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Thread: aren't we stuck in mediocrity?

  1. #61
    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    Ok, two things here:

    1. You're 100% correct that the teams that aren't big free agent destinations rely on luck to compete. This is one of those things in pro sports that nobody ever talks about because it doesn't make for a great story, but is completely accurate. From injuries to chemistry to lottery positions, chance plays an enormous part in success. For a perfect example, see how the raps won the lottery with low odds one year and got Bargs, while the Bulls won with low odds another year and got Rose. So much of what happens to a franchise is out of it's control.

    But that doesn't mean that things like scouting, good cap management and good coaching and development don't play roles. Luck can land you a player to build around but the GM and the coach then have to bring in the right players, implement the right system and motivate the team to play the right way. See: Carter, Vince.

    So yes, luck plays a huge role, but it only gets you so far. And it certainly doesn't mean that you stop trying or simply tank until you land a franchise guy, because the team is still a business and seats still need to be filled. Plus, you never know when a team is going to dump a disgruntled franchise player in your lap because you happen to have the right combination of contracts they're looking for in return. The Raps are doing the best with what they've got, all I'm saying is that unless something breaks right for them, they'll be stuck on that first round playoff exit treadmill.

    2. Salary structure matters. A LOT. A perfect example is the Joe Johnson era Hawks, who had most of their money tied up in a core that lacked the talent to take the team deep into the playoffs. They were never able to add those veterans and extra pieces that might have allowed them to make a deep run, and in the end they had to blow it all up. This is exactly where I see the Raps heading; too much money invested in players with too little of an impact. It's not the end of the world though; fielding a competitive team that challenges for the second or even third round of the playoffs for the next 5 years would be a great step in the team's long-term evolution.
    Good read [thumbs up]
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  2. #62
    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    Ok, two things here:

    1. You're 100% correct that the teams that aren't big free agent destinations rely on luck to compete. This is one of those things in pro sports that nobody ever talks about because it doesn't make for a great story, but is completely accurate. From injuries to chemistry to lottery positions, chance plays an enormous part in success. For a perfect example, see how the raps won the lottery with low odds one year and got Bargs, while the Bulls won with low odds another year and got Rose. So much of what happens to a franchise is out of it's control.

    But that doesn't mean that things like scouting, good cap management and good coaching and development don't play roles. Luck can land you a player to build around but the GM and the coach then have to bring in the right players, implement the right system and motivate the team to play the right way. See: Carter, Vince.

    So yes, luck plays a huge role, but it only gets you so far. And it certainly doesn't mean that you stop trying or simply tank until you land a franchise guy, because the team is still a business and seats still need to be filled. Plus, you never know when a team is going to dump a disgruntled franchise player in your lap because you happen to have the right combination of contracts they're looking for in return. The Raps are doing the best with what they've got, all I'm saying is that unless something breaks right for them, they'll be stuck on that first round playoff exit treadmill.

    2. Salary structure matters. A LOT. A perfect example is the Joe Johnson era Hawks, who had most of their money tied up in a core that lacked the talent to take the team deep into the playoffs. They were never able to add those veterans and extra pieces that might have allowed them to make a deep run, and in the end they had to blow it all up. This is exactly where I see the Raps heading; too much money invested in players with too little of an impact. It's not the end of the world though; fielding a competitive team that challenges for the second or even third round of the playoffs for the next 5 years would be a great step in the team's long-term evolution.
    Fair enough. Thanks for delving more deeply into both issues.

    While I agree there's no star-in-the-making on the Raptors current roster, I think there are some legit starters and some very effective 2nd unit / role players. A big impact player is what is lacking. To completely write-off the roster and say we're destined to become a treadmill team, however, I think is a little premature. But it's a subjective discussion, so everybody's entitled to their opinion.

