Another question is do Americans want to sign in Canada? No they do not. It hurts the Raptors that they are in another country. A good example of this is Steve Francis in the 1999 NBA draft, in tears after hearing he was drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He demanded a trade and never played for the Grizzlies. And the Vancouver Grizzlies folded and moved to Memphis. What I mean is most Americans think Canada is a joke, even though its actually a great country. But no way Lebron James(the best player in the world) signs with the Toronto Raptors!!! Its CANADA!!! Nike would never allow it. I mean imagine Michael Jordan signing with the Toronto Raptors, back in the day. That would be crazy!!! Or course it matters a lot if the team actually wins or not.
Nothing substantial to report on the free agent front, unless you think Rasho Nesterovic going to the Raptors is the move that puts T-Dot over the top. Is there a more anonymous dude in the League? This should tell you something: Rasho played for the Pacers all of last season, and yet his profile pic on NBA.com was still one from his last stint in Toronto …
The Raps haven’t been penny-pinching much either. After smuggling SF Hedo Turkoglu out of Portland in a burlap sack full of gold doubloons, they signed C Andrea Bargnani to a five-year, $50 million contract.
It didn’t stop there, as the Raps then decided to outbid the Indiana Pacers by luring in PG Jarrett Jack with $20 million over four years.
Now that’s what I call impoverished. Did Bryan Colangelo perform an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist to pay for these players? Should I call Vegas and tell them I know who robbed the Bellagio?
The Raps and Leafs have two things in common: They’re both owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, and they both really sucked last year.
Nesterovic is the perfect second unit big man — he doesn’t demand the ball on offense but can step up and hit the open shot when necessary, plus rebounds and plays strong enough D. In short, you certainly don’t lose anything with him on the court, especially with other big men on the floor looking to score (Bosh and Bargnani). Also, it’s always good to bring in guys that want to be here — even after the trade to the Pacers, Nesterovic kept his place in Toronto and made no secret of where he wanted to play.
Rasho will never be an offensive juggernaut, but his one-on-one defense is something the Raptors sorely lacked since O’Neal was traded away to Miami for Marion. Where Rasho struggles is obviously in mobility. He doesn’t have quick feet and is very slow to rotate as a help defender. I’ve heard that he’s lost a step since last time he played here, so it’s going to be imperative for the Raptor bigs to do their job and not let their man continually blow by them to the hoop. Bargnani has improved slightly in this area in the last year (still a ways to go), and I still think Bosh really needs to focus on his defense to become a really solid force down low.
Sorry to burst the bubble of some Raptor fans, but this pretty deal much kills any chance of the team resigning fan favourite Pops Mensah-Bonsu. The team has one roster spot remaining but that will like be used on a wing player such as Carlos Delfino or Linas Kleiza. With Nesterovic now back in the mix he will be the backup centre behind Andrea Bargnani and along with that duo, Chris Bosh, Reggie Evans and, gulp, Patrick O’Bryant, the Raptors are now set in the front court.
He was recently offered an extension worth 50 mln over 10 years. It might me an amazing deal or ‘what the fuck’ deal, depending on Il Mago himself – he will have to take into consideration if he wants to regress or shoot the lights out on pick-and-rolls with Hedo Turkoglu. I think he’s gonna continue the progress – he seems to have gained a little more self confidence in the second half of previous season.
Although I’m sure many have noticed it, it has received fairly little publicity and appreciation. What I’m referring to is the fact that this offseason is highlighted by moves of players who WANT to come to Toronto. Unheard of 5 years ago, hell even just 5 months ago. Highlighted by an uncharacteristic burning of Portland, Hedo has definitely helped foster an atmosphere amongst the NBA where players want to come to join the Raps. Preceding this comes the rookie signing of DD, who seems to have been genuinely looking forward to joining the Raptors. Yes it’s a rookie signing and he had no choice but still, he seems sincere in his appreciation. Couple this with Jack agreeing to sign an offer sheet with Toronto as a primary backup (which is generally unheard of for previous starters) and we’re now looking at a franchise that I dare say seems credible.