So all the mad hype about major changes coming draft night appears to be just, well, mad.
Many thought, myself included, Colangelo stepping down was a precursor to something B-I-G. Turns out it appears BC just doesn't like standing in the corner being ignored.... who can blame him?Ujiri has fired long-time scouts and dismissed fan favourites in Alvin Williams. He’s thrown his weight behind Dwane Casey as head coach and has been burrowed into his phone the past 48 hours trying to get the Raptors a draft pick they can use Thursday night.
And he’s done it all with minimal input from Colangelo, according to sources.
So in the immortal words of Axl Rose: "Where do we go now? Where do we go?"
Ryan Wolstat says a decision is necessary because, well, you can read the last line:
Will Canada’s team enter the hunt for Andrew Wiggins and his talented classmates? Will the Raptors beef up for a playoff run?
Either way, a decision needs to be made. sooner rather than later.
The rest of the division has laid out its path, the Raptors must decide on a plan as well.
The team can do little and hope for good health, given the paper-thin roster, and a playoff berth. That wouldn’t make much sense. It can tear the foundation down and aim for lottery luck (an option that would take work and patience with no guarantees of a payoff). Or Toronto could retool. Using the amnesty provision on Linas Kleiza, would open up room to use the mid-level exception ($5.15 million) and/or the bi-annual exception ($2.01 million); Or, perhaps Andrea Bargnani could be an amnesty victim? That would open up even more money ($10.75 million vs. Kleiza’s $4.6 million), allowing the Raptors to perhaps use both cap exceptions as well as move Kleiza’s expiring contract for a solid veteran on a multi-year deal a team is trying to clear from its books.
Or Bargnani could be swapped, perhaps with another starter as a sweetener.
Ujiri has options then. And he was given a lot of money to pick the right ones.
It’s time to get the ball rolling.
Because right now, Toronto is the most listing, irrelevant franchise in the Atlantic.
There there is Koreen at The National Post who is hardly sunshine and gum drops in his assessment:
But despite the impatience (I am VERY guilty here) of Raptor fans, all is not lost. Lets review:7. … the Raptors, too, are mired in purgatory, with no obvious direction. They tried to get into the draft last night at various spots, with particular interest in Giannis Adetokunbo (15th to Milwaukee) and Tony Mitchell (37th to Detroit). But the Raptors have more than US$70-million committed to just 10 players next season, even after declining to pick up the option on John Lucas’s contract. They will get further below the luxury tax by using the amnesty clause (likely Linas Kleiza, although Andrea Bargnani is also eligible and a possibility), but that will leave them with precious little room in free agency. Unlike Boston, they do not have veterans with championship resumes that would be enticing to a contender; unlike Philadelphia, they do not have an affordable all-star to move. Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson would all be varying degrees of interesting to other teams. But Gay and DeRozan are likely too expensive to bring much in return, and Lowry and Johnson are undervalued around the league. This is what Masai Ujiri signed up for: All he can do is be patient and opportunistic.
1) With JL3 declined and luxury tax reported to be going up by a million or two, Raps are now under the luxury tax with the amnesty at their disposal (Bargnani or Kleiza). They can theoretically take on another ~$4-6M in salary than they send out in any sign and trade to avoid apron ($4M for current apron of $74M or up to $6M if luxury tax rises by $2M).
2) Raptors will have MLE at their disposal in free agency. This can be used on one player or broken down for multiple. If they use the full MLE (4 years, $5Mper) then they have a hard cap of $74M to look at.
3) Teams are still jockeying for free agency. Dallas (Marion) and Houston (Robinson, Lin) still have salary to shed. Can the Raptors get in here or somewhere else?
4) With the excitement of draft night (Bennett #1, KG-PP trade, Holiday to NO/Philly blow up), a lot of other things were left undone. Bledsoe is still a Clipper, for example. Robinson still a Rocket as another.
5) Just because a team drafted a player and kept him past draft night doesn't mean he is a lock to be on the roster opening night. Harkless was traded in August last year (#15) and Lamb (#12) in October.
6) Like how teams struck out on draft night either not getting in (hey, Toronto!) or not getting who they wanted (hey, Toronto!), teams will also strike out in free agency. When teams have cap space and can't get who they want in free agency let the trade proposals fly.
7) There are still teams out there with holes at SG which, like it or not, is Toronto's most likely and valuable trade asset.... especially in a year with a weak free agent wing crop.
Bucks GM John Hammond said team plans to match any offer for Brandon Jennings. http://t.co/K8mpmwUI9C— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) June 28, 2013
Bucks general manager John Hammond said "it's our intention for Brandon Jennings to remain a Milwaukee Buck."— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) June 28, 2013
Flip didn't sugarcoat draft. Says he knows it won't be popular with some people. Didn't hide his disappointment w/not getting top SGs— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) June 28, 2013
Flip says Muhammad will come off bench. They'll go into free agency/trades looking for a starting 2.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) June 28, 2013
**No tweets but look at their roster plus they have S&T candidate**
All is not lost. Moral of the day for TL and MU is to go all in on their policy of keeping cards close to chest and say nothing to no one at all about anything. I think, well speaking mainly for myself, the only reason so many are disappointed is because we heard them say direction known by draft night and roster as is is not good enough.... well guess what?!?! Draft night has come and gone and the roster is still not good enough. Oh yeah, not totally on them, too many people, again myself included, assumed Colangelo leaving meant something much more than it actually did.
You keep being patient and opportunistic, Masai!
..... and #tradeBargnani