In the NBA, the offseason can sometimes be more entertaining than the regular season, and it usually has nothing to do with actual basketball. You’ve got trade rumours galore, teams and free agents doing more posturing than at a club on a Saturday night, and NBA forums full of threads entitled, “This is how we can get [insert name of superstar player here]”. The first few days of the offseason is why Twitter was invented. Anyone without ADD will probably overload on the avalanche of rumours flooding out of even the mainstream media accounts.

It’s fitting that this offseason started off with a “Not-So-Fast” Andrea Bargnani trade that would have seen him sent to the Knicks for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, the Knicks 2016 first round pick and two second round picks.


Of course, as we all know, the NBA wouldn’t approve that deal in time for the season deadline, so New York had to throw in Quentin Richardson in a sign and trade, who thanked God because someone actually realized that he still played in the NBA. He shouldn’t be thanking God. He should be thanking David Stern, who apparently felt the Raptor fans hadn’t suffered enough and screened Masai Ujiri’s calls (I’ve yet to hear  exactly why the NBA wouldn’t approve the original deal in time). Without the delay, Richardson probably retires. With it, he pockets an extra $1.4 million.

I joke, but Richardson actually averaged 29 minutes a game last season for New York. It was just one game, where he shot .091 (yes, that’s 9%, 1 for 11) and did manage to grab 10 rebounds, but still….

While Richardson turned spiritual with the trade, Camby wasn’t so happy. For some reason, he didn’t see the same promise with the Raptor roster that Colangelo saw, and decided that maybe he didn’t want to turn 40 playing for a team with a ceiling of the first round of the playoffs.


While the deal is apparently agreed upon, it will be interesting if there is enough of a backlash from Knicks fans to cause Glen Grunwald (who may think he still runs the Raptors) to have second thoughts. But maybe Knicks fans don’t read Grantland, SB Nation, Ball Don’t Lie, Sports Illustrated, or, well, the New York Times.

It couldn’t be any other way for Raptor fans. First Bryan Colangelo has his slow exit from the organization, keeping Raptor fans flapping in the wind until he resigned a month after his basketball powers were stripped. Then Bargnani is traded, then not, then maybe, but not quite yet.

Until this deal is finalized, I’m not going to be writing Bargnani’s Raptor eulogy just yet. The sentiment among Knicks fans is they seem to realize that’s WAY too much to give up for an oft injured shooter who hasn’t proven to be a very consistent shooter and and hasn’t shown he can do much of anything else. It’s hard to say whether there will be some sort of fan revolt by Knicks fans over this. Will the whole “what-if-he-is-able-to-put-it-together” argument win out, or will the Knicks and their fans realize that they will be paying four players, who basically play two positions for the Knicks, more than $68 million.


$68 million for four players, only two of whom will probably start, and three of whom are below average defenders.

No wonder Knick fans aren’t happy.

So Raptor fans probably shouldn’t hold their breath, but we’ll all cross our fingers and sacrifice whatever barnyard animal the basketball gods demand.

The Bargnani to the Knicks non-trade wasn’t the only Raptor trade rumour. Apparently the Raptors turned down a David Lee for Bargnani offer from Golden State (thank goodness- Lee is owed $44 million over the next three years and his lack of defense has become very well known).

And before the Raptors agreed to send Bargnani to the Knicks, his name was being mentioned in discussions with the Clippers. Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler were all discussed as possibly coming back. The biggest target for the Raptors, apparently, is Bledsoe.

I did have a whole section devoted to Bledsoe, but since he now appears to be going to Phoenix for basically J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, I scrapped it in favour of the latest rumour that Detroit has offered Charlie Villaneuva and Rodney Stuckey for Rudy Gay.

It’s actually quite coincidental, because in my original column (which I finished Monday night), I wrote this:

Detroit would be a great option for the Raptors to trade Gay to. They want to win, have loads of cap room, and have been known to take on special cases like Gay. Plus, he’s a shorter term option than someone like Josh Smith, who would demand a longer contract than Gay has. If the Raptors take back Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva’s contracts (leaving the Pistons with their cap room and the ability to still sign a big free agent), they might be willing to part with their 2014 first round pick and maybe even their 8th pick from this draft, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

I’d like to take credit for predicting this, but truth be told, it was inspired by this Tweet:

The first problem with my proposal is Detroit actually owes their 2014 pick (top 7 protected) to Charlotte, so unfortunately that’s out. That’s too bad, since that would be the main attraction to doing this deal. Of course, would the Pistons throw in Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Knight and a couple of second round picks? Would that be enough to entice Ujiri?