    As for salaries, I think the Raps are in a good place right now. A few guys might be slightly overpaid (Amir, Kleiza and Fields), but none of their contracts are big enough (either $ amount or # years) to really handicap this team. I think the handling of DeRozan will be a good measuring stick for BC and this franchise. If he continues to be a one-dimensional, inefficient volume scorer and gets rewarded with a contract > $5-6M per season, I think it will be the 'old BC' overpaying. However, if he either improves enough to earn a bigger contract or winds up getting traded (I think letting him walk is a waste of an asset and almost as bad as re-signing him to an overpaid contract), I think that will speak volumes to a positive new direction this team is headed.

    I guess what I'm saying is that as long as the Raps continue building the 'right way' and are moving in the right direction, I won't be upset if they are a "treadmill team"; as long as it's due to the unforseen forces that are beyond control, and not because of mismanagement.

    This year is definitely a turning point type season, with regards to player development and potential roster moves, regardless of whether or not they make the playoffs.
    Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Fri Oct 26th, 2012 at 12:20 PM.

  3. #63
    Raptors Republic All-Star Soft Euro's Avatar
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    Quote Puffer wrote: View Post
    Whatever.
    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    Serisouly, that's your response? Why even bother posting it?
    I thought Puffer's response was very good; at least it was exactly what I was thinking before seeing his post. (And then Puffer spoiled it all by giving a 'serious' respons, where his initial respons was spot on.)

    The poison pill of Landry doesn't matter for our salary structure as it's spread out for us.

    If DeRozan stays the same player he is now it doesn't matter if we lose him for nothing.

    It's not a sure thing someone will overpay for DeRozan; it's not a secret his defense is suspect and he can't shoot threepointers (at this point).

    How can you guarantee that Lowry will walk if we aren't competitive (and what is considered competitive)? Seriously, how can you guarantee that?

    And urging the 'fanbase' to be 'temper their collective expectations', why should we (I)? It's much more fun to have high expectations. Even if they are crushed by disappointment, that's part sports as catharsis. It's like they say: it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. If someone has a new girlfriend and is all smitten with here, he'd better not talk to you only to be a downer and have you go all patronizing and tell him: "well, you think it's all roses now, but just wait untill you get married, you'd better be more realistic dude or you will be disappointed."

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    Raptors Republic Starter Katman's Avatar
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    I would like us to reach medicore, before worrying abount being stuck there.

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    Quote Soft Euro wrote: View Post
    I thought Puffer's response was very good; at least it was exactly what I was thinking before seeing his post. (And then Puffer spoiled it all by giving a 'serious' respons, where his initial respons was spot on.)

    The poison pill of Landry doesn't matter for our salary structure as it's spread out for us.

    If DeRozan stays the same player he is now it doesn't matter if we lose him for nothing.

    It's not a sure thing someone will overpay for DeRozan; it's not a secret his defense is suspect and he can't shoot threepointers (at this point).

    How can you guarantee that Lowry will walk if we aren't competitive (and what is considered competitive)? Seriously, how can you guarantee that?

    And urging the 'fanbase' to be 'temper their collective expectations', why should we (I)? It's much more fun to have high expectations. Even if they are crushed by disappointment, that's part sports as catharsis. It's like they say: it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. If someone has a new girlfriend and is all smitten with here, he'd better not talk to you only to be a downer and have you go all patronizing and tell him: "well, you think it's all roses now, but just wait untill you get married, you'd better be more realistic dude or you will be disappointed."
    1. Landry's poison pill absolutely matters. The expensive year of his contract is the year it might interfere with resigning Davis and Lowry. It's not the worst thing in the world, but in that year Bargs, Amir, Fields, as well as JV and Ross' rookie deals will take up half the cap.

    2. It absolutely matters if the Raps get nothing for DeRozan, because there's very little chance they can replace him with a player that will catapult the team into contention. As for overpaying, consider the lack of quality 2 guards in the league, the fact that market value in the NBA is tied closely to offensive production, and that there are a lot of teams out there who have a lot more money than NBA talent on their rosters. I can easilly see someone offering DD 9-10 mil per year based on untapped talent, especially if he plays well this year.

