Posts Tagged ‘Raptors

Heat hand Raptors a reality check; Hard to replace Amir; Hansbrough doing his part; Some interesting Raptors SportVu stats

- November 3rd, 2014

- Well, that was rather predictable, no? The Raptors arrived in Miami 2-0, despite not playing all that well defensively. A scorching offence had been enough to get by a good Atlanta team (the amped-up season-opening crowd and some Al Horford rust didn’t hurt either) and Orlando just isn’t yet a good team (but still held leads for stretches of Saturday’s game). Miami is better than either of those two squads and came in playing a lot better overall than the Raptors had been. With the Raptors not playing any better, a win was not in the cards. “It caught up with us,” head coach Dwane Casey said of the team’s lackluster defensive efforts.

- It is never an ideal team to be without Amir Johnson, but going up against Chris Bosh and the Heat made Johnson’s absence especially problematic. Johnson tweaked his ankle yet again and, early in the season, the Raptors opted to be cautious, rather than risk a nagging, long-term issue. The team’s defence had been iffy through two games. Minus Johnson, the top post, help, rim and one-on-one defender on the squad, it was easy to predict what came next. Johnson is an elite rim protector. Greg Stiemsma is the only other Raptor who offers any deterrence at the rim (Bebe isn’t ready yet) and he did not get into the game.

- Effort was a problem for the Raptors on Sunday, and that isn’t often the case for a Dwane Casey-coached squad. Johnson’s absence can’t explain away what happened on the boards. Getting crushed 43-28 in the rebounding department by one of the NBA’s worst rebounding teams had to sting. Dwyane Wade nearly outrebounded Toronto’s starters by himself. Most of the discrepancy was a result of effort – Miami had it, Toronto did not – and smarts – The Heat did a better job blocking out and getting to the right areas.

- Patrick Patterson insisted the Heat was still a top opponent, even without LeBron James, then went out and had what might have been his worst outing as a Raptor. As Casey said afterward, it was a really bad time for Patterson to play poorly. He was a complete non-factor, failing to score a point or haul in a rebound. Unfortunately, reality says Johnson is going to miss a few games every so often because of his ankles. Patterson needs to play like he did last season when that happens.

- The Raptors really struggled to defend the pick-and-roll and were particularly susceptible to back-door cuts, often coming off of big-to-big passes. Jack Armstrong noted it on the broadcast, the Chrish Bosh-Josh McRoberts combo is going to produce a smart, high efficiency offence. We’ll see the same thing in Chicago with Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol.

- A lot of people think the Heat are going to fall off and struggle to make the playoffs. I don’t share that view (picked them to finish 5th in the East). This is still a good team. It has some flaws (troubling lack of size, rely too much on Bosh to score), but if  Wade looks like he did on Sunday, they’ll be fine. Wade looked like himself (sure, playing the porous Raptors helped, but still …) he split through the defence at will, getting into the middle whenever he wanted to. Though Wade doesn’t take it all the way to the hoop as often as he liked to, when he sliced through, he easily set up teammates for open looks. Without a true point guard, Wade could be going make to his earlier days, where he was tasked with generating a high level of assists every night. Arguably the best shot-blocking guard of all-time, Wade also got up to make an unreal rejection on a Valanciunas attempt. It’s a long season and Wade will surely wear down, but, for now, he looks like the guy who has been one of the NBA’s best players for a solid decade now.

- One Raptor positive through three games: The play of Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough never looked comfortable in his initial season in Toronto, but has been the first big man off of the bench in 2014-15 and has played well. Hansbrough might have modest stats, but he is getting under the skin of opponents, is hitting the glass, taking charges and not forcing as many shots as he has in the past. It has been a nice-bounce back so far for the former North Carolina legend.

- Another: Kyle Lowry is averaging nine assists for every turnover through three games (though he had only three assists and his first two turnovers of the year against Miami).

- The bottom line: There is no need to panic, it is early yet. Once Johnson comes back, the newcomers get comfortable, Patterson returns to form and the Raptors wake up defensively, this will be a good squad. Are there flaws? Absolutely, but not enough to prevent a top 4 or 5 finish in the East, with the potential to be pretty solid.

