Hey man, long time no talk. So I was thinking about this NBA lockout and stuff, and I asked myself from a Raptors POV, who should “win” this battle? The owners or the players. Then I realized that’s not the question a Raptor fan should be asking themselves, the question that should be raised is whether the current system is working. And by working I mean is it doing the Raptors any good. And when I say the Raptors I mean the fans, not the franchise. And by franchise I mean the fat cats at MLSE. And by the fat cats…

Answer is simple: no. The Raptors have been crappy and are becoming increasingly crappier under the current CBA, they’ve had a nice moment here and there (*swooons thinking of Chris Childs*), but by and large, they’ve been quite shit for most of their sixteen year existence. When I hear murmurs of an overhaul of the current system which would see more teams become competitive, I can’t help but like the idea, even if I don’t fully understand its repercussions. Maybe I’m falling for the owners’ sales pitch, but maybe we just don’t have any choice but to try something different.

Throughout our tenures as Raptors fans, we’ve repeatedly been told how the club will always be at a disadvantage for some reason or the other (Canada, weather, taxes, how shit TSN is, etc.), and even though we haven’t deconstructed those myths either way, the general evidence (i.e. wins) stands to accuse the current NBA climate for not being ideal for harvesting any wins north of the border. Or for that matter in many other markets like Minnesota, Sacramento and Mordor. It would be considered hasty to to say that it’s the NBA’s operational model that’s holding the Raptors back, and not mismanagement on the part of the front office, but we’ve exhausted all conversations concerning the latter, so let the former serve as the hypothesis:

The Raptors would be better off if the NBA’s operational model was “different”.

Here’s the “proof”:

In 16 years, we’ve won one playoff round, have made the playoffs five times, and a return to the post-season doesn’t appear to be on the horizon for quite some time. We haven’t been able to successfully retain most of our best players, and seem to be starting over every year. I can take this train of thought and fill up five paragraphs, but you get it, right? Anything is better than the present, and if that anything is a different salary structure, operational model, or economic scheme, you would think there’s a good chance it’ll be for the better, at least from the Raptors fans’ perspective.

I know, I know, it’s simplistic thinking, but that’s all there’s left to do at this point. The models presented by the league and the players union are speculative and created to push their respective agendas, and not necessarily to elucidate to how they affect the players, teams, fans, and employees of the NBA. Basing how the Raptors will fare under these models is a tough task, and high on speculation and assumptions. That’s why I’ve reverted to the aforementioned plain thinking.

They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I say if its broken, do something. Anything.

  • onemanweave

    Don’t care how they carve up the money — 50/50 or 99/1 — who cares.
       They just need to keep genius stars from banding together to make super teams or contract the league to six super teams. Either one works for me.
       The NBA don’t care sh-t.

    • Didi

      The ONLY way to do this is by having some sort of Hard Salary Cap that will NOT allow teams from BIG market , spent like crazy. This 3 star per big team will kill the league. 

      • Bendit

        …or very severe penalty tax going over the cap. Even having no max within a team with a cap/penaly tax is fine. This would make paying eg a Wade 40 mill. leaves not much for a Lebron and even less for a Bosh and practically bones for the rest of the team…which says to the team…”spend wisely”…or get fired/shut down.

      • Theswirsky

        “The ONLY way to do this is by having some sort of Hard Salary Cap that will NOT allow teams from BIG market”

        Its not.

        It can be helped or achieved by eliminating the sign and trade, and changing bird rights. 

        As Bendit pointed out increasing the penalty tax would help to.

        I’d also say taking the time to investigate questionable signings could only help.  How was Miami, one of the many teams who could potentially lose a superstar, also the only of those teams that weren’t trying to improve in order to keep that star?  Cleveland, Toronto, Atlanta, Dallas all went out of their way to atleast try and improve their teams in hopes of keeping their star.  Miami just sat there and acted like the Knicks (who had nothng to lose).  This doesn’t mean there was a conspiracy or collusion, but I see no reason why the league couldn’t take some time and atleast give the impression of investigating it. 

      • BrianB

        It’s not about spending like crazy. Spurs are never a high spending team, yet contend and have won. OKC has adopted this model, with great promise and excitement. And which team won the most games last season? Chicago, not a big spender.Lots of big spenders end up near the bottom. Orlando was a big spender.

        It’s all about drafting wisely:

        http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/32841/the-payroll-and-competitive-balance-myth

        • onemanweave

          When three top level stars decide to buddy up and join forces, you better draft like Kreskin, if that’s your answer to it.

          • Brian1957

            Dallas had an answer. Lakers coulda had an answer. I would even have loved to watch OKC run run run, with Ibaka, Collison & Perk beating on Bosh.