Obviously this deal would be a big indication that the Raptors plan was to tank for the 2014 Draft.

There are a lot of opponents of this strategy, but it seems to be gaining more and more support, even among some of the mainstream media. No one LIKES the idea of tanking, but in a league that requires you to have a superstar talent to contend, and the difficulty most teams have in acquiring them, tanking is actually a viable option, especially in a draft Chad Ford has been told by numerous GMs could have as many as eight All Stars. And just to be clear, that’s eight more than the Raptors currently have, including Gay.

Landing a superstar next June would change the fortunes of a historically moribund franchise far more than trying to tweak the flawed roster they currently have. Yes, it’s a gamble, but so is trying to go forward with the talent they have. If you’re going to gamble, wouldn’t you rather go for the bigger payoff?


One of the things I love about the early rumours is that they can give you a glimpse of the strategy of some of the teams. At this point, without knowing what Ujiri’s reaction is to the Gay trade offer, it’s hard to figure out what his plan is. The Bargnani trade just tells you Ujiri liked Bargnani’s game about as much as I did.

The Bledsoe rumour also is hard to gauge without knowing what Ujiri would actually have given up for him. It does tell me that he’s casting a pretty big net, though, and that few on the roster are safe. DeMar DeRozan’s name being mentioned is encouraging to me because it tells you he is not likely to make the same mistake Colangelo made with Bargnani, and keep him too long.

DeRozan can still be sold for his potential, and the Raptors need to sell high. At this point, his future seems to be a one-dimensional, low efficiency scorer, the type you find on bad teams.


This isn’t a notion that a lot of Raptor fans like to hear, but if anyone can point to a player that has made as big a developmental leap as DeRozan needs to make AFTER having played 10,000 minutes in the NBA, then it might sway my opinion.

With the Raptor’s interest in Bledsoe, it also tells me Kyle Lowry probably shouldn’t be making any plans for Caribana. The Raptors didn’t get Bledsoe, but their flirtation with him shows they aren’t entirely happy with Lowry. And there are a few more point guards out there that are available.

It’s also fun trying to figure out what other team’s plans might be. Golden State looking to trade David Lee tells me that their management sees the obvious flaws in him and, despite his popularity among fans, is willing to do the right thing and deal him. Lee was an All Star, last season, but his absence during the playoffs might have actually helped Golden State get as far as they did.

By trading for Bargnani, it’s obvious the Knicks still don’t care about the luxury tax, and were so desperate to counter Brooklyn’s big draft night trade that they gambled on a player who, on a good night, is a poor defensive player, rebounder and inefficient scorer. They are also apparently interested in Monta Ellis, but since teams in the luxury tax can’t sign-and-trade FOR a player, I don’t see how that’s going to work unless Ellis takes a massive paycut. Not only do the Knicks seem to be focusing on offense, they apparently believe that Tyson Chandler will be able to defend not just his position, but everyone else’s, as well. Somehow I don’t see that working very well.

What is it with the Knicks, anyway? The baseline for that team seems to be having massively overpaid players with flawed games. No sooner do they get rid of guys like Eddy Curry, Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury, do they turn around and get some of the worst contracts in the league, again. In fact, the Knicks will have two of the five worst contracts in the NBA, according to Grantland.


New Orleans and Sacramento are two teams that are definitely NOT trying to tank. The Pelicans (at some point I assume I will be able to write that without cringing) showed their hand by trading for Jrue Holiday and then doubled down by overpaying Tyreke Evans.

This is the same franchise that drafted Austin Rivers at #10 last season, despite plenty of evidence to suggest he’d be the player he has become so far, and matched Eric Gordon’s 4 year $58 million offer from Phoenix despite not being healthy since his he took his preschool team to the state finals.

The Pelicans have had more luck than sense, lately.

Now, there is some talk that Evans’ contract offer somehow validates DeRozan’s extension. I’m not sure how. While both are definitely shooting guards who came into the league at the same time, Evans is superior in nearly every aspect of the game. He’s a better shooter, passer, ball handler, rebounder and defender. Evans already has most of the skills to be a good player in the NBA. DeRozan still needs to acquire most of them.

Besides, one bad contract doesn’t excuse another one. it just shows there is more than one bad GM out there.


