+ no Nash chase
+ no Fields signing
+ we likely would have signed somebody with the roughly $5M cap space available
+ no 1st round pick with crazy trade-limiting conditions being traded away
+/- no Lowry
- no Ross
agree with a lot but feel bargs trade should be priority 1. Jose's expiring deal still has value to us as compared to the ostracized bargs. bargs out is best for everyone involved.
Lots to unpack. First props for the opinion piece -- I'm sure a semi news/sports site would love this.
In no particular order:
1/I like the idea of expanding the scouting staff. It makes too much sense. You hear about NBA scouts checking Div 3 games looking for talent so why not? The Raps could scout the CIS -- they do produce the odd Euro league player; more importantly they would be the only people scouting that league not from a Euro/Asian pro league. (this sounds like sarcasm but it isn't...seriously...no. I'm being serious)
2/Priority 1 needs to be trade Bargs not Jose. For all we know Jose has agreed to a smaller next contract already... If we were in the playoff hunt maybe -- he has high value, I guess, but he has more value mentoring Raptors players. Bargnani has no value to this squad that I can rationalize (unless he realizes the only way he'll see the floor is as a bruising center who occasionally floats to the perimeter).
3/ If Toronto wants to create a culture the first thing they need to do is STOP the high player turnover! If half the team is new EVERY YEAR there will never be a culture. The teams that have long term success keep essentially the same team, allow them to build chemistry, and watch them mature together. IF they let one of Demar, Ross, Davis, Amir, JV, Lowry mature into a star, slowly replace Pietrus, Bargs, maybe guys like Gray, and keep AA, Fields and Lucas those players will create a culture; first of hard work, and hopefully, eventually winning.
That last one goes for fans too. Fans need to stop screaming for the head of Demar until he makes a shot, or Lowry as he relearns his position. Fans need to cheer players who make an effort, instead of championing lazy players because of talent or potential. The fan base is just as important to a team's culture as the organization. We're the ones who buy tickets, merch, watch on TV, etc., what we like in a player is just as valid as any other source IF it is determined by the organization that it is feasible and may lead to success.
Jose's value is high, likely as high as it ever has been or ever will be. But that value decreases if he isn't on an expiring deal; so we need to move quickly. In my plan, I wouldn't re-sign Jose unless it was for well below what he is asking (rumour is he's looking for $6-$8M and I wouldn't pay more than $4.5M). Even then, I'd probably try to trade him anyway. As much as people like Jose, he isn't a part of this teams future. He doesn't fit any of the player profiles that I propose we target (terrible D, non-athletic, and is a vet but not on a cheap deal). Moving on from Jose makes the most sense. If we don't net another PG via trade, then we upgrade either via the draft (if we have the pick) or via free agency (Eric Maynor? Toney Douglas?).
At the end of the day, moving Bargnani might be more important for the culture change, but the Jose deal needs to happen first since his value is tied to his expiring contract. Personally, trading Jose is more important because it can bring in the assets to jump-start the franchise. Trading Bargnani today would bring in next to nothing and would be an addition by subtraction. I think Bargnani can play better than he was at the beginning of the season, thus bringing his trade value back up.
Related back to a previous comment about Omri Casspi, if Casspi is undervalued by his team (how does one earn the nickname "assfingers" anyway?), then I would offer Cleveland Aaron Gray for Casspi. Gray would give them a big bruiser to help protect the likes of Irving, Waiters and Thompson and also give them a big to match up against stronger opponents (speights is thinner than Ed Davis) with Varajao out. Casspi is definitely worth a look, and if the only thing he can do is shoot the 3, isn't that something we desperately need on the wing? Fields can't hit a 3 to save his life.
We've collected many guys like this, some have panned out (to become average players good enough to make the bench of other teams) and some have not. Rarely have the Raptors swung for the fences, so to speak. You're talking about collecting these types of guys and then landing a franchise player. How, exactly? And we are AT the cap now, with a roster riddled of these types of players.
