There are moveable pieces, but there are also so many moving parts as free agency looms and as talk begins to percolate even more of trades that will soon be orchestrated involving any player under contact whose name isn’t Andrea Bargnani, Sonny Weems and DeMar DeRozan.
“A lot needs to play out in the coming weeks,’’ Colangelo confided when he addressed the media late Thursday night.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m confident that Chris is coming back. That’s why the selection of Ed Davis at this spot is one that looks to be the right piece.
“I have all kinds of scenarios that could play out (in free agency) and we have a little bit more of an idea each day, a little bit more information comes in or you feel a certain way.
“But basically, a lot needs to play out in the coming weeks.”
There was talk that the Raptors and Portland were discussing a deal involving Rudy Fernandez, a disgruntled shooter/scorer who wants out — but it fizzled.
For the record, it’s hard to envision how much of an upgrade Fernandez would bring to Toronto.
What it did reveal, assuming there was substance to the gossip, is that a guy such as Marco Belinelli is in play.
It is time for Bargnani to live up to the hype and all the expectations that followed his arrival from Italy to Toronto.
The time is ripe in Toronto’s continuing, if not elusive, evolution into a consistent player on the NBA landscape for Bargnani to assume the mantle of the franchise’s face.
Whether he can elevate to such heights, whether he’s capable of shouldering the burden and responsibility inherent with go-to guys can’t be answered now.
During his time in Toronto, Bargnani has taken strides, regressed, impressed, moved sideways and was threatening to become a coach killer when his underwhelming play forced the team to fire Sam Mitchell.
P.J. Carlesimo will ensure that Bargnani doesn’t take any shortcuts, but the onus will be squarely on the 7-footer when the Raptors gather sometime in October at training camp.
Unless people get the wrong impression, the rebuild of the team is on, the first step taken when the Raptors got lucky at the No. 13 slot on draft night when Ed Davis fell into their lap.
Davis is a piece, but the kid has a chance to be an immediate presence because he’ll rebound, defend and run the floor.
No one knows what Bosh will fetch in a potential sign and trade, but keep in mind Bosh can leave on his own to sign with any of a handful of teams with cap space without yielding anything to Toronto.
It was a necessary risk the Raptors had to take, a consequence that may play itself out by as early as late next week when the biggest and most anticipated free-agent door in NBA history swings open.
Whatever the Raptors have up their sleeve, and at this point anything must be viewed as possible, they have to address a need to acquire a facilitator, a Turkoglu-like player minus the selfishness and baggage.
Unless LeBron gets sentimental about home rather than championships — or Bosh somehow stays in Toronto, which seems less likely every day — here’s betting that the next generation of NBA dynasties revolve around one or two of those four franchises.
“This is something we’ve kind of been talking about for four years now,” Bosh said on ESPN radio on Thursday. “And the day is finally here. It’s kind of scary, but it’s exciting … I wouldn’t be surprised if teams really start pulling some tricks out of their sleeves. There’s no telling what’s going to happen.”
In the NBA, championship teams are generally built with very similar blueprints: A top-five player, at least one secondary star, at least one very good player beyond that, and capable role players to fill the cracks.
Using that formula, every championship team since 1980 — except three outliers from Detroit in 1989, 1990, and 2004 — featured an MVP-calibre leading man: Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Wade, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant. In no other league do great players matter so much.
And regardless of what happens with Bosh’s fellow free agent Amir Johnson, the Raptors will now have several different pairings they can play up front. At the very least, they should not be run out of the gym many nights.
“Where we may have had a letdown at certain times with length and athleticism last year … we’re going to have that much more length and athleticism to the new team, the new squad next year,” Colangelo said. “You start adding up the pieces: DeMar [DeRozan], Sonny [Weems], Amir [Johnson], Ed Davis, some of the other things that we’ve kind of got on the horizon potentially, it’s exciting to talk about what the possibilities are in terms of the athletes we can roll out there.”
Bosh remains the biggest question for the Raptors, and Colangelo seems inclined to let that situation play out before making any other moves. However, that does not necessarily mean the Raptors will be inactive before next Thursday and the start of free agency.
Orlando general manager Otis Smith confirmed the two teams talked about a trade involving Hedo Turkoglu, and he is the one Raptor who almost has to be moved. However, Colangelo still must decide if he wants to keep both of Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack, and he will probably have to find a way to upgrade the swingman spots, whether it is through one of those transactions or another.
In short: Thursday was just the start.
On the defensive end, he could improve, but right now he’s serviceable on that end of the basketball. With decent athleticism and good length, he can contest shots and he’s an excellent rebounder.
Furthermore, Bosh’s value gets a boost because he has largely avoided injury throughout his career. Amid other power forward targets like Amar’e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer, Bosh has the cleanest bill of health, making his contract a rather secure one.
Bosh needs to improve his passing, though, as he finished the season a mere 35th in assist ratio among power forwards league-wide. One could make the argument, however, that on a Raptors team with little offensive presence, he didn’t really have anyone dependable to whom he could pass the ball, so his best bet was to take it to the rim himself.
Moreover, GMs have to worry slightly about Bosh’s attitude in Toronto this season. For most of the year he seemed checked out, waiting for the opportunity to jump ship and sign with a contender. When he got a whiff of the playoffs, however, he righted his emotions and turned on his game. That emotional unevenness did not hinder his production, though.
The Toronto Raptors first round pick joins the Game Plan to discuss what qualities he can bring to the Raptors, how important his time in North Carolina was to his progression as a player and what he is looking forward to most about playing in Toronto.
Toronto Raptors Assistant General Manager of Player Personnel joins Zack Cooper to discuss last nights NBA Draft, what went into the Raptors decision making when their turn came up and provides his analysis for Raptors draft picks, Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi.
Charlie Pallillo joins the FAN 590 Morning Show to talk about the Wizards’ pick of John Wall at number 1, the Raptors’ decision to pick Ed Davis, and the deals made by Miami and Chicago last night.
- Jay Triano joins the FAN 590 Morning Show to talk about the Raptors’ draft room and their decision to pick Ed Davis 13th overall
I know I sound like a broken record, but building a contender is as much a function of good fortune as it is good scouting and talent evaluation. On draft night, Bryan Colangelo got damn lucky that surprisingly, Hayward and Aldrich went before the Raptors picked and that Ed Davis was available at #13.
Am I delighted? Absolutely. If you told me that Ed Davis was going to be a Toronto Raptor and we didn’t have to move up in the draft to get him – I’d say you’re nuts.
Then Alabi fell due to medical concerns over Hepatitis B and he eventually was acquired late in the second round through a deal with Dallas. Solomon has a great upside and many mock drafts projected him as a first round selection. As the last big on the bench, Alabi will be more valuable than POB ever was and he has room to develop.
Honestly, I don’t think Toronto fans could have expected a much better draft outcome than what transpired.
The Raptors walked away with two young, athletic bigs who were projected by Draft Express to go #9 and #21 respectively. That’s a damn good start for a rebuild.
- Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee June 25
- Don’t read too much into the Raptors’ drafting of Ed Davis