Sacramento apparently offered Andre Iguodala a four year contract worth somewhere between $54 million and $7.8 billion, but then late last night rescinded the offer. They either realized that paying that much for a shooting guard who scored just 14 ppg last year and shot .317 from behind the three point line was maybe not the best use of their cash.

Of course, they might have rescinded the offer in order to match or beat Evan’s contract offer, so maybe paying Iguodala that money might have been a better use of that cash.

The Clippers made good use of their money by re-signing Chris Paul, who ignored the fact he works for one of the worst owners in professional sports, has a center who can’t hit a free throw to save his life, and a power forward who, at his current rate, will have Bargnani-like rebounding numbers in a season or two and has not developed nearly as much, especially defensively, as you would have expected after his rookie season.

With Paul off the market, all the attention has turned to Dwight Howard. As most know, Howard has gone from one of the most popular and likeable stars in the league, to a guy who may be more trouble than he’s worth. If I were Houston, and I had the core they do, I would think twice about tying my franchise to a player who hasn’t been happy in years, complains if he doesn’t get touches, and who doesn’t seem to realize that arguing with a two-time MVP might not be very smart…

If Howard signs with Houston, then Josh Smith and Andrew Bynum suddenly become the flavour of the moment. Personally, I would be careful about signing either one of these player. Smith has had barely a season go by without some sort of issue, has never made an All Star team but stated he wants to make the max.

Bynum, well, is Bynum. After what he pulled in Philadelphia, I’m VERY interested to see what kind of reaction he gets from teams around the league.

And if Dallas misses out on Howard, as expected, you have to wonder how desperate they will be to prevent another year of treading water. They could tank, but probably won’t with Dirk Nowitzki still around. So they might try and pull off something big.

Minnesota, another team with lots of cap room, already made a splash by signing Kevin Martin and re-signing Chase Budinger. One thing this does is take away a potential trade partner if the Raptors were to move DeRozan. The T-Wolves played Luke Ridnour at shooting guard for most of the season, which tells you something.


There are still lots of potential trade partners out there for the Raptors. If the Raptors can’t work out a deal with Detroit for Gay, they might be interested in DeRozan. Or maybe Dallas, if the Mavericks get left out in the free agent cold. Dallas might also be interested in Gay, as could Washington, Cleveland and even Minnesota, if Andrei Kirilenko ends up signing elsewhere.

While it’s difficult to tell, at this point, what Ujiri’s ultimate plan is, what is clear is that he’s intent on clearing out Colangelo’s mistakes, which means no one, outside of Jonas Valanciunas should feel safe on the Raptors.

The offseason can make or break teams. A year ago, Houston overpaid Jeremy Lin and Omar Asik and looked like a team with more money than sense. But they surprised everyone, including themselves apparently, by trading for James Harden and becoming a team on the rise. Without Harden, Howard probably wouldn’t even be an option, because of his desire to sign with a contender.

That might explain why teams start throwing money around and gamble on the wrong players. Because there’s always a chance they could end up hitting a home run. Everything is a gamble, in the NBA. Thankfully, it usually makes for a good show.

Make sure to join RR for a Raptors Game at Below-Cost + Scrimmage on the ACC Practice Court on July 25

  • Duncan

    i want to see what DD and Gay can do for us given a full season, since we only saw a 30 game glimpse, and by the end, the team was on a roll and had good chemistry. so i say add a backup pg and a good pf, and of course a meh third pg and see where that takes you :)

    • hotfuzz

      The end of the season is fool’s gold and doesn’t really count, since either most teams are tanking or resting their stars for playoffs.

  • joe

    Is Splitter felt to be still improving? He seemed to have trouble in the Finals but they have signed him. Is it mostly to do with meshing well with Tim on defense?

    • Tim W.

      I was going to mention the Splitter deal, but things were getting long as it was. It’s an overpayment to be sure, and Splitter doing his best Charles Smith impression during the Finals wasn’t a good sign. He’s 27, so I don’t really see him improving much, if at all. He played much worse during the playoffs than the regular season, so maybe a year of seasoning will help.

      • joe

        But it’s the Spurs, so I just don’t get this.

      • ItsAboutFun

        So you’re now implying you would know how to have handled Splitter better than Spurs’ management? What would you have done to not “overpay”?