- Some bonus stats courtesy of FanSided, via the SportVu tracking cameras (stats are from last season): Only five players shot 50% or better on wide-open threes. Kyle Korver led the way and Terrence Ross was one of them; Opponents guarded DeRozan more closely on three-point attempts than anybody else in the league (4.52 feet away, just ahead of how closely Kevin Durant was covered from beyond the line).

 

Raptors at Clippers Points Per Game: Too much Blake Griffin; OK with hack-a-Jordan; DeRozan’s passing has been great; Amir’s hurting; sked gets easier

- February 8th, 2014

Well, this one started OK. No first quarter slumber, pretty good defence on the Clippers not named Blake Griffin … but that Griffin guy is an all-star starter for a reason (and it’s not just because he’s popular owing to his dunks). Griffin has taken his game to a new level, even without Chris Paul and now gets the LeBron treatment from referees. Not only is he much better than he used to be and amongst the most polished scorers in the NBA, if you breathe on Griffin, you’re in danger of being whistled for a foul. That’s a tough combination to deter. Fouls were the only thing that slowed down the former No. 1 overall pick on Friday night.

- Since Chris Paul – merely the NBA’s top point guard – got hurt, Griffin has averaged 26.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 53.9% shooting and 71.9% success from the line (this is a guy who used to shoot 55% from the stripe).

- Everything was OK through the first quarter-and-a-half, but then the Clippers started running and the Raptors had no answers for one of the league’s most athletic squads. Quickly, L.A. was up 18 and then as much as 22. It’s been a troubling trend for a while now. These Raptors fall behind by 15-20 points far too often. It seems like it happens to them more than other teams, but I don’t have the exact numbers on that.

- Part of the problem once again? Second effort, or a lack thereof. The Raptors were outworked outside and for loose balls for much of the contest. Part of that could be fatigue, but it was a factor in the outcome.

- DeMar DeRozan put on a show at home, dropping 36 points – the most he’s scored in L.A. The eight assists and zero turnovers were just as impressive, along with 19 trips to the line. Too often, DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are the only Raptors who attack the rim relentlessly. The team could really use another attacker. That’s the fifth time this season DeRozan’s notched at least three assists without a turnover. In February, he has 28 assists and just six turnovers.

- Hack-a-Jordan wasn’t a very popular strategy for Dwane Casey – ESPN’s J.A. Adande railed against the practice, but I don’t have a problem with it. Sure, it lowers the entertainment factor, but if a player is a bad as Jordan (and others like Dwight Howard have been) at the line and you are in serious trouble, why not try it? Put the onus on the opposing coach not to play the terrible free throw shooter or, imagine this, force the guy making millions of dollars to spend enough time working on his shot that he doesn’t shoot 35-55% anymore. With all the help and practice time available to them, there is no excuse for any NBA player to shoot less than 55% from the line.

- At least this time the Raptors were fouling on purpose. The referees in Sacramento merely assumed they were fouling on purpose.

- Speaking of free throws, have to think the long trip had something to do with Jonas Valanciunas – usually a guaranteed 70% or better – going just 3-for-9. These guys need a break. They get one Saturday, but will be back at practice Sunday. It probably will be a short one. That said, his teammates only missed three – combined.

- The good news is the Raptors return from the jaunt still tied for third in the East (though Atlanta has two games in hand and could pull ahead with a win Saturday night). Now, the hard parts of the schedule have been taken care of and the final three months of the season will be much less of a grind. Casey will play this down surely, that’s his job, but there’s no question life just got a lot easier for the Raptors. Eight of the next 10 will be at home, with the all-star break providing a needed rest (Amir Johnson said after the game he’s hurt and playing through it but it’s definitely impacting his game). There will still be some back-to-backs, but all trips are now two games or less from here on out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bucks at Raptors Points Per Game: The DeRozan surge continues; Taking care of business; The JV up-fake; Bench still balling; Greek Freak impresses

- January 14th, 2014

These Raptors continue to differentiate themselves from editions past. That certainty those who cover the team on a daily basis or those who have watched for years that Toronto would somehow find a way to blow almost any game late is gone. The tendency to look past middling (or worse, as is the case with the Bucks) opponents, also is mostly a relic of the past.

- DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry continue to make convincing all-star cases. Both shut the door on Milwaukee in the third quarter (Toronto continues to dominate in third quarters of games, puzzling Dwane Casey who was lamenting the team’s struggles coming out of halftime only about a month ago). Lowry shot 4-for-5 in the third. Everybody knows Lowry’s a great passer, but DeRozan’s become an effective quarterback with the ball as well. His improvement in terms of seeing the floor is as noticeable as his step forward as a scorer.

