Ed’s Note: This was written by RR Forum member David Helm (deevad)

I want to defend Linas Kleiza. I want to convince myself that the advancements in micro-fracture surgery in the past twenty years vastly improve the chances he’ll avoid becoming another Penny Hardaway and make a full recovery. Once he’s back in playing shape, he’ll leapfrog the Raptors paper-thin small forward depth chart, pushing Rasual Butler deep into the bench where he belongs. With knee woes finally behind him, Kleiza will find his shooting touch that made him a reliable offensive threat for the Nuggets. Casey will transform Klieza’s defensive game, highlighting his strengths (strength, toughness) while minimizing his weaknesses (lateral quickness, speed). Talk of how his bloated contract needs to be amnestied will hushed as he plays his way to becoming a solid contributor to the Raptors building process.

Unfortunately, for all involved, this won’t happen. Pre-injury, during the 2010-11 season, Kleiza’s performance was already slipping. Despite being given the opportunity to start over half the games he played in, he saw a significant dip in his three point percentage, and a rise in his turnover rate. Coupled with his suffering offensive output, the thirty-nine games he played that season made it apparent that he was a man without a position on the defensive end. He lacked the mobility to stay with athletic threes and was overpowered by physical fours. Without the motor or hustle to compensate for his defensive physical shortcomings, he was a major liability on the floor. His rebounding numbers have never been noteworthy throughout his NBA career, and it’s farfetched to think they would improve after a major injury.

The addition of Casey’s dedication to defence and rebounding makes Klieza’s return to the starting line-up, or even rotation, more unlikely. Having two of your three frontcourt players lacking plus defensive and rebounding capabilities is counter-intuitive to the system Casey is trying to instil. A player in possession of a skill set that is a questionable match for our current Raptors squad, with a cap hit of roughly five million dollars, coming off a surgery that has effectively ended or hampered the careers of dozens of NBA players, simply does not make sense for the Toronto Raptors. The argument had by Raptors fans pre-season was deciding who should be amnestied; Jose Calderon or Linas Kleiza. Despite being older, providing twice the cap hit, and suffering from a slew of injuries the past couple seasons, Jose is playing his way out of that discussion.

Sometime in the near future, Linas Kleiza will return to being an active player for the Raptors. He will play. You will be disappointed. With depth always being important, especially in a lockout shortened season, he’ll stick around on the bench for the year, sometimes wearing a uniform, sometimes sporting a suit. He’ll be amnestied in the offseason, and we can then turn our attention to the unbridled fear that will consume Raptor fans once Colangelo hits the free agent market with cap space. The Raptors will draft a small forward, or perhaps throw some money at Wilson Chandler or Nicolas Batum. Kleiza will go to another team and hopefully turn into a solid eighth man, which is probably what he was all along. I want to defend Linas Kleiza; I just don’t see the point.

  • Japetas

    All we need is to wait and we’ll see whether he appears in the coach plans.

  • CalgaryRapsFan


    I think Kleiza could be a decent SF (or PF in a small lineup) on the 2nd squad, but I think his salary (amount and length) makes that role unlikey, given the Raptors’ opportunity to utilize the amnesty clause next season.

    Aside from being targeted with the amnesty clause, I could see Kleiza being packaged with another player (ie: Barbosa, Bayless) in a trade, to match salaries to take on a bigger contract.

    I just don’t think Kleiza fits with Casey’s defense-first system, for the reasons you mentioned (and the depth they already have at PF).

  • Pizzaman

    deevad nicely written, and while I do not disagree with anything you wrote I am hoping otherwise if only to make watching the Raptors this year much more palatable than the four games before the Knicks game this year. I believe Butler making some shots last night was the difference needed to get a win. Had he or Johnson made some easy looks in Indiana, Dallas or Orlando those would be wins.
    If Butler continues to play like last night this will be interesting, but if not then I sure as hell hope Kleiza comes back soon and defies the odds and his knees hold up.