        PS. Is there any management team in the entire NBA that you couldn’t advise? I know you’ve touted the Spurs as doing everything right, until now. How about OKC? You’ve spoken of how Presti is a genius, but didn’t he screw up with that Harden trade? He payed Ibaka the big bucks, and traded superstar Harden for 3 bit pieces. Is he still not lucky with the draft lottery and picks, or did he have a momentary lapse of talent judgement that you could have straightened him out on?

  • ALB_perjet

    Great article! But I don’t think the Gay trade happens: It will be a big shock, and it will indicate that a restart is occurring. That means let Derozan and Lowry go too: and how many teams are willing to give you one, two or three top 12 picks for next year?

    • Tim W.

      Thanks. I think if the Raptors can get Villanueva, Jerebko, Knight and Caldwell-Pope, I would definitely say that’s a good haul. The Raptors get three young prospects whose value should go up, and get out from under Gay’s contract and giving them lots of cap room next summer to be able to “help” some of the teams clearing space for the big free agency boon. If I was Ujiri, I would do that.

  • keega

    In what universe is tyreke evans a better shooter than derozan

    • arsenalist

      Basketball Reference comparison of last season:

      Evans has a better 3FG% and has an edge in eFG%, but DeRozan has the edge in TS% and FG%. I think they’re about the same, but I suppose you can say that Evans is the better three-point shooter as he has a big edge their (they both are poor, though).

      • Tim W.

        Yes. I was referring to the three point shooting. I wasn’t suggesting Evans was good, by any means. Just that he’s better than DeRozan. Personally, I think both players have too flawed games to be impact players on good teams.

  • Amigo

    Keep it short man, why do you write so long stories. I gave up half way through, sorry. So Tank nation:

    with the 4th pick nba draft 2014 Toronto Raptors select Chris Bosh

    with the 9th pick nba draft 2014 Toronto Raptors select Demar Derozan

    God No.

    Playoff please

    • Copywryter

      With the 7th pick in the second round the Toronto Raptors select a player who will have no impact on their stunning mediocrity and will watch from the bench as we just miss the playoffs or barely require an elite team to get out of their warm-ups for four games.

      God no.

      • SR

        Forecasters are predicting 8 players have legitimate all-star potential in the 2014 draft. If there is any year to tank (as a rule I’m against it), this is the year. This is not a normal draft – you could pick 6-8 and still land a player with a higher ceiling than anyone on the current roster.

        Amigo – If you tear into Tim W. for his awful posts, one of two things will happen:
        1. He will write 3 over-sensitive responses in an attempt to defend himself.
        2. Your comment will be removed for causing hurt feelings.

        Basically, Tim W. is RR’s Andrea Bargnani. He takes a lot of shots, but his percentages are pretty poor. You’ve got about as much incentive to read through to the end of his posts as you do to watch Bargnani shoot 23% in the second night of a back-to-back.

        • Guy

          If you tear into Tim W. for his awful posts, one of two things will happen:
          1. He will write 3 over-sensitive responses in an attempt to defend himself.
          2. Your comment will be removed for causing hurt feelings.

          Basically, Tim W. is RR’s Andrea Bargnani. He takes a lot of shots, but his percentages are pretty poor. You’ve got about as much incentive to read through to the end of his posts as you do to watch Bargnani shoot 23% in the second night of a back-to-back.

          LOL… Love this. It is so spot-on accurate it’s hilarious. The cherry on top for me is knowing how much Timmie will love being compared to Bargnani. I’m gonna laugh about this all weekend. Thanks SR.

    • hotfuzz

      And the Toronto Raptors have been swept in the first round by Miami Heat in 2014.

      And the Toronto Raptors have been swept in the first round by Miami Heat in 2015.

      And the Toronto Raptors have been swept in the first round by Miami Heat in 2016.

      God No.

      Tanking please.

      • RaptorFan

        And the Toronto Raptors haven’t made the playoffs in 4 more years

        And the Toronto Raptors have been swept in the first round by *insert super team or whichever team Lebron chooses to join* in 2018….

        God No!!!! Lets watch some playoffs before one of us dies from *insert your choice of illness/accident*

      • onemanweave

        Do any of the many tanking advocates, including Tim. W. , own seasons tickets?

        • ItsAboutFun

          For most, their allowance isn’t enough.


