Still, in their first workout together, DeRozan figured he could get used to matching up against Weems in practice.
"He was so out of shape," DeRozan was saying of Weems on Thursday. "I was killing Sonny."
Weems, hearing his recounting, waved a dismissive hand. He pointed out that, having been in limbo all summer thinking his hoops career might soon be taking him to Europe because NBA teams seemed nonplussed, he hadn’t been diligent about his offseason training.
"He wasn’t killing me," Weems said of DeRozan. "He just caught me at a bad time."
Whatever the circumstance, the two quickly became fast friends.
"You don’t find friends like us in the NBA – everybody’s out for themselves," said Weems.
"That’s a good friendship."
Said Reggie Evans, the Raptors veteran, of Weems and DeRozan: "They’re two little brothers. Always smiling, always arguing, always hitting each other, always together, cheering each other up. It’s like the perfect relationship."
Toronto can’t afford to get sloppy. Even if the team had a clear path to the postseason, the Raptors need to be gearing up for playoff-calibre basketball.
“I’ve been in their position before,” Bosh said of the down-and-out teams who can afford to play loose and take chances. “Sometimes teams like that are tough to play. It’s a little more challenging to create your own energy, and they’re just out there throwing everything up. In my rookie year, we beat Milwaukee toward the end and they went from fourth seed to eighth seed. We were just shooting anything. The game meant something to them but it didn’t matter for us, we weren’t in the playoffs … we have to keep that in mind and respect everything we play.”
The insertion of Weems and Antoine Wright as starters for the Raptors has been accompanied by some added energy on defence and for the running side of offence.
“Guys are starting to know what their roles are, if you’re a shooter or a stopper,” Toronto head coach Jay Triano said. “The effort in the defensive end is what wins playoffs. We had it going for a big stretch of the season, but then lost some confidence in each other. Guys were getting blown by, and if you helped out, someone wasn’t going to help you. We’re getting that confidence back now as a team.”
Toronto fans also love the idea of a sign-and-trade this summer, though I don’t know how feasible it is. There are so many teams with cap space and Bosh’s options will be wide open. Why would he agree to a sign-and-trade when it’s only going to serve to fleece his new team of good young talent and draft picks? For an extra year on the deal and some more money? Maybe…maybe…but not likely.
The only deal that seems possible is that rumored Bosh-for-Bynum swap with the Lakers. But now that Bynum is sidelined…again…do the Raptors even want him? Bynum has two years and $29 million remaining on his deal and has only played 150 games in the last three seasons.
This isn’t a situation like Joe Johnson’s when he left Phoenix. He was a restricted free agent, so the Suns had the right to match any offer he signed. Bosh will be an unrestricted free agent, so he can sign with whomever he chooses. I think the best bet is that Bosh will sign with Miami, New York or Chicago, and the Raptors will have let him leave Toronto without getting anything in return.