The Raptors have about $5.1-million (U.S.) to use before they tip into the dollar-for-dollar luxury-tax threshold and were considering offering a one-year deal to Delfino for something close to that amount, but the acquisition of Belinelli has changed the equation.
"The likelihood that he’s going to sign here is less," Raptors president Bryan Colangelo said of Delfino. "Not only is he going to be leaving some money on the table in Europe, but one of the things that was attractive about coming here was that he’d have ample opportunity to play and maybe start and that doesn’t appear to be as open now."
Colangelo said there is the possibility of using Delfino in a sign-and-trade if he decides to leave his current team in Russia, but just as likely is that the Raptors won’t make any more significant moves between now and training camp.
"We’ll have a little bit higher intensity, a little bit quicker turnover of players coming in and out of the game," Triano said. "We’ll give everyone a fair chance at camp (in October in Ottawa). Injuries happen throughout the year and you have to be ready to play. I like the fact we have so many diverse players. The biggest thing will be trying to find enough guys the opportunity to stay on the floor."
Belinelli, acquired for forward Devean George and cash, currently is on the Italian national team with Bargnani.
"I won’t read too much into that," Triano said. "I don’t even know if they’re friends. The most important thing is that they’re teammates. It’ll be nice to have someone to talk to and show you where restaurants are, but for the most part we’ve got a great team. They’re all friends by the time the games are over."
With the two moves, the Raptors now have 14 players under contract. GM Bryan Colangelo is still working on finding a backup small forward to fill his final roster spot.
"Marco fills a void at the wing position where his shooting and scoring strengths will be needed. Marco’s versatility and playmaking abilities make him a very valuable piece for us,” Bryan Colangelo said in a statement.
Prior to joining the Warriors, the 23 year-old, six-foot-five guard from Bologna played professionally in his native Italy for five seasons. In 33 games during the 2006-07 season with Fortitudo Bologna in Serie A, Belinelli averaged 16.4 points, while shooting .544 (99-for-182) from the field. In 13 Euroleague contests, he averaged 12.9 points on .438 (32-for-73) from the field.
GM Bryan Colangelo pulled off a coup by stealing Turkoglu from the Blazers, but then overpaid Jarrett Jack — something you often have to do in order to lure a restricted free agent. First-round pick DeMar DeRozan excelled in Vegas. If Andrea Bargnani (five-year, $50 million extension) continues to improve, the Raptors could be back in the playoff hunt.
This Raptors team is capable of the best ball movement and unselfish play we have seen for quite some time. The shooting ability of the Italian duo will spread the floor, allowing Chris Bosh and the super-athletic DeMar DeRozan to terrorize the paint.
Calderon has a huge shot, if he stays healthy, of leading the league in assists.
Warrior optimists (do any exist anymore outside the P.R. dept. and the broadcast team?) can point to this trade and say it’s actually just a vote of confidence for Anthony Morrow, who successfully fought Belinelli for minutes last season and is clearly a more valuable (and don’t forget cheaper) alternative. However, if the Raptors have coveted Marco since 2007 — and several reports over the years have said the Raptors have, which makes sense since they covet Euros more than American college girls studying abroad — couldn’t they have done better than George?
The Warriors cleared out some of their backcourt logjam and found an experienced presence to help balance a youth-filled roster, acquiring wing Devean George and money from Toronto on Thursday in exchange for guard Marco Belinelli.
The move acts as a vote of confidence for second-year guard Anthony Morrow, as it should open more minutes for him. The team still has guards Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Stephen Curry, Kelenna Azubuike, Acie Law, Speedy Claxton and possibly restricted free agent C.J. Watson. General manager Larry Riley said he’s not done dealing.
Actually, as an expiring contract, George may have slightly more appeal in that do he doesn’t cost anything. As a chip in a future trade, George might have slightly more value to any team acquiring him as he’s free, his salary paid by the Raptors for the rest of the year. Ok, that’s probably not enough to entice a reluctant team thinking about moving a star for salary relief, but it can’t hurt. He also has slightly more value in that any team holding his expiring deal can sign him to another contract with fewer cap restrictions than they would for Belinelli. Why would this matter? A sign and trade (yes, I wrote it — sign and trade — I’m not proud of it and this is not license for everyone else to jump in with their favorite sign-and-trade Davidson, Watson and change for Dwight Howard) with George could be that tiny bit that makes a deal work. At this point in his career, George might agree for sake of a guaranteed contract for another year, something he might not easily find. It’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible. So relative to Belinelli’s deal, George’s expiring deal is a slightly larger asset, likely inconsequentially so, but, still it exists.
No matter how it added up, Belinelli was on his way out.
"I feel like Marco wasn’t going to play too much because we’re making the commitment to play Morrow," Warriors General Manager Larry Riley said. "We’re ready to commit to him. … Having known that we were not going to (pick up Belinelli’s option by the Oct. 31 deadline), we decided to take the opportunity to get a player back who maybe can contribute. We thought that was a reasonable way to go."
The Raptors? All six white players on the roster were born outside the US. Is this something we should be concerned with? Do you have to be American-tough to win in the NBA? I used to think that foreign-born players just didn’t have that from the cradle desire to win an NBA championship. I thought that a world championship or Olympic medal was the real prize. I took a closer look at championships of the past decade and winning rosters included names like, Parker, Gasol, Ginoblli, Okur, Oberto and Ukraine’s own Slava Medvedenko. Even the teams that lost in the finals featured guys like, Big Z, Dirk Nowitzki, Varajeo, Vujajic, Turkoglu, Gortat, Pietrus.
Toronto had been trying to land Belinelli for the last year, as Colangelo sought to improve his guard play.
That Belinelli was his chief target was, no doubt, down in large part to the influence of Raptors vice-president Maurizio Gherardini, the former Benetton Treviso general manager who is familar with Belinelli’s game from the period when both men were in Lega A. Belinelli spent five years in Italy’s top domestic league with Fortitudo Bologna prior to joining the Warriors.
Belinelli will have to wait to meet his new team-mates – with the exception of Bargnani – as he is with Italy at a training camp preparing for the Additional Qualifying Round to EuroBasket 2009 that kicks off on August 5th.
So, with the excitement of the offseason all but done for Raptor fans it’s time we move on to something different, something like an in-depth look at all of the Raptor players. I mean what is more fun that completely over analyzing a player well before he actually does anything? Not much! So today we will start our review of the Raptors roster with a look at our starting point guard, Jose Calderon.