            • Bendit

              You do realize that the Heat were constrained by the old CBA to retain a scrubby supporting cast by not being able to sign any more free agents after they reached the limit. This in great part led to their loss. While this restraint existed year 1 of their “experiment”, going forward however would provide greater flexibility (like using the exceptions). I suppose they thought the rest of the league would just lie down to that charade. Miami also gutted their team during a 2 yr. period prior to the signings and if not for Wade would have been doormats. Raising Dallas and LA as antidotes doesnt make much sense…they are amongst the highest payrolls in the league and is exactly the problem the league is trying to remedy.

              • Brandon

                You’re drinkin’ the league’s kool-aid something fierce.

            • onemanweave

                Yes the underdog Lakers ‘only’ have two super stars and a big, big payroll.  They are an inspiration to the Clevelands and Torontos of the NBA world.
                 Dallas parlayed good team depth stemming from even deeper pockets into winning a seven-game series.  
                How would you like to be a New Orleans ticket holder when CP decides to join the Lakers or Knicks?  Or a Clippers fan when Blake slam dunks a contract with Chicago?
                 Again, if that’s the kind of action you want, make it a six team league and the rest can form a AAA feeder league.  The NBA — where inequity happens.

  • Brian Gerstein

    Brilliant article Arsenalist.  The new CBA can’t make things any worse, we’ve bottomed out, so any change will likely benefit us.

  • albertan10

    very well articulated. i think you could say that this is how most of the fans feel here in canada and even in some of the smaller markets. I think it would make sense for teams to not have to pay tax on resigning their own rookies.  then you could always always leverage the stars with more $ and not have to worry about losing their talent (see OKC) when it comes time to re-sign them.

    • Gradgrind101

      To some NBA players money isn’t everything…Lebron left a lot on the table to go to Miami…I think if Chris Bosh wanted more than $16 million and wanted to stay in Toronto he could have had it. Sometimes they want to leave bad management behind and go someplace where they can win.

      • Didi

        Not totally  true. They did not leave a lot of money on the table. They left maybe on average 2-3 million a year which is nothing for these guys when you consider the increase in endorsement deals from playing in bigger market teams. 

        • Ihatehaters

          $2-3M per year for 5 years. Which is $10-15M. Plus, they would have had a 6th year guaranteed – which would be in the $20M range.

          $30-35M is alot of money for anyone! And, while Bosh may have seen an increase in endorsements, I would think that Lebron (if anything, due to the hit his reputation took) probably saw a decrease.

          • Gradgrind101

            Good point…Also, I would venture to say that Lebron would have gotten more endorsements if he stayed in Cleveland. His “local” status would have gone through the roof if he chose to remain in Ohio. Besides if it was money that motivated him he would have gone to New York…

      • Brandon

        What?!??!! How dare you suggest all the problem of the world aren’t the fault of evil, rich basketball players!

  • tonious35

    Nice to hear from the Arse since a long wait.  The Raptors management and coaching have to get their shit together and instill a strong team responsibility model and follow it.  Also establish the “I give a shit” players and keep any 1st round picks and 2nd round pick and choose players from the draft like you need them and can’t FA any additional players.

  • bboyskinnylegs

    I just hope the owner’s proposal to raise the age limit to 20 (and have the players be two years removed from high school) doesn’t go through. We already got screwed over in 2006 with the age change, it would suck to see what will like be another year of tanking now go to waste because what was supposed to be a stacked draft now only consists of Barnes, Jones III, Sullinger, Jones, Lamb, Henson, Robinson, and Young after all of the top freshmen (Drummond, Davis, McAdoo, Miller, Gilchrist, Thomas, Beal, Rivers, Kabongo, Wroten, Teague) are ruled ineligible.

    • JHP

      It’s interesting that the proposed age change has been lost in the shuffle.  Yes I believe the Raptors would be hurt by this proposal but remember Brian is preaching patiance and restraint.
      It’s been 5 years and they still say AB will come into his own.  So if they pick high on a weak draft (again) they probably will stash the player overseas and wait another year. It’s interesting to note they now have personal positioned in Europe to oversee those players.  

    • steve

      How were we screwed?  If the age limit was 18 in 2006, would we not have ended up with Greg Oden?

      • Raps Loyalist

        Oden was an amazing prospect and would have been the perfect fit next to Bosh (a physical center that could protect the paint/rim).  He has had bad luck with injuries in Portland but there is no reason to believe he would have been so unlucky in another situation.  Most of his injuries have been fluke injuries and not stuff that could have been predicted.  People act today like it was a forgone conclusion that he would get injured in a bunch of different ways in his first few years in the league but that is just simply not the case and is a hindsight is 20/20 type thing.  That said, I like the idea of a 20 year old rule b/c  top 5 draft busts really set a team back a number of years and a lot of bad picks on pure potential could be avoided by teams.  These players could get insurance like QB Sam Bradford and Andrew Luck and Colt McCoy have all gotten.

