Durant, Wade, Artest, Kobe, and DWill are just a few of the names that come up when talking about NBA players circumventing the lockout to play overseas. Earlier in the summer the press might be thought to have been orchestrated by the union to make the league second-guess the financial impact the lockout would have on the players, all that has changed. As the summer has worn on the exodus of NBA talent to Europe has seen a rise, and there isn’t an end in sight to the migration with Billy Hunter the latest to suggest that the season will be collateral damage.
The Raptors as an organization cannot create a contingency plan for their players as they’re not allowed to communicate with them, so it comes down to the players to both stay fit and find employment. DeMar DeRozan’s Drew League exploits are vaguely interesting, almost entertaining, but is the Drew a solution in the case of a cancelled season? He’ll be entering his crucial third season, one which usually speaks more to a player than any other, and it’s vital that he starts examining possible professional playing destinations.
What Leandro Barbosa and his expiring contract do with themselves doesn’t come into play for the Raptors, so they won’t pay much attention to his rejection of Brazilian interest. There’s an unsubstantiated, mostly created out of convenient logistics, rumour that Linas Kleiza could sign for Lietuvos Rytas (yes, that’s JonasVal’s team), which would do Kleiza well if he’s back to being healthy. If Kleiza doesn’t play next year he’ll come back rustier than A-Dub’s writing which doesn’t bode well for the Raptors’ investment in the lumbering Lithuanian. As of right now, the only Raptor that has accounted for himself is Sonny Weems, and he’s a restricted free-agent.
Ed Davis is hooping randomly as well, and here’s a guy who the Raptors are advertising as part of the core going forward. You could look at it as not being a big deal since every NBA player taking a step back because of not having to play strong competition, or you could see it as an opportunity for advancement. This is the year where a player can possibly catch up to his peers through a program that would see them develop through competitive basketball. I’m not even sure what Amir Johnson is doing. What do the coaches do during this time? It has to be frustrating for Dwane Casey to get signed on to a gig where he’s expected to bring great change only to sit on his ass. At best you could scout around but even then there’s no college basketball to go around.
They say the idle mind is the devil’s workshop, and surely the Beasley/Ridnour for Calderon/Barbosa rumour has to be the product of a very, very bored writer. I’m not going to expound on the ridiculousness of the Raptors wanting a fourth power forward, I find it enough to say that any trade the Raptors do pull will be for a legitimate center. Anything else is so far down the to-do list that it isn’t even worth comment. The upside to the lockout just might be that Colangelo won’t have to do any work, and that an abrogated season will present Jonas Valanciunas with the starting spot on a plate. More positives? The franchise save the money owed to Barbosa, and get two year’s worth of reprieve on Bargnani and Calderon’s questionable contracts.
Finally, the completely random story of the day. Remember Popeye Jones? His son could be in the NHL. And here’s some guy who says Jerryd Bayless was a jerk to him.