- Toronto’s now third in the East and since Atlanta’s not getting top player Al Horford back this season, could well stay there. Why? The team has jumped to sixth in the NBA in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and is 2nd in that category since the Rudy Gay trade and is 15th in offensive rating (12th since the deal).

- That defensive success starts with the standout job Lowry is doing at the initial point of attack and filters to Amir Johnson, one of the league’s 10 best help defenders. Jonas Valanciunas has taken major strides forward as a helper and Patrick Patterson has been solid all-around. Add in the jobs Terrence Ross and John Salmons are doing guarding the perimeter and slight improvement defensively from DeRozan and it all adds up to strong defending. The Raptors play hard and tough and are positionally sound, executing what the coaching staff asks of them on that end every night.

- What’s up with teams biting on the Valanciunas up-fake? Does nobody watch video? He can hit short jumpers, but would rather do something else. Yet, half the league seems to bite hard when he pump fakes, leading to dunk after dunk. The Bucks are long and athletic with the potential to have a bunch of all-league defenders, but John Henson and his teammates need to up their basketball IQ. That will come with experience. Again, they’re not the only culprits. Casey won’t like me writing this, but it’s baffling how the league has struggled to counter the Valanciunas pump fake or the Terrence Ross corner three. Both of those things have been huge for the offence.

- Top Raptor reserve units of all time … go – This one’s up there. Patterson’s been fantastic at both ends of the floor and added 18 more points while maintaining his 50% accuracy mark from three-point range as a Raptor. The bench combined for 43 points. John Salmons followed up his best game as a Raptor with an outing that might even have been better. Rudy Gay’s doing great in Sacramento, but this deal was a massive win for Toronto. I’m sure Masai is happy his friend Pete D’Allesandro benefited as well, but what he really cares about is what it did for the Raptors and the answer is – a lot.

(Great (OK, good) Raptor bench units of the past: Of course T-Mac, Dell, Muggsy, Willis; Dee Brown, T-Mac, John Wallace before that; JYD, Childs, Murray; Marshall, Bonner, MoPete; Bargnani, Calderon, MoPete, Graham, Humphries).

- A minor complaint, maybe, is the average play lately from  Johnson. He’s set the bar pretty high over the years and is still doing it all defensively, but his offensive game has been far less noticeable than usual the past few weeks.

- Said this the other day, Giannis Antetokounpo does things every night that make you think he’s going to be special down the line similar to a young Tracy McGrady. You don’t see that very often. Anthony Davis had it at Kentucky but was more of a finished product (even though he still has a massive ceiling). Butch Carter tweeted the McGrady comparison yesterday and he’d know as well as anybody having been there for McGrady’s start. The Greek Freak looks like a multi-dimensional game-changer down the line. It just might take a few years before he gets there.

- Count Bucks coach Larry Drew as sold on the Raptors:

“Right now they’re certainly a different team than they’ve been in the last two or three years,” Drew said. “They’ve added some real solid pieces that give them a lot of stability. They’re very, very deep.”

“They played a much more physical game than we did and we just didn’t respond to it,” Drew said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More from Masai Ujiri’s post-NBA moratorium availability; Raptors to add backup point guard Dwight Buycks and assistant coach Bill Bayno

- July 12th, 2013

The in-season blog makes a rare off-season appearance to cover what we couldn’t get in here and here .

Masai Ujiri covered a lot of ground earlier this week, so here’s what didn’t make the paper + some analysis:

 On the timeline of moving Andrea Bargnani:

Ujiri: “I don’t know if I was looking to shop him. I think it was a situation where it was time we all moved on. There are a couple teams that want that kind of player. He’s a Novak-type guy, too. He was the no. 1 pick of the draft. He’s a stretch four. He sometimes does a little bit more. There was some interest. We just tried to sift through it to see what was best for the Toronto Raptors.”
Was that biggest prob with Bargnani — not doing more?: “I think he always had spurts where he showed brilliance and showed a complete game. Sometimes he struggled. I just felt like it became a point in time where both sides needed to move on, start all over again and figure it out.”
“We started talking probably around the draft, at draft time. You kind of sit and they think about it and we think about it. … We went through our process to see what helps our ball club. We thought if we can get a couple picks, get a shooter and a couple players out of it, then we’re good to go.”

