Raptors centre Andrea Bargnani wasn’t sorry to see Sam Mitchell fired.
And he says he is worried Maurizio Gherardini, the Raptors’ highly respected senior vice-president of basketball operations, might be leaving.
In an interview with La Gazetta dello Sport from Treviso, Italy, where he’s been doing some off-season training, Bargnani said he is encouraged the Raptors decided to make Jay Triano the head coach, and not too disappointed that Sam Mitchell was shown the door.
"As a coach, everyone in the team likes him, unlike Mitchell, and he earned the respect of all the players right from Day 1," Bargnani said. "That’s why we asked [Raptors president Bryan Colangelo] to confirm him. And he agreed, because he’s the right man to start over with."
Watching the Orlando Magic should be particularly sour for fans of the Toronto Raptors. Do you know how the Raptors have been plagued by a lack of productivity from their swingmen? Well, the Magic have two players who could have helped Toronto in that regard.
First, there is the Magic’s starting shooting guard, Courtney Lee. Orlando selected Lee with the 22nd pick in last year’s draft. The Raptors had the 17th pick in the same draft, but shipped it off to Indiana in a package for Jermaine O’Neal, a trade that was ultimately a bust.
Lee scored 24 points in a game earlier in the post-season, and has shown a certain fearlessness in big moments.
Orlando also has reserve Mickael Pietrus, who has outscored the Cavaliers’ bench 69-57 by his lonesome this series. In the summer of 2007, he was a restricted free agent. Instead of taking a run at Pietrus, the Raptors opted to use their entire mid-level exception on unrestricted free agent Jason Kapono, who has been an unmitigated disaster for Toronto.
Meanwhile, Pietrus has emerged as a very useful piece on a championship contender.
Of course, Calderon still has four years left on his 5-year/$40 million deal that he just signed last summer. So, the question then arises on what to do with him? It’s quite simple really: move him to the two-spot. He’s proven he can shoot and although you’d be undersized and maybe severely challenged defensively in the backcourt, you can make up for it more than enough by having some frontcourt prowess and an oversized SF.
I do like Calderon as a PG, despite his mediocre season this year, but rarely do you have a chance to pick up a talent like Steve Nash. If Colangelo figures Calderon isn’t suited to play SG and is enticed enough at the possibility of getting Kid Canada, you deal Calderon. It’s that simple. But, there is no chance you deal him unless you know for sure you’re getting Nash.
At this point next summer Calderon will have only three years left on a contract that is very respectable and should be quite easy to move, especially if he has a nice season in 2009-10.
9. Toronto Raptors - DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh, Sophomore)
Even if the Raptors decide to keep Chris Bosh, they still will need more toughness up front.
9. Toronto Raptors: Jrue Holiday
Great potential. Has yet to amount to anything, but really, he’s got potential. Believe me.
9. Toronto Raptors: Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona
Hill took the biggest fall from Version 1 — second overall was simply too high. He may easily go higher than No. 9 and probably should, but if teams are drafting by need, he may fall to Toronto. And you have to think that would be a steal.
Videos – NBA Combine Media Availability Interviews
-Jrue Holiday is the third biggest point guard measured, at 6-3 ¼ without shoes. He also has the fifth biggest wingspan and third biggest standing reach.
A point guard by nature, Holiday spent the majority of his time playing off the ball due to the presence of Collison. This fact, coupled with Ben Howland’s slow-paced offensive system, prevented Holiday from getting very many touches or allowing him the freedom to create. Scouts who have seen tape of the freshman from his days as a prep star in California know that Holiday is a blossoming talent with an intriguing skill set to go along with good size for his position.
Holiday has been preparing for the draft since UCLA’s season came to an end back in March, but has yet to officially make a decision on whether or not he will keep his name in the draft. DraftExpress sat down with Holiday to talk about his training, his year in the Pac-10 and what the future holds for this talented youngster.