Is a two-week training camp enough for Dwane Casey? No, but there’s a 66-game training camp after that to prepare for the arrival of Anthony Davis and Jonas Valanciunas. That was a comment on the Facebook page which is one way of looking at things.
The Raptors are shedding dead weight, and will be getting good, young players into the system. The payoff won’t be immediate, nor will the upcoming season be close to anything we’ll want to remember, but if a couple things click, the Raptors could be one of those teams that you’d just pay to watch. Up until now the injection of key youth players has happened via the draft (DeRozan, Davis), and that might be about to change. Yes, the Raptors could be going for marquee players, at least that’s what the rumour mill is now suggesting.
Tyson Chandler’s name has been thrown around because of the Casey connection and it’s gotten a little old, even though the player himself said that he doesn’t see himself staying with the Mavs. What’s new here is that the Raptors appear to be targeting a younger crop of players, which could blend in better with the current squad than an older player like Chandler. Marc Gasol is the key man here, he’s only 26 and could be the center the Raptors have been left wanting all these years.
With Memphis already paying out Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, how much money would they have left over for Gasol? Not much is what the Raptors will be hoping, in which case a substantial offer for the RFA could be enough, with the Grizzlies having only three days under the new CBA to make a decision to match. Under pressure much?
Lot of talk that the Raptors should stick to sucking and continue on the path to rebuilding, and wait for Jonas to come over and go from there. But wait, go from there? From there is another three years of development for Jonas, and in that time who knows what can happen. If Gasol is available, you nab him right now for the sole reason that he’s a young, proven NBA player who happens to be a good defender. Doesn’t that fit the requirements of a team in rebuild-mode under the tutelage of a defensive coach?
Someone slap me if I’m not making sense, but even this argument of tanking for a high pick doesn’t hold water. Look what happened last year, we ended up picking two spots out of where we were “supposed” to pick, and there’s every chance that’ll happen again. In a deep draft like the one that’s coming up, does it really matter if you’re picking #2 or #5? If the Raptors rack up a few wins along the way to a season that might restore some respectability in the eyes of the league, and some enjoyment in the heart of the fans, you have to go for it.
Having said that, I don’t want Tyson Chandler. Not for a multi-year deal, because that’s what’s going to entice him out of Dallas and that’s the mistake I hope Colangelo doesn’t make. Chandler is going to get his fair share of offers, I would think multiple 2-year or 3-year terms will be on the table. Colangelo could try to win this race by offering more money and a longer deal, which is exactly what he shouldn’t do. Chandler’s looking very good right now because he’s coming off of title-winning season. I’d like to draw an analogy to Hedo Turkoglu – free-agent coming off a NBA Finals appearance who was considered a key member on the team, and was about the same age. I realize Chandler could be different, but he also could not. The risk of giving someone their final NBA contract and asking them to come and play in a pressure-free situation is too great for my taste. The injury concerns aren’t massive, but they’re there: he played 74 games last season, but only 45 and 51 the years before that. Just sayin’.
What does the shortened NBA pre-season look like? Like what the real NBA pre-season should look like. Two games against Boston. Done. Nobody wants to see the Raptors play eight meaningless games while travelling to Vancouver, it tires the players out (especially Hedo), makes us over-analyze things, and gives people like Joey Dorsey hope, only for it to be shattered when the games start counting.
ESPN says Jose Calderon or Linas Kleiza could be the amnesty cut. Don’t we only get one for the entire duration of the CBA? Sounds like a waste, I’d hang on to it till later when that luxury tax kicks in at a higher level and there’s somewhere to be for this team. Just bite the bullet for now.