 My take: That’s the crux with Bargnani, you were always left wondering why he didn’t do more? The talent was there to be an impact player, but the will seemed to be absent. Raptors were fielding Bargnani offers for a while, just didn’t love most of them. Once Knicks got sold on him – witness head coach Mike Woodson’s comments raving about him – this became the package to take.

On Marcus Camby’s status:

“We’re still weighing our options. We don’t know what trades will come up in the next few days, buyouts, all of those options. We’re going to wait and see and make a decision and do what’s best for the raptors.”

My take: Don’t bring your pinstriped Camby jerseys out of mothballs. He’ll either be bought out, retire, or be traded. Quentin Richardson isn’t going to play here either, there are no minutes available given the logjam at small forward and shooting guard.

Ujiri on new offensive-minded assistant coach Nick Nurse:

“We studied Nick Nurse. He’s a very good x’s and o’s guy. I think he has good experience with working with Houston and their offence and doing a lot of stuff in the D-League. When I played in England, I actually played against Nick Nurse. He coached Birmingham and I played for Darby. I kicked his butt. He’s an x’s and o’s guy. I think he’s one of those up and coming coaches. We felt confident he could bring something good to the table. Good offensive coach.”

Timeline on naming the rest of staff?

“Next few days, next few days. We got a couple guys meeting with coach Casey and we feel good about it. Hopefully in the next couple days.” (In the link above, Mike Ganter pointed out it looks like Tom Sterner and John Townsend will be back).

ESPN reported Friday that Minnesota assistant Bill Bayno would possibly be joining the club as an assistant and a source confirmed to the Sun they were working on finalizing a deal. Bayno worked under Rick Adelman, who Kyle Lowry loved playing for and had great relationship with.

My take: Adding Nurse is an excellent move. I’ve been saying for months that the offensive execution has to improve and Bayno is also well-respected as a guy players really enjoy working under and as a defensive mind.

On a decision about whether to use the amnesty provision (on Linas Kleiza, right now, the Raptors are over the luxury tax, but could amnesty Kleiza and sign somebody else using about half of the money saved and still stay under the luxury tax. Or, they could keep him all season in order to deal his expiring contract and try to get under the tax another way).

“I think the smart way to do it would be to wait. We haven’t made a decision yet. We don’t know what kind of trades will come our way. In the next four, five days I think you’ll be able to tell because a lot of free agents will be gone [then], and a lot of teams will be looking to make decisions.”

My take: Masai’s not giving anything away on this. He has until July 16 to make a call and he’ll probably think about it right until the last minute.

How much does it complicate things with Rudy being able to opt out after this year and Kyle’s contract expiring at the end of this year?

“I think we’re in a good spot. It’s a good team and you know what, the pressure is on us. If they have great years, then I think they want to stay. For me it’s a win-win situation for us and it’s a win-win situation for them, too. Great years, they stay. And if it’s not, then they think about it, we think about it and we go from there. We have to do well on the court and grow as a team and I think that’s our goal here.”

On the hiring of Jeff Weltman to be assistant GM:

“He’s great. He gave me a shot when — I wasn’t roaming the streets but I was working Orlando for free but, [laughs] — so he’s great. Great talent evaluator, I think. Really good with people. Very creative mind, I think. Very easy to work with. So he’ll be good for our front office.”

My take: Another good hiring. Weltman is well-respected, was part of the Bucks team that made some excellent draft picks of late (Larry Sanders, John Henson, Tobias Harris)

On the plan:

“For me, patience is the key. I think we all have to be patient. We have a good window for a couple years here and I think you have to, sometimes, you just can’t react and try to do things just to do them. I have to see and have an understanding of the team a little bit, too. And I guess we’ll see from there.”

What would be your expectations of this group?

“No expectations. Just let it play. We are win-win, whatever happens it’s a win for us whichever way it goes. We’re happy with it as long as we grow as an organization. We have to show passion, we have to show growth in some ways. We gotta show direction, too, which eventually will show. I think it’s win-win for us.”

Do you see yourself needing to take a step back to move program ahead?