    3. As for guaranteeing that Lowry will walk, I can't obviously - you're reading too much into a hastilly written post. But the only leverage the Raps have is an extra year on his next deal, and unless they're going to pony up a max contract, that hardly matters because another team can outbid them. So to me, the only way lowry stays is if the raps overpay or if the team shows enough growth that he wants to be a part of it going forward. As a guy who's all about winning, I would suspect he'd choose to partner with a real franchise player in pursuit of a championship over sticking with a treadmill team for another 4-5 years of first round playoff exits. But he might surprise me.

    4. If you want to keep your expectations high, go ahead. But what's that got to do with the topic of this thread, which is whether the team is stuck in mediocrity? I'm presenting the reasons for my opinion that they are (or will be, once they reach mediocrity). I'm actually quite optimistic about this season and about the team's climb into relevancy, but that doesn't mean I'm crazy enough to see deep playoff runs in their future.

    So dismiss my response with a 'whatever' and keep blindly believing the team can bust through mediocrity into the league's upper strata if you like, but until I see evidence that it can, I'm going to stay pessimistic.

  6. #66
    Raptors Republic Superstar planetmars's Avatar
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    The cap hit for the Raptors for Fields is $6.25M a year. It would only be high in the third year for NY if they matched. For Toronto, it's the average every year.

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    Lark, just out of curiosity, why did you write Lowry is all about winning?

    To me, that's a huge assumption and frankly a statement many, many athletes are quick to make until money is actually presented to them. Although Lowry is arguably, but not definitely, a top 10 PG, it's far from certain he would accept less money to play a lesser role on a contender. I believe he has too many years left to play for him to sign a contract at less than fair value. Unlike Bosh, Wade, and James, he is not good enough to make up the difference in increase brand visibility.

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    Quote Hugmenot wrote: View Post
    Lark, just out of curiosity, why did you write Lowry is all about winning?

    To me, that's a huge assumption and frankly a statement many, many athletes are quick to make until money is actually presented to them. Although Lowry is arguably, but not definitely, a top 10 PG, it's far from certain he would accept less money to play a lesser role on a contender. I believe he has too many years left to play for him to sign a contract at less than fair value. Unlike Bosh, Wade, and James, he is not good enough to make up the difference in increase brand visibility.
    I didn't say he'd take less money. All I suggest is that given a choice between a pile of mondy from a medicore team and a pile of money from a good team with a chance to win a championship, he'd probably take the latter.

    As for the 'all about winning' thing, that's all I've been hearing about him since he was traded here. That he's a bulldog, alpha competitor, hates to lose even in practice, etc. The Raps have two short years to prove to him that the team is headed in the right direction. But if Bargs and DD don't develop like everyone seems to assume they will, then where does that leave the team and why on earth would Lowry resign?

    And planetmars, you're right, forgot about that. But it's a difference of a few mil for cap purposes, and doesn't really change things much. It's still a lot of money for players that aren't going to take you very far wihout a franchise player for them to work around.

  9. #69
    Raptors Republic Starter jimmie's Avatar
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    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    1. Landry's poison pill absolutely matters. The expensive year of his contract is the year it might interfere with resigning Davis and Lowry. It's not the worst thing in the world, but in that year Bargs, Amir, Fields, as well as JV and Ross' rookie deals will take up half the cap.
    As someone else mentioned, there is no "expensive year" in Fields' contract. Not only that, but having half your salary cap tied up in 5 of your arguably "core" players is not a big deal when most teams have half their cap tied up in 2 players.

