Take One: Jose Calderon
I feel bad for him, he’s served the organization with every ounce of effort he had, and it’s sad to see his time with the Raptors coming to an end in the manner that it will. There’s already been two failed trades and a tension in the air that you could cut with a knife. And there’s more to come. The 180-degree change in the organization’s attitude towards him is surprising, only two years ago we were handing him a massive contract extension after picking him in the TJ/Jose battle. Now, you can’t mention his name without somebody bringing up his defense and how it was one of the main causes for the past two disastrous campaigns. The organization under Colangelo has named many scapegoats: T.J Ford, Sam Mitchell, Jermaine O’Neal, Hedo Turkoglu, and now you can add Jose Calderon to the list. On any given day he’s one of the best backup points in the league, but alas, he is saddled with a contract that asks too much of him.
Take Two: Sonny Weems
Sonny Weems caught everyone by surprise last season. Nobody thought he would usurp Belinelli and Wright to become the primary wing off the bench. His jumpshot was a shock and his composure was God-like. Under the favorable conditions of increased playing time and a year’s worth of experience, the natural thing to do is to expect both those areas to improve next season. However, never underestimate the impact of a scouting report getting out on a player. Regarding his contract, we should not extend it this summer. Simply too premature to do that.
Take Three: Carlesimo and Triano’s relationship
Here’s Carlesimo about working with the head coach:
“I think as assistant coaches, the more you can take off the head coach’s plate, the better it is,” he said. “Also the more you can literally throw ideas at him, that’s a plus.
“Pop really encouraged that. He loved to stir things up and he’d just kind of sit there and laugh and we’d be arguing about who should be playing or why we were doing this or doing that.
“Sometimes he already knew what he was going to do, sometimes he’d listen and go that way. I think that’s a strength Jay already has.”
P.J Carlesimo is the first Raptors assistant in a very long time with significant head coaching experience. As an outside, I don’t know how to gauge the effectiveness of an assistant, but it’ll take a lot of convincing for me to believe that Jay Triano or Sam Mitchell have been getting quality advice on the sidelines. That belief of mine is proved positive by the revolving door of assistant coaches over the last few years.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Carlesimo will make about $650,000, along with perks, next season, which is very high for an assistant. I expect Carlesimo to have a major say in how the Raptors run things, especially on defense. Head coaches are relying more and more on assistants in this era, and the hiring of Carlesimo (and even the failed attempt at instilling Iavaroni as a defensive specialist), speaks to that trend. Tom Thibodeau, John Kuester and Mike Malone are just a few examples.