  • Daniel

    You nailed it Arse. It’s not about “owners” vs. “players” as it is about who stands to win from a competitive balance point of view.  The system has to change for us to have a chance to compete. Our ownership is world-class from a business perspective, our management is first-class based on reputation (deserved or not), however we just can’t compete. Personally I root for a hard cap as the most important change towards a new competitive balance in a historically most lopsided league.I also philosophically dislike guaranteed contract instead of performance-based contracts. Imagine a team-driven league where players give their best every game and every season. Multiple NBA sources told me a lot of current players don’t really love basketball, they treat it like a job. Anyone is willing to give a pass to a failed passionate actor than to ever support a lazy talented actor, in any field. Toronto fans are famous for embracing the hard working players with a team first attitude. If basketball ever develops towards this goal instead of a diva-driven league Toronto will embrace b-ball big and not only casually.

  • Gradgrind101

    I don’t think a CBA has anything to do with the raptors being a bad club. Good management will always bring the best available player in any draft or trade. They will bring in the best FA’s that are suited to the system the coaches are trying to roll out. The current CBA isn’t to blame for free agents like Linus Kleiza (overpaid role player) or Leandro Barbosa (wrong skillset).  

    Colangelo isn’t all that bad…He did draft Ed Davis which is a good pick given what he had left on the table. Demar was a good pick as well and good on Colangelo for bringing in Ed Stefanski. He is a good evaluator of talent and may help BC bring in the better talent in every move…As for Casey and Valanciunas…We’ll see but so far they look like good moves

  • Theswirsky

    “In 16 years, we’ve won one playoff round, have made the playoffs five times, and a return to the post-season doesn’t appear to be on the horizon for quite some time. We haven’t been able to successfully retain most of our best players, and seem to be starting over every year.”

    I agree… but this has nothing to do, directly anyways, with the economic system in the NBA today. 

    Toronto has not been ‘good’ for the vast majority of its lifespan for 2 reasons:

    1) unable to obtain and retain top tier talent

    – this has had nothing to do with players salary.  Toronto has been able to, and has, paid the highest salary available to players.  This not only applies to the stars and superstars, but the ‘average’ players to.  Vince and Bosh got more in Toronto than anyone else could have offered.  Antonio Davis, Amir and Hedo were all paid more than other teams were willing to.  Toronto has consistently been willing and able to pay top dollar for players… even if they didn’t deserve it

    -what has caused players to leave has been ideas other than salary.  Whether one wants to believe its the quality of the team, the team being in Canada, the team not being a ‘player friendly’ market.  Damon had issues with management, McGrady wanted to be ‘the man’, Davis didn’t want to be in Canada any longer, Bosh wanted more attention, Vince…. well who knows really.  But none of these guys left because of salary.  Leveling the salary players can make will not level the desire for players to stay in Toronto.  If you hated/disliked Windsor (or simply preffered Toronto or something it offered) would you stay in Windsor to do the same job at the same price as you could in Toronto?  Why are we expecting players to be any different? 

    -that said, limiting the salary players can make elsewhere as opposed to Toronto (ie. changing bird rights and the sign and trade) would make a difference.  This has nothing to do with a hard cap, and everything to do with changing the exceptions within the current system.
     

    2) Poor choices with the talent

    -Paying Bosh the maximum salary he could make, and then offering a max deal (on par with what legit ‘superstars’ could make) is nothing short of lunacy.  
    -allowing Vince so much control over the franchise (to the point he was making franchise altering decisions)
    -trading Vince for a basket of rocks
    -using a first overall pick on Andrea Bargnani
    -signing high priced vets when the team was in obvious need of rebuilding
    -being unwilling/unable (or at the very least late) to recognize when the top talent was no longer planning on staying (Vince and Bosh namely)

    The NBA salary cap rules has had nothing to do with the Raptors woes.  It has all been on managements inability or unwillingness to recognize the barriers presented to a unique team like Toronto.  Acting foolishly or rashly.  Taking chances that were never worth it.  And a some bad luck to boot.

    “When I hear murmurs of an overhaul of the current system which would see more teams become competitive, I can’t help but like the idea, even if I don’t fully understand its repercussions”

    Change can be a good thing, but change just for the sake of change is not.  And changing the model may not change the result if the model was never the problem in the first place.  While understanding the potential repercussions is important.  Believing someone who has a vested interest in that change for their own personal gain, without recognizing the repercussions, is dangerous. 

    • Nilanka15

      Great post.  No matter what the new system looks like, poor decisions by management can (and will) ruin franchises.

