Josh Smith, Amir Johnson

Toronto Sun

Colangelo’s latest moves aren’t going to bring the Raptors any closer to a playoff berth, nor will it address a need for a post defender and scorer, but on the surface Colangelo has better positioned the team for both the immediate and long term.

It’s easy to see why Colangelo would send Jack, Banks and Andersen to the Big Easy because none figured to have any role with the Raptors down the road.

Jack averaged 11.3 points and 5.0 assists in 95 appearances with the Raptors.

Banks appeared in 25 games with the team, averaging 4.6 points and 1.2 assists.

Andersen was acquired from Houston on July 28. He averaged 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 11 contests as a Raptor.

Once again, the deal in principle is an admission that acquiring Jack and hoping he could complement Jose Calderon was a mistake.

It’s the Colangelo way, acquiring pieces and moving them just as quickly when it’s obvious they won’t mesh.

Internet reports were buzzing well before the Raptors convened for their session in the wake of their win Friday night over the Houston Rockets, Toronto’s second victory in a row.

But all one had to do was wait, as the media often does before the gym doors swing open, and see Jack leaving practice and later returning briefly, his attire more in tune with a guy who knew he would soon be packing his bags.

Banks, who has yet again been traded to make a deal work, and Andersen, who made shots against his former Rockets team on Friday, were nowhere to be found.

But as one team official so succinctly put it: “I like this move.’’

More shoes are sure to drop because the addition of Stojakovic suddenly gives the Raptors too many wings. The most likely candidate to get dealt next, and at this point it’s not even known when such a deal can get done, is Reggie Evans.

Toronto Star

To satisfy demands of the league’s arcane salary cap, there are actually two separate parts to the transaction and the Raptors will retain more than $12 million U.S. of the “traded player exception” they got after the departure of Chris Bosh in July.

The deal got final NBA approval in a conference call late Saturday. Stojakovic and Bayless are expected to make their Toronto debuts Wednesday against the 76ers at the Air Canada Centre.

“Our plan of developing our existing young players and acquiring future assets remains our focus in retooling this Toronto basketball team,” Colangelo said in a statement.

But the repercussions will be felt today and beyond by a team that’s 4-9 heading into Sunday’s game.

For now

• Jose Calderon, whose play has improved over the past two weeks as he regains the form and confidence he showed in 2008, becomes the undisputed starting point guard.

After splitting time almost evenly with Jack over the first 13 games of the season — all as a backup — the 30-year-old Spaniard takes the helm without having to look over his shoulder for the first time in his career with Toronto.

The coaching staff hopes and expects that will imbue him with even more confidence in leading a young group of players.

• With the departure of Andersen, the asset some members of the staff were most reluctant to part with, playing time may emerge for rookie Ed Davis, who begins a week- to 10-day-long rehabilitation stint with the D League’s Erie Bayhawks on Monday.

While now thin in backup big men behind Andrea Bargnani and Reggie Evans, the hope is that Davis will quickly be able to mesh with the likes of Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems to form some sort of quartet of young, athletic, affordable players.

• Bayless is more of a combo guard than a true point guard but his biggest asset is not his ability to score but rather his ability to stop others from scoring. The Raptor coaching staff sees him as an excellent young defender who is a weak shooter but, at 23 years old, a promising piece of an emerging puzzle.

Globe and Mail

Stojakovic entered the season saying he understood he could be traded because of his expiring US$15.3 million contract.

His odds of being shipped out only rose when he lost his starting job this season to Marco Belinelli, who was acquired in an off-season trade and is currently New Orleans’ third-leading scorer, averaging 12.7 points.

Stojakovic, 33, was inactive for several games earlier this season but has seen more action in the past week. He has played in six of the Hornets’ 11 games, averaging 7.5 points.

Known for his accurate shooting from behind the three-point line, Stojakovic has averaged 17.3 during his 12-year career. Returning from back surgery in 2007-08, he was a key contributor when the Hornets won a franchise-record 56 games, earned their first division title and came within a game of advancing to the Western Conference finals.

