Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Colangelo

Courtside back in action

- January 27th, 2011

Had some technical problems for a while, but everything is back to normal and Mike Ganter and myself will be contributing to the blog again on a regular basis.

Quick thoughts for today, apologies for the rambling:

Been saying for years there is no point squeezing into the playoffs only to get killed in the first round – if that’s the peak for a team, ie. Raptors crushed in first round two years in a row, then went crashing back down to earth.

If you’re going to be bad, be terrible, don’t do it half-way. The Raptors were poised to go their usual route of ending somewere between 8-10 in the East before Reggie Evans went down. He was keeping them in games and on the treadmill. Without Evans and with an obscene amount of injuries following, the Raptors have fallen to where they need to be for the good of the franchise long-term.

Yes, this draft has been talked down as a weak one, but the odds say a top 4 talent is still going to help a ton, especially if his name is Kyrie Irving. Talent trumps all in the NBA and the Raptors desperately need talent.

- Those calling for Jay Triano’s head are hilariously misguided. No coach was going to get much out of this roster even if it was at full strength. Simply put, there aren’t enough defenders on the roster to reach .500, even at full strength. It has become crystal clear to these eyes that Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani – while both great offensive players – are a horrible combo defensively and cannot both be on the court at the same time against offensively competent opponents (or even the Cleveland Cavaliers!). Triano can’t do the impossible. How about seeing what he can do with a deep, talented roster that actually is capable of defending before running him out of town?

He isn’t getting gigs with USA Basketball because he’s a bad coach people (not to mention his success with Canada).

- What to do going forward if you’re Bryan Colangelo? He didn’t ask but I trade Calderon since you can live with Bargnani’s faults if you surround him with the right pieces because he is so special offensively but you can’t have both of them. Calderon is too brittle and defensively challenged to be counted on as the starter long-term. He has played great this season so is tradeable again.

Find the point guard of the future in the off-season either through the draft or the way Indiana did it (in getting Darren Collison through trade). Someone with the skill-set of Jrue Holiday, who gets after it offensively and also has a ton of upside athletically would be ideal.

Acquire assets like picks for Reggie Evans and/or Leandro Barbosa or for taking on a bad contract a team is desperate to get rid of (as long as it expires after the 2011-12 season 9ie. the Oklahoma City model).

Bayless can take over Barbosa’s role as scoring sixth man going forward. If you have Bayless, you can use the substantial money Barbosa makes more usefully elsewhere.

Jarrett Jack to New Orleans all but done according to multiple reports

- November 20th, 2010

ESPN and Yahoo! Sports have backed a Greek report that New Orleans Hornets forward Peja Stojakovic is on his way to Toronto, along with Jerryd Bayless, for Jarrett Jack, Marcus Banks and David Andersen.
The Raptors have not confirmed the deal, but reports say they have agreed to it in principle.
Bayless cannot be traded in a package deal because he was recently acquired by New Orleans, but can be moved for the trade exception the Raptors received in the Leandro Barbosa-Hedo Turkoglu deal.
Stojakovic’s best days are behind him, but he carries a valuable $14 million US (plus trade kicker) expiring contract.
Bayless was a big-time scorer while at Arizona and was the 2008 Las Vegas Summer League MVP, averaging 29.3 points per game. He has not found a niche in the NBA because he is not a true point guard but lacks the size to play big minutes at shooting guard. Selected by Indiana 11th overall, Bayless was shipped to Portland on draft day in a deal involving Jack before being moved along to New Orleans this off-season.
Jack was splitting minutes with Jose Calderon. He signed with the Raptors largely to play with his good friend and former Georgia Tech. teammate Chris Bosh, who left a year later.
If the deal is finalized, Jack will be reunited with close friends Monty Williams, the Hornets’ head coach and Hornets superstar Chris Paul, the starting point guard.
Banks rarely played and also is in the last year of his deal, while Andersen, coming off his best game as a Raptor, has one unguaranteed year left.
Calderon had been seeing increased minutes for the team as Jack, hampered by nagging injuries, struggled with his decision-making. The team preferred to move Calderon – and almost succeeded this summer before Charlotte owner Michael Jordan nixed a deal – but Jack’s smaller contract was far more tradeable.
Jack was a team leader who served as a mentor to players such as DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, so it will be interesting to see how the club fills that void.
Andersen’s departure opens up more minutes for young big men Ed Davis – expected to make his debut within the next two weeks – and Joey Dorsey.
Competitively, this sets Toronto back this season, but long term, it gives them a B-level scoring prospect in Bayless and increased cap flexibility (about $2 million saved next season).
The Raptors still have a $14.5 million trade exception from the Bosh sign-and-trade to use to acquire a much-needed talent upgrade and minus Jack, on paper, the club moves closer to the top of the lottery.

