Summer league is as painful to write about as it is to watch but something quick needs to be said about it: DeRozan is good, Ukic is not, Douby is a ball-hog, O’Bryant is soft and Smush is desperate. While Douby was going one-on-one every chance he got hoping that the Raptors would see the scorer in him, DeRozan played a comfortable game safe in the knowledge that he’s got a roster spot sown up. He displayed a fundamentally sound jumper and some surprisingly adept dead-dribble moves against Piston defenders that, if not talented, were certainly giving 100%.

In a game dominated by guard possession Douby was the primary beneficiary as he got to the rim as he saw fit and constantly finished against a late defense. Douby’s point production was high but there wasn’t a semblance of team-play in his game; don’t think the Raptors brass doesn’t know that 80% of the moves he was pulling today weren’t going to fly in the NBA. Ukic must know about the Jarrett Jack offer-sheet because he’s playing like he’s already conceded the backup PG position. I wish I could say he had tunnel-vision because that would imply he got to the rim; he showed nothing but a horrible tendency to leave his feet to pass the ball and take jumpers that even Ray Allen would think twice about. Smush Parker’s the other pervert in this sick ménage à trois and he didn’t even show up except to turn the ball over a couple times which was a little surprising given the touch he showed in the first game. I suppose Douby’s hogging has more than one victim and Parker was one of them.

Patrick O’Bryant might’ve had 10 rebounds but he gave up at least 7 offensive rebounds on his watch. We even tried to give him the ball in the post a few times but the guy’s a little too feathery and soft to assert himself and that’s probably why he had 5 turnovers – the man just doesn’t seem confident in his ability. He prefers launching it from 19 feet than making an impression in the paint which is a very bad thing for a 7-footer, unless you’re Bargnani. I’m telling you, Patrick isn’t looking good. Brent Petway has been my favorite “who the hell is this guy” player so far, he’s a power forward in a small forward’ body and tries to take it strong every chance he gets, he’s got a soft outside jumper and is as athletic as anyone on the floor. On talent alone I’d put him ahead of O’Bryant at this point for a roster spot but as they say, an NBA roster always has room for a 7-footer.

In summary, it’s only two summer league games but DeRozan’s shown that he’s ready to compete for a starting job. For a Pistons perspective on the game check out this report, it’s all about Austin Daye. Here’s the box score.

On to Jarret Jack. Obviously Colangelo still views Ukic, Banks, Douby and Smush as third string material and feels that Calderon should not be stretched, it’s hard to disagree with him based on what we’ve seen so far this summer and given the durability issues of Calderon. Jarret Jack can no doubt satisfy the defensive needs we have at point-guard, however at 6′ 3″ he’s not a solution to the lack of offensive punch at the SG spot. Sure, he played 48% of his minutes at SG last year but that’s only because T.J Ford can only play the PG, he’s ideally suited as a backup PG and although he has a bit of tweener in him you can’t ask him to defend the SG for long stretches, he’ll get exploited just like Juan Dixon used to. I highly doubt he will be our last move of the summer since Colangelo will not settle for the SG depth of rookie DeMar DeRozan and Antoine Wright. This signing does fix the PG issues and means Roko, Douby, Smush and Banks can fight for one third string PG spot.

Will Indiana match? It depends entirely on whether they’ll be flirting with the luxury tax or not. With the league cap and tax level set to decrease in 2010-11, Bird has to think hard about this one, especially after signing Dahntay Jones. The Pacers highly value Jack and if this were a one or two year offer-sheet there would be no hesitation on their part but a four-year back-loaded deal might be the only reason the Pacers are forced to pass. The Pacers current payroll is $66.05M and they’ve got $64.61M committed in 2010-11, the current tax-level is $69.92M which leaves them with $3.87M before they hit the tax. From the Raptors perspective, signing anybody to a 4-year deal is risky unless the salary is reasonable. Jack made $2.2M last year and has a qualifying offer of $2.9M, if you factor in a 20% raise on that it’ll take him to around $3.5M which is still a very reasonable contract for a 20-25 minute utility player. Basically, if the Raptors offer exceeds $3.87M which it apparently does there is no way the Pacers will match, if it doesn’t, then the Pacers will have to weigh in future flexibility while accounting for a tax level drop. Mathematically speaking, the rumoured 5M/yr offer seems too high for what would be needed to lock up Jack and Colangelo appears to have overpaid for a player yet again, but I’m not going to complain since it is a sound basketball move. The Raptors have $61.2M and $57.9M committed for the next two years, to view up-to-date salaries check our salary page.

The other shoe to drop in a Jack deal might be of Linas Kleiza who the Raptors are looking at to address perimeter shooting. At 6′ 8″ he brings size at the wing position and could give us a respectable wing lineup alongside Turkoglu, DeRozan, and Wright (Delfino injury concern). If we sign Kleiza by structuring his contract to be light in the first year and stay under the tax, we could offload Banks’ expiring next summer to even things out and quite possibly return with the same roster. If we can pull this trick off we’ll be a solid two-deep at four out of five positions:

C: Bargnani
PF: Bosh, Evans
SG: DeRozan, Kleiza/Delfino
SF: Turkoglu, Wright
PG: Calderon, Jack

If only we can manage to get our hands on one of Rasho or someone like Big Baby we’d be set. With both our MLE and LLE valued at $5.6M and $1.67M available, it is entirely possible that we can address these issues although it would involve some sort of sign-and-trade to send salaries the other way. And as Colangelo said in his interview with the Rick Kamla, player agents are literally hounding him for that cash. If we sign Jack to the reported 4-year back-loaded $20M deal we could have exactly $5M to offer Delfino or Kleiza before we touch the tax level, that would almost make it impossible for us to not cross the tax level if we sign Chris Bosh by giving him a raise. I suppose we can worry about that when/if he’s ready to sign.

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