  • c_bcm

    Nice article. I agree with everything. Although i’m not sure if you meant it as cynical, I wouldn’t mind getting Batum on this team.

  • cdub

    IF Kleiza is fully recovered, I see him taking the majority of minutes at SF.  I believe he was playing injured the entire season as well last year.  He has more talent than the other 3’s on the roster.  As far as defense goes, the raptors just sucked collectively as a whole.  I expect Casey to manage that accordingly like he has demonstrated so far.  So I actually agree with you wishful first paragraph and not the rest.  The raptors definately need more guys that can score right now – Kleiza can be that guy if he regains his form.  Especially when the second unit comes in, they desperately need someone who can help score in that unit. 

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Kleiza’s only role is as a side kick for Val other than that his rotation role is gone especially if the Raptors draft a SF. 

    • cesco

      Good point but he will be more of a mentor than a side kick .

    • Optimist?

      Draft, draft, draft…. I think the only chance to get top 5 pick this year is to get lucky at lottery and get 1-3 pick, because I believe, this year’s Raptors will be close to playoffs or even make it. If I’m right we could expect some action from BC’s side before trade deadline and Kleiza may be involved.

      • rapsallsay

        That’s actually what I want to happen… make the playoffs AND get a decent draft pick… Remember, we still have money for a star FA… maybe two!!

        • Nilanka15

          We don’t even have enough money for a single star free agent if we don’t amnesty one of our 4 big contracts (Calderon, Amir, Kleiza, Bargnani).

    • Milesboyer

      Andrei Kirilenko will make a good mentor for Val when Colangelo signs him to a long term (at least slightly overpaid) contract.

      • Nilanka15

        Curious as to why you think so.  Kirilenko and Valanciunas play different positions, and come from two different countries.

        • Milesboyer

          I would think that Lithuanians and Russians would have many cultural similarities considering they were part of the same country not that long ago. For a young foreigner I that could go a long way.  I would also think that Valanciunas speaks Russian since most Lithuanians do.  Just because they don’t play the same position doesn’t mean one can’t mentor the other.

          • p00ka

            You might want to brush up on that 20th century history if you think most Lithuanians are warm to Russia.

  • verbatim

    This wasn’t so much a defence of Linas Kleiza as it was a brutally swift kick to his groin.  I am not saying that I disagree with you, but this is the farthest thing from a defence as it could get.

    Of course you could have personally gone to his house and kicked him in the groin…or his surgically repaired knee.

  • deevad

    Thanks for the response everyone. I really didn’t expect this article to be posted, but I stand by what I wrote, even though I don’t want to. Kleiza seems like a really good team guy, and he has skills that would fit nicely on some other teams, just not the Raptors. The thing that got me really down on Kleiza was when I was doing some research for this I found a list of NBA players who had gone through micro-fracture surgery. It was disheartening; there were a couple of guys who came away from the surgery no worse for wear, but the vast majority either had their careers negatively affected or effectively ended.
    As to verbatim’s point, I hope this wasn’t too harsh on Kleiza, just wanted to give my honest opinion.

    • verbatim

      I don’t have a problem with your article, and I unfortunately think you are correct.  I hope you are not, but we will have to see what happens when he returns.  I was just taken aback because the title is “Defending Linas Kleiza”, so I was looking for a positive spin on his return.

    • martin

      I agree with verbatim – good summary of thoughts, but why this has been frontpaged makes no sense to me. It IS rather harsh to Kleiza and I guess the editors wanted to say something… 

    • Raptorsss

      The only thing you said that was true, was the problems with his injury.

      How his skill set doesn’t fit the Raptors? There i am completely lost

      • rapsallsay

        Well explain how it does….