Calderon’s injury just made Bryan Colangelo’s job harder

- August 23rd, 2010

Jose Calderon injured his hamstring during Sunday’s one-point loss to the United States and will be out for at least a month.

That is bad news for the Raptors and general manager Bryan Colangelo. Calderon’s contract already made him difficult to move and though he will presumably be back in time for training camp (which starts Sep. 28th) his now building injury history continues to be troublesome.

Calderon has been hampered for two years now by lower body injuries, particularly hamstring issues.

Is a team really going to pony up for a player with a sizable deal, a trade kicker and an inability to come close to playing a full season?

This corner doubts it. A Jarrett Jack/Calderon combo isn’t the worst thing in the world for the Raptors, the problem is, Marcus Banks better be ready to step up as he did last year (or Leandro Barbosa will have to pretend he has some point guard skills), because it is almost a certainty that Calderon will go down at some point this season. Calderon’s inability to thrive in an up-tempo system, like the one the Raptors intend to play, is also a problem. He is conservative and inclined to play at a methodic pace. That approach doesn’t really fit in Toronto anymore. But with a trade unlikely, the team will have to work around it.

Colangelo on the FAN talks Bosh, Kleiza, trades on horizon, failed deals

- July 26th, 2010

Interesting interview on the FAN 590 this afternoon with Bryan Colangelo.

Recap of the major points:

The Raptors have a number of balls in the area and are working on trades, but there is kind of a lull right now in terms of teams willing to make deals.

Barnes and Charlotte deal falling through are unfortunate. Barnes took less to play close to home. Stuff getting out prematurely is not a good thing.

Used the analogy re: Barnes of losing a fish on a line … guess he reads my stuff

Chris Bosh could have played through his ankle issues but chose not to. The Raptors really didn’t think they were in the mix for him. People were putting things in his ear.

” Despite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games. That was a very important period for us. Then coming back from not working out, his timing was off, conditioning was off, we were set back even further. 6 games stretched to 9 games. Then when he finally came back, his face got broken. We had a tough season based on the timing of that injury and that sequence.”

Team will be athletic and fun to watch.

Linas Kleiza has no midrange game, but is a force in the post and can nail the three. He brings toughness and scoring. Likely the starter at small forward right now.

My thoughts: Interesting he called out Bosh like that, but can’t say I disagree with any of that. Bosh was clearly out of Toronto mentally after the all-star break and he wasn’t going to kill himself for the franchise any longer.

Kleiza makes sense as the starter. Sonny Weems will bring energy and offence to a bench that will badly need those things.

Going young with a running, exciting team makes total sense. They will probably lose a ton of games, but they will look good doing it and will give fans some value for their money. That’s a smart way to rebuild.

On Barnes, Canada basketball and Raps vs. Suns in Vancouver

- July 21st, 2010

Some assorted thoughts today:

First, Matt Barnes to the Raptors still looking very unlikely. Originally, Toronto offered a starting role, a great fit and the most money. Now that the Raptors can only offer what everybody else can (and the Cavs can still and are willing to offer nearly double what anybody else can) don’t expect Barnes to join the list of toughest Raptors ever with the likes of Charles Oakley, Reggie Slater, Gary Trent, Alvin Williams, Reggie Evans, Alvin Robertson and others. It just no longer makes sense for him.

Glad to see Wayne Parrish will be sticking around in less than a figurehead capacity with Canada Basketball. He’s helped them do a lot of good things over the past two years. Hopefully the senior men’s squad will be competitive at the worlds in Turkey later this summer, but if not, as I’ve been saying for a long time now, Canada is not that far off.

