I believe this team is in a pretty good position going forward. There is flexibility here and I believe this team can improve without tanking, and I think this is the approach MU will take, unless the team starts this upcoming season the way it did the last. I think in a well coached system that the players believe in we can definitely make the playoffs, maybe even the second round. However, I do not see most of the players on this roster as being a part of the future. I think a core of JV/Amir/Gay/DD and Kyle is pretty good, and can be competitive, but I certainly do not see it as a team capable of a championship. The main reason I think this is Rudy. He has a larger role than he can fill, he supposedly needs to be a super-star, even though he lacks the super-star attitude or mentality. I think Rudy gets traded, and that may happen this year if the team under-achieves, but he could still be kept for another year and his expiring contract could be moved easily. I think Lowry gets traded as well. If he has a great season, we may want to keep him, but I think he goes either way, probably as a S&T next offseason to a team hard up for an aggressive PG. I just don't see him leading any team to a championship. I think DD stays, at least for the time being. His contract isn't as bad as some think, in my opinion anyways, and he shows a great work ethic, a commitment to the team, and has shown improvement in many aspects of his game year to year since coming into the league, not to mention the durability. He has not regressed at all, and shows a desire to continue to improve. I can't say the same for RG or KL, so I think DeMar stays longer than the other two mentioned. Plus, in a year or two I think many will look at Demar's value like we now look at Amir's.
In any event, like you (magoon) mentioned, we can't afford to keep the current starters together as their contracts expire, and why would you unless you think the team can compete for a championship? At this point, I think we all agree that JV should stay. Everyone else is up in the air really. I'd move Gay in a heartbeat...I just don't believe in him. I know he has a ton of talent, but thats where it stops for me. Plus, we can probably get a good return if we move him. As for Kyle, well I'm kinda up in the air with him. I think he could be a great player, and I'm excited to see what he will do this season after trimming up and now playing for a contract, but, I fear what we get from him this year we may not get after, if he gets a nice extension he gives me the impression he may "take it easy" afterward, or "regress" if you will. I hope I am wrong about him as I would like to see him succeed in a Raps uniform. But, depending on how this season goes, we may very well be able to get a good return on Lowry as well, or keep him if he shows he can be a leader.
I like Amir, I think he brings alot to the table and is versatile and capable of making a positive contribution whether he plays 15 or 35, starts or comes off the bench. He is one of the better "intangible" guys out there, and I say keep him. However, he could also net a good return. I think DD is a keeper too. I could care less about his 3pt shot, I figure he should shoot few of them anyways and only under extenuating circumstances, that is, the Raps should not run plays that leaves DD "open" for 3pt shots. Furthermore, our offensive system shouldn't allow DD (or RG for that matter) to just park and hoist up deep jumpers, or play in face up ISO. I like DD in the post and taking it too the hole and getting to the line. He is one of the better guards in the league at this, I think we should take advantage of it. We should be running plays to get him in position to score where he is most capable of doing so, not encouraging him to work on skills he may never gain and take shots he is the least likely of making. I think alot of teams recognize this, making DD a tradeable piece that good also net a good return.
So, I think there are options going forward, however, if we start moving some of these players we will have to take advantage of the cap space and make a splash in the free agent market at some point. Sorry, I see no Wiggins in the near future. If we rely soley on draft picks, we could easily get burnt and be going through this same process again in 6-8 years. Tanking and dealing for picks just isn't gonna work in my opinion, plus I'm not sure how many high picks guys like RG, DD, KL, and AJ could bring. Smart trades, a few good picks, and a great free agent signing or two in the next few years could elevate this team significantly.
As for the core, I'm happy to see what they bring this season. If we are not in a playoff position after 25-30 games, I'd start making plans to change the roster.
Personally, this is as excited I have been in some time about the Raps, believing we have the potential to make the playoffs this season and perhaps make a splash, while still having some flexibility going forward that does not necessarily mean tanking and watching this team completely suck like it has for so many years.
The real question is does this team compliment one another? That's what everyone is going to find out. That's why Ujiri has not blown it up. Need to know what we've got and if they mesh.
If Your Uncle Jack Helped You Off An Elephant, Would You Help Your Uncle Jack Off An Elephant?
Sometimes, I like to buy a book on CD and listen to it, while reading music.
Are we really sure NY is a lock? Right now they have 11 guys on their roster, only one true C in Chandler who has no offensive game. Their line-up will look something like:
Shumpert/ Smith/ Hardaway
Anthony/ World Peace
A lot of the guys on their team have a hard time staying healthy, they are over the cap on four players alone. To me it seems they could have a really shaky season.
Are they going to be as good as they were last year? Probably not. But they're still going to make playoffs.
Trading for 'best available value' can miss out on great unexpected or time-limited options. All indicators say that Masai's a patient man; I think he'll wait unless he can get really good value. I also don't think he'll hesitate to pull the trigger if the right offer comes along.
The Raptors have to win games to make the playoffs. We all know that right?
The team can compete, provide fun games to watch and still build towards a championship contender over the next 4-5 years with "intelligent management." I am not guaranteeing that will happen, but it can. You obviously can't say it that it won't. Having a strong opinion about what may or may not, about what is likely or is not does not count as having "the facts" on your side.
Set up you Google Calendar or Outloook appointment scheduler to revisit this on Jan 1 2016, and we will see who has bragging rights.
The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round.....................
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