Morning Linkage – Nov 6

English named in tax probe – Toronto Sun

Raptors assistant coach Alex English reportedly owes more than $127,000 US in delinquent taxes, according to public records obtained by the Detroit News.

Under the headline Ex-NBA star owes giant nugget, the News reports that the IRS and the state of South Carolina claim English owes various tax monies, including a $88,071 tax lien against English and his wife in Richland County (S.C.).

The Raptors front office declined to comment on the situation and English was not available yesterday for comment, although the NBA Hall of Famer told the News: "It is in dispute so I have no other comment."

Calderon Starting slowly – Toronto Sun

Colangelo acquired the former Georgia Tech star (he played with Bosh during the 2002-03 season) because Jack gives the Raptors a second, quite able, ball-handler at the point, something extremely valuable if Jose Calderon is out or having an off day.

That was exactly the situation in Toronto's 110-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

Calderon struggled, managing nine points and just one assist in almost 32 minutes of play. But Jack, along with others on the bench, including Antoine Wright and Amir Johnson, gave the team a lift en route to the win.

Jack finished with nine points, six assists and three rebounds in 31 minutes and played hard on defence.

"That's one of the reasons we did what we did in the off-season — get some depth at that position," coach Jay Triano said. "And when guys aren't playing as well and are struggling a little bit, that's when we go to the bench and hope those guys pick it up. And so far they have."

Feschuk: Raptors face test in sizzling Paul –

If the coach was shuddering as he spoke, forgive him. The Raptors have their weaknesses, perhaps none as glaring as their inability to defend against elite point guards – heck, half-decent point guards. And the three-game road trip that begins Friday against the Hornets will bring Toronto's hoopsters in contact with some specimens that lean toward elite.

If Saturday's visit with Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks is a holiday in comparison to chasing around Paul, consider that the Raptors round out the road trip with a former NBA final MVP named Tony Parker on Monday.

Paul Jones – The FAN 590 Toronto – Audio on Demand

The voice of the Raptors on THE FAN joins David to discuss his receiving of the York University “Redefine The Possible” Award at York’s Bryden Alumni Awards event. Paul and his brother Mark shared the award, which was handed out on Thursday night.

Toronto Raptors Top 10 All-Time Players | Bleacher Report

15 year anniversary of the Toronto Raptors. Counting down the top 10 players to ever wear the raptors uniform. Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years; but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league attendance records and made the NBA Playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress and he was traded in 2004. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader, but they continued to struggle. However, with the appointment of Bryan Colangelo as General Manager and a revamp of the roster for the 2006–07 season, they qualified for their first playoff berth in five years and captured their first division title.

The Golden State Warriors Need To Be Fixed | EndScore

Warriors trade Monta Ellis to the New York Knicks for David Lee
Granted, this might not fly, and wouldn’t work as a one-for-one swap. Moreover, Lee can’t be traded until December 25, 2009. However, if the Knicks weren’t willing to sign him to an extension after last season’s performance, chances are they won’t want to sign him when his contract is up this summer. Lee is a hard working big man who can run with the fast guards of the Warriors, while bringing an interior toughness. The Knicks are wanting salary cap flexibility more than anything, so the Warriors might have to take someone like Jared Jeffries. Adding a proven big man like Lee would be just what the doctor ordered.

This deal is probably unrealistic, though it works in terms of salaries. If the Raptors don’t think they can keep Bosh, they might go for this kind of deal, especially if they’re trying to run the ball more. Claxton would be a lure for Toronto, as his contract expires after this season.

Triano likes Wright’s unselfish attitude – The Globe and Mail

So when Jay Triano heard forward Antoine Wright tell him during crunch time in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons that the team was better off with him remaining on the bench, the Toronto Raptors coach was surprised – and pleasantly so.

“We had a lot of guys saying a lot of unselfish things,” Triano said after practice yesterday afternoon. “Antoine, I thought about putting him in late in the game for defensive purposes and he said, ‘Coach, these guys are rolling, let them go, they’re doing fine.’ “That’s just a sign of a guy who’s willing to sacrifice minutes for the sake of our team staying on a roll. I think to a man that’s one of the things we have to try to maintain over 82 games.”

It’s not that the 6-foot-7 swingman is lacking in confidence.

It’s just that he felt the rotation already on the floor, one that included Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu, was Toronto’s best option at fending off a late Pistons run.

Ontario to investigate Raptors’ swine flu shots –

Ontario health minister Deb Matthews vowed on Thursday to investigate whether Toronto's NBA and NHL players jumped the line for the swine flu shot while other groups are being forced to wait as the province's supply dwindles.