However, he has been injured more frequently the past two seasons, raising concerns about his durability as he moves toward the twilight of his career.

National Post

However, it is the way that money is distributed that is the real financial boon for the Raptors. Jack is owed more than US$10-million in the two seasons following this year. Bayless, on the other hand, is owed just US$3-million next season, and that is the only salary the Raptors take on in the deal that extends past this year.

Also, the Raptors move the expiring contracts of Andersen and Banks that add up to slightly more than US$7-million for that of Stojakovic, who is owed US$14.26-million this year. When you add that to the expiring contracts of Reggie Evans, Joey Dorsey, Sonny Weems and Julian Wright, the Raptors should have about US$24-million coming off the books next year. Theoretically, it could help the Raptors sign some players on the free-agent mark.

How much that will help remains to be seen, as the collective bargaining agreement ends July 1, 2011. There is no telling how the league’s salary cap picture will look when a new agreement is settled upon.

Toronto could also opt to use its players with expiring contracts and the remainder of the Bosh trade exception — about US$12.2-million following the trade’s completion — to acquire talent with a higher price tag before the trade deadline. Colangelo has frequently stated that he does not want to try to strip the team down in order to have better odds in the draft lottery, so expect him to try to make something happen via this route.

The Raptors now have Calderon, Bayless, Andrea Bargnani, Leandro Barbosa, Solomon Alabi, Ed Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson and Linas Kleiza under contract past this season.

North Station Sports

The Celtics travel to the Great White North to meet up with the Toronto Raptors after falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder to start a four game-six night stretch where they will meet Toronto twice. The Celtics crushed the Raptors in preseason play and this will be the first meeting between the two in the regular season. The Raptors have supposedly agreed upon a five player deal with the New Orleans Hornets which brings in Peja Stojakovic for Jarrett Jack as the key figures moving in the deal. The move doesn’t improve the Raptors for the present, but gives them an expiring contract which should make them a player in the 2011 Free Agency market. The Celtics should have no issues with the extremely soft Raptor group which presents former first overall pick Andrea Bargnani as the only real threat. Young gun DeMar DeRozen played well against the Celtics in the preseason but is still an unproven talent when it matters. The Celtics however are fighting off the injury bug, yet again. Kevin Garnett played the entire game against the Thunder with a lump on the back of his head the size of Africa and Coach Rivers expressed his concern with leaving Garnett in the game as long as he did. Rajon Rondo pulled up lame in the fourth quarter against the Thunder with an apparent hamstring issue, Rondo has traveled with the team and is expected to play.

Slam Dunk Central

With the pick-up of Andersen, many would think they should just dump him already. Andersen is a soft big man, but the seven-footer could actually be useful. Andersen will be useful a lot in pick-and-rolls. Andersen is also a pretty good defensive player, so expect some good things actually from him.

Apparently, the Hornets are now good to go. Marcus Banks will be helped in depth and could be a helpful player, hopefully, off the bench. As for the Raptors, they just need to make the most of it. Stojakovic is a good three-point shooter, but he not be needed much. Bayless will help, like I said earlier.

The Hornets get an A-plus in this trade. This was a solid move made by the management team. As for the Raptors, they get a D-minus. Bayless is a good pick-up, but how can you be stupid enough of giving up a guy like Jack and going for a guy like Stojakovic?

High School Basketball Nerd

The Hornets are trying to move on from the CP3-Tyson-West-Scott era, and the way they do that is to secure another second-tier guy to play next to CP3. West is about as consistent as Sarah Palin’s popularity, and as much as I like (hate) Okafor, he is not worth 8 figures a year. So what happened here? The Hornets trade their most valuable expiring contract for David Andersen, Jarrett Jack and Marcus Banks? Hell, I like Jack, but the Raptors packaged a shit sandwich in between Jack with David and Banks.

More implausible, is how the Raptors got Jaryd Bayless in the deal. Sure, he’s not lighting up the league with his play, but he’s playing behind Chris f-ing Paul, you expect him to log more than 20 minutes a game? No. I don’t even want to hear the “We need a more solid back-up for CP3″ card. Bayless is 22 years old. 22! As history has taught as with Kevin Johnson, Chauncey Billups and Steve Nash, you never give up on PG’s when they’re young.

