Well what an exciting Sunday in the NBA. You had Lebron James go off and lead the Cavs to a sweep of the Pistons. You have to think Michael Curry may have coached his last game for the Pistons. It also may be the start of a major changes in Detroit. Rasheed Wallace is a free agent and Allen Iverson will come off the books. The Cavs meanwhile march along to the next round and wait for the winner of the Heat and Hawks. You had a double overtime thrilling win for the Chicago Bulls over the Boston Celtics. This series has been the best of the first round by a wide margin. The Celtics are beyond banged up at this point and even if they some how get past the Bulls they may have nothing left for round 2. That being said the Orlando Magic have struggled along battling the Sixers. They blew an 18 point lead in game 1 of that series. Yesterday they had a 9 point lead heading into the 4th. It would take a clutch 3 point shot from Hedo Turkoglu to save the Magic and tie the series heading back to Orlando. It is all very exciting stuff. None of which involves the Raptors. But as a fan of basketball in general you got to love it.
In Raptorland things are pretty quiet as we wait for the first shoe of the off-season to drop. That should be the announcement the Jay Triano will remain as the head coach of the team. That will be followed most likely by announcing that Mike Evans and Alex English have been let go. Followed by the hiring of Marc Ivaroni and another person to the staff. Least that is what is said to be the plan. Bryan Colangelo met with Triano last week and he did say he wanted the coaching issue settled sooner than later. The longer the wait till Triano gets announced as the head coach may cause people to speculate but it would be a shock if he is not the guy given what Colangelo has said.
Some Options out there for the Raptors in guys like Rasheed Wallace, Hedo Turkoglu, Ron Artest are all guys that could replace a Marion on the roster. It is unclear if any would be of interest to the Raptors. However I have been thinking about things and think this is a time for the Raptors to take advantage of who owns them. That would be the folks of MLSE.
It has been reported that up to 17 teams in the NBA are in serious trouble in terms of economics. So I think that is a chance to use the resources that MLSE have and take advantage of the fact they are secure money wise. Colangelo also pointed out that only about 4 or 5 teams will have money to spend this off-season. Charlotte and Detroit are two that come to mind. But here is my idea. Granted I see this as doubtful in happening but none the less it makes sense.
We all heard how close to the tax threshold the Raptors were last year. It was seen as this great concern and there was not anyway the Raptors would go over the tax number. Well the Cap and that Tax number are going to be coming down. Teams are going to be in a crunch trying to scramble to fit under that number whatever it becomes. Here is my idea. The Raptors should say screw the number and just spend what is needed to build a roster that can win. It seems crazy to suggest given the way MLSE tends to work. But if they honestly looked at this as a chance to spend money to make money it could make sense. I mean they spent money to build all those condos right? So why not invest in you team making the playoffs and in turn keeping your best player happy and with the franchise. If you erase the thought that the Raptors will refuse to go into the tax threshold it opens up possibilities.
You have an off-season in which few teams have money and even fewer are likely wanting to spend it. I am not suggesting that the Raptors go nuts and over pay for players. Just saying that they should get in the mix and offer the most competitive and attractive deals to the players they desire. If this team makes a long playoff run next year through this spending it will pay for itself. Is there risk in what I am saying? Sure there is but it is risk worth taking. There may never be a time in NBA where you have a situation where the Raptors would or could have a major advantage in the free agent market.
So my message on a Monday is SPEND SPEND SPEND. I may sound like that guy that wants to buy your gold at this point. Russell Oliver I am not. But if you think about it can you imagine another set of circumstances like this that will come along. You have teams sitting waiting for 2010. You have 17 of those teams looking to cut costs not increase them if they are losing money that only makes sense. If Colangelo can operate without the handcuffs of hitting a number that is set by the league in the tax threshold, what could he do?
Sadly knowing the way the folks at MLSE tend to operate I don't think we will get to find out. But they really are missing out on a chance that may never come along again.