  • p00ka

    Isn’t it just a tad early to be throwing Kleiza under the bus? He certainly proved in the world championships that he can shoot very well, including 3s. Isn’t that a huge hole the Raps have?
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall that he suffered injury to that knee during training camp and tried to play through it, resulting in the eventual decision to shut him down and have the surgery. I’m not sure his performance during that period is an accurate guage of what he can bring.
    As far as the Hardaway reference, more current evidence is that micro-fracture surgery has advanced considerably since then (Amare as one example).
    As for his defensive shortcomings, we saw them under a system that everyone recognizes was almost devoid of team defense, where as we now see a coach has had a huge impact on team defense in a very short period of time. Perhaps we should wait and see what Casey and staff can do with him?
    At the end of the day, I think it’s premature to judge his usefulness so harshly before he even steps on the practice court with this coaching staff.

    • rapsallsay


  • Balls of Steel

    If he recovers completely, he will be decent off the bench. He could even take back the starting reins if he buys into Casey’s system. I’m not ready to give up on the guy yet.

    • Raptorsss

      As much as I love kleiza, he makes Jose defending Ty Lawson look good. Butler and JJ are your defensive 3’s, Kleiza just needs to be passable enough on defense to be useful on offense.

  • Aaron

    He did get injured in preaseason and before he hurt himself he was the leading scorer on the raptors in preseason.  Give the guy a fair shake before you right an article like this.  He will get lots of  playing time when he comes back and as others have said here may become a starter.   Plus add in that he is lithuanian will guaretee he finishes his contract here.  Writing an article like this will definetly get some egg on your face.  Look forward to seeing Kleiza play

  • jeff_hostetler

    This was a terrible article. It relies on 100% on assumptions, some of which aren’t even correct.

    Kleiza was playing injured for all of the regular season until he shut it down for good. He was playing exceedingly well until he got hurt, with all of the positives he displayed during the Worlds carrying over until then. The Raptors it is true are preaching defense first under Casey and are
    displaying it well. One thing they can’t do though is score the damn ball.
    Enter Kleiza.

    You want to defend Kleiza, it seems, as you wrote that a few times, but then spend the next couple hundred words doing nothing of the sort. If you really did want to defend him, you might have said something like this:

    Kleiza signed with the Raptors for less than the MLE. He then went out and got himself picked as one of the best players at the World Championships. After doing so, he came back to Toronto and in the few games he played with the Raptors was without question their best player. Then he got hurt and tried playing through it for 30 games before deciding major surgery was required.

    The Raptors have an intriguing prospect at the 3 in James Johnson but after that the SF spot is filled by no one I see really having an impact. Kleiza is a veteran who has shown himself more than capable and just so happens to be able to give the Raps some much needed scoring from the 3 spot. Who is to say he can’t return from injury to reach the same form he had before? As a 20 ppg threat? A 20 ppg threat who is signed for less than the MLE.

    Go Raps.

    • WJF


    • Raptorsss

      Thank You, Thank You! Somebody, who actually watched the games and knows what they are talking about.

      I’ve posted my thoughts in the forum on this subject, but I’ll repeat them here.

      First, of all Kleiza was forced into playing as a back-up SF who shot 3’s in Denver, but that has never been his game. And also probably a reason he didn’t want to play there again

      In college, and in Europe he plays as a 6’8 PF.  And actually watching games you can see that he is by far our most polished post-up player. Unfortunately, being 6’8 and not outrageously athletic forces him to be more of a 3-point shooter.

      However, despite me defending him there is a very real chance that he turns out to be like Barbosa, injuries forcing him to be a shell of his former self.

      But ya, shit article.

      • Raptorsss

        Also, he was the best player/leading scorer on the best team in Europe Olympiacos,

  • DeMar DeRozan

    his job is to comfort JV when he comes over. The SF spot is gone next year to the Stud rookie we draft.

    • Marlon

      Unless we get a point guard, which is unlikely since Jose has been playing very well

  • RapthoseLeafs


    Before last season started, there were some who predicted Kleiza to be our top scorer – based on his European & preseason play.

    Pending his rehabilitation – and I have no idea how well his surgery went – I still believe he can provide needed points from the SF position. 

    Prior to Butler’s coming out party – and we only have 1 game to judge that – the 3 position has lacked any semblance of Offensive scoring. JJ is a good defender, but he lacks (at this time) an effective scoring touch.

