So pretty much to the script that I had said would happen did happen. I was happy to see the Raptors perform well and do their part of things. I think if they had not it could have been an ugly end to the season for the Raptors. The future was on display tonight with the Young Guns having great nights. Will they all be together again? I know there is the whole Bosh issue but there is also the issue of if Amir Johnson will return. He for my money is the second most important guy to take care of behind Bosh. Assuming Colangelo does not already know that answer. Which you have to think he does or at least has a strong indication. Demar had 24 a career high, Johnson 21 coming off a career high 26 and Weems a steady and productive 18. That is 63 of the Raptors 131 points on the night. If that was the last ride for the Young Guns it was pretty impressive. The Raptors won 131-113 over the Knicks. But as you are all aware the Bulls beat the Bobcats and send the Raptors home for good. They also now retain their first round draft choice which had they made the post season would have gone to Miami. So now we are left with only questions.
I said going into this year it would all be about the Raptors and if they can re-sign Chris Bosh or not. In the end that is what this season would be all about. It was always there and the Bosh stay or go meter was always present. Maybe not for this team but clearly for the fan base and the media. But before we go there and what Sonny Weems said on the topic which likely made a lot of eyes pop out of their heads. Let's start at the top and move down. The top would be Bryan Colangelo.
There are many people that point the finger of blame clear at him. While scoring Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson and Jarrett Jack all can be considered success stories, two of his other moves clearly have not been. Let's start with his first one. Around this time last season Colangelo got the off-season going in a hurry by trading Jason Kapono to the Sixers for Reggie Evans. It was widely an applauded move as most Raptor fans though finally they had an Oakley like enforcer. Reggie was a hit before he ever stepped on the floor. Ironically this might have been a sign of things to come as Reggie would be hurt in Hartford and miss half the season pretty much. He has been harshly bashed by many in the half season he has played. I am not going to go that far. I think the injury greatly side tracked his season and he was playing catch up all year. But clearly the tough guy that Colangelo had brought in to toughen up this team at least for this season did not work out. In fact if there was a trade where both teams lost it might have been this one as Kapono was a non factor for majority of year in Philly as well.
Then there was heDO or heDON'T back then he was the Micheal Jordan of Turkey. Colangelo was again cheered for his brilliance of stealing away Turkoglu from right under the noses of Portland. He would work out a complex deal that in the end would net the Raptors cap space and Antoine Wright as well as Devon George who he would later flip into Marco Belinelli. Before we get to Hedo let's talk about the other two. Marco who Colangelo would bill as a potential 6th man of the year candidate was nothing close to that. He spent the majority of the season in Triano's dog house, or at least it would appear. He was a major disappointment. While some would call Wright a minor success I am not one of them. He was really struggling for the first half of the year. Often struggling to find playing time. He later in the year would have a lot to say and seemed to take a role talking like he was a more significant part of this roster then he was. Billed prior to the year as one of the best defenders on the Mavericks. In fact scratch that, the Mavs coach said he was his best defender. Wright was decent to good. Hard to judge him to harshly on that end given that a lot of people around him stunk. While on offense he is widely inconsistent and would make a clutch basket here and there. But for whatever reason I have not felt he is the great success others seem to think he is. He is not under contract and I honestly would not be surprised if he is not back next season . Especially when you consider the growth of both Weems and DeRozan. Down the stretch run for this team he did show effort and energy before the injury boogie man took him out. But for me I am not convinced the Raptors need to lose much sleep about bringing him back.
Now we get to what many of you will point to as the man that may have cost the Raptors the season. But you were warned early if you were paying attention. The fact he sat the entire training camp was the first sign. When his old G.M was happier with Vince Carter than him and told Portland they should be happy they didn't land him. Otis Smith was so right about Hedo Turkoglu. It was a season of on court failure, injuries and off court issues of partying when you are suppose to be hurt. The fact he lost his starting job was clear sign of how wrong it had gone. Oh and let's not forget, no pictures please, that happened too.
The most scary thing of all it is only likely to get worse. If you were not aware the World Championships will be held in Turkey this summer. No surprise that Hedo will be playing for Turkey as he did last summer. So once again we will start with a tired Hedo that has given a better effort for his nation then the team paying him 53 million bucks. This comes on the heels of Colangelo admitting through a trade with Miami that his last big move Jermaine O'Neal was a complete and total failure. That cost the Raptors not only T.J Ford, who I will admit has struggled in Indiana, but it cost us Roy Hibbert who if you have watched this season is becoming a pretty decent center. A much more traditional option at center than Andrea Bargnani. As for the Raptors draft choice from that draft. He was unloaded in the Hedo deal and later moving on to Minnesota. Nathan Jawai most of us barely knew ya. I did cause I did a ton of research on him and was hopeful he could turn out into something. A heart condition before training camp would render him pretty much useless. It was unfortunate for him but more so for the Raptors when you check out what they could have had in Hibbert.
