The 401 is covered with snow and in the distance you see two dozers working in tandem, one is on the edge of the road and the other in the middle. The one in the middle isn’t moving the snow off the road, he’s just making sure that the one closest to the edge has little trouble moving all the snow off the road. That’s Rasho. He may not get the eventual credit but without him the job is impossible. He uses his wide body methodically, even stealthily, to clear medium to large big-men out of the lane so his mates get a crack at the rebound. He’s the guy who won’t get a face-up block on you but he’ll push you out of your comfort zone. He won’t dominate on offense but he’ll unclog the name by taking his man away from the paint using that 8-10 foot jumper. He’s 10 feet tall and weighs a f*****g ton, he’s Rasho and he’s coming. He’s coming.

As planned, the bi-annual exception was converted to a 1-year deal for Rasho Nesterovic. It’s not clear whether there were other NBA inquirers but it’s rumoured that there was some European interest. But why play in Europe when you can play in Toronto with Europeans? If being the Slovenian representative to the Raptors wasn’t incentive reason enough to take a paltry (I can’t believe I’m saying this) $1.9M, then surely reducing his commute definitely was – he still owns a home in Toronto, we haven’t yet figured out where it is but once we do we’ll forward you the address so the vigil can start in earnest. Seriously though, I’m sure he could’ve gotten a better deal money-wise but he’s made enough of it in his career to end his career in a place where he really wants to play.

The move’s hardly a surprise but I still felt relieved that there was zero chance of Patrick O’Bryant touching a basketball during non-garbage-time. I think every Raptors fan knows exactly what Rasho brings: good fundamental defense and expert knowledge of how to use his wide frame, and that’s all we’re asking. He’s going to be a huge part of our defensive rebounding even though his highest average as a Raptor was 4.8. In other words, he’ll prevent offensive rebounds and put the onus on others to clean the glass. Adding Rasho’s 7-foot frame doesn’t mean our rebounding problems are solved, it only means our guards and forwards will have a chance to collect the defensive rebounds that should belong to them. Instead of opposing centers wiping the offensive glass with Bargnani and Bosh, we’ll have Rasho in there to maintain spatial integrity in the paint.

Let’s take a quick look at the roster:

9 Rotational players: Bargnani, Bosh, Calderon, DeRozan, Evans, Jack, Nesterovic, Turkoglu, Wright
2 fringe players: Douby, George
3 guys you have to pay: Ukic, Banks, O’Bryant

That’s 14 players. You would think Delfino’s going to be #15 which leaves no room for Pops “I-try-to-tear-rim-down-but-get-stripped” Mensah-Bonsu. But wait! We can buyout St. Patrick and sign Pops to a $1M deal. The guy is literally sitting at home eating Cheetos and watching the Ashes while waiting for the England national team to start practice. He has zero NBA offers on the table and the only reason I think Colangelo hasn’t signed him yet is because he doesn’t know how much money he’ll have left to spend on Delfino. It would be a tragedy if we sign Pops to a deal and then find out that we’ll have to cross the tax level to sign Delfino. Colangelo’s smart, he’s waiting for the Delfino situation to get finalized so he’ll know exactly how much he can offer Pops.

According to earlier reports we had about $7.1M to spend before we reached the tax-level. We just used $1.9M on Rasho which leaves us with $5.2M. If O’Bryant agrees to a buyout of $200K which is 40% of his guaranteed contract we’ll be left with $5M (buyouts count against the cap). If Delfino agrees to a $4M deal for the first year we should be able to sign Pops to a $1M/1yr deal which also happens to be his qualifying offer. He’s got every reason to take it since he’s still an unproven commodity and will try his best in another contract year. Raise your hand if you’d rather have Pops than O’Bryant. Aaah, everybody’s with me…but wait…you there, you there in the back, why is your hand down? Oh, what’s that? You’re Patrick’s agent? Oooh, I’m sorry your vote doesn’t count and your client plays like a girl.

Rasho’s 33 years old and entering his 12 NBA campaign, he averaged 6.8 points and 3.4 rebounds for the Pacers last season in 70 games. In his two previous years with the Raptors he averaged 6.2 points/4.5 rebounds in 20.9 minutes and 7.8 points/4.8 rebounds in 21 minutes. His career averages are 7.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 50.1% FG and 58.8% FT. He hasn’t shot less than 50% in his last four NBA season. He’s Rasho and he’s coming.

I’ve been browsing the internets and have come across some crazy ass banter, something about how signing Joey Graham is a good idea. I suggest those of you who share that thought sign up for my Joey Graham Withdrawal Class (MWF10-11 BA1024) where we go through all 12 steps:

  1. Wow, what a great physique, he’s going to be a beast.
  2. He’s still developing, a little raw, but what a physique?
  3. He’s got to stop going one-on-one and throw up prayers but still, what a physique?
  4. With a physique like that you’d think he wouldn’t settle for off-balance jumpers.
  5. What’s Danny Granger upto? All-Star soon, eh? Bet he doesn’t have Joey’s physique, though.
  6. Moon beat Joey to a starting job? Really? Even though Joey had the better physique?
  7. Did you say Joey’s crazy baseline dunk on Pryzbilla? Man, so glad we got rid of that punk Moon.
  8. Ever since Triano gave Joey time he’s been showing us something. Can we sign him to a 9M/3yr deal?
  9. That something turned out to be nothing.
  10. Has anyone seen Good Joey lately?
  11. Four years later Joey still sucks.
  12. I think Stephen Graham is better.

@raptorsrepublic