Welcome To The Most Important Off-Season In Raptor History?

So once again congrats to the L.A Lakers on their 15th NBA Title. Congrats to Orlando for making it to their second Finals in franchise history. The Toronto Raptors are still trying to make Finals #1 and win title #1. In fact the Raptors have not even made a Conference Finals. As the Raptors enter into the 15th season in the NBA they have far more questions than answers. Some will look to the teams in the finals for perhaps part of the answers. Is it realistic to think the Raptors could land a Hedo Turkoglu or a Trevor Ariza to join the Raptors? I am not as convinced that the Micheal Jordan of Turkey would be worth the dollar figure that it would take to bring him here. Hedo can be a fantastic player and was a big part of the Magic's run to the Finals. On a lighter note just for the Pizza Pizza ad that Hedo could no doubt get if he came to the Raptors it might be worth it. For whatever reason people think it is more possible to see Hedo suit up for the Raptors. There always seems to be this feeling that Raptors are more appealing for euro based players. In part that might be because of Maurizio Gherardini his reputation in Europe is huge with players and he is highly respected. I still do not think that Hedo for the price it would take is going to be a right fit. The Raptors just unloaded Jason Kapono who from the day the ink dried on his contract he could never live up to the number that was on it. Sad to say that I think Hedo would become a victim of that same thing. There is the case to be made in these tough economic times that free agents like Hedo will not get as big a contract as we might think. However to convince a top free agent can the Raptors not have to over pay to some degree to bring someone in? I am not against that if it is for the right guy. The Magic did that with both Lewis and Pietrus and for whatever you think of their contracts they were big parts of what made the Magic an Eastern Conference Champion as was Hedo.

But if the Raptors are going to gamble and over pay to get anyone in this free agent class my first choice is not Hedo Turkoglu. My pick would be Trevor Ariza. The Lakers are going to have to make a choice between Lamar Odom and Ariza and I think that the Lakers will choose Odom and not Ariza. Ideally they would like to keep both but that seems to be unrealistic unless one or both is willing to take less money for the chance to repeat as Champions with the Lakers. That is possible but with a CBA ending that will be totally different ball game and because of that I can not imagine to many players willing to bite the bullet and take less with that great unknown hanging out there. I have made the argument the Ariza more than any other has used these playoffs to improve his status as a free agent. I think he makes a solid fit for the Raptors as he has good to great defensive skills. He has improved his 3 point shot a lot. He also has the ability to drive and score and I think given the options the Raptors have that Ariza could be the best answer to their questions at the wing spot. You can make the case he also has room to develop and become better. I am not convinced you can say that about Hedo. Bryan Colangelo would have to do a hell of a sales job to get him to come. Just because the Raptors might offer the most cash to him does not mean he signs on the dotted line. But if he could convince Ariza to come north of the border it could be a huge score for the Raptors.

Shawn Marion, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom are all great players but they all may have reached a point that they are at or beyond the peak of their NBA Career. Ariza still has some steps to take to improve to his max level as a player. The worst thing that could happen for the Raptors is to put dollars into a player who skills may fall off at some point during the contract they sign. The NBA Cap is not going to be heading up in the next couple years. It is going to be going down and cap space and how you spend your dollars is going to be more important than it ever has before.

The entire concepts and how people approach things is about to take a major shift. Things like cap space are going to take on a greater importance than ever before. The question of do players want to win or do they want to make money is also going to become larger as things go along as well. If players truly want to win they can always sign a MLE(Mid Level Exception) with a team that is a contender. However if they are looking to make the most possible they will have to consider other options. The Raptors could be one of those options and not a bad one at that. Chris Bosh is an all star player and when healthy Jose Calderon can be a great distributor of the basketball.

I have always said that I am not afraid of Chris Bosh leaving and I do not agree that if he walks for nothing it is the worst thing that could happen to the Toronto Raptors. Bryan Colangelo points out that Bosh would more than likely have to come back to the Raptors. Chris Bosh wants max money and I am guessing the max amount of years along with that. He is not going to leave 30 million dollars on the table to sign with a team on his own. So as much as people may think Chris Bosh holds all the cards in this thing he just may not. At the end of the day Chris Bosh will need the Raptors to get what he wants and if he does not play ball with Toronto he losses 30 million bucks. Chris is a smart guy and no way that happens. So Colangelo has basically 3 options beyond the rush to trade Bosh.