“I think it’s a tough call right now. We have to continue studying the team and then studying what’s out there. It’s not — what are we going to do, throw players away? We’re not going to do that. And I think winning is what you want to build around and I think when you do that, I’m not so sure the karma is great when you do stuff like that. But I understand the whole big picture and we’re putting all the options on the table.”

My take: Masai doesn’t believe in the karma of tanking, he’s strongly considering throwing this group out to see what they can do. If they succeed, great, if they don’t, that’s OK too, given the strength of this draft.

On the backup point guard battle:

Jordan Taylor, summer league, what do you want from a third guard?

“Yes. You can go either way. I think John Lucas was great, too. Sometimes you use that position to get, I can understand the thinking where you use that position to get a scoring type guy. And some teams to do that. Jason Terrys, those type guys. John Lucas. Nate Robinson. Those type players, scorers coming off the bench. But I don’t know, we’ll talk, we’ll visit with coach Casey and we’ll still try to evaluate what we need coming off the bench. Is it a playmaker, is it a scorer type guy, a defender? Again, we’ll figure that part out.

On Julyan Stone:

“Still, too, we’re pending a couple things. Big point guard. I had him in Denver and he’s a defensive guard. I think we can get better at defending the ball. We thought adding that size could help us. But still pending, too. We’ll see how that goes once he goes through all the physicals and all that.”

NOTE: Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman first reported the Raptors will sign PG Dwight Buycks with expectation he will be Kyle Lowry’s primary backup. Source confirmed to me that is indeed the case.

Buycks was league MVP in France, a D-League first-team all-rookie, the top AAU player in Wisconsin and by all reports, looked very solid in Summer League this year.

My take: Fits with the plan. If Buycks excels, the Raptors will be quite pleased. But seems like they’re also OK with season falling off of the rails if Lowry gets hurt (given lack of experience behind him).

Raptors, Alan Anderson could stay together

- April 19th, 2012

Alan Anderson’s return to the NBA after a long absence has gone better than anybody besides Anderson could have expected and against all odds, the swingman might have played himself into Toronto’s future plans.

That will depend on what president/general manager Bryan Colangelo does this summer, but don’t count out an Anderson return to Canada after stints in Italy, Russia, Israel and the U.S., among others.

His play on two 10-day contracts convinced the Raptors to sign Anderson for the remainder of this campaign recently. In nine starts, Anderson has averaged 11.8 points, shot 43.6% from three and 44.7% from the field overall (his numbers are 9.1, 42.2%, 43.6% overall in 14 appearances with Toronto).

Colangelo is going to be extremely busy this summer looking to fill holes at small forward and point guard while also bringing top prospect Jonas Valanciunas and possibly another rookie or two into the fold via the draft (Toronto has its own first round pick, its second and another second from Indiana).

Anderson’s skill-set (versatile, rugged defender, who can hit outside shots at a high rate) fits  well with what Colangelo is building, but both sides are keeping their options open, knowing the roster could see a massive overhaul in the off-season.

“We will definitely have interest in him for next season but we mutually agreed (it was) not good to be tied down,” Colangelo told the Toronto Sun.

“If we need the (cap) space we have it. If he sees less opportunity because we draft, sign or trade for a wing, then he can look elsewhere.

“It’s best for both sides, but we also mutually like the fit.”

With his team well under the cap and the free agent pickings less than ideal, Colangelo would love to make a splash via the trade route prior to July 1st. That way, he would be able to take advantage of the space the Leandro Barbosa trade created, before that no longer would be the case.

Anderson won’t command the type of deal Anthony Parker (a superstar in Israel while Anderson merely was a good player) – got the last time Colangelo rebuilt the Raptors (Parker got $12 million over three years), but a Gary Forbes-esque deal ($1.5-$2 million a season) could make sense.

- Ryan Wolstat

Bryan Colangelo agrees in principle to extension with Raptors

- May 17th, 2011

Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo is sticking around.

Colangelo confirmed to the Toronto Sun on Tuesday morning, ahead of the NBA’s draft lottery that he has “agreed in principle” to a contract extension.

Colangelo’s contract was set to expire next month and though it was announced he would represent the team at Tuesday’s draft lottery, his status had been unclear for months.

The Sun first reported on February 15th in this space though that “While there is no timetable for an announcement, according to a source with knowledge of the thinking of the upper echelon of the MLSEL board, “It is 99% certain that (Colangelo) will be re-signed before the end of his current contract (which is due to expire on June 30th).”