    • Bendit

      Pretty much agree with most you’ve said except for:

      “The NBA salary cap rules has had nothing to do with the Raptors woes.  It has all been on managements inability or unwillingness to recognize the barriers presented to a unique team like Toronto.  Acting foolishly or rashly.  Taking chances that were never worth it.  And a some bad luck to boot.”

      I dont want to particularly discount some of the bad decision making which contributed to the woes but I cannot also discount that because the system flaws were skewed towards the large and glorified franchises, teams like the Raptors were sometimes under fan or win pressure or forced to make decisions on talent and salary and term which contributed to the state of the team.  The elements in the new cba which staunches the flow of talent are what excites me. Allows ALL the teams to have some ability to at least retain their drafted talent. CP going to the Knicks under the new system is unlikely …he will either play for near the minimum, Melo will share his salary with him or Dolan will have to pay $3 on every $ over the luxury threshold which is likely to be around 61 mill.  

      • Theswirsky

        sure I understand that.  And a hard cap (or harder cap) will unquestionably make it more difficult (or costly) to spend.

        But consider this with your example.  Imagine a system as is, but with a change to bird rights/elimination of the sign and trade.  Chris Paul would have to do the exact same thing.  NY is at 55 (or so) mil, with a cap of 58 mil.  So in order to sign Chris Paul the Knicks will have to either sign him at 3 mil a year, which is very unlikely, or be able to trade a whack of players to get far enough under the cap to free the money to sign him (which is almost impossible on short notice).  If the bird rights are changed where he doesn’t automatically get treated after a trade like he played for a team for 3 years (ie. so he can sign a ‘maximim contract) he will also have to take a pay cut (approx 30 mil over the life of the contract).

        Either way he isn’t going without taking a major paycut or NY trading one of Amare or Carmelo.

        • Gradgrind101

          Here’s something to think about…If New York can’t land Chris Paul they could attempt to keep Billups (currently at $14 mil) and go after someone like Chris Kaman (around $12 mil) in 2012. This could be done by giving Billups a 10 years at an average of 4 million per year guaranteed contract. If Billups career never ends he can always get out of his contract with the Knicks and sign a new deal for more money somewhere else. Not saying that’s what they should do but that kind of creativity is there if they want it. And yeah they may have a tiny luxury tax but they can handle it. It would be a pretty good lineup though…Billups, Anthony, Stoudemire, Kaman and someone else…

          • Theswirsky

            you can’t do that in the NBA.  There are already limitations on the length of a contract.

            • Gradgrind101

              You’re right…I forgot about that…I looked it up and there is a limit of 6 years… But nevertheless if Chauncey is worth 3 years at 10 mil per (I wouldn’t pay that much) for a total of 30 million the Knicks could give him 5 mil per season for 6 years for a total of 30 million in an effort to sign another player at 12 mil per season for a couple of years. I recall Stern wants to avoid deals of 20 million for 6 years for non-superstar players…The kind of stupidity Isaiah Thomas became famous for…

              I know New York won’t do a deal like that for Billups since CP wants to go to New York at the end of the 2012 season but it’s the kind of creativity that could be swung no matter what CBA deal is worked out. There are always things that can be done to get around a set of rules.

              …Good management will find a way to get and keep good talent…And if bad management stumbles upon star talent they will find a way to screw themselves in the end…

              • Raps Loyalist

                Billups is at the very end of his career and you think the Knicks should sign him to a 6 year deal??? (He’s already 35 years old buddy).  You want the Knicks to sign him until he’s 41? Great idea!
                The only reason the Knicks exercised his option for the 2011/12 season is that they can use his expiring deal as trade bait or to make the numbers on a trade for a star match using him in the trade.  You’re better than this Gradgrind.  I know you’re a Raps fan but Billups shouldn’t/won’t be in any teams plans for 2012/13 and beyond for anything more than a couple million per season on a couple year deal.

                • Gradgrind101

                  After this season I think its easy to imagine Billups getting 6-8 million per season for 2 more years (whether that’s 2 one year deals or a 2 year deal) for a total of around 28 million for the next 3 years.

