Tuesday marks the first day of free agency and the Raptors have but one call to make. It’s to Jose Calderon offering him at least $40 million over 5 years. I suspect this deal to get done fairly quickly, after all Bryan Colangelo doesn’t trade Ford without having some assurance that Calderon’s demands aren’t too extravagant to not be met. We’ll end up paying Jose a lot of money and then proceed to bitch about it if/when he gets burned out by Mitchell who’ll be forced to play him 37 minutes a game because we won’t acquire a backup PG and/or if Ukic isn’t able to fill in adequately . Here’s hoping Calderon’s performances stay at least on par and his defense improves enough so that Bosh/O’Neal don’t spend their time clogging lanes left open by Jose.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Roko Ukic has signed a two year contract with the Raptors. It only makes sense. I figure we’ll see something more official in the next couple days.

Update: Calderon staying according to his website, no numbers yet:

“Early this morning, through my agents, I reached a preliminary agreement with the Toronto Raptors. I want to thank Bryan Colangelo, Maurizio Gherardini, Sam Mitchell and all of the Raptors family for the confidence that they have placed in me. I am sure that together we are going to achieve big things in the future.”

Add Kelly Dwyer to the Bryan Colangelo fanboy list. He’s very irked that two Toronto newspapers had the audacity to second-guess Colangelo’s wheelings and dealing of the past couple years and suggest that Colangelo could very well be an average NBA GM (this of course set off khandor). I wonder how long Colangelo will milk that division title which we happened to win the year the Atlantic was part of the NBDL. The article also calls for a Leave Britney BC Alone video.

Dwyer does bring a good point up, it’s up to Sam Mitchell to use Jermaine O’Neal effective and if he can’t, the Raptors should eat the rest of Mitchell’s contract and get themselves a coach that knows how to use what he’s given. The Raptors have to make sure that Jermaine O’Neal’s offensive game complements Bosh and doesn’t take anything away from it. Bosh should never be starved of shots and O’Neal’s role should be well-defined enough so that combined with Bosh they can create a threat which will open up the rest of our offense, not create two black holes. Last season’s player utilization was hard to watch with the sub patters of Kapono, Bargnani, Humphries and Rasho all open for criticism. Not to mention how Sam got away with Kapono hitting only three threes in two months. Ugh, disgusting. Colangelo will not stand for anything similar with Jermaine O’Neal since he’s on a short two year contract in which results are expected.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the Toronto Raptors second round draft history:

1995, #35 – Jimmy King, Michigan
1998, #47 – Tyson Wheeler, Rhode Island
1999, #46 – DeeAndre Hulett, USBL
2003, #52 – Remon Van de Hare, FC Barcelona
2004, #40 – Albert Miralles, Spain
2005, #41 – Roko Ukic, Croatia
2005, #58 – Uros Slokar, Slovenia
2006, #35 – PJ Tucker, Texas
2008, #41 – Nathan Jawai, Australia

Two things to point out, the only good piece that ever came out of this lot is Roko Ukic and we have Rob Babcock to thank for that one. As you can see, expectations should be very low for anything we pick up in the second round so there’s no disappointment in what we got. The annoyance of this pick isn’t in the pick itself but in the fact that CDR – an athletic defensive minded SF – was taken right before us. The Raptors weren’t proactive enough in trying to get something out of this draft and failed to even partially address a very obvious need – athleticism.

Ron Artest is not opting out of his contract with the Kings. Ron Ron says the Kings have “been there for me”. How very romantic. The real reason of course is that he knows no team will pay him more than the $8M he’s making now and he doesn’t want to play for a contender for less money. I mean, if the Kings were “there” for you, why not just outright say you won’t be opting out at the end of the season. These athletes really piss me off sometime. Emotions aside, when the season ended I wanted the Raptors to acquire Ron Artest in a trade and draft Brandon Rush. 0-2 there.

The Wizards resigned Antawn Jamison for 4yrs/50m which is fair market value for him. Applause for Ernie Grunfeld. Wait a minute though, he’s talking about giving Gilbert Arenas a 100 million dollar contract which will ensure that the Wizards never get past the second round for the next decade. If ever there was an opportunity to sign-and-trade somebody, this is it. If Grunfeld actually gives him the deal after he blackmailed the Wizards by threatening to leave unless Jamison got his contract, it’ll show how owners and GMs are absolute slaves to players. Arenas single-handedly lost the Cleveland series and he gets rewarded with a deal. Blah!

Now if you read this space fairly regularly you must know what I think of those imbeciles over at The Bleacher Report. This time their “analysis” of our draft has this to say:

The addition of Jermaine O’Neal is either going to be a hit or miss for the Toronto Raptors. In my opinion the Raptors got the worse end of this trade. Although they got better in size including the addition of Roy Hibbert they got nothing at the guard position.

Piss off. Seriously. Stop writing and sell that domain to a company selling bleachers.

Stuck in Vancouver till Thursday night. Watching American History X again, sick movie. Might give TauEpsilonNu’s idea a second thought.

Tags: , , , , , , ,