Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee July 4

With NBA free agency entering its fourth day it's hard to conclude anything other than that the Raptors are simply a well-padded fallback position for Nash.

Sports Illustrated

As for the Raptors: As I wrote last week, adding Nash (and Fields) would make them legitimate playoff contenders in the East. Coach Dwane Casey will keep this defense improving, and the combination of Nash and a healthy Andrea Bargnani would lift to average or better an offense that ranked 28th in points per possession last season. Nash’s last two Suns teams, relatively bereft of talent, ranked in the top 10 in points per possession and scored at a top-three rate when he was on the floor. The man is that good, and the Raptors’ offense, as bad as it was overall, scored at a league-average rate with Bargnani in the game. Even Fields shot much better overall when playing with Lin, suggesting that he might be at least a usable offensive player with a point guard who can find him on cuts.

But it’s fair to ask if the Raptors are going a bit overboard with the Nash chase when you consider how it might compromise their cap room next summer. Adding Nash and Fields at these prices would give Toronto about $50 million in committed salary for 2013-2014, not including DeRozan’s cap hold, which would wipe out the bulk of the remaining cap space. Heck, Fields, Nash, Bargnani and power forward Amir Johnson could make $40 million combined in 2014-15, before even considering DeRozan, incoming rookie center Jonas Valanciunas and the other players on rookie deals.

The Raptors do not have much of a record of attracting top free agents, so perhaps this is a reasonable way to trade in cap space ahead of time — similar to what the Wizards did in acquiring Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor from the Hornets last month. But flexibility is nice to have, and the Raptors are approaching the line at which they are compromising too much of theirs.

National Post

The offer for Fields, a restricted free agent, is a back-loaded overpay, no matter how much coach Dwane Casey is said to like the offensively limited wing player. But it makes it much more difficult for the Knicks to acquire Nash in a sign-and-trade; now they would have to surrender promising young guard Iman Shumpert, while also matching Houston’s reported backloaded offer to point guard Jeremy Lin. Nash has a home in New York, and his post-career filmmaking aspirations could get a boost there. He should be smart enough to avoid the North Korean capitalist snakepit that is Madison Square Garden — there are no happily ever afters there — but just in case, Colangelo threw a bomb.

This is the Bryan Colangelo who engineered brilliantly structured trades to get Tyson Chandler (only to see Michael Jordan cancel it at the last minute, which turned out to be a huge reason Dallas won an NBA championship in 2011) and Hedo Turkoglu (let’s move on); this is the man who wasn’t afraid to deal for Jermaine O’Neal (let’s move on), and trade him for Shawn Marion (which turned out to be a huge reason Miami won an NBA championship in 2012). For better or worse, he’s back.

Toronto Star

Fields, 24, is no bum and has been linked to the Raptors, at least quietly, since before the league’s free agency period began on Sunday.

He is coming off a bad second season in New York — he shot 26 per cent from three-point range and a miserable 56 per cent from the free throw line — but the Raptors have paid scant attention to those numbers given the system Fields played under and the teammates he played with.

They feel in a more free-flowing, ball-moving offence — precisely what New York did not run with Carmelo Anthony for most of last season — that Fields can thrive. The Stanford graduate shot 39 per cent from three-point range, 50 per cent from the field and 77 per cent from the free throw line as a rookie.

He’s not as bad as he was last year or as good as he was early in his rookie season but his offensive production, coupled with tenacious defence, should make him a favourite of coach Dwane Casey. And since Toronto’s small forwards right now are James Johnson and Linas Kleiza, neither of whom has ever set the NBA on fire, Fields can’t hurt.

The Fields offer sheet is also the first concrete move the Raptors have made since NBA free agency began. They still have work to do — they may need to add a backup point guard depending on what happens with Nash, Jose Calderon and restricted free agent Jerryd Bayless — and they may want a fallback position in case the Knicks match the Fields offer.

Toronto Star

In Nash, the Raptors would not only add a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and eight-time all-star, but a member of the Order of Canada and the newly-minted general manager of Canada’s men’s basketball team.