It took a while, but that information proved correct, though it remains unclear what the terms of the new deal are.

Colangelo had faced opposition Glen Silvestri, a board member representing majority owner Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, but had the backing of other influential board members like CEO Richard Peddie, COO Tom Anselmi and Larry Tanenbaum, who owns almost 20% of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd.

For more on this story http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/17/raptors-bring-back-colangelo

Positive signs and media day update

- April 11th, 2011

There were some positive signs in Sunday’s victory over New Jersey.

DeMar DeRozan’s mid-range game continues to come a long nicely though the team desperately needs another scorer to take the focus of opposing defences off of him going forward. Andrea Bargnani alone won’t do.

Jerryd Bayless looked good again as the starting point guard, generally making good decisions with the ball.

Ed Davis looked the part of solid NBAer and Reggie Evans put in his usual effort.

Evans is expected to meet with the media on Wednesday, instead of Thursday’s media day as he rushes to get back to his family and newborn son.

Bryan Colangelo will meet with the media next Monday.

Enjoy these games

- April 8th, 2011

It’s been a trying season for Raptors fans. Some brutal play, one of the worst records in team history and so on.

But, my advice is to enjoy what is left of this season because it could be a long time before professional basketball starts up again.

The last lockout lasted until February and cost Toronto half a season of Vinsanity. This one could go even longer.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but just in case, make the time to watch every remaining came this season.

You’ll be happy you did next fall.

Day 1 in London

- March 2nd, 2011

Dear Boss:

Well, I’ve arrived in jolly old England in one piece. Lots of room on the plane but I couldn’t sleep so I’m jet lagged as hell, but doing fine.
Not a huge buzz here yet for the two Raptors/Nets games Friday and Saturday. Went over to the O2 Arena this morning for the Nets availability and the first life-sized posters promoting the event as you walk out of the Tube station are Leandro Barbosa and former Raptor Kris Humphries. Found that a little odd.
They’ve still got the Derek Favours one’s up too. Guess that Deron Williams trade caught them off guard over here too.
Our good friend Steve Simmons mentioned he had heard they were having trouble selling these games.
Well, they’ve already sold out all 18,559 for Saturday’s game and they’re approaching a sellout for Friday. Technically they only had to sell 15,200 because the other 3,359 are corporate seats.
Ran into former Raptors Sam Mitchell and Humphries once inside. Sam is way too nice as an assistant. He’s much more entertaining when he’s giving anyone and everyone in the media a hard time. I couldn’t even get an eye roll out of him this morning.
Humphries, who has become the Nets go-to guy for media requests was chatty until I brought up his Kardashian girlfriend at which point he said he only talks basketball.
Can’t imagine that comes from the Kardashian family who have never shied away from publicity.
Still, Kris wouldn’t even confirm Kim was going to be in London.
Kardashian though, if she does come, isn’t even close to being the most famous female personality on the trip. There’s also the chance Sasha Vujacic brings fiance Maria Sharapova. Part owner Jay-Z might up the ante even more if his wife Beyonce comes on the trip.
Enough for now. I’ll check back in tomorrow.

Mike

The trade exception situation

- February 18th, 2011

More teams than ever before (or as far back as I can remember) have trade exceptions this season.

Couple that with the fact that a new collective bargaining agreement/lockout is on the horizon and nobody knows whether the landscape will be the same going forward (less guarantees on contracts? franchise tags, etc.?) and it is no wonder why NBA teams aren’t really using their TPEs this season.

While the word is if the Carmelo to New Jersey deal happens, Troy Murphy will be moved immediately by the Nuggets along with one of the four 1st round picks they are expected to receive in exchange for a TPE which will bring them under the luxury tax.

Don’t expect the Raptors to be the team that makes a play for Murphy. Toronto’s remaining TPE is about $10.7 million U.S., meaning it isn’t big enough to take on Murphy’s near $12 million dollar stipend.

Cleveland, Sacramento and Minnesota each have big enough TPE’s to get involved and get themselves a first rounder out of it.

Toronto’s TPE expires in July, but if there is a lockout, free agency won’t happen and everything will be in flux.

Bryan Colangelo will have between the end of the season and the draft to find a taker for the TPE or it will expire and the team will have cap space whenever NBA action resumes.

Clear as mud?