Re-sign Bosh to Raptors if he wants to stay for Max Money.

Sign and Trade Bosh for the best deal possible.

Or just let Bosh walk and have his current salary to use in 2010 Free Agent Market.

People will say but remember the Chicago Bulls having all that cap room and no one willing to come there? I do remember that, but like I said these are changing times. Cap space just like something traded on a stock market is going up in value. I am sure people have noticed that the price of gas is on the rise. That is because the price of oil is so it impacts what we pay at the pumps. It is a simple case of supply and demand. Let's just say that the NBA Cap and all of the numbers tied to it drop by 2 million dollars. That takes 60 million dollars out of the available money to spend on free agents. The MLE is tied to that cap number so that goes down as well. Tax Threshold the whole nine yards comes down. Suddenly that team with Cap space and room looks a lot more attractive does it not? This is just basic economics here. Cap space is going to become more of value than it ever has since the NBA introduced a cap into the mix. I am confident I am right about this. So if the Raptors have that cap room they can indeed be a player and not be totally lost should Chris Bosh decide to play elsewhere. Also it is not like a player is having to go to a wasteland like a Memphis or a few other places on the NBA map that people are not fans of as a city. Toronto generally is a place that the players like and enjoy as a city.

Still will this blog stop the 2948 (estimate likely a higher number) Chris Bosh trade rumours that I will hear from happening? Not a chance and maybe that is why I am not looking forward to this summer. You must consider this as well. There is no way on earth the Raptors are getting full value for Chris Bosh from anyone for what will amount to a season of having him under contract. Bosh is not going to lock himself in to any team and he is going to go to free agency or make some sign and trade happen. Even if Bosh were traded to play with a D-Wade let's say. Who is to say he does not pick up and head to play with the Cavs the next year? That is the major reason why you will never get anything that comes close to matching Bosh's value. Build a team around the guy and let the chips fall where they may.

I understand not a lot of people will buy into this. But hey who believed me when I said Orlando would play the Lakers at the start of the year? Hell I am not sure if I believed me on that one. Roy Hibbert was the pick of the Toronto Raptors. I called that too. I also said it would be a major mistake to trade T.J Ford. Think I got that right as well. Orlando fans should take note of that by the way. You could have a great duo with Nelson and Alston. It can work even though there maybe some bumps in the road. Stick with it. Anyway the off-season is here, and no matter who is right or wrong the one thing we can all agree on is the fact that major changes are needed and coming to the Toronto Raptors.


  1. good read and great points, esp about the cap space but let me point out that there will be approx 15 other teams under the cap in 2010 so even though having money will be attractive under a tighter cba, with as many options as the top free agents will have next year, it'll take more than just the money to attract players to toronto.

    mark cuban and even bryan colangelo did an excellent job at promoting their cities (dallas and phoenix respectively) and they made sure that the cities were presented in a way that catered to the players-- esp dallas. remember the playstations in the locker rooms etc? i think the raptors might need to explore innovative ways of showing toronto as a viable and attractive market for free agents, and until that gets fixed, i wouldnt get my hopes up of either re-signing bosh or signing a free agent like joe johnson.

    either way, i agree that bosh in toronto is a likely outcome and i also agree that trevor ariza would be the perfect piece to compliment bosh/jose/bargnani/delfino.

  2. I like the Ariza idea, he is young and could be part of the future.

    I also think this off-season is a big test for BC, there is no Isiah to take on his bad contracts this time. If he fails again this off-season, I can pretty much guarantee you his job will be on the line. Do you think fans will forgive him forever, I sure don't think so.

  3. Well Bryan has to answer to the MLSE board not the fans. I am not sure if this year is a mess if it means the end of his future. How he deals with the who Bosh thing will decide is fate in the long run. I believe the board will allow him more slack than the fan base.

  4. I just realize that we need to re-sign Marion. If we want to pursue a FA like Turkoglu who will command 8-10Million, we can't sign him without waiving O'Bryant and Douby as well as renouncing Marion, Parker, Graham, and Delfino because of cap-holds. Is getting a Free Agent like Turkoglu worth losing all of those players, I don't think so.