O’Neal Trade: We found out a couple things yesterday, one of them was that somebody actually values Jamario Moon. That somebody being Pat Riley who is apparently insisting that Moon be part of the package that would send Marion to Toronto. I have no problem with that. Other reports insist that Miami is also asking for a first round pick in addition to Moon. That I have a problem with, but I’m sure Bryan Colangelo will not be conned twice into giving up a draft pick like he did in the O’Neal trade.

John Salmons: Colangelo went after John Salmons a couple summers ago but couldn’t get the deal done. Now Salmons’ name has once again come up in trade talk. Should the Raptors go for him? He’s a bit one-dimensional and his defensive effort at times rivals Jamario Moon. At the same time he can create off the bounce and could relieve some of the pressure off of Jose thus turning him into a shooting guard on a few possessions per game. What’s Calderon’s shot percentage when he’s receiving the ball off a kick-out? I don’t know, but its got to be high.

Team finding its way: So let’s recap this team right now. Calderon’s back form injury and playing well, albeit it’s been against two poor teams. Anthony Parker’s taken over the backup PG position thus sounding the end of Will Solomon, in the process he’s also upped his trade value considerably. Jermaine O’Neal is coming off the bench and the team appears to be better for it, he’s not doing much to make the decision obvious for Riley but at least he’s mobile and playing with what one might even call, hunger. Chris Bosh is regaining his touch from November but I’ll reserve judgment until I see him play against NO, Cleveland, Lakers and Magic. You know, the big games. If this current lineup had been deployed from opening day would it have resulted in a better record? Again, I think its too early to tell that but what we can safely decipher from January is that Bargnani should never, ever be asked to play the starting or reserve small forward position.

What to do? It’s a damn confusing season and we’re left to decide between two things: 1) Try to pick up wins and salvage this season by making the playoffs or 2) Sell Parker while he’s high, get rid of JO so we can play the free agent market in 2009, find a buyer for Kapono. I suppose we could go with #1 until the third week of February when the trade deadline finally arrives and we have a clear-cut idea whether this club is capable of achieving anything significant. Now I know that we’ve shown no character, no mettle or no anything so far but if we’ve suffered so much for so long, what’s another three weeks? I think we have nothing to lose by waiting, there aren’t many buyers for Marion and I doubt Riley will opt for the struggling Brad Miller over O’Neal.

Jalen Rose STFU: Regardless of whether a trade goes down or not Bryan Colangelo has to have a solid showing in 2009-10 if he has any chance of retaining Chris Bosh. Now Jalen Rose is thinking Bosh is good as gone and I’m just hoping that’s him talking out of his ass and it’s not something stemming from a chat he had with his ex-teammate. Rose says:

Chris Bosh, enjoy it while you see it. Chris Bosh in a Toronto Raptors All-Star uniform because this year and next year will be the last.

Another article here digs up a quote from Damon and applies it to Chris Bosh.

We’ve got to get some players. That’s the bottom line, they’ve got to prove to me that they’re going to go out and be willing to spend money on some free agents and get some players that will come and play hard. It’s frustrating when you go out and you are short-handed.

Well, it’s not like the Raptors are exactly misers when it comes to salary, they’re 9th in the league in payroll so not spending enough money isn’t the major problem, it’s who we’re spending it on. If Chris Bosh walks it won’t be on the MLSE owners for not spending the cash, it’ll be on Colangelo for not recognizing what makes a contender. You probably have to cross the luxury tax if you want to win a championship but you don’t need to cross it to win a first round series.

Stat-O-Meter: It tells us that the Raptors are 2-11 when Bargnani has 3 or less rebounds. It’s also saying something about us being 8-4 when we have more points in the paint than the opponent. We’re also 8-2 when we shoot better than 50%.

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