I had to really press myself to add that exclamation mark at the end of the title. That’s how I’m supposed to feel, right? After all the bullshit of the last six months, it turns out that there was common ground, and they just took the much, much, longer road to find it. If I’m the players, I fire Billy Hunter. If I’m Stern, I set a retirement date. In the NBA’s case, new blood is needed at the top, in the players’ case, they need to find a leader who doesn’t look and act like a stupider version of Don King.

Whatever, deal done. Raptors basketball is back. All I can say is that I’m excited to see what Casey brings. As there are no new players, and unlikely to be any significant names coming in, what’s in the cards for Raptors fans is really more of the same, except with a different standard bearer in Casey. He really is the marquee signing of the summer, which tells you the question this season will answer: Can Casey bring something out of the players that Triano couldn’t? Specifically, whether he can get them to play defense beyond walking back up the court.

You could even look at this season as a stop-gap till Jonas gets here, throw half a season of development at DeRozan, Davis, and whoever else, and then reevaluate in the summer. Or maybe they already know enough about the players and can make a decision of whether to retain Bargnani, whether Bayless is good enough, whether Kleiza is a bad contract etc. Colangelo can act this out a few different ways, it all depends whether he sees any real potential in the players under contract. If he doesn’t, why wait till next summer or even the summer after that to confirm what you pretty much already know.

Anyway, there’s nothing official on raptors.com, but the word is the season starts on December 25th. In other news, MLSE isn’t on sale, which really sucks because my dream of the Raptors being owned by a Dubai billionaire heavy into basketball just got pissed on.

BTW, if you got to the forums, you’ll notice a big stupid red screen warning you. It’s wrong. For those of you into web development, it’s treating ESPN’s iframe’s as malware, it’ll go away in the next day or so for good.