Should Nash, 38, sign with the Raptors, his well-established star value and stature as a local hero would almost certainly generate renewed interest the Raptors franchise.

“There are certain people in the marketplace that will all of a sudden start to watch basketball or buy a jersey because Nash is on the Raptors that would not have otherwise,” said Norman O’Reilly, a University of Ottawa sports business professor.

The Raptors reportedly offered Nash a three-year, $36 million (U.S.) contract earlier this week, but face competition from the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.

The storyline — Western Canadian boy comes home to the Raptors — would likely pique interest nationwide, drawing viewers coast-to-coast and serving as a tourism boost for the city, said Chris Gibbs, a Ryerson tourism professor who specializes in professional sports.

“From a merchandizing perspective, he’s a huge star,” he said. “Sales will go through the roof. More people may consider a stop in Toronto because they’re a basketball fan of Steve Nash.”

Indeed, “one would think that (Nash’s) addition to the lineup would encourage people from outside the region coming into the city to attend a game to stay overnight,” said Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance CEO Rick Traer.

Between the 2006-07 and 2010-11 seasons, Nash, then a member of the Phoenix Suns, played five regular season games in Toronto. The ACC reached capacity three times, with only one game – a 113-94 Suns victory on Nov. 29, 2009 – drawing less than the Raptors’ average home attendance that season.


A source confirms to FOX19 Tu Holloway will play for the Toronto Raptors summer team starting July 13th.

Holloway worked out for several NBA teams, but was not picked in the 2012 NBA draft in June.

Holloway finished his career at Xavier 6th on the school’s all-time scoring list.

Huffington Post

There are clearly many reasons for you to sign in Toronto, but if, for whatever reason, you decide to sign with Miami, tell Bosh it’s not that we are angry with him, it’s that we are "disappointed." Tell him maybe we said some things we didn’t really mean when we were emotional and maybe one day it would be great to grab a coffee with him and catch up a little. Actually don’t tell him we said anything, unless he asks about us, do you think he will ask about us? If you go to Dallas tell Vince Carter he’s terrible, any team he ever plays for is terrible, and that we are glad he is gone, and maybe give him a shove or something so he knows we are serious. Hate Vince Carter.

I think you will sign with Toronto however, because while life may be full of tough choices, this isn’t one of them. You could "Karl Malone" your career by signing with a contender or you could solidify your position as a national hero, help the Raptors sell out every game and drive up the popularity of your sport all across Canada.

Raptors fans will cheer for you anyway, but signing in Toronto would give them the chance to cheer for you in person 41 games a year instead of once or twice.

Nash is mulling offers from the Raptors, who reportedly have a three-year, $36 million deal on the table, and the Knicks, who only have the $3 million exception to offer as well.
A source said Tuesday that Nash is allowing the Knicks time to try and create a sign-and-trade deal that would be palatable for Phoenix — and also get Nash a higher annual salary. But the Raptors put a crimp in New York’s plans Tuesday when they reached a verbal agreement with restricted free agent guard Landry Fields on an offer sheet worth $20 million for three years.
Fields was one of the players the Knicks had hoped to include in a potential sign and trade with the Suns. But the league’s rules prohibit a team from trading a player who has signed an offer sheet as part of a sign-and-trade deal.
The Mavericks are also looking at Nash, who left Dallas as a free agent in 2004 for Phoenix, after Nets free agent guard Deron Williams opted to remain in Brooklyn on Tuesday. But the Mavericks, according to a league source, have other possibilities if they can’t get Nash, including Clippers free agent Randy Foye, and Aaron Brooks, who played last season in China.
Because Brooks, who had played most recently in Phoenix in the NBA, wasn’t on the Suns’ roster at the end of last season, he can’t be used by the Suns as part of any sign-and-trade deal.

Toronto Sun

Fields is a strong defender, but the deal guarantees a lot of money for a player who only averaged 8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and shot just 25.6% from three-point range and 56.2% from the free throw line as a sophomore, but if it results in a Nash signing, it will be worth it.

The Raptors desperately need Nash for a host of reasons discussed in this space over the past week.