There are almost a dozen five and four star prospects that are one to three years away from joining and significantly upgrading the Canadian squad. Toronto’s Andrew Wiggins is the highest-rated prospect for his age in the world, Brampton’s Tristan Thompson was once No. 1 in North America and he will join another NBA prospect, Pickering’s Cory Joseph at Texas this fall. Toronto’s Myck Kabongo will join them in a year and is one of the top prospects in North America for his age group. And that’s just the short list, there’s also Montreal’s Khem Birch, Syracuse standout Kris Joseph, Kyle Wiltjer, Mo Walker, Dwight Powell, Andrew Nicholson, Kevin Pangos and Gonzaga’s Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynk. Apologies to the many other solid prospects I’m neglecting to mention off the top of my head. The point is, this is the brightest time for basketball in Canada’s history and it’s nice to see.

Hoping to make the trip to Vancouver to cover Raptors vs. Suns Oct. 6th. Never been to lovely B.C., would be very cool to see Mr. Nash there.

Perhaps the Raptors do have a plan

- July 15th, 2010

I had been giving the Raptors and Bryan Colangelo grief recently for refusing to rebuild. It looked like they would do the usual MLSE thing and eschew a rebuild in favour of giving their all just to make the playoffs for a very brief period.

But on the FAN 590 today, Colangelo talked a good game and actually made it apparent that the team just might be going about things on the right track after all.

Here’s a transcript of some of the notables that were said,  the highlights being: it is unfortunate the way Charlotte handled the apparent Calderon trade; there is interest in Calderon but if he comes back he will be OK with it; the team is building around youth and wants to keep as much cap flexibility as possible; spending into the luxury tax is highly unlikely right now, but they can spend $11-13 million before they get into the tax.

Bryan Colangelo notables:
There are some things you don’t talk about and I think the safest answer is deal’s not done until it’s done but I’m obv a little disappointed that it didn’t go through. Felt like we were moving down that path, in fact further than just moving down the path  to the extent that  unfortunately I had some communication with Jose’s agent that something was going to take place and it’s unfortunate that it happened that way.

Fortunately, we were able to keep the other part alive which was moving Hedo along. That was the result of somthing just not panning out. Made some moves last year to put some pieces around Chris. Had some success before the all-star break than the wheels fell off. He just didn’t seem like he was in the right mindset to come back to Toronto and make it right.

We have greater cap flexibility moving forward, which is never a bad thing to have. A year or two out we’re looking at sig cap space assuming we don’t do a lot to disrupt that. Whether or not we find the right pieces we still have some tools to use here with respect to some of the exceptions tat have been acquired to go out and fill ot the roster.
Positive youth movement. Right now we’re the buzz of the summer league out here in Las Vegas and there are 20 teams represented. We’ve got some young talent. We’ve got a bright future. Got a major trade exception and ust picked up another $2.75 exception in the deal. Have got major cap flexibility a year or two out.

I’ll reserve comment other than to say it doesn’t hurt us in negotiating, fence mending that needs to be  (done). I don’t think Reggie is going to have a problem last year of contract. And Jose is in a similar situation, he kind of knew what was on the wall us talking about some decisions late in the season. We respect Jose as a player, very solid player, there is a lot of interest in him.

Trade call isn’t done until it is done. Part of the business and it happens, so we move on.

Luxury tax: The board is willing to do whatever it takes to win but going into th etax has to be justfiable from both a business and basketball perspective. They were more than willing to accept the tax scenario, but that was under different circumstances (Chris Bosh returning). We were going to go for the pieces that would help us support and build around Chris to make that happen. Big statement on the board’s part to make that statement. Now we’re two weeks into the free agency period. Puts us in a different situation. Have roughly $11-13 million of flexibility under the tax. It would be a pretty hard thing to justify right now going into a tax picture unless there was some unbelievable trade available to us that would improve our trade. With Chris gone, this is somewhat of a different strategy. Have young players, have draft picks, have trade exceptions. If the right piece comes along, we’ll (look to add it) but now you want to keep flexibility.
Not just going to utilize this to get a bad contract. Have a chance to surprise people this year. Young talent is an important thing.

