Ukic and Banks

Has anyone tried using the trade machine to off-load Roko Ukic or Marcus Banks? If you do try it out let me warn you of two challenges you will definitely encounter. 1) Making the salaries match 2) Justifying why any team would want any part of these two. Roko’s a likable guy and my heart really breaks when I select him as Player 1 in the trade machine but then I tell myself: Self, Roko will starve for basketball if he’s with the Raptors. It’s best for everybody that we end this relationship, see, it’s not him, it’s us. That makes me feel a bit better. But as for Banks, we should kick him out and slam the door shut. In fact, when we slam the door shut we should make sure his never-healing left toe is caught in it.

It’s come to the point where Quincy Douby is ahead of them on the depth chart. That’s right, Quincy “Tupac” Douby. When summer league started we were hoping that Roko would show us a little something, maybe a little light at the end of the tunnel which would make us want to hang on to him longer, at least until training camp in hopes of seeing that light up-close. But all he did was light a match and then immediately piss on it – no light, all darkness. Other than a couple hail-mary threes he didn’t do a damn thing in summer league and allowed Douby to showcase himself without Roko even looking like the facilitator. Smush Parker looked better than him. Yeah, it was that bad. In fact, if Parker was on our depth chart he’d be ahead of Roko by a hair.

Here’s a quick RR scouting report on Roko Ukic:

  • Ability to get by his opponent on occasion.
  • Struggles to finish in the face of challenges.
  • Lacks court-awareness to find open shooter on kick-outs.
  • Average defender at the point-guard.
  • At 6’5″ he’s big enough for a SG but without a refined offensive game it doesn’t matter.
  • Not a tight dribble, tends to turn his back on defender to protect ball instead of facing him and using a short, controlled dribble.
  • No outside shot.
  • Streaky ability to finish in the lane on floaters.
  • Unrefined post-up game, doesn’t look to exploit his size advantage.
  • Can push the ball in transition but lacks awareness to make correct decisions.
  • With only one year NBA experience, could work on his weaknesses and prove doubters wrong.

The only thing that fills you with hope on that scouting report is the last point, but are we a team than can afford to wait on him while giving him consistent playing time to hone those skills? With Calderon, Jack, Belinelli and Douby already there, no. Therefore, we have to either trade him or buy him out (if we want to free up a roster spot) just in case we’d like to add a serviceable body later on. Again Roko, it’s not you, it’s us.

With Joey Graham on the way out and Ukic displaying a penchant for the D-League, soon the last remaining artifact linked to Rob Babcock will be Jose Calderon.

On to Marcus Banks and the talk that the Raptors are looking to buy him out. Marcus strikes me as a guy who’s more than willing to be a healthy scratch on the 15-man roster for the entire duration of his contract. The only way he’s taking a penny less than the $9,216,000 that’s owed to him is if he believes there’s a team out there that’s willing to put up with him and let him showcase his skills for his next NBA contract. I looked through all 30 teams and I can’t find a PG who is worse than Banks so good luck with that.

Europe could be a possibility for him and his buyout amount might follow the equation:

Buyout Amount = Current Salary – Salary in Europe

This makes more sense, if he’s making up what he lost in the buyout abroad and still getting some playing time to showcase his limited skill, he could be convinced to accept. If he can con a European team to paying him $2M/yr, that would reduce the buyout amount (which counts against the cap!!) to $5,216,000 and heading into next year’s reduced salary cap, that could make a big difference.

Any team that’s willing to pay him will first need to see what he can do and for that they’ll need to consult tapes that are 3 years old. He played 6 garbage games for us last year, 16 for Miami where he averaged only 10.4 minutes which was half of what he averaged the year before that – see, Pat Riley figured out early that he’s no good. The only time he’s been a meaningful part of any team is in 2005-06 when he averaged 30.7 minutes in 40 games after being traded from Boston. That year the Wolves finished second last in the West. So yeah, not much of a resume.

The Raptors felt that Banks should’ve played in the summer league and he obviously felt otherwise. Usually asking a 6-year veteran to play summer league is an insult but Banks is an exception, not that it would’ve helped him much. Unless Colangelo puts another bunny out of his hat we’re not going to get anything for these two, the only hope here is that we can salvage a roster spot in case we need to add a specialty body later on.

Or convert those freed up spots to sign a big strong forward like 6’8″ Brent Petway or 6’9″ Ekene Ibekwe who both had good summer league showings. There might also be players on other teams that had a good league which could help, and maybe even some talented players whose stock isn’t that high because of poor showings.

The way I see it, we got a 15-man roster and one, if not two, spots are being wasted amongst Roko and Banks. And we haven’t even discussed Patrick O’Bryant yet. Colangelo earlier said that every spot on the roster should have a meaning and contribute in some way, right now he’s got a bit of a problem there.

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