    I like the players we have to a certain extent but I agree with what is being said here 100%
    I think the fans here need to realize that it’s not black and white, just because you like a player and/or he has some potential ( not sure what some people think demar is going to turn into at this point…) does not mean you have to go fanatic and act like we are talking about Kobe or even an all star he is an OK nba player nothing more low iq and high salary not a good combo

    • SR

      Spot on. I also kind of like this roster – they’re fun to watch (most of the time), they’re good guys, they work hard, and most of them really enjoy being in Toronto. At the same time, if your goal is championships, this roster is definitely not going to get you there.

  • Vega

    Evans a better shooter? Please. Evans is one of the worst shooters in the league. The fact that they’re trying to replace him with Iggy (who is basically just a rich man’s version of Evans with a slightly better shot and better defensive instincts) shows that they have no confidence in his ability to stretch the floor.

    • Tim W.

      Evans is a horrible shooter, but DeRozan is worse. Evans’ career 3 point shooting percentage is .276 compared to DeRozan’s .239.

      I probably should have made more clear that I am no fan of Evans, but he is more talented than DeRozan.

      • RaptorFan

        Derozan shot 28.3 percent last year from behind the Arc (while taking more 3’s than ever before). If Demar improves his 3 point shot over 35 percent will you just go away?? Promise?

        • lakonomy

          You don’t have to read the article, you know. If Tim W offends you that much, will you just go away?? Promise?

          • RaptorFan

            Homer much?

        • ezz_bee

          Derozan shooting over 35% from 3pt land, although NOT impossible, is INCREDIBLY unlikely. I would give someone 4 to 1 odds that he won’t shot 35% from 3pt range. Heck I’ll take even odds on Derozan shooting less than 30%.

          • RaptorFan

            Good for you bud! Just because you think something is unlikely, doesn’t mean shit to me or anyone else on here (i bet). Keep your odds and be sure to tune in. Let’s see if all the hard work he puts in during the offseason will pay off :)

            As a Raptor Fan – I’m obvioiusly more optimistic that he can get over 30 percent. If Tyreke can do it, so can Demar. Demar is and will be a better shooter than Tyreke because of his work ethic IMO … we’ll see :)

  • Bendit

    Entertaining read.

  • Mr.Z

    Who wrote this? Seems like it was MATT52 from the forums.

  • Gary73

    I wouldn’t worry about Knick fans, they’re all over sites like Hoopsworld claiming they fleeced the Raps in Bargs deal.

    • Tim W.

      The fan comments I’ve read aren’t so optimistic. So far I’ve only heard one person praise the Knicks for the trade, and that’s former executive Tom Penn. He claims the Knicks already have a guy who does the dirty work, so Bargnani will fit in perfectly. Penn was a candidate for the GM position for the Raptors. God am I glad they didn’t hire him.

      • smh

        Maybe he’s angling for a job with NY?

    • Copywryter

      Go to the Grantland article on this trade and you won’t find many happy Knicks fans.

  • Doug H.

    You basically took a shot at half the teams/GMs in the league. The message I hear is….”a lot of dumb GMs out there – they all seem to overpay players”. The truth of the matter is that it’s much like the housing market in Toronto – silly bidding wars that see houses go way over asking – but, the only way to get a house is to get into the game and overpay unfortunately. When there are a finite number of resources this is what happens.

    • Tim W.

      Lots of GMs get caught up in the heat of the moment. As I discussed at the end, the offseason can turn the tide of a franchise, so there’s lots of pressure. There are definitely a number of GMs out there that have no business running a team, but one or two bad decisions doesn’t mean a GM is bad.

      • Guy

        Considering you have no personal relationship or met with any current NBA GM, nor the people that hired them, I’m curious what your background is in professional sports Mgmt to confidently assert that a number of GMs out there have no business running a team?

  • WhiteVegas

    If I’m not mistaken, did you just say every single free agent available would be a bad signing? Howard, Iggy, Evans, Smith, Bynum, Splitter (in the comments).

    I also like how you refuse to acknowledge that the Bargs trade is a done deal when in fact it is.

    The king of negativity is back!

    • Tim W.

      Talk about spin. No, I did not. Me saying that a team overpaying for certain players is not saying they would be a bad signing. But guys like Howard and Bynum are major risks, considering their past. Paying Evans $12 million a season is a bad gamble. And while I’m a big fan of Iguodala, what Sacramento offered him was too much. Especially considering they aren’t even close to a playoff team, at this point.

      As for the Bargnani trade, I’m simply not counting my chickens before they hatch. Why are you criticizing that? You find ANYTHING to criticize.