Look at this picture now without the handcuffs of a $106 million dollar deal. There was a question is he that max guy, or does he need somebody next to him like a Kobe or a LeBron.
It’s A perfect situation for him now and he’s probably going to thrive.
Need to move on and find our own identity without him. Going out and spending into the tax may not be a prudent thing to do.
I could use pretty much every dime of the Bosh trade exception and still stay under the tax.
By virtue of Denver siging Harrington, makes it more likely we have Kleiza.

So many various balls in the air right now, so many new opportunities.

There’s a lot of things going on. I’m in the gym with 29 other general managers, it’s a little bit of a free-for-all. We’re sitting back, being patient, digesting some things.  (Turkoglu) deal put us in a different situation. If we can create more flexibility, that’s something I would like to do (so we can be a bigger player a couple of years out).

Also, just wanted to let people know that the fifth annual All-Star Charity Shootout Clash of the Charities goes Saturday at York University. It will be a chance to see some excellent GTA players. Here’s a list of the participants. The event includes a barbeque and live entertainment with all proceeds going to War Child Canada and the Pinball Clemons Foundation.

Raptors clean up mess, what now?

- July 12th, 2010

A week ago, things looked awfully bleak for the Toronto Raptors.

Chris Bosh was leaving, the team was in cap hell and didn’t even have its next non-lottery draft pick.

Well, give credit where it is due, much like Glen Grunwald used to clean up well after screwing up, Bryan Colangelo did very well Tuesday.

Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans are out – and Tyson Chandler, Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa are heading to Toronto.

The Raptors clear a ton of salary off the books, Chandler is expiring, Diaw and Barbosa have two years left, Calderon and Turkoglu have three and four big money years still remaining.

They also appear to be doing what I have advocated basically forever. Move Andrea Bargnani to the power forward spot, where he is far more suited.

The Raptors will be young, exciting and … probably pretty bad. But at least they have their pick and Miami’s and the potential to either exceed the luxury tax and trade for another good player, or sign a good player either next summer or in the summer of 2012, when they might be flush with cash.

This team has some talent, but lacks the star power to do anything big. It might fight for 8th or it might win only 30 games. Either way, the flexibility is now there to add a much-needed star down the line.

It’s a start, and a decent one with more likely to come.

On Kleiza and LeBron

- July 8th, 2010

It appears Linas Kleiza is going to be a Raptor. Bryan Colangelo has been pursuing him for a long time. I doubt Denver wants to pay Carmelo Anthony’s backup $5 million a season for the next four years.

Kleiza is a good player. An effective piece. But if he’s a starter and you want to be a good team, he better be your fifth-best starter or you’re not good enough, period. If he’s coming off the bench, that’s a little bit too much money for my liking, but it’s not a complete disaster.

Kleiza was one of the top players in Europe last season (Euroleague leading scorer). He rebounds, defends and gets after it. The Raptors need as many players like that as possible. This move makes a lot more sense if a Hedo Turkoglu deal is on the horizon. There aren’t enough minutes for Kleiza, Turkoglu and Sonny Weems.

But even if Turk is moved, I still have a problem with this signing. Why? You’ll have to read my column in the Sun Friday to find out.

As for LeBron. This whole thing makes me sick. Unless he stays in Cleveland, I am very down on this whole process. If he jilts Cleveland during this one-hour “extravaganza” LeBron will become the biggest villain in sports history. The NBA’s Darth Vader, if you will.

I still think he stays put, but at this point, will concede that belief stems more from hopefulness than logic. All signs point to Miami, but I won’t believe it until I see it. I’m not sure LeBron, the man trying to become the biggest brand in sports, will really cut off so many potential buyers of what he’s selling by leaving Cleveland.

Yes, some haters still buy things, but many more don’t. Selling the Bron brand becomes much easier if he stays in Cleveland for a couple years, wins a ring and then leaves for greener pastures.

When Bryan Colangelo wants a player he isn’t afraid to pay up to get him.