    In fact, Raptors are DEAD LAST in ppg by our SF position. That in itself suggest Linus will get his chance. If that Specialist was any good, then he’ll be in good hands – with one of the best trainers in the league.

    One can only hope.

  • Mark

    I am glad someone actually defended Klieza. He is a good rebounder for a three and can get defensive rebs, which is a  problem this year. He can stretch the floor and heat up as a scorer. He would also be a decent post-up threat once he gets back. Things you don’t want are him to create off the dribble. His turnover last year were from trying to do too much. His role in Denver was perfect. Hit open jumpers, straight line drives, post-ups are all he can do well. Plus, he is a good guy to have around for Jonas when he comes over. Not a bad roleplayer for the money we are paying.

  • Malefax

    Yeah, this article makes a major factual mistake which undermines its entire argument; Kleiza was injured in the last game of the preseason, and so his poor stats from the thirty games he played don’t indicate much except the fact he played bad when he was injured. 

  • Bigbalboski79

    we may be lloking at harrison barnes in the draft, but with kleiza prolly seeing more mins at PF i would consider deraling Ed Davis now.  the guy iwould target is nic batum on portland who has lost his starting job to gerald wallace.

    • Raptorsss

      Half the league has tried to pry Batum away from Portland, but they have zero interest in trading him. GW has a better offensive game, but him starting doesn’t diminish the value that Batum provides for Portland.

      It’s a reason why they didn’t bother to re-sign Cunningham who is a lesser version Nicolas.

  • Rylo

    Raptors should try to package Bargnani in a deal for a PG. This is not a PG rich draft, and thinking that it’s not a sure bet that we land Kabongo. Wonder if DJ Augustin, Conley, Felton. etc are available for the right price.

    • AB7.38pt.on.cb4

      DCasey just said :
      “Andrea is playing like an ALL-STAR” (FAN590). 

      I know, you are better than BC.

    • Gman

      Really?  Considering how well Bargs is playing and the total turn around we’ve seen he’s the closest thing we have to a legitimate offensive threat.  I guarantee you there is one player that the other teams defences are gaming for and that’s Bargs.  This team is an empty hole offensively without him.

      • Nilanka15

        But are we really concerned about winning games this year?  If the offensive void can be filled via the draft and free agency, should we be afraid to trade Bargnani if we get good pieces in return?

        • AB7.38pt.on.cb4

          Let it go. DCasey is high on Bargnani

          • Nilanka15

            DCasey is high on the entire team.  That doesn’t mean these 15 guys will be here forever.  Think before you speak.

            • AB7.38pt.on.cb4

              “Bargnani is playing like an ALL STAR” by DCasey.

              It’s not 15 guys are playing like an all star. Think before you write

              • cesco

                What Nilanka think and what any NBA GM think if he was BC are two completely different things .

                • Nilanka15

                  You know what BC thinks?  Please tell me where you acquired such wisdom, you wise basketball newbie, you. 

                  You didn’t even know who Colangelo was prior to 2006.

              • Nilanka15

                LOL, no all-stars have ever been traded before in the history of the NBA, right?  Right?

            • Raptorsss

              Seriously, Casey has no problem criticising the team to the media.  He just likes how much effort the players are playing with, and how quickly they are picking up his defensive system.

        • mountio

          I think even you know that DJ Augustin, Conley, Felton are not the “right price”. Felton plus something else maybe. The other two are laughable.
          Im also continually intrigued by the concept that offense is so readily available in this league. Ill tell you .. when I look at the Raps this year, if AB or Barbosa (gulp) aren’t on the court .. the other raps struggle to score mightily.
          Not to say that the most gifted offensive team .. simply to say that guys who can create offense arent as easy to find as people think.

          • Nilanka15

            Felton and/or Augustine are definitely not the right pieces.

            Offense is more readily available that defense, that’s for sure.  The league is filled with 20 point scorers.  And even more up-and-coming 20 point scorers are hiding waiting for an opportunity to increase their usage rates.

