Free Agency

God’s gift to the Raptors, His wrath to Roko

Ever heard Jays fans call in to the Fan 590 after a gut-wrenching loss and try to convince Mike Wilner that the team sucks while he insists otherwise? It’s quite funny because the callers have so much evidence at their disposal that proving their argument should be no problem. Yet, Wilner wins time and time again as the caller stumbles to find words to argue the most obvious advantages of his argument. If you thought less of the Raptors fans that call in to the Fan, believe me, you haven’t heard anything yet.

But wait, I must talk some Jarrett Jack since we haven’t discussed him nearly enough this week. Here’s the big scoop: He signed.

He can play both positions and doesn’t care whether he comes off the bench? He doesn’t care about his stats either and believes that being a good teammate is of the utmost importance. He’s a great locker-room guy and Colangelo loves him and he loves Colangelo. He also loves Bosh who loves him back long time. He also brought his parents along to the press conference yesterday and did you know that his Dad used to cook meals for the entire neighborhood? And when some kid didn’t have clothes they used to clothe and bathe him. He’s also going to be very active in the community and work closely with the Raptors Foundation for Kids. Larry Bird said we’ll love this guy. Holy ****! Did we sign a backup point-guard or an angel? You know how Calderon’s a likable guy with his broken English, foreign haircut and Li-ning shoes, well, Jack makes him look like the Anti-Christ.

All jokes aside, here’s something we haven’t discussed much about Jack: his relationship with Chris Bosh stemming from Georgia Tech. Until I heard them yesterday I had no idea that they were this close, and Colangelo had to know this because the signing has taken quite a new dimension with the revelation of this very close friendship. Here I am thinking they were casual friends and ex-teammates but turns out they’re tighter than tight. It’s a smart move by Colangelo to kill two birds with one stone: He gets a solid backup PG and a real friend for Bosh, thus giving him something deep to think about when contemplating signing an extension. Jack and Bosh are both 25 and playing the prime of their careers together will have definitely dawned on both of them.

So Jarrett, where are you going to stay?

“I told Bosh, Man, I don’t even have to find anywhere to live. I can just live with you. We can just get some bunk beds and just do it like old times, back in the dorm room.”

How sweet. Hey Bryan, you sneaky snake, did you sign him because you thought it would help you re-sign Bosh?

“It happens that they [are] close or friendly. That’s not the reason [we brought Jack to Toronto]. This was a basketball decision. The fact that they have a relationship is only a positive for us. If this is one more reason for [Bosh] to stay, that’s great. But I hope it’s for basketball reasons that he decides to stay.”

Of course, of course, that must not have played on your mind at all you Grandmaster you 🙂 Well Jarrett, have you given some thought to this?

“I hope so, I hope so,” Jack said when asked if he thought he would be a teammate of Bosh’s longer than he was at Georgia Tech, a union that lasted just one season as the all-star power forward left for the NBA after their freshman year. “As soon as I got the call and found out Indiana wasn’t going to match [the Raptors’ offer], I said let’s make the most of this year and hopefully we’ll try and get him around here for a few more years.”

To sign off on all things Jarrett Jack I’ll direct you to Caldeford who’s put together a post with some videos of him which followed his great statistical analysis. I’d just like to add that I’m glad we’ve signed a good basketball player, doesn’t matter if he’s a PG or a SG or who he’s going to be subbing for or what mismatches he might create etc. We got a guy who understands the game and is smart enough to make good decisions and talented enough to execute those decisions. In other words, we got a player, not a one-trick pony like Kapono or a half-ass like Moon. We got a good player who can think on his feet and will do well when he’s on the floor with other good players like Turkoglu and Bosh.

As these two were talking to Bryan Colangelo about what Jack brought they stumbled on a familiar name which might soon become very unfamiliar – Roko Ukic. Since he’s now become the unquestionable third stringer, Colangelo mentioned the possibility that Roko could be moved if his agent decided that was best for Roko. I certainly got the idea that Colangelo wants the best for Roko and if there’s a team in the league where he’ll able to get consistent minutes, he would have no trouble trading or waving him for the sake of his own development.

“I’ve spoken to him, I talked to his agent as well. We talked about the possibility that if there’s a right situation for him, well look to possibly move him if it works out for him. Ideally he was designed to be the third guard last year, unfortunately we didn’t have the depth.”

Unfortunately he wasn’t asked about Marcus Banks because I would’ve lovvved to hear him walk his way around that landmine. He also referred to Douby as being in the mix with the guards and if that could very well spell the end for Roko. Hopefully he can pull through in training camp, break some ankles, play some lockdown defense and drive and kick a few times to make the decision that much harder for Triano and Colangelo.

On the big man front Rasho Nesterovic remains an obvious choice and Delfino is still a possibility with $1M dollars being the gulf that separates him from a return to the team which he left after having a very mediocre season, this was preceded by even worse seasons in Detroit. Seriously, how does this guy come off demanding $5M? Oh yeah, it’s because those Russians overpaid him and he’s sitting pretty in that comfort. That and also because he knows we need a SF and that we can only throw money at him because of the Bird rights. Hate to say this but unless Colangelo can swing a trade involving that albatross Marcus Banks, Delfino’s got us by the cajones.

Colangelo was on the Fan 590 with Bob McCowan where he said that DeRozan’s performance will determine how much Jack will play. As for Delfino, he says that he spoke to his agent 20 minutes ago and that the issue with Delfino is about how much money he’s going to leave on the table to join the Raptors. I got the feeling that Delfino didn’t have the greatest experience in Europe and that he wants to come back to Toronto and that Colangelo will try to make him happy by offering a one-year deal closer to his current money thus leaving us flexible for next year. We’re more than $6M under the tax and I don’t think he’d hesitate in offering him the money he needs as long as it doesn’t become a “pinch point” next year.

Jack’s contact is back-loaded and he’s going to get paid $4.5M this year which means we have $5.9M – $4.5 = $1.4M left of the MLE. However, Colangelo says that if we offer Rasho a contract it would come from the bi-annual exception which is around $1.9M. As for Bosh, Colangelo feels that the $30-35 million we can offer Bosh could sway his decision and if not that, we always have the sign-and-trade to fall back on. The interesting tidbit he dropped was that extending Bosh’s deal this summer is “likely not to happen but is an option”. He hopes to wrap the Delfino/Rasho situation in 7-10 days.


ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote a pretty long Insider article where he ranked every team’s off-season. He ranked the Raptors 8th and finished off his article by saying: “While I don’t think these moves suddenly make the Raptors a serious contender, I do think they’re a playoff team. Given last year’s disaster, that’s pretty significant.” The top four teams were the Spurs, Clippers, Pistons and Magic. I’d tell you more but then Chad Ford would hunt me down and kill me.

You want to party? We’d go in there and report for you but I got a feeling we won’t be allowed within 500 yards of that place.

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