Let's put aside that we have no money right now and ask this: What franchise player will sign here? For all the free agency signings of franchise players you've seen over the past few years, which one of them went to a shit team? People talk complain about how Toronto isn't recognized as a city that players come to. Reality is, the team sucks so why would anyone want to start basically from scratch. Basically we're looking for someone who wants to chase the money which we don't have.
Btw I'm sorry that this topic is not in line with the topic of the thread.
Gray for Casspi? Casspi can play some 4 but he's Fields without the defense, and with an outside shot. Basically, getting traded to Detroit destroyed his psyche. 1/ Fields will eventually rebuild his shot. 2/ We lose a big body (behind Amir and JV we are paper thin). I like his potential, but I have a problem seeing where he fits.
EDIT: Forgot to explain why I would move Bargs 1st. I'm more interested in creating culture, and the benefits of him being off the team are more important than getting maximum value. I was on the trade Bargs bus the past 2 years -- he still had potential, and a promising short run. Now even the US media sees him for what he is. Trading him for value seems unlikely. If you can get a decent big, preferably on an expiring contract and a 1st rounder you take it and move on.
I could care less about team chemistry, when the talent level is so poor compared to true contenders. What's the point of having a tight-knit team of players with the greatest team chemistry, when their individual/combined talents are nowhere near good enough to compete for the playoffs, let alone to progress deep into the playoffs or actually win the championship?
The team needs to improve its talent base first, THEN worry about team chemistry and culture. All you're doing is designing the most stylish car on the market, but nobody will ever buy one if it comes without an engine.
I think the model we should most be trying to emulate is what Memphis has done. Create a solid defensive team identity. That way, even if we are still losing games, we are competitive and people would start to see value in the sense that "they are only one good shooter away", or "if they just had that one low post scorer". That would put us into a situation where the free agent route would at least become a viable option and in the mean time give us a team that we can be proud of (for their on-court efforts). With JV, Ross and Lowry, I think we are on the path to a Memphis style anyway. 3 talented young players who value defence. It may take a few years for JV and Ross to develop, but I don't see any reason why JV can't be as good (if not better) than Marc Gasol or that Ross can't become a poor-man's (at worst hopefully) version of Rudy Gay. I'd already take Lowry over Conley, so we are 3/5's of the way to having the right pieces.
If Calderon isn't traded, he still represents $10 million in cap savings, thus the Raptors still benefit even without a trade. That makes trading him less of a "priority" in my books.
Letting Jose walk for nothing would be a bad move - pro-active teams tend to do better.
Keeping Jose to split duties with Lowry isn't ideal in my mind either - it's time for everyone to move on.
I 100% do not believe that Jose will re-sign here unless it is for more money than he is being offered elsewhere.
Finally, if winning culture means so little why have only a handful of teams won NBA titles? I would also argue a team needs solid bench players and secondary starters as much as a stud star. Are you saying that DD, ED, JV, AD, TR, and KL are not solid secondary players? If so I see what you're saying, but I think we have at least 6 solid secondary players.
That second bolded statement is also why I'm in favor of blowing up the roster, without fear of high turnover. I think this team is loaded with 2nd unit players. However, I don't think we have any legit starters on a good playoff team. I think Valanciunas and Ross have the potential to develop into legit starters, but they're realistically at least 1-3 years away. I think Lowry is borderline, but he seems better suited to being a backup PG who can use his score-first instincts to lead a group of high-energy sparkplugs off the bench, rather than a floor general for the starting unit. Davis is also borderline, but is too small right now to start against bigger PFs in the league, so he too would be better served as a solid 2nd unit PF.
This team needs more talent. Building culture while becoming a treadmill team is the exact opposite of what this team desperately needs. We need legit starting talent.
We definitely need to trade Jose. I love Jose's attitude and professionalism but we should not focusing on playoffs. We need to just let Lowry burn 40+ minutes a night this season and see how he adjusts and what he can really do as the starter.
We've made our choice as our PG of the future trading our pick for Lowry. Let's get a pick in return for Jose and if Lowry doesnt work out after a season of starters minutes then let's go from there.