What’s most crazy in this deal is the fact that the Raptors got a 14 million expiring contract to add to their already formidable arsenal of expiring contracts (the Raptors, couples with Peja’s contract, will get rid of roughly 31 million this summer) which will also make them big players in the race for Melo (I lie. Who puts Toronto at the top of their free-agency list?)

As much as I can say in this piece, I’ll wrap up with this. New Orleans, you kinda got screwed.

NBARoundtable

Colangelo also has the Andrea Bargnani situation to watch. If Toronto suffers this season, Bargnani could become another big trade asset that Colangelo looks to wield.

On another note, Leandro Barbosa and Linas Kleiza would both have good trade value to contenders. The Raptors could pickup an expiring contract + possibily a first round round pick in exchange for each one of them. If they blew up their roster properly, they could pickup quite a lot of assets for the future.

The Raps also have Reggie Evans’ expiring contract. Around $5 million I think is.

Plus, they have two young wings, especially DeRozan, who could be valuable sweeteners if used in combination with the large expiring contract of Stojakovic or the TPE … if a major talent was made available.

Trading either Amir Johnson or Jose Calderon would likely still prove difficult. That may change by the end of the year if both were given starter’s minutes though. Especially Calderon. Amir may still be a tough sell.

The Zan Tabak Herald

On first glance, this isn’t a bad move for the franchise as it gives them huge cap flexibility immediately as Peja’s contract is one of the bigger ones expiring over the next year.  It also gives Jose Calderon the keys to the franchise.  I love Jose but that’s like choosing to drive a Ford Focus because it is the safest car around.  He isn’t the most efficient and he isn’t going to make the highlight reel, hell he isn’t going to win games either, but he protects the ball and distributes efficiently.  He just can’t defend against other teams.

The team is clearly playing for next season.  This may make some fans happy and others will abandon the team.  Many already have.  Attendance figures are down and watching opposing point guards blow past Jose Calderon is not going to put butts in the seats, nor will watching an over the hill Peja play well below his former capabilities.

The deal does one thing, and one thing only : buy Bryan Colangelo some time.  He has a huge trade exception from the Chris Bosh fiasco, likely a high level draft pick and now a 15 million dollar expiring contract to work magic with over the summer.  There are also a number of expiring contracts and young players to give fans hope for the future.  Colangelo has likely bought himself another few seasons to build this team into something resembling a playoff team.

NESN

Shaquille O’Neal vs. Andrea Bargnani

Shaq is old, slow and tends to set up shop under the basket; Bargnani is mobile and likes to jack up shots from all over the floor. This isn’t an ideal matchup for the Diesel. Bargnani, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, has emerged as the Raptors’ first option in the absence of Chris Bosh, averaging 17.2 shot attempts per game. The Celtics will have to dig deep to find a way to contain him. Shaq’s too slow, Glen Davis is too short, and Kevin Garnett will be too busy trying to box out Reggie Evans all day. Bargnani will be a handful.

NOLA.com

The trade was complicated by the fact league rules mandated that Bayless could not be part of a multi-player deal until Dec. 23 because he recently was acquired by the Hornets. Therefore, the teams negotiated a Bayless-for-Andersen man-for-man swap.

Economically, the Hornets have unburdened themselves of the final year of Stojakovic’s bloated contract, which was paying him $15.3 million this season, and the Hornets took on no expensive long-term contracts in return.

The moves reflect a total payroll savings of $5.5 million, bringing the Hornets’ salary outlay to $66.644 million this season, well under the luxury-tax threshold of about $70 million.

More important, though, it also makes good fiscal sense because Stojakovic, 33, was unlikely to contribute much this season because of the complexion of the Hornets’ roster, which is currently made up of younger, more athletic players who are able to play tighter defense and run the floor as Paul pushes the tempo.