Matthews said she shares the outrage sparked by reports that Raptors and Maple Leafs players got the shot even though the province doesn't have enough yet to vaccinate school-age children.

"I don't care who you are, how rich you are, how famous you are," she said. "If you're not in the priority group, get out of the line and let the people who are in the priority groups get their vaccination."

Matthews expects Ontario to run out of the regular H1N1 vaccine at the end of the week due to Ottawa's dramatic supply slowdown.

Jose Calderon addresses the defense

Video and quotes from Jose Calderon about the way he's playing.

Raptors’ Calderon faces tough test on road trip

“I think I can get better on both ends of the floor. Offence and defence have got to be much better,” Calderon said Thursday. “It’s only four games into the season, I’ve given my best. It’s not going really good right now.”

That might be an understatement. Despite healing from a hamstring injury that limited him last year, he has been as slow as ever on the defensive end of the floor.

Offensively, he has been surprisingly off of his game, as he is still finding his way in an evolving system. He bottomed out against Detroit, managing just one assist, his lowest total in a full game’s work since he was battling T.J. Ford for minutes a few seasons back.

Writer, ex-Raptor team up to help boys shape a book – The Globe and Mail

The Toronto District School Board is enlisting the help of a new slam-dunk writer in residence and a Junkyard Dog to get boys excited about reading.

Eric Walters, a bestselling children's author, has collaborated before with former Toronto Raptor Jerome Williams and his brother Johnnie. For their latest book, Home Team, the three men will launch their largest collaboration ever when thousands of Grade 3 and Grade 6 boys act as their story editors.

The project is the latest evidence that the TDSB's new education director, Chris Spence, understands that to narrow the achievement gap between boys and girls, you need to close the enthusiasm gap first.

Hockey town falls for the Raptors – National Newspaper

The rot of the Maple Leafs goes back to the days when the club was owned by the late Harold Ballard, who cared not whether his team won or lost, but whether they made a profit.

The team eventually ended up in the hands of the provincial teachers’ pension fund, who also saw the club as a great revenue generator.

So the Leafs’ underlying philosophy is to make money, not give their fans the team they deserve.

Against this backdrop stands the Toronto Raptors basketball club. They are owned by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the parent company of the Maple Leafs hockey team.

Improbably then, the basketball team’s management is visibly trying to build a winner.

It doesn’t even seem possible, given the decades of ineptitude on the hockey side of operations.

The Raptors are a tremendous value proposition for sports fans in Toronto.

Bosh averaging an impressive 16 free-throw attempts per game – Posted Sports

Much has been made about Chris Bosh's off-season work that resulted in 25 extra pounds for the power forward. Well, the weight is already showing its worth.

Undoubtedly emboldened by his extra muscle mass, Bosh has gone to the free-throw line 65 times in the season's first four games — including a 20-trip night on Wednesday against the Pistons. According to the impressive skills of a barely-got-through-grade-11-math reporter, that equals an average of 16.25 free throws per night.

"I want more. I want to get to the line more," Bosh said on Thursday. "I'm pretty satisfied with the way I've been attacking the basket. I think I can do a better job of sustaining that energy throughout the game."

Timberwolves Add Darrick Martin To Basketball Staff – OurSports Central

Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that the team has named 13-year NBA veteran Darrick Martin as the team's Assistant Director of Player Development. Martin will aid Assistant Coach/Director of Player Development J.B. Bickerstaff with the all of the team's player development initiatives.

"I'm very excited to welcome Darrick to our staff," Timberwolves Head Coach Kurt Rambis said. "He's been around this league a long time and will be a tremendous resource for our players, both on and off the court."

Oakley did not want to come to Canada – Michael Grange

Seems Oak wasn’t very happy about coming to Canada. The Raptors were the NBA’s version of Siberia and coming off that epic 16-66 season, he was probably right. As the exiled toast of New York, Oak was sincerely grumpy when he pulled up to the border crossing on his way to training camp, driving up from his home in Cleveland. He’s rolling in a black BMW with tinted windows, stuffed to the gills to make the Royal York Hotel feel like home away from home.

The border guards are curious maybe even suspicious and Oak gets questioned. He tells them he’s on his way to play for the Raptors, but that doesn’t quite cut it. They want to see his work papers and documentation etc., but Oak doesn’t have it. They search the BMW. Tens of thousands of dollars of suits only Oak could wear are being rifled through, and who knows what else.

He’s mad. He calls his agent. “This is bull***, call (then Raptors GM) Glen Grunwald, F*** this! I’m not coming up there, I’m turning around right now.”

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