                  The idea is to stretch out the $ over longer period of time and to squeeze in a player’s service for a few years. The team would then be on the hook for a small amount of a dead contract for a couple of years. He would obviously not be playing in his 40’s but you never know…Look at Jason Kidd  getting up in age and making 7 or 8 million a season). By the time the NBA gets started again he may be close to 40.
                  Don’t get bent out of shape on this…Just wanted to illustrate a tactic that has been used in the past. I personally don’t like either player at the money they are/will get.  The Knicks didn’t exercise their option on Billups to trade him. He’s their main guy on PG…Douglas is a nice combo guard and is Rautins still in the picture? Aside from Billups the Knicks have no one else… 

                • Raps Loyalist

                  Using a strategy like your suggesting is a really risky.  Look at the Yankees right now.  They have signed aging superstars to guaranteed deals that will expire long past the players are worth that money.  The A Rod/Jeter deals will really hurt there chances to go out and get young free agents to fill their spots in a year or two.  In the NBA, it is even riskier b/c you have a cap and a tax in place.  Billups will be 36 at the start of the 2012/13 season.  He was never even close to All-NBA in his prime so please don’t compare him to Jason Kidd (one of the best PGs of all-time).  Even if the Knicks feel like they have a championship window in the next couple years they NEED a 3rd star and Billups isn’t that guy and the $5 million you want to give to him on a 6 year deal (absolute madness) would be better spent as a 1/3 of Paul’s/Howard’s/D. Will’s/Marc Gasol’s future contract.

                  I get that you’re a fan of this tactic in the right circumstances but this type of signing only makes sense if you have a young core in place and just need a good vet to push you over the top (not the Knicks right now)…a better example of what your talking about would be the Bulls giving a guy like Ray Allen the deal you’re talking about next off-season.

                • Gradgrind101

                  I agree the strategy is risky but nothing like what the yankees have done. They pay big $ for many years.

                  Anyway most teams wouldn’t want to do this type of deal except when they want to make a serious push and still fit under a cap. Remember when I originally refered to Billups it was with the understanding that this deal was to be coupled with another signing like say Kaman (or fill in another free agent piece). Could the Knicks win with a team like Melo, Stoudemire, Billups and Kaman? Maybe an outside shot…For sure it would be a better team if it were Melo, Stoudemire and CPaul or DWilliams but if they need to spend $33 million on CA and AS then they may not be able to add the third star after the new CBA arrives.

                  I would only consider this type of deal if I had a couple of star players already and wanted to stay under a cap and still add more to the team. 

    • Toshmon

      I think you’re correct the NBA system had little to do with the Raps being a bad team.  But does that mean that the Raps had a chance to win an NBA title? Or would we be more like the Denver Nuggets?
      I still think the system is flawed, you need a bloodly all star team to even compete for a title.

  • Statement

    Mordor = Cleveland?

  • Theswirsky

    Just read the article posted by BrainB, and while the author does seem to ignore some details and long run issues with how the current NBA system works (and may be evolving) I think he hit the nail on the head with a few things:

    “In order to be competitive in the NBA, you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of money, but you absolutely need to be smart with your money. And the smart money tends to be in the draft”

    and thats why the best possible opportunity any organization has to become ‘elite’ (the NBA draft) being wasted on a guy like Andrea Bargnani becomes such a long term burden on a team.  Regardless of how good/bad the draft class was or regardless of what ‘fit’ a team needed.  The ‘waste’ (ie. the opportunity lost) is irreversible and costs a team severely.  The higher the pick, the bigger the waste.  We can see this right now in Toronto, even if some don’t want to believe it. 

    Yes some teams have an easier opportunity absorbing this potential waste (eg. LA)…. but, as the article mentions, every single championship team for decades, with the exception of the Detroit Pistons, has drafted their superstar (even Kobe was, apparently ‘selected’ by LA for Charlotte to draft before the Divac trade).  

    “What we’ve learned is that spending is cyclical. The smart organizations, like all businesses, try not to spend until they need to.”

    “Of course, it helps to have more cash, which allows teams to be more flexible and spend when they need to spend. But if there is a disparity of haves and have-nots in the NBA, the real disparity can be found in management, not dollars”

    Brains/Opportunity (and a touch of luck) trump $ any day of the week. 

    Making this Toronto specific (and repeating myself a bit), trading Vince Carter for what amounted to be nothing, not trading Bosh much much earlier, wasting one of the best opportunities the team ever had by drafting Andrea Bargnani, trying to build around Bosh and Andrea,  not rebuilding… but rather spending and very inefficiently no less… when the team was going no where, trading away draft picks when they are best opportunity for value contracts and also the best opportunity for a team like Toronto to obatin talent,  are what have lead to this team having a long history of underachieving.

    LA or Dallas spending alot has nothing to do with it.  NY or Chicago having the potential to spend alot of money has nothing to do with it.  Yes it helps and makes it easier for those teams… but Toronto is bad because of bad decision making, and more specifically bad decision making based on Toronto’s situation.  Not because LA spent 110 mil. Plain and simple.  And no hard cap, no system change of any kind, would fix that. 

    There are ofcourse still locational or situational barriers on Toronto… but again, nothing to do with a hard cap.  And, as mentioned before,a hard cap will make overspending on players that much more costly/wasteful. 