    • ItsAboutFun

      At the end of the day, when you look at all he writes, Timmy actually thinks that he’s not only a better judge of talent than most of the NBA, but would manage teams better than most of the 30 GMs that have a job. Amazing that he spends so much time in his blogs and doesn’t have a job in the NBA. Shocking really.

      • SR

        I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it turned out the Tim W. were actually Joe Dumars.*

        *This is not a compliment.

  • frank b

    Let’s provide some insight into the tanking argument. It’s become completely overused, especially by those who believe that a team can be fixed immediately if it lands a great player. Although this is more likely than winning a lottery, it’s a mug’s game. There are two reasons why the tanking argument should have no place in an intelligent discussion about a team’s prospects. First, how do you do it? Does management tell the coach to play the scrubs? Does the coach tell the scrubs to not to put out? What does this do to team morale? The ethics of team’s responsibility to its supporters, to the media? It flies in the face of competition, any competition. Second, what’s the reward? If the team finishes last, it only has a 25% of having the top pick. And what if the pick turns out to have the Portland syndrome (Walton, Bowie, ? ) or is a David Thompson or, forbid, a Len Bias? What’s the guarantee that your pick will be playing effectively five years later? And if you do draft a future star, how much difference will that make? Since 1992, the only truly dominant players, that is those whose absence would have meant a drastic drop in their team’s fortunes, have been Shaq, Kobe (a #8), Duncan and James. And Bryant needed about five years to mature. Durant needs another few years of brilliance to qualify. Players such as Iverson, Anthony, Glen Robinson had great ability but limited commitment to either themselves or to their teams.
    Let’s tank tanking. Let’s discuss serious possibilities as to how a successful team can be built, carefully, and slowly.

    • Tim W.

      It seems you’ve missed a lot of the discussion, because you’re bringing up some moot points.

      First, the how. If the Raptors trade away Gay, DeRozan, Lowry and possibly Amir for picks and prospects, the result will be not a lot of wins. The coach can do whatever he wants, but without the talent, you’re not going to win many games.

      The focus should be on the development of players, rather than actually “losing games”.

      As for the morale, well you deal with it the same way you’ve dealt with the morale for most of the Raptor’s 18 years.

      It flies in the face of competition? That’s pretty vague and I’m not sure I see the point.

      And if the Raptors don’t get the top pick? Well, apparently you’ve missed the thousand or so comments and articles talking about how the 2014 draft is one of the deepest in a long time, with as many as eight possible All Stars (according to GMs and scouts). In other words, if the Raptors don’t get the top pick, it’s not a big deal. Wiggins would be nice because of the hometown connection, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he wasn’t the best player from the 2014 draft.

      And if the pick turns into a Bowie, Oden, Bias disaster? Well, that’s what doing your homework is for. Besides, if you’re afraid of that, then what if Gay steps in front of a bus. Or Valanciunas pulls a Cat Stevens? No matter HOW you acquire a player, there is a risk when you try and build around him. If you’re afraid of that, then you’re in the wrong business.

      As for the time it takes to develop a player, I’m not sure I see your point. A team with the potential to eventually become a contender is a lot more attractive (for fans and players) than a 6-8 playoff seed with a second round ceiling.

      I would like to hear what your plan would be to build a contender, slowly and carefully, starting with what the Raptors have right now.

      • Fernandez

        and again with the 2014 best draft of all times

        most of those kids have not played a single minute of college basketball and they’re future all-stars. Why not. Shabazz was next Kobe and sure fire top three only 12 months ago and now? Harrison Barnes was another automatic top three but disappointed quite a bit at college level. And how can we forget the legendary Felipe Lopez? Even Anthony Davis, touted as a future hall of famer, had a so-so rookie season in the NBA.

        nobody can tell if next draft will bring 8 future all-stars. Had a look at the highly regarded Chad Ford’s top 10. Parker, Wiggins and Randle look extremely talented but none of them is LeBron – well nobody is LeBron – and still have EVERYTHING to prove. Marcus Smart best PG of next draft? not even sure he is a PG. Ditto for Andrew Harrison. Joel Embid? What do YOU know of Joel Embid? Or Dario Saric? Good luck with that…

        of course a top 5 pick is better than a late lottery pick. This is true every year. 2014 might be a good draft but please enough with the hype.

      • ItsAboutFun

        “I would like to hear what your plan would be to build a contender,
        slowly and carefully, starting with what the Raptors have right now.”

        I’d like to hear yours, top to bottom.

