Everyone is all giddy with optimism that the NBA is on the verge of a return. Most feel a deal could get done as soon as this weekend. Good right? Well yes it is but maybe not as good if you are a Raptor fan. This is for a couple of reasons. First reason is the deal itself. The deal that is being constructed, at least based on the talk that is out there, is not going to be a deal that helps out the Raptors as much. It likely could have if the Owners got the big win they were looking for out of this labour deal. If a system, that stopped the big spending be damned teams from being able to do that was in place, that would have helped the Raptors. MLSE has never been one of those teams. Faced with the challenges of being the lone franchise in Canada and the perceptions that exist about playing here they should be. You can say all you like about Toronto being a wonderful city which it is. But those perceptions even if they are incorrect are the reality. The long list of people that have left the franchise make that so. There is also this franchises less than impressive history which is factual. We all know this franchise has just one playoff series win and it was so long ago it was back when they played 5 games in the first round. The bottom line of the new CBA is it would have an even more punitive luxury tax which if MLSE was not willing to go over it under the old system it is hard to imagine they will under this new more costly one. But it is not going to stop the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, L.A Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics of the world from doing so. It will not stop the possibility of more Big 3's like the ones we see in Boston and now Miami from forming. This is all bad news for the Raptors.
What happens if Demar DeRozan becomes every bit the star we hope he can become? When his time comes and the L.A Lakers want to bring the Compton kid home is there anyway for the Raptors to stop that from happening? It would appear not based on the CBA Talks. Which for the Raptors and small market teams is a complete failure from this process. While the focus of these talks have largely been focused on money directly there is an indirect money issue that has failed to be addressed. How will the paying customers in the small markets of the NBA feel about being somewhere between the NBA Elite and the NBDL? My guess is not to favourable. Everyone will point to OKC as the shining example of how a small market team can make it work. But in reality that took some luck and having a guy that is like Kevin Durant both as a player and as a person. Those guys are not growing on trees and easy to find. OKC has done a fantastic job but in reality without Durant none of it happens.
Also there is what Bryan Colangelo has been saying. Already making a preemptive strike to say that this year will not be the Raptors year once again. That there is likely another year of growing to do for this franchise. Even openly talking about what a great draft class there is expected to be for next year's NBA Draft. That sounds like the talk of a team heading back to the NBA Lottery regardless of if the NBA plays 82 games this year or 72. But when the Raptors drafted a rookie that was never going to play this season that likely sent that message already. Colangelo also has suggested the flexibility that he has created in preparation for the new CBA is likely not to be used this season.
So the NBA might be back and your reward Raptor fans is you are told to wait till next year, before the season is even started or a new CBA is even signed. It kind makes this whole lockout thing ending not as happy as it perhaps could be or should be. But MLSE will be happy to take your money once again for as many games as the NBA will allow once a new CBA is in place. I had a lot of hope that things would be better for the Raptors coming out of this lockout, but in the short term that seems unlikely. In the long term who knows but waiting for next year gets old ask fans of the Chicago Cubs about that.