Free Agency

Day’s recap and looking ahead

It was a great trade, no doubt about that, but I don’t see nearly enough thanks being directed towards the Magic for actually allowing for this to happen. I don’t think any blog or media outlet could anticipate what happened just because nobody could see the Magic participating in the trade. They had little incentive to be part of this from the outset, Otis Smith spoke clearly a few days ago about how the Magic would not help the Raptors in the Turkoglu transaction, but a trade exception that they’re unlikely to use sealed the deal for them. Other than the Magic’s late involvement this was going to be a pretty boring deal, so although Colangelo deserves a ton of credit for his creativity in orchestrating the deal, we should first and foremost recognize Otis Smith for stepping in and helping out what can now be considered a conference rival.

Hedo Turkoglu was officially announced yesterday and here are the bullet points:

  • Colangelo admitted that he had been pursuing Turkoglu for quite some time and wouldn’t let his failure to complete the deal in Phoenix repeat itself. At that time Magic GM John Weisbrod beat him to the punch.
  • The idea of the trade was thought up by Steve Fruitman, Senior Director Basketball Administration. Colangelo’s first preference in signing Turkoglu was a straight signing based on cap space but soon realized it wasn’t possible.
  • Colangelo things Hedo is a player that will make others better. He’s damn right there, creativity with the ball and ability to recognize options is what has been lacking the last couple years and Hedo does address that to a degree, however that doesn’t mean we still don’t need a defensive minded guard that can knock down the jumpers Marcus Banks and Roko can’t. Colangelo assessed that Hedo was making the main basketball decisions for the Magic in the playoffs and values his clutchness.
  • Chris Bosh helped recruit Hedo Turkoglu by calling him up. Colangelo thinks the moves he’s made so far have made a very positive impression on Chris Bosh which he thinks will help in his eventual signing.
  • As for leaving an NBA Finals team and joining a lottery one, Hedo put it straight:

    It’s a situation which was made by both sides, not just one.

    Nobody asked him about the Portland thingy.

  • The Raptors have 12 committed contracts for next year: Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon, Antoine Wright, Devean George, Quincy Douby, Reggie Evans, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick O’Bryant, Marcus Banks and Roko Ukic. Colangelo will try and sign Carlos Delfino and is officially waiting for the Anthony Parker to Cleveland deal to get done first.
  • Colangelo got calls from many GMs whose clients are looking for that mid-level exception. According to him, Toronto became a very popular place to play since yesterday. Tim Chisholm looks at the possible players that we can sign using the MLE including Glen Davis, Hakim Warrick, Josh Childress and others. My number one choice would be Grant Hill. Here’s the up-to-date team salaries.
  • People who ask questions like Why is Toronto so great and why did you choose this city? just need a pat on the back for living where they live. After Doug Smith asked this question, Turkoglu basically said that basketball came first, then the city.
  • Here’s the full press conference on YouTube thanks to Birdman.

The Raptors also signed DeMar DeRozan to the rookie scale contract which will pay him $2,282,640 next year. Assuming Antoine Wright remains a Raptor, DeRozan’s going to be fighting him for a starting spot with Delfino likely kept in reserve to boost the bench.

What’s lost in the shuffle is the exit of Kris Humphries from the team, it’s unfortunate because he’s a type of player which every team needs and if only he had stayed healthy last year, he probably would’ve had a say in this year’s roster. He was a guy that grasped his role very well but for whatever reason refused to stick to it, his hustle and energy were second to none but Mitchell never managed to get through to him the concept of sticking to what he was good at. His recurring need to deviate from his role and morph into a wannabe scorer spelled his end in Toronto. Good luck to Hump, he will be missed. Kinda. Not really though.

So what team-need do you think needs addressing the most? Let’s quickly recap:

  • Front-court Rebounding: Evans, Bosh, Bargnani. B-.
  • Back-court Rebounding: Turkoglu, DeRozan, Delfino. A-.
  • Ball handling: Turkoglu, Calderon. B+.
  • Dribble penetration: Calderon, Turkoglu. B.
  • Wing defense: DeRozan, Delfino. B-.
  • Point-of-attack defense (dribble penetration): Calderon, Ukic. C+.
  • Guard Scoring: DeRozan, Wright. C-
  • Front-court scoring: Bosh, Bargnani. B+

Now I know I’m being generous with some of the grades but the point is that singling out some of the weak points of the team aren’t that hard. Point-of-attack defense is still weak and so is the expected production out of the shooting guard position, both these areas killed us last year and we’re one signing away from killing two birds with one stone. I already said I liked Grant Hill but a motivated Flip Murray could also do the trick although his defensive game isn’t good enough for what we need. Ideally, a James Posey or Raja Bell type player is needed.

Rebounding is also a concern, last year we missed Rasho and the space he used to take up in the middle. Rasho might not have gotten the rebound but his box-outs and man-defense were perhaps the best on the team. We were 3rd worst in defensive rebounding for most of last year until we made that meaningless run at the end. Colangelo can’t afford that to repeat as the Achilles’ heel. I’d even go as far as saying that rebounding is perhaps a more grave need than production from the off-guard position and PG defense. That’s going on the assumption that Roko’s improved his defensive mechanics to be relied upon to play smart and tough defense.

One final thought, does anyone notice how quickly Colangelo jumped off the Marion bandwagon? At the end of the season he appeared to want to sign him to an extension based on the late-season run and even went as far as offering him a contract which most of us thought was more than reasonable, if not too high. Is it Colangelo’s good luck that Marion rejected the deal and thus fell the first domino of what transpired? Whatever it is I’ll take it.

Summer league starts on Friday and we’ll try to have a live blog of the game followed by a report or two, here’s the schedule:

Date Opponent Time (ET)
Friday, July 10 L.A. Lakers 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 11 Detroit 4:00 p.m.
Monday, July 13 Portland 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 15 Milwaukee 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 16 Phoenix 4:00 p.m.

If you want to watch the Las Vegas Summer League action you can do so here for about 15 bucks.

Quick site note, today we experienced some load issues on the site which made it unavailable for about half an hour or so. We’re trying to get the house in order so outages like those are minimized, sorry about the inconvenience. But for now, let’s end with Colangelo’s quote from yesterday:

Stay tuned for more changes to the roster, we got other things on the horizon…


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