      • frank b

        Tim, thanks for your response.
        1. You can’t trade for “prospects and picks” because you have to match salaries – see the Barg trade for example. And why trade Johnson, who is dollar for dollar the most effective player on the team, or Lowry, who has an expiring contract?
        2. Focus/morale/competition. It still comes back to the futility of the tanking argument. How does a team do this without destroying its soul and alienating its supporters and sponsors? And what does this say to the industry? Who would want to play for such an org?
        3. 2014. It comes back to my previous observation that there are precious few players who dominate over an extended period. James and Shaq were no-brainers. Who else? Wiggins at 18, shy and skinny? Maybe in three years. And others of his ilk? Nice to have one or two, but not by shredding your best assets.
        4. Of course you try to build around a player, but within the context of your plan. And that plan has to be considered acc to your personnel and the type of team that you want. What the Raps have now are top players who don’t complement one another, valuable assets in Johnson and V, possibility with Ross, and new management. You determine your course and stick to it. See Memphis and San An for current examples. And maybe you’ll get lucky, like Houston did with Sampson and Olajuwon back-to-back, or Chicago when Portland passed on M J, or trading Joe Barry Carroll for Parish and McHale.
        5. There are 32 teams all trying to contend. If you’re a 6-8, that’s in the top 45%. It’s a start and you build from there. Better than what the team has been since its inception.

        • Tim W.

          Not a problem.

          1. You don’t necessarily have to match salaries if you’re trading with teams under the cap, but matching salaries doesn’t necessarily mean taking back good players. For example, Detroit has the cap room to simply absorb Gay’s contract, but Toronto would probably get more value if they agreed to take back a bad contract or two. If the Raptors got back Villanueva, Jerebko, Knight and Caldwell-Pope, they get back some young prospects (and assets), none of whom are actually going to prevent the Raptors from losing games. The Raptors still need to fill out the roster, and just because they may have to take back salary, doesn’t mean they have to take back a player that will help them win. Rookies, for the most part, don’t help you win.

          2. The Raptors have been losing for most of their 18 year history. Losing with purpose is a lot better than losing without trying to. Give people a reason for hope, and that’s a lot better than trying to pretend they’re better than they actually are.

          As for who would want to play for that organization? While they’re tanking, it doesn’t matter. Once they’re done, it’s all moot if they get a franchise player. There doesn’t seem to be a stigma with playing for Oklahoma.

          3. If your goal is to actually compete for a Championship, you need an elite player. Period. It doesn’t matter whether the one they draft next year will be one immediately or need a few years of developing. Rookies who make immediate impacts are a rarity, nowadays, because most of them have had just one year of college. Players are younger coming into the league today. It’s just reality. And that’s fine. It’s not necessarily to make the playoffs the year after the 2014 draft.

          4. Yes, you build around a player within a plan. But they need the player first, and they don’t have that. That’s their problem. They have no player worth building around.

          5. Yes, being a 6-8 seed is a start, but if you don’t have the foundation to improve on that, then it’s not a start, it’s a destination. And that’s been the problem with the Raptors for most of their history. The Raptors definitely have a little talent right now, but it’s limited. And it’s overpaid, so upgrading it is incredibly difficult.

          Colangelo’s plan was to get to the playoffs and then figure it out. That’s not going to work with this team. Best case scenario, you’re looking at a poor man’s Atlanta Hawks team (the Hawks actually had a perennial All Star), and that’s not a goal you should try and aim for.

    • Doug H.

      Great post and just to add an example, let’s take the Hornets/Pelicans and the fact that after Chris Paul they pretty much tanked, got Anthony Davis 1st overall, a clear cut top pick in that draft and what is there outlook now after a year? One things seems likely – that it won’t be on the shoulders of A. Davis alone that they’ll be playing in the finals or anywhere near that level, if at all.

      • Tim W.

        So what you’re suggesting that simply tanking doesn’t immediately turn a team into a contender? That they also need good management that doesn’t do things like draft Austin Rivers at 10?

        Still, their outlook with Davis and now Holiday looks better than the Raptors with the roster they have now. If only Dell Demps could limit his bone-headed-move to good-move ratio down to 2:1, then the Pelicans might have a chance.

        • ItsAboutFun

          He just needs you as an adviser, like every other GM in the league.

        • Doug H.

          What I’m suggesting is that even with a successful tank job a team may be no better off than had it gone about building through other means, i.e. not tanking, except minus the embarrassment and suffering of trying to lose.