If Fields can return to his rookie form (9.7 points, 6.4 rebounds per game, 39.3% shooting from outside, 76.9% from the line), nobody will be complaining about his contract either and he’ll be a fine complement to Nash.

Fields struggled after the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony and is far better suited to a fast-paced offence — like the one Nash directs — than the ball-stopping one favoured by Anthony.

Last February, with Anthony out for most of the month due to injury, Fields bumped his averages up to 10.5 points and 5.2 rebounds on 47.8% shooting from the field in 15 games.

His three-point stroke improved in April (33%) and Fields played well against the eventual champion Miami Heat in the playoffs, starting four of five games.

The Raptors expect Fields to start at small forward, with rookie Terrence Ross backing up both Fields and DeMar DeRozan.

The Raptors were not comfortable with both the dollar and term commitments necessary to land higher-profile small forward targets like Nic Batum and Gerald Wallace and have long been high on Fields, who resembles Oklahoma City’s Thabo Sefolosha in both frame and game.

Pro Basketball Talk

Fields is a solid two-way player who can give the Raptors 25 to 30 quality minutes a night, especially if he feels comfortable in the system. He had a better rookie season in New York, especially when the focus of the offense was Amare Stoudemire, but he struggled to adapt to the Carmelo Anthony Knicks. He would play well next to a strong point guard. His impact lessened as the season wore on and the Knicks became ‘Melo centric. In a new setting he could give more than the 8.8 points per game he averaged last year.

Sports Illustrated

With Williams off the market, a source with knowledge of the Mavericks’ plans said Nash is now the team’s top priority among the available point guards. While it’s not known how much owner Mark Cuban will be willing to spend on the player he let slip away back in 2004, Dallas is clearly the greatest threat to Toronto’s aggressive pitch to land the two-time MVP.
After making an offer to Nash on Sunday that sources said was for three years and $36 million, Raptors officials were feeling even more confident after they appeared to successfully railroad the Knicks’ bid for Nash. By agreeing to a three-year, $20 million offer sheet with Knicks restricted free agent shooting guard Landry Fields, the Raptors took away New York’s ability to use Fields in a possible sign-and-trade deal with Phoenix that would have allowed them to pay Nash more than their mini midlevel exception (three years, combined $9 million max).
The sign-and-trade possibilities aren’t entirely dead, though. Sources said the Suns would be interested in a sign-and-trade deal that would include Knicks guard Iman Shumpert and other expiring deals that would net Nash a hefty salary. But the 22-year-old defensive specialist has no shortage of fans within the Knicks’ organization, and any such move would likely be driven by owner James Dolan’s desire to pair a star like Nash with Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler for a championship run. Still, Nash to the Knicks seems unlikely at the moment.

Brewing Big Dreams

Steve Nash is probably one of the most well known NBA players out there and the best part about it is, that he is Canadian. The man, a whopping 38 years old, still plays with the young guns at an unbelievable level. He’s an incredible NBA player but more importantly, he is an AMAZING role model.

Now this all being said, Steve Nash coming to the Raptors would boost sales like crazy. I’ve already talked to my friend and we both agree we would buy jersey’s right away. But what will happen if he says no? The impact could be a lot worse than led on. If the Raptors don’t start stepping up their game (and making it to playoffs, much like their roommates the TML’s) we could see a major hit to the organization. Will Raptors basketball even continue down the road? Can we see the franchise being sold much like the Vancouver Grizzlies? So much is dependant on this deal!

I, for one, would love to see Nash come to the Raptors. He would be a leader, a huge impact, for the Raptors next season. And yes, I would fly back from Vancouver to see at least ONE game.


Fields isn’t worth $20-million over three years, not even close.

He’s an interesting and clever player who will add some potential to the Raptors wing rotation, but his primary value to Colangelo is that he was rumoured to be the centerpiece of a sign-and-trade deal the Knicks were trying to put together with the Phoenix Suns so they could clear enough space to make an offer to Nash that was at least close to the $36-million over three years the Raptors reportedly offered Canadian basketball’s favourite son.

Add it up and the Raptors are willing to commit $56-million to make sure they get their man. That’s devotion.