    Toronto’s ability and need to overspend will leave this team with less opportunity and smaller window for error if there is a hard cap.  I don’t think any Raptors fan should want a hard cap change… if anything Raps fans (although not necessarily NBA fans as a whole) should be supporting a system that limits a players ability to move, but while allowing a team the ability to spend. 

    This doesn’t mean Toronto can’t or won’t find success under a hard cap (or whatever the new system ends up being), but I don’t want to see any rule changes that will make it more difficult (whether marginal or not) to become a contender, a champion and a potential dynasty.  

    A hard cap may or may not be a good thing for the league as a whole.  And how this change may impact LA, Sacramento, Miami or Minnesota… I don’t really care that much about.   But I think a hard cap change will make it tougher for Toronto who not only is a ‘have’ team, but also a ‘need to spend’ team.

    • onemanweave

        Is it possible to ‘limit players ability to move without limiting teams’ spending ability’?  Don’t think so.
         Only two reasons to keep other stars from LeBoshing it — pride and pay.   Pride now, seems to mean a ring, even if it comes from some of the best players in the league ganging up on the others like beer-league all-stars occasionally do.
         Already other major stars are rumbling about joining forces. If Toronto has the ability to overspend, maybe some day they can benefit from star players leaving other franchises to come here. 
         Would you feel good if we won a title that way?  Seems like a cheap kind of aspiration, but apparently it looks like a good approach to a lot of NBA all-stars.
         That leaves pay.  If stars can’t approach their pay level, you can almost bet, they won’t take that huge pay cut to join forces with some Olympic-calibre buddies.
          If you don’t have some means of making a league competitive , it won’t maintain fan interest in more than a couple of winning cities.  That is one of the duties of a league — to stop the brain surgeons in short pajamas from wrecking it through selfish ambition.
         If you can stop the Heat-thing from expanding, without a hard cap — fine. Don’t really think you can.

      • Theswirsky

        ”   Only two reasons to keep other stars from LeBoshing it — pride and
        pay.   Pride now, seems to mean a ring, even if it comes from some of
        the best players in the league ganging up on the others like beer-league
        all-stars occasionally do.”

        Sure, but if its all ‘pride’ then there is nothing the league can do about it.  If a player just wants to win and is willing to take a huge pay cut to do it…. no system will prevent it.

        “Would you feel good if we won a title that way?”

        why wouldn’t I?  You mean if Lebron and Wade said ‘hey lets play in Toronto’ you would be against it?  Do you think Raps fans, in general, would be against it?

        Of course not.  They would be exactly like all fans everywhere… excited that their team has a great chance to win. 

        “That leaves pay.  If stars can’t approach their pay level, you can
        almost bet, they won’t take that huge pay cut to join forces with some
        Olympic-calibre buddies.”

        and again, changing bird-rights and eliminating the sign and trade does this.

        “If you don’t have some means of making a league competitive , it won’t
        maintain fan interest in more than a couple of winning cities.”

        even with the current ‘lack of competitive balance’ the NBA had one of its best years ever.  MLB has been steadily growing since the strike even with the biggest lack of ‘competitive balance’ in any pro sport. 

        Yes more fans will show up to watch good teams, but that has everything to do with the players and not what the teams are spending. 

        “If you can stop the Heat-thing from expanding, without a hard cap — fine. Don’t really think you can”

        right now you probably can’t because its too late… but you can prevent it from happening again.

        I’d also say that if the goal is to change the entire system just to ‘stop the heat’… well thats a great example of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

        • onemanweave

          If changing the bird rights and eliminating the sign and trade can stop super star swarming, that’s great.  Whatever works.
              Bundles of all-star  buddies will draw fans and boost tv ratings. Great for the haves. Again, want to rush to get season tickets in New Orleans if Paul answers Melo’s pleading.
             Eventually, people will get sick of supporting NBA cities that are major league in name only. If they want to contract the whole thing to six, eight or four teams, that doesn’t bother me. Would be great basketball. However if you’re going to have a league with over two dozen teams, you have to level the playing field. Even suckers only hang on the line for so long.
             It isn’t about ‘stop the Heat’, it’s about seeing they don’t reproduce.

    • RapthoseLeafs

      [ “Brains/Opportunity (and a touch of luck) trump $ any day of the week.”]

      Sorry, but can’t agree on this. Brains are important – I’d argue that stupidity is more akin to failure – but that’s semantics. IMO, it boils down to cash, and money talks.

      If you look at the top 8 spending teams (4 per conference) over the past years (those in the Luxury tax zone), it is these teams that have had the most success. Draft picks will get you only so far. Eventually the successful ones want to be well paid.

      It’s what I’ve come to believe is/was the loophole with the current CBA. When you have more contracts, you have more opportunity to trade – especially when those contracts are expiring … a function of of supply and demand.
      .