    2. It absolutely matters if the Raps get nothing for DeRozan, because there's very little chance they can replace him with a player that will catapult the team into contention. As for overpaying, consider the lack of quality 2 guards in the league, the fact that market value in the NBA is tied closely to offensive production, and that there are a lot of teams out there who have a lot more money than NBA talent on their rosters. I can easily see someone offering DD 9-10 mil per year based on untapped talent, especially if he plays well this year.
    If they let Derozan walk because he's not worth what he's asking, then he's easily replaceable, and you don't have to replace him with a guy who will "catapult you into contention" because that's not what he was/is. If he's not easily replaceable because he's improved so much this season and you want him as part of your core, then he's worth paying what he's worth. Pretty simple. If everyone at the same talent level of Demar is asking the same amount of money, it's not overpaying, it's paying market value, which you allude to yourself.

    3. As for guaranteeing that Lowry will walk, I can't obviously - you're reading too much into a hastilly written post. But the only leverage the Raps have is an extra year on his next deal, and unless they're going to pony up a max contract, that hardly matters because another team can outbid them. So to me, the only way lowry stays is if the raps overpay or if the team shows enough growth that he wants to be a part of it going forward. As a guy who's all about winning, I would suspect he'd choose to partner with a real franchise player in pursuit of a championship over sticking with a treadmill team for another 4-5 years of first round playoff exits. But he might surprise me.
    No one is reading into your post. You said he would walk if Toronto isn't good enough. Which is both as unlikely as it is plausible. Or, in other words, no one knows what he would do if Toronto isn't a playoff team at the end of next season. But if that's the case, Lowry may not be worth retaining, either. If he can't help take this team to the playoffs in the next two years, he shouldn't be considered for a huge raise and may even be expendable -- along with a lot of other guys.

    Lots of variables in terms of what could happen over this season and next when contracts really need to be considered. Right now, though, there is no doubt in my mind that this team has more potential to become a contender than any team in the past few years. Guess that makes me a blind optimist.
    Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    I didn't say he'd take less money. All I suggest is that given a choice between a pile of mondy from a medicore team and a pile of money from a good team with a chance to win a championship, he'd probably take the latter.
    There's every reason to believe a good team with a chance to win a championship already has a first string PG. And would already have salary cap issues. The penalty tax will be onerous in two years.

    The supposition that Lowry will be faced with staying with the Raptors for near max or max money or going to another team with a chance to play for a championship is quite flawed.

    Of course, it's possible, but then, it's also possible that the Raps gel as a unit and JV emerges as the dominant center in the East.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Bendit's Avatar
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    Quote Puffer wrote: View Post
    There's every reason to believe a good team with a chance to win a championship already has a first string PG. And would already have salary cap issues. The penalty tax will be onerous in two years.

    The supposition that Lowry will be faced with staying with the Raptors for near max or max money or going to another team with a chance to play for a championship is quite flawed.

    Of course, it's possible, but then, it's also possible that the Raps gel as a unit and JV emerges as the dominant center in the East.
    Well said. I was going to ask Lark if he can name any current championship calibre team without a very good (say top 8) point guard?

    I posted earlier only to comment that not only was the thread unnecessarily negative but far too early to judge the team given the number of changes made.

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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Well said. I was going to ask Lark if he can name any current championship calibre team without a very good (say top 8) point guard?
    How about the team that won it last year?

    And yes, most top calibre teams have an established point guard. But a lot of teams that are looking to make strides don't. Indiana, Portland, Atlanta, Philly if they move Holiday to the 2, Utah, and Dallas just off the top of my head (edit: and that's just right now - who knows how things will change in 2 seasons). It could a team on the rise looking to spend on an established point, it could be a young team with more money than talent offering a ridiculous contract, it could be a contender with an expiring deal just off the books. There are all kinds of ways it could happen. All I'm saying is that there's every chance the man decides to walk away if things aren't going well, as is his right.

    The supposition that Lowry will be faced with staying with the Raptors for near max or max money or going to another team with a chance to play for a championship is quite flawed.
    Ok, this is another example of someone simply twisting my supposition and then calling it wrong.

