Monday, June 20, 2011

If I were GM of...the Toronto Raptors

Look, Chris Bosh is a fine player. He can rebound a little bit, and is gifted offensively. I know that there was some level of uproar over him leaving Toronto last summer...but, what's the big deal here? Were the Raptors really that good with him? Bosh led them to a high-water mark of 47 wins 5 years ago and they made the playoffs twice, winning 3 games total. They threw up a ton of points and GM Bryan Coangelo made a somewhat interesting sideplot with how many foreign players that he could bring onto one team. They were decent at best, barely mediocre at worst. The point is that this rebuilding project I'm going to propose here should have started two seasons ago, not in the upcoming one.

Jose Calderon: 9.7 million
Andrea Bargnani: 9 million
Leandro Barbosa: 7.6 million (team option)
Amir Johnson: 5.5 million
Linas Kleiza: 4.6 million
Julian Wright: 3.9 million (qualifying offer)
DeMar DeRozan: 2.6 million
Jerryd Bayless: 3.04 million
Ed Davis: 2 million
James Johnson: 1.8 million
Joey Dorsey: 1 million
Solomon Alabi: 830,000
Total: 45 million

Peja Stojakovic: 14.9 million
Reggie Evans: 5.08 million
Alexis: Ajinca: 1.46 million
Sonny Weems: 854,389
Total: 22.5 million

1). First and foremost, identify your core

This is something the Raptors should have done a while ago - correctly identify their core guys going forward, and try to dump everyone else. Yes, a full scale blow-up. Florida Marlins, 1998-style, almost everyone goes-type blowup.

The way I see it, their core guys are DeMar, Ed Davis (too early to give up on him), Jerryd Bayless and whoever they draft with the fifth pick. Everyone else is expendable. The way that things are set up now, either DeMar or Andrea Bargnani is going to be your best player - and I don't care what country it is, a guy named Andrea shouldn't be your best player. Let's say that DeRozan turned into a less-skilled and crafty Manu Ginobili, Bargnani was a better Memhet Okur, Ed Davis wasn't a bust already and Jerryd Bayless lived up to his college-reputation. They would still be a star short of being a contender. An entertaining team? Sure. Put up a lot of points? Most definitely. But not anything a playoff team. Think the Atlanta Hawks, but with even less defense. You need to blow it up, start over, like they should have done LAST YEAR when Bosh was almost-assuredly leaving. Now that we've established this, let us move on.

2) With the fifth pick in the draft, take Jan Vesely.

Look, I'm not Chad Ford, or anyone at, but I've heard that Vesely isn't a soft Euro, He plays a genuine back-to-the-basket game and can throw it down. I'll take that guy. If you are thinking that Bayless is your point guard of the future, then I'd pass on Kemba (for various reasons beyond just that one), Tristan Thompson and Leonard. They'll need a center after they trade Bargnani.

3) Trade Andrea Bargnani

Oh, right. I know he was your number one pick, but it was a number one in a terrible draft. The best two players turned out to be Brandon Roy's 2006-2009 seasons and LaMarcus Aldridge. Bargnani is owed a decent chunk of change going forward (42 million through 2015), but he's got great numbers. There is going to be a GM that will pay for his services, especially at the price offered - think Al Jefferson trade (basically two first round picks, and an expiring contract). He's a 7-footer that plays 30 feet away from the rim and rebounds as well as I do. They're not going to miss him in Toronto, but hopefully they can find a taker for him.

4) Trade Jose Calderon

Calderon is a much easier fix here. He's better than league-average and only has two years left on his deal. Unfortunately, he has about 20 million owed to him. Would the Thunder give up a few assets for this guy? Or Atlanta? There are a lot of teams aching for a true point, and Calderon is the essence of that. He's not going to be in the Raptors' plans going forward, so why keep him around?

5). Face the facts - Amir Johnson isn't tradeable. Linas Kleiza is, but keep him around too

Bryan Coangelo gave Amir Johnson 30 million dollar last year, despite the fact that he's not good. That's why we're about to see an NBA strike, people. He's not tradeable, and I think that you just have to come to terms with that.

Linas Kleiza is a trade candidate though - big body, rebounds decently, nice stroke from distance. However, you still need players to compete. When you're blowing up your team, you do it piece-meal, not whole-scale. I would keep Kleiza around until next year's trade deadline, or even offseason. He's a good player on a decent contract, and someone will want him.

This season is about developing the core, seeing what they have and moving from there. With Bargnani, Calderon, Kleiza, etc, you know what you have - a group that couldn't win 25 games this year. I'd take the ceiling of the younger players over the defense-allergic Euros previously named.

No comments:

Post a Comment