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Check the Opening Tip to find out why Aaron Gray is called the White Panther.

So Zo got everyone excited for no reason yesterday, turns out he finally announced his retirement which is a little funny because I thought he did that when he got traded to the Raps in the Carter deal. Funny guy this Zo, he’s kinda like the guy who gets traded to a bad team, glorifies his injury and makes them feel bad for not giving a 100% buyout to a dying man and then goes about winning titles with another team while collecting a brand new salary. I think I’d trade my kidney for all that. At the same press conference Riley touched on the Toronto trade talks, specifically the exchanging of medical records:

”I could have made the same request to five other teams also. I’m not going to admit anything. Let me do our due diligence.”

All we can take from it is that there’s definitely interest from Riley and when we’re baiting a contract like O’Neal, that’s all one can hope for. With Cuban saying that he’s not trading Josh Howard, Riley’s options become more limited. Hopefully we can bait-and-switch.

Jose Calderon might play tonight against Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Not the easiest matchup to come back against but with the Raptors being 12 games .500, it doesn’t really matter if he’s up against Speedy Gonzalez. At least Rose will test Jose’s hamstring tonight as he goes right using the high screen which Calderon is stuck behind, attracts Parker’s help from the weak-corner, and kicks it out to Deng for threes from that corner. There’s no news on O’Neal aggravating anything over the last couple days so its assumed that he’ll play, hopefully a little better. He’s not making Colangelo’s job easy at all. Here’s a nice article which talks about all the major expiring contracts around the league and their chances of being traded.

Drew Gooden has a strained left groin and is questionable for tonight’s game. The other Bulls’ injury works against us, it’s Michael Ruffin who is out indefinitely with Achilles tendinitis, but really, crapiness. They have lost three straight and five of seven, the Raptors have lost seven straight. Most recently they led late against San Antonio but lost and did the same in New York. We’re 2.5 games behind Chicago who are in 10th place so if we’re serious about making a run at the playoffs, these are exactly the types of games we have to win.

The Bulls are having some respect issues. Apparently Ben Gordon swore at Vinny Del Negro after he was fined for being late and Vinny’s using the press as a means of canvassing the players’ opinion about him. It’s weird to say the least.

Last time we played them, this happened. Team USA catalyst and Raptors franchise player Chris Bosh got blocked by second-year man and possible alien Joakim Noah, that had to be the low-point of the season. Check the game recap for all the details but the Raptors came out lethargic and got pounced by the Bulls on the boards, it was a game where you afterward wanted to trade everybody. Everybody except Bargnani who dropped a career-high 31 points on 10-14 shooting but still wasn’t a candidate to touch the ball in the fourth quarter. Derrick Rose was and he dropped 17 fourth quarter points putting Solomon to shame.

As the remaining games become more and more a formality, I think it’s best to develop/showcase Ukic, Kapono, Humphries and Parker while giving Bargnani the permanent starting center role. There’s still about a month to go before the trading deadline and if Kapono and Parker can have a great 2-3 week stretch, suddenly it’ll be Colangelo who’ll be receiving the phone calls rather than sitting up late at night telemarketing. More Nathan Jawai too, if for nothing than for comedic purposes.

A quick check at the recent poll says that 42% of fans think that tanking is the way to go and 31% believe the season is salvageable. The other 27% say that we should play right to the end because we’re professionals, I just don’t get that opinion. I just wish the trading deadline would pass already so we could start speculating on what to do in the summer, I’m inclined to think the need for that SF is so bad that Colangelo will be calling up the Grizzlies about Rudy Gay who they can’t afford given Memphis’ finances (29th in league attendance and local economy crumbling).

We definitely got them beat in the dance team department.

Tonight is Raptors Fan Friday – Australian Edition, so try to join us at Philthy’s McNasty’s on King St. West. Make sure to follow us on Twitter to get the latest news articles, posts, game-updates and more. There’s also the RSS feed.