            • CalgaryRapsFan

              As of today, there are only 12 players averaging 20+ points (only 13 players averaging 19+ pts) per game.  Bargnani is currently 7th in league scoring average.

              Bargnani ‘haters’ must be aware of a magical source of 20+ PPG players who are easily and readily acquirable, that the rest of us don’t.

              Also, true defensive stoppers may be just as scarce as 20+ PPG scorers.  However, other good defensive players are usually ‘good’ as a result of the team they play for and the defensive system and schemes their team employs.  In the right system, on the right team, under the right coach, many average defenders can be made to look ‘good’.

              • Nilanka15

                So you’re suggesting that there are only 13 players in the entire league who are capable of scoring 20 ppg if given the opportunity.  Understood.  No need to continue this discussion.

                • p00ka

                  You’re twisting what he’s saying. He was responding to your statement that the league is filled with 20 ppg guys. Perhaps you can tell more than half the teams in the league where they can find one of the plethora of  20ppg guys, because they don’t have one. Perhaps you can tell us what match-up nightmare, proven 20 ppg guy you think we can readily get to replace our current one.

                • mountio

                  Its interesting how rationale you can be on some things, yet how irrationale you are on others (particularily those with a tangential connection to AB).
                  No one suggested there are only 13 players capable of scoring more than 20 ppg.  This was simply a factual comeback to your claim that the league “is filled with 20 pt scorers” .. which is outright false.  

        • Rylo

          Exactly, where exactly is Bargnani leading us? He creates a log-jam at the PF spot, especially if we get a high pick in the draft we have to pick the best talent available, and more and more it is looking like the best talent available will be a PF. Bargnani is still averaging a little more than 5 rebounds a game, he is boring me. Trade him for a young controllable and skilled PG and we can draft freely. Gman, in a rebuilding year it doesn’t matter how much of an offensive hole Bargnani’s departure will create. I don’t like him as a starter long-term, he is not a good fit for this team.

  • Gots2goGotstogo (!!!)

    didn’t Kleiza hurt his leg at the beginning of last season (or during pre-season), his first with the Raptors, after dominating in Europe right before? I don’t recall him playing all that well with the Raptors but with the injury he was trying to play through, it’s no wonder. My fingers are crossed that he gets himself up to speed quickly. Not impossible.  

    • Raptorsss

      He got injured in pre-season, the only time he was anywhere near 100%. but, micro-fracture surgery isn’t easy to come back from.

  • Tom

    I’ve hear this many times before, but what exactly is the logic behind amnestying Calderon? Even if he was stinking up the joint, it makes no sense.

    • mountio

      The logic is that if you had a big time free agent (or two) who was willing to sign next year, but the Raps couldnt afford them under the cap, you would amnesty JC, bring in the free agent (or two) alongside JV and draft pick.
      Clearly, you wouldnt do it this year (because no use in signing anyone) and you wouldnt do it unless you had a big fish on the hook.

      • Tom

        Don’t we have like, 20 Million in cap space next summer? In what realistic scenario would we need 30 Million?

        • Nilanka15

          $20 million in cap space only if Calderon is amnestied.

          • Tom

            I’m assuming we let guys like Barbosa & Bayless walk (i.e., no cap hold). Nonetheless, would be interested in a link/source of definitive numbers (I used hoopsworld).

            • Nilanka15

              I used Hoopsworld too.  If we assume the cap will be set at approximately $60 million, then we’ve got about $35 million in guaranteed contracts for the 2012-13 season (on 8 players), leaving us with $25 million to spend.

              But $4-5 million is required for Valanciunas, and another $4-5 million is required for our 2012 1st round pick, leaving us with $15 million to spend on the remaining 5 players.

              If we sign 4 additional players to 1-year minimum contracts (at $1.4 million each), that leaves us with less than $10 million to spend on one significant free agent splash.

              And considering guys like Nene and Marc Gasol came with a price tag of $13 millions, we can’t do much without amnestiying Calderon, Amir, Kleiza, or Bargnani.