The Raptors have signed forward Linas Kleiza to a four-year, $20-million U.S. offer sheet.

The Denver Nuggets — who own Kleiza’s rights even though he most recently played in Greece — now have seven days to match the offer. It is highly unlikely they will do so.

Kleiza, a 6-foot-8, 245 pound small forward with a nice shooting touch, is a productive player who Colangelo hoped to acquire last season. Kleiza can play the three and four, and even spot minutes at shooting guard in a pinch.

He is an aggressive, chippy player in the mold of ex-Raptor Jorge Garbajosa.

Kleiza spent three seasons with Denver after being acquired in a draft night deal for Jarrett Jack, averaging 8.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 19 minutes per game.

The Lithuanian spent last season with Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece averaging a Euroleague high 17 points a night, along with seven rebounds.

He notched a career-best 41 points during the 2007-08 season and was outstanding in Denver’s short, four-game playoff that year, averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds on 54% shooting.

It is unclear how Kleiza will fit in with the Raptors unless further moves are made.

Small forward Hedo Turkoglu is expected to have an increased role, unless the Raptors somehow find a way to move his brutal deal, and another swingman, Sonny Weems, is also expected to see heavy minutes following a breakout final two months of 2009-10.

Bosh to Miami done, but will Colangelo play ball?

- July 7th, 2010

As was widely expected, Chris Bosh will be joining Dwyane Wade as a member of the Miami Heat.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard first reported the package deal.

What still remains unclear, is whether Bosh will sign outright when contracts can officially be announced or will he go via sign & trade, gaining the Raptors something in return and gifting Bosh with an extra year and $30 million US over the life of his contract.

The Raptors have not yet heard anything official, so this leaked announcement screams posturing. Miami desperately wants Toronto to take on Michael Beasley in order to open up more room in an attempt to stun the entire league by also adding LeBron James.

Without moving Beasley, Miami cannot offer Wade, Bosh and James the true max. All of them would have to consider taking less money.

Cleveland has said it will not sign & trade James if he chooses to leave, so he would be taking less by signing in Miami anyways.

Bryan Colangelo is sitting at the poker table again. As he was when he made the poor Jermaine O’Neal for Shawn Marion transactions a couple of years ago which ended up providing the Heat with the cap room it is now using to pair Wade with Bosh, along, possibly, with James.

Colangelo either loses the franchise leader in most categories for nothing, or takes Beasley, the Raptors’next non-lottery first and possibly more + a TPE back. But in doing so, Colangelo would be making a lot of people around the league very unhappy – never his style of doing business – since only the Raptors can make a Wade-Bosh-James triumvirate possible unless the trio accepts less money. All three taking less money to play together and putting their egos aside to work together seemed preposterous even 24 hours ago and I still say 70-30 it doesn’t happen. But it is now a realistic possibility.

Interesting times indeed.

Let the free agent madness begin

- June 30th, 2010

As I write this, the madness is 5 minutes away.

I still maintain Bosh will be going to Miami, but the very reputable Ric Bucher says Chicago still has a chance to add both Bosh and LeBron James.

The Bulls want to give the Raptors Luol Deng, but he doesn’t fit as long as Hedo Turkoglu is around. The team cannot afford to pay two SF’s that kind of money. Taj Gibson is also not really needed anymore thanks to the drafting of Ed Davis. Gibson would only be useful if Amir Johnson leaves town.

Before all this happens, I’ll make my call on where they’ll all end up:

Chris Bosh- Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade – Miami Heat

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers

Amare Stoudemire – Chicago Bulls

Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks

Paul Pierce – Boston Celtics

Joe Johnson – Atlanta Hawks

Carlos Boozer – Carlos Boozer

David Lee – Cleveland Cavaliers

Ray Felton – New York Knicks

Rudy Gay – New Jersey Nets

Ray Allen – Boston Celtics

John Salmons – New York Knicks

Shaquille O’Neal – Dallas Mavericks

Tracy McGrady – Miami Heat

Kyle Korver – Chicago Bulls

Brendan Haywood – Miami Heat

Mike Miller – ?

Randy Foye – ?