      • Theswirsky

        “So, in conclusion, there is a clear and unquestionable positive correlation between spending and winning in the NBA. However, the correlation isn’t that strong, and there are plenty of outliers every year (not just the Knicks). Furthermore, it seems like the correlation may be increasing in recent years, but there isn’t really enough data to be sure.”

        http://www.jeremyscheff.com/2011/07/the-correlation-between-spending-and-winning-in-the-nba-trends-by-year-and-by-team/

        “The statistical correlation between payroll and win percentage is practically nonexistent.””

        http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2011/10/20/no-easy-answer-to-competitive-balance-issue/

        You can find this stuff all over the place.  Those teams who did spend didn’t win because they were spending, they won because they had superstars.

        The problem with competitive balance in the NBA is not inequitable spending… its inequitable access to superstars.  But that will always be an issue because there are only so many superstars to go around.

        “When you have more contracts, you have more opportunity to trade ”

        everyone has, roughly, the same amount of contracts.  Between 12-15.  You’ll find the majority of teams with 15 players.  Teams don’t have ‘more contracts’ than other teams. 

        • Gradgrind101

          Interesting post…

          If I hear you correctly some of the points I like are as follows:
          There is a recognizable correlation between winning teams and the amount of $ they spend…Agreed
          To produce a winner one must spend. But spending will not necessarily produce a winner…Agreed
          Inequitable access to superstars exists and is a roadblock for competitive balance…Agreed

          The superstars are dictating where they play under the current CBA and the owners have fallen on their swords in order to accomodate them. The new CBA should eliminate the following:
          1) Players walking out demanding a trade. It’s not that common but nevertheless shouldn’t be tolerated. There should be league bylaw declaring no trades for non-reporting players.
          2) Sign and trade makes it easier for them to go where they want and still get most of they money they seek. Sign and trade should be eliminated completely
          3) Bird exceptions make it easier for teams to exceed their salary cap. Players are allowed to veto trades that would eliminate their “Bird Rights”. This kind of thing is a joke that plays into a players hands.
          4) Any salary cap that is not hard, rigid, fixed… Otherwise as is the case today it allows players to go to teams via free agency or trade and still be paid top dollar. If a fixed cap becomes part of the next CBA it will be more difficult for teams to sign high priced free agents with the idea that if it doensn’t work out they can always move them. In order to achieve this all the exceptions and exemptions need to be removed from the CBA.

          Also, the draft lottery process should be overhauled
          1) The league is split into 3 tiers. Each tier all get the same number of ping pong balls. A last place team in each tier should potentially get last pick in their tier. Everyone else gets a sliding scale.
          2) Payroll should be tied in to lottery. Teams who don’t spend and teams who spend too much get slightly lower odds.
          3) Teams who have improved from the previous year should also get a slight advantage. Persistant ineptitude should never be rewarded.
          4) The lottery should be fully transparent and televised. The current dictatorial backroom practice has to come to an end. Also, it would be incredibly riviting if the lottery were done at the same time as the draft. This makes it a little more difficult to make pre-draft guarantees to players since no one knows exactly where they may be picking. Round 2 could be according to record from worst to first.

  • Blanco
    • Nilanka15

      What’s with the Valanciunas hate in this article?

      • Bendit

        The anti euro bias seems pretty evident in the piece. The article also compares JV with PF’s (?) when he will in all probability play centre…his current position and his physical growth potential as well as skill set. And I was a Kemba supporter prior to the draft.

    • Raps Loyalist

      “Sullinger is the type of player that boils my blood when I think of the
      Jonas pick, especially if he were alongside Knight/Kemba, DeRozan and Ed
      Davis.”

      Sully and Ed couldn’t be on the court at the same time very often…neither is a center.  And how would we get Sully and Kemba/Knight when we only had one draft pick? I like Sully’s game but we already have a couple good young PFs so drafting him wouldn’t make much sense.

      JV was a great pick b/c he is a true center that loves to bang on both ends of the floor and has a lot of potential as a scorer as he is already an 80% FT shooter at 18 years old.  If the Raps can draft Andre Drummond we could pair him with JV to have two really athletic 7 footers as our frontcourt with Ed being an amazing 4 of the bench (think of a rich man’s Taj Gibson).  Coach Casey showed in Dallas what he can build on defense with two athletic 7 footers and with Drummond on borad maybe we could flip Bargs for another lottery pick in the 8-14 range and get a promising young PG or SF (like Kobongo or Kidd-Glichrist).

      • Gradgrind101

        I like where you’re going with Drummond (over Sullinger and Barnes). Anywhere from 6-10 to 6-11 with a 7-5 wingspan and athleticism is quite a package…But still let’s see how he progresses from the start of ncaa to march madness. 