Stojakovic was inactive for four games this season — earning $188,000 per game for sitting on the bench in a suit. He also had one DNP-coach’s decision before going on the inactive list. He recently worked his way back into the rotation in New Orleans’ past four games, although he said two weeks ago during his inactive status that it was clear to him he was no longer in the team’s long-range plans.

The trading of Bayless was somewhat of a surprise because the Hornets shipped a future first-round pick to the Trail Blazers to acquire him in the days leading to the regular-season opener.

But first-year Hornets coach Monty Williams, who was familiar with Bayless from the five years Williams spent as a Portland assistant, has the same working relationship with Jack, who played with the Blazers the first three years of his career, coinciding with the first three years of Williams’ employment in Portland.

Boston Globe

With the league offices closed, the deal may not be consummated until tomorrow, meaning all five players could be frozen until then. That means the Raptors’ only point guard would be Jose Calderon for today’s game.

Calderon, who had come off the bench for the first 13 games, would start and perhaps be spelled by shooting guards DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems.

Leandro Barbosa has been limited to seven games because of a left shoulder strain but coach Jay Triano said he would play today against the Celtics, giving the Raptors another option. But he hasn’t played since Nov. 8 against Golden State.

GoErie

Erie also didn’t get the same production from its NBA rookies — Toronto Raptors center Solomon Alabi and Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Christian Eyenga.

Alabi, who said he’s headed back to Toronto after Saturday’s game, had just eight points on 1-of-6 shooting. Eyenga had only seven points.

Hornets247

Yeah, other players were involved and I guess we can talk about them, but make no mistake, this trade was all about getting Jack to come in here and lock down the backup point guard spot. As for the trade as a whole, I wanted to save the entirity of my thoughts for our next Podcast, but when I see the national media being so short sighted, I feel it is my obligation to paint the whole picture so I will fill in what they are leaving out.

The biggest complaint from Hornets fans and media members so far has been that the Hornets traded away their best asset in Peja. But did they? No- this trade is essentially Jack for Bayless. Let me explain.

You take those two out of the deal and it is Peja for two expiring contracts- David Anderson and Marcus Banks. People don’t understand why Demps made this move so soon, but you will understand if you glance at your calander. The date is November 20th. By getting Banks and Anderson today, Demps can make them part of a multi-player trade before the deadline. If he had waited much longer, that would not have been an option.

So if Demps wants to go after Iggy in February, he still can if all they want is expirings. Toss them Anderson, Banks, and either Marco or Willie Green and the deal is done. Wanna go after Biendris or another big money big? Same thing.

Point is that nothing has changed except the Hornets have a backup point guard who is a much better fit, they have picked up another small trade exemption and they got below the luxury tax. That’s all. If Demps decides that he wants to make that “big move” it is still possible and having multiple small expiring contracts as opposed to one large one actually gives him more options.

At The Hive

I won’t lie. I was probably the most excited person on here when we traded for Jerryd Bayless. I loved his aggressiveness with Portland. For years, the Hornets had lacked an attack minded, driving player alongside Paul. I thought Bayless would be the guy to fill that void.

This year, two things have happened. First, New Orleans’ attacking options have expanded significantly. Ariza may not be playing well right now, but he’s routinely attacked the bucket in the past 5 games instead of settling for the jumper. Marco Belinelli has been a revelation with his driving ability. Suddenly, aggressive driving isn’t as sorely needed, especially when accompanied by the turnover rate Bayless was sporting.

Second, Bayless’ defense has been awful. Really, really awful. He’s struggled to stay in front of every assignment presented him. I’d say he’s been far and away our worst defender. Obviously, that’s not something that was going to fly under Monty Williams.

NBeh?

For the Hornets, this deal was a no-brainer. They get a very useful player in Jack, an okay (for now) backup big man (with what amounts to an expiring deal) in Andersen, and an expiring contract in Banks. All they had to do was give up Peja’s contract and Bayless?!?!?!? This trade makes them even better in the short term, and doesn’t have much of an impact on the books (short term or long term). The only negative thing about it is that perhaps they could have nabbed a big-name player with Peja’s contract, but that’s only a hypothetical.