Touted as one of the biggest movers and shakers heading into Draft Day it’s no surprise to hear rumours circulating involving Toronto – and even less surprising that they all focus around one T.J. Ford, the disgruntled point guard standing in the way of Jose Calderon’s rise to fame with the Raptors. While it’s all hearsay at the moment nothing more, when it comes from a Bryan Colangelo run organization it seems to carry a bit more weight, and that’s really something to see here in Toronto
Whether these rumours are just posturing in hopes of inflating trade value to make a much larger deal in the end, or something real that will actually materialize, it doesn’t seem like nothing will happen in the end – it’s almost like when Colangelo speaks, the fans and the Association listens.
And with reason, we’re talking about Bryan Colangelo here! This is the man who traded Rafael Arrujo –- the NBA’s answer to Aki Berg -- for not only equipment but players! And one in Kris Humphries who has actually become a contributing factor to the Raptors since his arrival! (while “Hoffa” has left the NBA and returned to Europe). He’s traded popular players for important components, commonly acquires diamonds in the rough, all deals that in turn have done nothing but improve the team – he did the same in Phoenix on the Suns way to the top of the Western Conference standings. Just about no one is safe, you can ask both Jason Kidd and Charlie Villenueva about that! (you can even ask Steve Nash, although Colangelo corrected that error a few years later by reacquiring the Canadian superstar).
So with two big trade rumours coming through the wire this past weekend, both centred around TJ Ford, this writer got the feeling Colangelo was just waiting for the right one to appear and nothing more. The first deal mentioned involved sending Ford and the 17th pick to Phoenixfor Boris Diaw; the other had Ford along with Rasho Nesterovic, possibly a few others (Joey Graham, Maceo Baston?) to match salaries, and the 17th pick heading to Indianafor Jermaine O’Neal.
I’m a bit surprised any other potential Ford trades haven’t leaked out yet, but I’m certain that by Wednesday night there will be at least one more being widely discussed. Right now reports state there are "at least three" other teams showing interest in acquiring Ford (read: the New York Knicks and 2-3 others).
There’s as good a chance that something big will happen within the next 36 hours as there is that nothing will be finalized until after the draft has come and gone -- NBA rules state that a team must make a draft pick once every 2 NBA Drafts, and Toronto held no draft picks last year. So potentially the Raptors will have to make a selection just to send them elsewhere afterwards. And following proper trade protocol all sides mentioned are denying any involvement, to try and dash any hopes rising in regards to these rumours.
But for myself there still remains a shining light from this most recent round of Deal or No Deal, and it’s that Bryan Colangelo is a GM located yes, here in Toronto who has actually lived up to his word of making improvements to the team; for once it’s not just talk. Yes at the moment only mere speculation is rampant, however with Colangelo’s track record both here in Toronto and back in Phoenix, it’s not a leap of faith to believe he’s on the verge of making significant moves yet again. Colangelo gives off the feeling that he’s actually in charge of running the team from a GM role, something rather uncommon around these parts - especially when the title MLSE hangs over their heads. Whether you’re a Toronto Raptors fan or not, that in itself is a feat worth acknowledgment.
And soon enough we'll find out if BC was able to work his magic yet again.
Edit: As promised, more rumours they are a comin' this way! The latest to surface thanks to 9.71 Detroit Sports Radio has TJ Ford and Joey Graham going to the Pistons for Richard Hamilton, straight up - with the Suns apparent interest growing in Rasho Nesterovic and the O'Neal trade going from absolute certainty to sudden death, then BACK to a possibility, the wire likely won't stop buzzing anytime soon!