              • mountio

                Well said. This is why (potentially) JC makes more sense that LK .. simply because he clears more room (despite shorter contract)
                AJ/AB unlikely but I guess possible if injured or something

              • Tom

                Ah, shame on me for forgetting JV & our 2012 1st (they are our most valuable assets after all).

                Honestly, I don’t care about a big FA for at least 2-3 more years. In the meantime, rent out cap space to do a rich man’s rebuild like Cleveland, especially when the luxury tax gets more punitive. Then make a big FA splash if we’ve got a roster full of high-end lottery talent & potentially more lottery picks bought from other teams in the pipeline. So I’d only favour amnestying Calderon instead of Kleiza if it gives us capacity to buy more/better lottery picks.

                If we’re gonna do this, let’s take our time & do it right.

                • p00ka

                  The “right way” isn’t locking the plan into what you’re going to do next summer nor the 2 summers after that. The right way is what they’re doing now, which is to let the coaching staff evaluate and develop the young core in place now, monitor JVs development, see what pans out in the draft, work with JV and the new rook next summer, and decide where to go from there. If that includes chasing a FA that fits, and is attainable, they have financial flexibility to do that. Else they will continue with the 1 yr contract thing to fill out the roster and wait for a better time to make a splash.

                • Tom

                  The “right way” is filling your roster with as many below-market value contracts as possible. i.e., max-level superstars or high-end lottery talent on rookie contracts. Paying market value (or surely above market value in Toronto’s case) for a non-uberstar FA is meh.

                • mountio

                  I think you are making the assumption that big name free agents are necessarily older and dont fit in with our youth movement. Surely you would have to admit, that the “right way” would include signing an improving star like Eric Gordon, Westbrook, K Love would be a bad thing for this team (assuming they are available and would come to TO)?

                • CalgaryRapsFan

                  I think another part of the rationale to avoid any ‘big’ signings this season, is not wanting to jeopardize getting a top pick in the 2012 draft.  I think most people would rather draft high and then try to sign/trade for another good player, rather than do the sign/trade first, which might prevent the drafing of a stud.  I fall into that category and understand your point completely, but would rather do that AFTER getting the stud in the draft!

                • Nilanka15

                  It would be easier to sell Toronto to a “would be” free agent if we have a stud draft pick too.

      • Tom

        Hopefully we can both agree that these ever narrowing comment boxes are freaking annoying…

        The only ways I see a big-name free agent signing with us are:

        1)  We’ve tasted some success and are on the brink of something special (think OKC 1-2 years ago)

        2)  We overpay

        Hence for me, a big-name signing in 2012 is undesirable/unrealistic. It certainly would get us into the first round of the playoffs quicker though, and I honestly wouldn’t fault any fan for wanting that.

        Call me cynical, but I simply can’t fathom guys like Westbrook, Love, Gordon deciding to come to Toronto in 2012, can you? If you can, let’s agree to disagree and move on. And even if we do convince one of those guys to join us, for a max contract, I want a top-10 player, preferrably top 5. Otherwise, I’m happy on the sidelines, or better yet, throw MLSE/Rogers money around to buy lottery picks.

        • mountio

          Hell ya on the boxes! Thanks for moving.
          As for free agents .. Im not sure. Could we get westbrook here? Probably not. Gordon or Love seem realistic to me.
          In the end, if we have JV, an improved AB, a top 5 draft pick from this year and DD and Ed .. I think thats a pretty resonable team to join if you are a young star in the making. Of course we would have to pay top dollar .. but we are willing / able to do that.
          I agree – dont rush for a shitty guy .. but back to back years in the top 5 (JV + this year) should be enough .. not sure we have to wait for a third to start signing guys.
          Also – not sure what you werew thinking, we cant really “buy” draft picks.

          • Tom

            Cleveland “bought” the #1 pick in 2011. The price was about $35M (aka the remainder of Baron Davis’ contract).