    This is not a binary 'max money or championship' choice. Once again, all that I'm saying is that Lowry has the option to leave in two years and may well choose to exercise that option if the Raps haven't shown progress, because the only leverage the raps have in negotiating a new contract is a five year contract instead of four. And the only time that really matters is when you're offering a max deal. Sure there's a touch more security with that 5th year, but given Lowry's age he may prefer a shorter contract so that he can get a new 4-5 year deal when he's in his early 30s.

    I don't know how that's going to play out. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this is a bit of a sore point with raps fans given their inability to hold onto free agents in the past. But this is a real possibility folks.

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    Quote jimmie wrote: View Post
    Lots of variables in terms of what could happen over this season and next when contracts really need to be considered. Right now, though, there is no doubt in my mind that this team has more potential to become a contender than any team in the past few years. Guess that makes me a blind optimist.
    I didn't quote the rest of your response because I'd give the same reply to both other bits: you're missing the point. Of course the Raps can replace DeRozan of Lowry or anyone else, but unless they replace those players with better players, likely franchise players, the raps still won't have the talent necessary to be considered an elite team. That's just moving sideways (ie being on the mediocrity treadmill).

    As for the quote above, let me be perfectly clear here: i'm optimistic about the team too. I can't wait for a season of pushing for the playoffs, and I sincerely hope that someone on the team steps up and makes 'the leap'. But consider that in any given year there are really only 4-6 teams with any hope in hell of winning a championship and roughly 10-12 teams that are hopeless, meaning that just about half the league is stuck on the mediocrity treadmill of playing for a first or second round exit. That doesn't mean those teams are bad, or have no hope for the future, or should just blow it up and start over, etc.. It just means that something's missing, and that until that elusive last piece is acquired, they're stuck getting bounced by more talented teams.

    I think that people equate mediocre with bad or with hopeless or futile, but that isn't it at all. Sometimes teams go from mediocre to championship (like with pau to the Lakers or with Boston), but most don't simply because only 4 teams make it to the conference finals. There's nothing wrong with positioning yourself to fish for that last piece when you've built organically and can't get over the hump without a push. Honestly, you can daydream all you want about Bargs and deRozan becoming elite or JV tearing up the league, but just like every team not currently employing LeBron, Durant, Howard, Paul or Rose (if he returns to form), you're probably screwed through no fault of your own. That's just the reality of sports.

    edit: fixed typos and clarified a few bad sentences.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Miekenstien's Avatar
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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Well said. I was going to ask Lark if he can name any current championship calibre team without a very good (say top 8) point guard?
    miami

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    Re Miami, Chalmers thinks he is better than Rondo...LOL. Not that I believe so. But, referring to Lark's posts please dont say that Lowry would go to Miami at this stage of his career for Ray Allen type money. Cause that's what he would have to do. And why would Miami give up on Chalmers/get a Lowry for much more money if they already won with Chalmers.

    ps...I'll try and find the Chalmers is better than Rondo interview if someone insists!

    I admit I missed Chalmers but I stand by the point I was making...and Puffer as well

    Miami as we all know is a special team who doesnt use the conventional PG at all times. Lebron plays it much in crunch time.
    Last edited by Bendit; Fri Oct 26th, 2012 at 11:41 PM.

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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    Re Miami, Chalmers thinks he is better than Rondo...LOL. Not that I believe so. But, referring to Lark's posts please dont say that Lowry would go to Miami at this stage of his career for Ray Allen type money. Cause that's what he would have to do. And why would Miami give up on Chalmers/get a Lowry for much more money if they already won with Chalmers.

    ps...I'll try and find the Chalmers is better than Rondo interview if someone insists!

