherCat and I’m hearing around all-star break he’ll be a TOD.
Q: HI Doug, if HOU wants to make room for the man baby (Dwight Howard) it has been suggested they'd need to move Lin. Do you think the Raps might be interested? Also, curious your thoughts on why Thomas Robinson's (#5 pick in 2012) stock fell so low so fast? (and why didn't the Raps trade for him given the bag of balls the Blazers gave up for him?)
A: The Lin stuff is now moot but they had no interest. And I don’t know enough about Robinson to comment but if enough teams give up on you, you’d think there’s something to it, wouldn’t you?
Q: Greetings Doug.
Can you give some insight into how teams select assistant coaches, and what their roles are? How hard is it for a former head coach to move to a new team and work as an assistant? Does the sign read, "check your ego at the door" ?
Jeff S, Owen Sound
A: Roles are impossible to define consistently, they are part of the training, game-planning and decision-making process, they offer ideas and suggestions and work as a team. They are often hired the way you and I get jobs, by hearing about openings, making calls and going through interview processes. It’s not as formal as the real world but not that different.
And sure, former head coaches have to tone down their minds a bit when they move one or two seats to the right on the bench but most can and do quite easily.
Q: Longtime reader, first time asker here! My local team is currently the Wolves, but I'm Canadian and still follow the Raps with some interest.
One thing I've noticed since Masai Ujiri took over is that there's been no word on Alex Rucker or anyone else on the analytics team.
Zach Lowe's piece on what they've been up to was fascinating, and I've been hoping that the people who worked on the ghost system would be retained through the transition. Any word on their status?
P.S. I may have mentioned this in the comments before, but if you want a great burger or steak near the Target Center when covering Raps-Wolves, try Ike's. It's outstanding, has some good beer options, and is a mere 2-3 blocks from the venue.
A: Masai said when he came in that he saw a role for analytics and liked what the Raptors had been doing, not sure anything much will change.
And I've been at Ike's often; it's the one on 6th, right? Usually spend part of the night before the game there or JD Hoyt's and the night after the game at the Irish place across the street from Prince's place. A good road city, indeed.
Q: Hi Doug,
Like you, I've never liked the notion of tanking. However, I've found myself open to the idea this year because I see it as a unique opportunity. I wouldn't do it for just any draft, but if Andrew Wiggins really is as good as they say, maybe it's worth having a horse in that race. Although he hasn't even played a collegiate game yet, he's already being compared to generational talents like Lebron and Magic (even Jordan and Durant weren't heralded that way). And seeing as the rest of the draft is said to have several other potential franchise players, this seems like an opportunity unlike most others.
For the chance of having a Canadian phenom to go with Jonas and some cap room the following year, would you reconsider your stance against tanking this season? I have.
A: Sorry. Won’t ever abide not giving your best. So, no, never changing. It’s a stupid gamble that often doens’t pay dividends, it cheats the game, the players, the coaches and the fans. It’s shameful, regardless of what’s at stake.
Q: My question is about TV broadcasts. These days pretty much every game is broadcast by both teams. I'm wondering how that works. I know each team has its own broadcast crew and from watching lots of games it generally seem that the broadcast teams are in sync with the director which would imply that each broadcast also uses their own set of cameras. Is that in fact how it works? Sounds crowded having two sets of cameras in the same arena. Are stadiums equipped to handle that? Thanks.
A: No, there is just one set of cameras at each game; two directors have choices of what shots they want to use when but the views and angles are the same for each.
Q: Your comments on your son's schooling brought back memories, specifically boosting a Physics mark from 70 to 92 at Woodlands HS. Not the nicest student population that Mississauga has to offer as I recall.
A: We’re just south and west of there, would have been Super Son’s catchment school if he hadn’t been accepted at Cawthra.
And did it feel a wee bit like cheating going from 70 to 92? Or did it just feel good?