            • mountio

              Ya .. but they crippled their cap space .. luckily for them the amnesty exists so they were able to get out of it. I would not support us taking on a huge contract for another 2+ years in order to get a draft pick. Not many teams will be willing to trade draft picks unless you take back an albatross of a contract … (and there arent even that many of those left with the amnesty)

  • Raptorsss

    Since, when was 4.5 million considered expensive for your 3/4 best scorer?

    • Raptorsss

      The Raptors have 3 bench players that can score. Kleiza, Bayless and Barbosa..that’s it.

  • Bendit

    Too much of a schizoid piece with a large dollop of crystal gazing. Is this the same Kleiza who led his team so well at the the Euros that summer. Any possibilities he may have been hurt during that tournament?

  • Raptorsss

    He’ll play no matter what, for the sole reason Bayless and Barbosa are your only bench players who can score reliably and outside of JJ he’s probably the strongest player on the team.

  • Nilanka15

    To CalgaryRapsFan and p00ka:


    At quick glance, one can easily count 50-75 players who would be capable of scoring 20 ppg if their usage was increased (16 or more shots per game). 

    Seriously guys, I understand the love for Bargnani, but c’mon, the league is filled with PLENTY of guys who can score. 

    I’ll only condone a trade if it makes the Raptors better.  But you’re both acting like trading Bargnani would be the end of days. 

    But don’t listen to what I have to say.  I’m apparently just a “hater” who has found a magical/mythical source of points that doesn’t actually exist….or something along those lines. 

    PS – Keep in mind that the whole point of this discussion is to determine where the offensive void would be filled from if Bargnani is traded.  The 20ppg cutoff isn’t written in stone.  Even an 17pgg scorer could help in this regard, if guys like DeRozan, Amir, Davis, J.Johnson, etc. slightly increase their production.  This doesn’t even include Valanciunas and our 2012 draft pick.

    • CalgaryRapsFan

      I agree somewhat with your logic, but that same logic was being used last season and this offseason by some people to argue that Bayelss would be just as effective in racking up assist stats as Calderon, if he played more minutes.  I hate extrapolating statistics for players who don’t play as much as other proven stars… there’s usually (not always) a reason why they don’t play more, because they can’t sustain their production and lose effectiveness when not used in short bursts.

      And, for the record, in many arguments (usually with Tim W) about Bargnani, I have always said that I would trade him or any other player for the right deal.  Nobody is untouchable in my books.

      My only beef is with people like yourself who get so hung up on trading Bargnani (for whatever reason) that no matter what is going on with him and the team, your view is always slanted towards trading him.  When he’s not playing well you post about trading him because he sucks.  When he’s playing well you post about trading him because his value is high and his production could easily be replaced.  You seem to leave absolutely no room for a potential reality where you would keep Bargnani on the roster team… and that is what I take issue with.

      Not only that, but you’ve turned this Kleiza thread into another Bargnani “fanboy/hater” debate and now I’ve foolishly responded to you to continue the off-topic conversation.  My bad and I apologize to RR readers for hijacking the thread… this is my last non-Kleiza post on it.

      • Nilanka15

        Actually, it was “Rylo” who first mentioned the idea of trading Bargnani.  I was just responding to an already-existing discussion.  But please feel free to continue to blame me for hijacking this thread.  If the Raps lose tonight, you can blame me for that too.  And if it snows tomorrow….you get the idea.

        And for the record, if Bargnani can maintain his current level of play for a full season, then I’m all for keeping him in Toronto for the duration of his contract.  Obviously, he’s allowed a bad game here or there, but consistency is what I’m looking for.  5 games is a good start, but 66 games is better.

        And for someone who doesn’t like extrapolating, isn’t that what you’re doing by assuming Bargnani’s current transformation is a permanent one?  If you need evidence before believing a player can consistently be a 20ppg scorer, why don’t you need evidence about Bargnani’s defensive/rebounding capabilities?