    I admit I missed Chalmers but I stand by the point I was making...and Puffer as well

    Miami as we all know is a special team who doesnt use the conventional PG at all times. Lebron plays it much in crunch time.
    chalmers is a bum. i was just dropping the pg on the team. i think it will actually be impossible for lowry to sign there and not sure but might also be impossible to sign and trade to miami as well.

    i think that lark is trying to be the voice of reason on the excitement we all have right now but his arguments are coming off more negative then he is intending.

    i don't agree that mediocre is all this team is capable of because it really does look like we have a player in jv. i think that demar has panned out as well as he is going to and if he can constantly attack from the low post or go at the rim he is a fine player.

    i also stated in another thread that what this team is doing is building a team not building around one player. casey asked for specific skill sets in players and colangelo got them. now they need to implement team philosophies. if/when demar leaves it isn't because we couldn't keep him, it will be because we don't want to.

    letting him walk for nothing or sign and trade for minor assets is better for our team now then signing him because we have no other options. that is team building.

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    Quote Bendit wrote: View Post
    But, referring to Lark's posts please dont say that Lowry would go to Miami at this stage of his career for Ray Allen type money. Cause that's what he would have to do. And why would Miami give up on Chalmers/get a Lowry for much more money if they already won with Chalmers.
    I'm not saying that he'd sign for less money in Miami. I was just answering the question put to me. I'd be shocked if he did that. But let me ask you this: if the Raps miss the playoffs this year then barely squeak in next year and get stomped in the first round, what's Lowry's incentive to stay?

    And just as an aside, because I was surprised by the results, I went back and looked at the list of recent champs and finals losers. Here's the starting point guard on some of the recent ones:

    Dallas with old Kidd
    Miami with Chalmers
    LA with Fisher
    Boston with young Rondo (good, but top 8? I'd have to go back and look but I doubt it)
    Cleveland with Mo Williams
    San Antonio with young Parker (see Rondo comment)
    Dallas with Devin Harris
    The Heat for the first championship, though you could argue Wade was the PG a lot

    That's just the last 10 years, and it's the majority. There's a bumper crop of talented young point guards in today's league but you don't need a top PG to win in the NBA.

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    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    That's just the last 10 years, and it's the majority. There's a bumper crop of talented young point guards in today's league but you don't need a top PG to win in the NBA.
    More so you need a great wing/post player. At the end of the day, until we start seeing consistent teams with great point guards winning championships, your point guard, as the #1 option won't necessarily result success. For his job is to get the ball TO the #1 option and so forth.

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    Quote akashsingh wrote: View Post
    I dunno, maybe I think about it too much, and should get another hobby? what do you guys think.
    yes

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    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    1. Landry's poison pill absolutely matters. The expensive year of his contract is the year it might interfere with resigning Davis and Lowry. It's not the worst thing in the world, but in that year Bargs, Amir, Fields, as well as JV and Ross' rookie deals will take up half the cap.
    But after realising it the poison pill doesn't affect our cap:

    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    And planetmars, you're right, forgot about that. But it's a difference of a few mil for cap purposes, and doesn't really change things much. It's still a lot of money for players that aren't going to take you very far wihout a franchise player for them to work around.
    Practising for a political career? Got the flip-flop down. Nice save to quickly insert another argument when it's being rebutted.

    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    So dismiss my response with a 'whatever' and keep blindly believing the team can bust through mediocrity into the league's upper strata if you like, but until I see evidence that it can, I'm going to stay pessimistic.
    That's the problem with people that don't agree with you, they're all ignoring reality and are pretty darn stupid. They think we are going to be champions for the next 10 years. Well, guess what, we won't. You tell em! (building my own Aunt Sally here)

    Quote Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    As for the 'all about winning' thing, that's all I've been hearing about him since he was traded here. That he's a bulldog, alpha competitor, hates to lose even in practice, etc. The Raps have two short years to prove to him that the team is headed in the right direction. But if Bargs and DD don't develop like everyone seems to assume they will, then where does that leave the team and why on earth would Lowry resign?
    We all, except for you, expect them to become allstars or something like that? What?

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