So now Hedo has blown up in his face. Add it to over paying a back-up level point guard in Calderon, being paid like a starter. Along with paying Andrea Bargnani based primarily on potential and not production. It makes for quite the Cap Mess. But having said all of this if you think B.C is being shown the door by MLSE that is not happening. There is no way it will in my view. Prior to hiring Colangelo it was clearly demonstrated the lack of basketball people in this organization when they hired Rob Babcock. Remember him? Vince Carter and horrible trade ring any bells? Combine that fact with the savvy guy that Bryan is, it would not seem unlikely that he is shown the door. Not to mention MLSE quietly picked up the option on his contract.
So that leads us to his choice to replace Sam Mitchell with Jay Triano. Sam Mitchell officially comes off the MLSE books in a few weeks. Surely to God that opens the door to shove Triano overboard. I would like to believe that to be the case. However the injuries at the end of the season may provide the saving face excuse to keep Jay Triano around. Which is clearly in my view a mistake. He if not by his record alone, has he not proven himself worthy of being fired. You would have to think this team's lack of defense and collapse was enough to do it. This team in a game that as it turns out would have secured a playoff spot and this team came out flat and unmotivated. If that was the only time it happened maybe that was forgivable. But clearly it was not. Triano would have many times over this season, where his team came out of the locker room and get blitzed in many a 3rd quarter. However given all that I still have a horrible feeling that Triano will survive. This team had one of the more epic Post All-Star break collapses in NBA History. The Raptors went from 6 games above .500 to finishing 2 games below .500 and out of the post season. People like Jay and even I like Jay but at the end of the day when exactly is he held accountable? The answer should be now but do not be shocked if it isn't.
That brings us to Chris Bosh who is the key to this season and depending on what he decides to do will be the kingpin of the Raptors off-season stay or go. The first person to chime in on the record about Bosh's free agency was Sonny Weems. Talking on The Score he answered when asked on if he thought Bosh would be back he said he thinks so. Obvious Sonny has not read any of ESPN's hard work for the past 2 years to make that seem about as likely as snow in July. Even local media on the whole feel that we likely have seen the last of Bosh. When asked later by Micheal Grange as to why he felt that way. Weems responded he had a vibe. Bosh was in the house tonight and MLSE had given signs out that onside said "We Want More" on the other side "CB4". Fans apparently cheered both prior to the start of first and third quarters. But all of this is far to little and late isn't it? Bosh clearly knows what he is doing by now right?
Well here is the thing. Bosh himself has never really addressed this topic head on. Many have tried to interrupt through his answers to other question and to body language and what not. Anything to get some sign or tip off was fair game. But until someone asks the question " Hey Chris you coming back next year?" and he answers it we honestly have no idea the truth. Sources close to Bosh is a phrase you will read in stories. Who are these sources close to him and really when has Chris ever needed anyone to do his talking? He seems to do alright for himself. Well prior to his injury. Talking right now might hurt a bit. We could hear Chris answering questions by as soon as today. I am not trying to provide anyone false hope here. Just stating that Bosh has never directly been faced with the question. Whatever answer he gives will be over analyzed to death. There is no doubt if Bosh returned at this point a lot of jaws would hit the floor. After all he always talks about winning and the Raptors clearly are not winning at the moment. Bosh must shoulder some of the blame in that. While the odds seem highly unlikely that Bosh would return. Still the Weems comment was pretty interesting. Had it come from Jarrett Jack I might be a little more optimistic bout it
If Weems vibe is in-correct. Did I really just say that? The hope of a CB4 return has come down to a vibe? Anyway if Sonny and his Spidey Sense is wrong the Andrea Bargnani era begins and with it hope dies a painful death. I have always maintained that it is my believe Bargnani will wilt under the spotlight that is focused on Bosh. He at least closed the season on a positive note but I still remain unconvinced.
This just scratches the surface of what is going to be a long and possibly painful off-season. This after a long and absolutely painful season to fall short of the post season on the final day of the season .