    • p00ka

      Dude, as I said yesterday, I’m doing my best to stay clear of the bullshit fanboy/hater rhetoric. I don’t argue that nobody is untouchable, providing one can get better pieces, but this thread you’re referring back to actually started by saying we should trade Bargs for a 2nd/3rd rate PG, which is ludicrous. GMAN’s response to that may have not covered all the factors in considering whether to trade Bargs or not, but his point that it’s not so easy to replace that offense, got a response by you that we shouldn’t care if we win games or not this year. My respect for you drops a little right there, as you cannot ever build a winning culture with that attitude. I’ll skip the little pissing contest that followed, but mountio brought it back into focus by pointing out that proven elite scorers are not so easy to find, to which you claimed they’re all over the place, and can be found in the draft or free agency, since the league is already filled with 20ppg capable guys. The latter is a debatable point based on nothing but unproven opinion, but perhaps you can provide even a few examples of 20ppg capable guys who are team players, fit with the culture of the team, want to play in Toronto (a huge factor in these self entitlement days), and GMs are willing to give up for Bargnani. Besides, even if there are many 20ppg guys under the surface, how many of them are SGs (much easier to find) and how many are 7 ft PFs that are absolute match-up nightmares for virtually every team in the league. That is much harder to find/replace than a SG. It’s fine to say nobody is untouchable, but how many assets are available that make any sense? I would suggest that number is very small, if even existent, and the league is not filled with them.

      • Nilanka15

        Well, if we’re talking about potential trades, how would I know which players are available or not?  Only Colangelo knows the answer based on his seemingly daily phone calls with his rival GMs.

        As for winning/losing games this year, well that’s your opinion.  There are 2 trains of thought that have been covered many times (i.e. win now vs. tanking), neither one considered right or wrong.  I happen to believe that you need elite talent to become a contender…talent that we don’t currently have.  And the easiest way to get that elite talent is through the draft.  If you lose “respect” for me for having a differing opinion than you, that’s your prerogative.

        As for scorers who are matchup nightmares at the PF/C spot?  Who cares?  A matchup nightmare in the front court isn’t required to field a championship team.  Sure, it’s a nice weapon to have, but it’s certainly not crucial by any means. 

        NBA ball is a simple game.  If you have a player who can consistently demand double-teams, then the offense has potential to flow very smoothly.  You don’t need a big man with guard-like skills to accomplish this.

        Again, I’m not saying “trade Bargnani now”.  I’m just saying IF we trade him, this team should be fine (assuming Colangelo does a good job of getting value in return).  This was the point I was attempting to make in my original response to GMAN, and it hasn’t changed since then.

        • p00ka

          Well, sorry about the “respect” comment as it’s meaningless to you and I understand.

          That being said, there are more than two trains of thought on how to build a championship team, and I personally hope the Raptors never follow one that entails not being at all concerned about wins in any year. You don’t build a winning culture by “tanking”, and that not what they’re doing, thankfully.

          I never said that Bargnani is untouchable, nor do I think he’s a necessary a piece of a contender. What I said was that the league is not filled with potential 20ppg scorers, as you suggested, and far fewer of them that bring as much, besides 20ppg, as what AB brings to the team. Are any of them easily available? Unless we’re just spending our time on pie in the sky hypotheticals, do you have any remote possibilities to suggest that would actually provide a worthwhile discussion about a worthwhile trade of AB?

          Beyond that, it’s time for me to take a hint from CalgaryRapsFan’s greater experience on here and stop wasting my time on these never ending Bargnani discussions, many of which eventually degenerate into nitpicking over semantics to obtain a “win”.

          Cheers! Go Raps!! 

  • Sarah

    Keep demoralizing your Raptors with terrible articles like this, and negative assumptions, and you’ll see how far it takes them… 
    Kleiza is an excellent player- if anyone in this country followed European basketball they would know better and wouldn’t write ignorant articles like this.
    Discouraging to see the negativity…

  • balabe

    Batum à toronto,frenchie is beautiful!

  • Fartboob

    big shocker. as of his 3rd pre-season game he still looks injured and still looks like a net-minus player on the floor. he serves no use to this team… or any team really.