        I have only one concern in pairing Drummond with Valanciunas. There would be too much inexperience in the low post. They would most definitely need some serious veteran mentorship. Nothing wrong with looking ahead to their potential but what concerns me is that their potential may be realized elsewhere if they don’t win some games in TO. A safer route IMO  to success would be a stud PG if there is one to be had…

        • Raps Loyalist

          PG is the deepest position in the league and a good PG could be had if we were willing to move Bargs for one. If you trade big for small in the NBA you can usually get a good deal if you’re taking a PG for a C or PF (think the Charlie V trade…BC hustled the Bucks on that one).  Lots of teams would be willing to trade a quality young PG for a chance that Bargs clicks on their team and gets to a couple All-Star Games.

          Center is the hardest position to find a good player at in the league by far and if you got a chance to draft a good to great center you do it 9.9 times out of 10. The only elite PG prospect so far is M. Teague so maybe he has an amazing season and is worth it but Drummond looks like he has the size, athleticism, and offensives moves to be a perennial all-star at PF/C (hard to pass on that if you’re a GM looking to re-build your team and professional reputation)

          Like I wrote, flip Bargs for a second lottery pick and take a PG or trade him to Atlanta for Jeff Teague, M. Williams, and their 2012 1st round pick.  We get a promising young PG, a decent SF, and a pick in the 20s to get a good value player at.  They get that bigman that can score to put next to Horford that they are dying for.

          THIS IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING YEAR IN THE NCAA!!!!!!! (and the Raps having a
          guaranteed top 8 pick in the 2012 draft makes it even more exciting for
          me.)

    • BasketballWizz

      http://www.itsmyplay.com/news/list/19
      Hey there is also good news articles at this website… 
      It’s new basketball network where you can find news from the biggest news websites at one place. And you can also create your basketball profile and promote yourself.

  • 511

    Not sure if it’s ‘different’ or ‘good’, but it looks to me like DeMar has been working it in the weight-room. It can’t be bad that I can imagine, especially if his three-point shot has improved as much as (I think) I’ve heard. 

    This posted on his twitter, Oct 30. 

    http://lockerz.com/s/151590347 

    C’mon back, Raps! (fFs) 

    • Nilanka15

      He does look noticeably bigger in this pic.  But it could just be the angle…

  • FAQ

    Yer fantacizing, deluding, on a flight of fancy, totally unrealistic.

    The Raptors will never be anything but a ‘feeder’ team that occasionally finds a good draft pick, develops him, and then he leaves for more promising teams south of the border, i.e. ‘home’.

    The Raptors are condemned to being a gateway for international players, questionable diamonds in the rough languishing on other team’s benches and high draft picks.

    Just be happy that real NBA teams must come to Toronto and show you what real basketball looks like.  If you fall in love with the delusion that the Raps must make the playoffs, you will suffer greatly in your angst.

  • 511

    Ya know … it’s Friday night and I don’t have to look at what the schedule WOULD’ve been to know that right now, at this very moment, I would’ve been watching the Raptors, probably at home in the ACC, against … somebody. 

    I’m really hating this fucking strike bullshit. 

    • 511

      Hm. Jones moment. What can I say. 

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  • FAQ

    “Center
    Tyson Chandler expressed concern Friday that the NBA owners’ luxury-tax
    stance is so restrictive financially that it would prevent him from
    re-signing with the defending world champion Dallas Mavericks. “With
    the collective bargaining agreement and some of the things that they’re
    trying to enforce, it would basically prohibit me from coming back,”
    Chandler told the “Ben and Skin Show” on 103.3 FM in Dallas. “It would
    take it out of my hands — and the organization’s — because it would
    almost be pretty much impossible for me to re-sign.” — HoopsHype
    ——————————————

    Does this mean that players caught in a luxury tax squeeze on their current teams will shop around for teams like the Raptors who can pay for talent and even edge into luxury tax territory?

    If the MLSE don’t make a significant investment into the Raptor roster,  the tribal honking fans may be turned off because they can’t feed their fantasies.  The Raptors must be seriously revamped otherwise it’s back to the Leafs.

  • maxcrushers

    You can not say the Raptors will always be a feeder team. All it takes is one good draft to get the players who will win. You draft scoring and coach defense. THe Raps do have the money to win, just need better choices by management: yes, I know I am expecting too much from BC.

  • Daniel

    Since when the public has ever cared about the fate of the gladiators?

  • Guest

    51% BRI for Players and they are going to reject it !!! The greed is making players not see the reality. I really hope this season gets canceled and small market teams get a chance to compete. I hope the new CBA does not allow this trio BS of stars happen at all and make this super stars to compete with one another rather than gang up and bully the weaker teams.