If Nash, 38, stays healthy it’s plausible that he can help the franchise enough on the court and off the court to make it a gamble worth taking. The bigger price for Colangelo, the Raptors and their new owners at MLSE – Rogers Communications and BCE – would be standing idly by while the best basketball player Canada is likely to ever produce, finishes his career elsewhere.

That would be awkward.

But nearly as awkward is the emerging possibility that the best basketball player Canada has ever produced isn’t really all that keen on finishing his career in Toronto and trying to hump a fairly suspect lineup into the bottom end of the Eastern Conference playoffs picture for the first time in four years.

If he was, all he would have had to say is ‘yes’ when the Raptors made their offer on Sunday morning in New York. What a happy Canada Day that would have been. With NBA free agency entering its fourth day, however, it’s hard to conclude anything other than that the Raptors are simply a well-padded fallback position for Nash.

Bleacher Report

While there is little debate as to whether or not Fields has the potential to be a star player, there should be little debate as to whether or not he fits in Toronto.

Across the board, the Raptors lack basketball IQ. Athletes like Ed Davis, James Johnson and Demar DeRozan lack the basic basketball IQ a player like Fields seems to have in abundance.

It was his overall basketball IQ that led Fields to have a remarkable rookie season despite being a second-round pick. Its this basketball IQ that Colangelo probably coveted more than anything when making the call.

The last time the Raptors actually had a decent season, lets not forget that they started players like Rasho Nesterovic, Anthony Parker and Jorge Garbajosa alongside Chris Bosh and T.J Ford. Having players who understand the game is invaluable.

It is these players who, while perhaps making a marginal impact on the box score, make a monumental impact in the win column by enhancing the overall performance of the players around them and helping to enhance the team’s chemistry both on and off the court.

Is it a coincidence that the Raptors have failed to make the playoffs in each of the years since Anthony Parker left? Is it a coincidence that the Raptors looked like a completely different team in the playoffs without Garbajosa than they had all year with him, despite his rather conservative and unimpressive numbers?


All of Fields’ shooting percentages declined in his second year in the league, including woeful marks of 25.6 percent from 3-point range and 56.2 percent from the foul line, along with his Player Efficiency Rating and rebound rates — most notably his defensive rebound rate, which was elite among guards and was a huge part of what made the 6-foot-7 Fields so valuable in the Knicks backcourt. He used more Knick possessions in his second year, but posted a lower per-minute scoring output and turned the ball over more frequently.
He wasn’t any great shakes on the defensive end, either. Fields ranked 341st among NBA players in overall points allowed per play defended, according to Synergy Sports Technology’s game charting. When you consider that more than 440 players saw NBA floor-time this season, that not all of them are counted (only guys with at least 25 plays charted appear in the rankings, per Synergy’s FAQ) and that Fields played 2,009 total minutes this season (so it’s not like he got burned repeatedly for one game and caught a bum stat line), that number looks really, really bad. That he ranked 185th in the NBA or worse in defending pick-and-roll ball-handlers, on post-ups, on spot-ups and in isolation doesn’t help matters. (In fairness, we must note that he posted a top-100 finish in defending plays off screens, coming in at 96th overall.)
OK, so we’ve got a shooting guard who can’t shoot, a rebounding wing whose rebounding fell off, a perimeter defender who’s not a very good defender and a second-year pro whom most Knicks fans were willing, if not eager, to let walk after the team’s first-round playoff exit. (This is, of course, a drastic oversimplification, but it’s also about the size of how Landry Fields looks to the world.) And yet now he’s getting offered better than $6.5 million a year to play the wing for a team that starts DeMar DeRozan and just drafted Terrence Ross? Are the Raptors stupid?
Heck yeah, they are. Stupid like a fox!

Sportsnet spoke with Ersan Ilyasova’s agent, Tolga Tugsavul, who said there were offers on the table for his client from three NBA teams as well as "a big offer" from a European club.

Tugsavul said that the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets were all seeking his client’s services.

Ilyasova has spent his entire NBA career in Milwaukee, averaging a career-high 13 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season.