Jerryd’s closest friends:
His Landlord: Jerryd was one of the good guys. He paid his bills on time and I never even knew when he came and went. He was the perfect tenant, he never littered in the hallway, always smiled in the elevator and one time when an old lady’s grocery bag exploded, Jerryd stuck around to watch her pick them up. He was good, I’ll miss him.
His Dentist: Jerryd always tried to tell me stories about what was happening in the Raptors locker room. Unfortunately, he did that while I was cleaning his teeth. Plus, the TV was always on so I never really had a chance to hear him. He did say something about him wanting a “starting job” one time, I think he was referring to starting a new job in an insurance company.
Anonymous Teammate: This one time I was open in the corner and Jerryd found me for a wide open three with a beautiful pass. I guess it’s my fault that by the time I caught the ball the shot clock had expired.
Raptors Coaching Staff Member: Although I never quite managed to agree with him, Jerryd’s philosophy about how fouling equated to good defense was something unique. He once high-fived me after fouling Luke Ridnour 45 feet from the basket.
Jerryd Bayless’s qualifying offer has been pulled by the Raptors, making him an unrestricted free-agent and ending his short relationship with the club. You can add another line to the list of players that were chalked up to be the core in Toronto, and who ended up disappointing. We all knew what Bayless was when he got here, which was basically a younger Jarrett Jack. The hope (which turned out to be false) was that he’d evolve into a consistent point guard of at least a backup quality, and if things shine, perhaps even take the starting job. Oh, if I had a penny for my hopes.
It turned out that what looks like a duck, walks like a duck…well, you get the picture. As Stein has speculated in the linked article, this means that Jose Calderon is likely to stay with the Raptors, which is no bad thing from both a contractual stand point (expiring!) or, as I mentioned yesterday, from a lockerroom one. Since Lowry just might shoot someone if Casey asks him to come off the bench, we can assume that Calderon will have a reserve role on a full time basis, which coincidentally, is when he had the best playing stretch of his career. I don’t know if he can replicate that given a defined role, but it’s certainly better than yo-yoing him on and off the bench.
Unlike his landlord, dentist, teammates and coaches, I won’t miss Bayless because he gave me very little to remember him by. There were some big games, the comeback in Detroit sticks out the most, but overall, he was somewhere between Roko Ukic and the aforementioned Jarrett Jack. I’ve been guilty of having faith in him as a point guard, but I should know better than to long for a shoot-first point guard with limited range to progress into a starter. Leaving his point guard responsibilities aside, his defense, which was something we were all expecting of him, was subpar, impatient, and just silly. Picking up cheap fouls and turning petulant at the slightest provocation became a norm, which in turn affected his offensive game where he morphed from a shoot-first to a shoot-only point guard. That would be forgivable if the offensive production matched the enthusiasm for shooting, but 42% wasn’t going to cut it.
So, Bayless is out. I’m sure he’ll find a home, and for his sake I hope that he: 1) learns to shoot, 2) learns to pass, 3) learns to play defense, 4) learns to keep a dribble alive. The talent level in the NBA’s pretty diluted, so if he can do two of these four things, he’ll find a home (and hey, is that the Bulls calling? It’ll be like D-Rose and poor man’s D-Rose).
In terms of cap space, once you cut Bayless’ salary, figure in Lowry, and allocate JoVal’s rookie scale wage, the Raptors are at $49.6M without signing Landry Fields. Factor in Fields and the Raptors are at $54.6M. The salary cap is at $58M, meaning we’d have about $3.5M left on free agents (somebody confirm all this). This isn’t enough to sign any major free-agents (like Elyasova if Colangelo opts for that), but does give the Raptors some bodies to fill out roster space. Or, if they amnesty Calderon, they can basically get at anyone remaining.
It’s Saturday which means I’ll sit outside and have a staring contest with the sun. That’s how I roll.