          And yet another dig at a General Manager. Your armchair gm opining lacks insight. The nature of the business is making guesses and taking chances and mathematically only a handful can actual work out since for every winner there has to be a loser. Sitting back and saying half the league makes bad decisions just doesn’t add much to a conversation. Nothing personal though, just my opinions of your opinions.

  • Mack North

    Tim W. – is this your welcome back post on RR? If so, congrats on a great write up… nice to see you back in the mix. I had always respected your opinion, and for the most part agreed with it(especially the #7 posts).

    For seconders – Great to have ya back, and good riddance to #7!!

    • Tim W.

      Thanks. I’ve been here for a few months, now. I’m not assuming Bargnani is gone until it’s official.

      • Mack North

        Good shit, man! haha I guess I should read the front page a lil more!

  • FAQ

    Gay has a player option for 2014-15 and will likely not want to stay in TO, so I say trade him for Stuckey and Villi and let Detroit pay him big bucks for nothing much.

    Tanking in 2013-14 is mandatory to get Wiggins, otherwise it’s game over.

    • onemanweave

      “Getting Wiggins” requires a bit more than just tanking, including a whole lot of random luck and/or being the commissioners choice in a rigged lottery. Do you have inside info they they are/have either?
      Game over? Toronto loses the franchise? We all commit hari kari? What?
      If Gay leaves in 13/14, then your big edge for making the trade pretty much vanishes. You are dealing a season of Rudy Gay for a season of Chuck and Stuck. Great deal. Are you Tim. W’s love child? Do you own seasons tickets?

  • ezz_bee

    First, Derozan hasn’t played 10,000 minutes yet. He’s at 9734. The only one I can think of that kind of meets the requirements of improving after 10,000 minutes is Chauncey Billups. By the end of the 2000-2001 season Bilups had logged 10370 minutes through 7 seasons. If you average his per36 numbers of his first 7 seasons and compare them to his averages for the 2001-2002 seasons there is significant increase in pretty much every category. The only thing he did worse at was steals, and his blocks stayed the same.

    However, I would say Chauncey is the EXCEPTION not the rule (unless of course people can find other examples).

    I’m reserving final judgement on Derozan until after he’s logged his 10,000 minutes, so basically, whatever he’s shown you by the end of December is what your going to get from him for the rest of his career. That said, The odds of him making strides on his defense and/or 3pt shooting are very slim. So from a GMs perspective of managing assets, this off-season up to the trade deadline of this year is your last chance to “sell high” on derozan. After this season, I and (many/most) GMs will see him as a known commodity. Doesn’t mean that you still can’t trade him, I just means you probably will get diminishing returns the longer you hold onto him (unless he makes chauncey like improvement, in which case his on a value contract and is worth keeping. or can be traded for lots of assets).

    Personally, I find more negativity in peoples RESPONSES to Tim’s articles than I actually see in the original post. To me Tim isn’t being negative, he just works based on what is the most likely scenario to occur, rather than what he or we want/hope will occur.

    He’s also right a lot more often than he’s wrong, which is why it’s hard to call him negative.

    Also, what’s the point of shitting on someone?

    • Tim W.

      True, DeRozan hasn’t logged 10,000 minutes, yet, but I think it’s close enough.

      As for people’s responses to me, don’t worry about it. The irony is lost on most people like that. I don’t even read most of their comments, anymore. There’s no point.

  • Junior Stewart

    Im tired of dumb-ass articles lie these brainwashing fans into thinking that trading Gay would be a good idea. Trading your best playing in hopes of HOPEFULLY winning the lottery (LUCK) is a crazy senseless idea. What happens if we dont win the lottery. They what!!! Several more years of being a bottom feeder in the league!! We have a chance of moving as high as 6th place in the east. (Bucks, ATL, Boston) are all going through major over-haul and would be a shocker if any make the playoffs.. In all, just cut out this tlk of tanking. The fans nor the Owners dont wanna see that. Playoffs for the Raptors next season would do a huge thing for the city. We have been rebuilding for years to get where we’re at, lets not start over again. By the time we do that, Boston, Cleveland, Philly, ATL, maybe even Orlando, will all be back to relevance and be vying for the same playoffs spots Raptors will. This is the time.. Lets not wait. Rudy Gay, Derozan, and Jonas, are good enough to give us that 6th seed (THIS YEAR, and maybe next year depending on Free Agency 2014).

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