Thursday, July 09, 2009

Raptors: Colangelo rebuilds on the fly

Quite a day, having to digest the four-team deal that went down overnight involving the Toronto Raptors.

One can read as Bryan Colangelo's "single greatest masterstroke achieved by a Raptors general manager" (Doug Smith, Toronto Star) as something which might keep Chris Bosh home. (One wonders if it really works this way, but if Roy Halladay leaves the Blue Jays, how much more important is it that Bosh stay, lest it trigger more pessimism about whether Toronto can hack it in big-time American pro sports that have no other Canadian teams?) Antoine Wright (a passable two-guard) and Devean George (veteran, pretty much a rotation player) should fill in admirably, plus they have those all-important expiring contracts, so there's no long-term commitment beyond the end of next season. That is pretty important, since everyone's already sick of hearing about the free-agent frenzy to end all free-agent frenzies that the NBA is in for next summer.

The rebuild on the fly likely means getting Rasho Nesterović back as the reserve centre and re-signing Carlos Delfino, who can play any of the other four positions on the floor, as Smith explained:
"(T)his is the single greatest masterstroke achieved by a Raptors general manager in the time I’ve been covering the team, which is as long as the team has been in existence.

"Bryan got the free agent he wanted – Turkoglu – at the number he wanted him at.

"He got two guys who are if not serviceable – and I don’t know about Wright but I bet he’s got a shot at doing something there – have contracts that expire at the end of this season so they do not interfere with any salary machinations next summer.

"There is every chance they will now bring back Carlos Delfino, who may not be an MVP candidate but I think is going to be a very good versatile piece in what is now an improved backcourt.

"There is every chance they will now replace Kris Humphries with Rasho Nesterovic and that, for the role that has to be filled, is an upgrade. Rasho will be fine coming off the bench and doing his job, he is not the kind of guy who’ll want to expand his role and he’ll be an excellent fit in the locker room."
There are probably only about 25 people not working in pro basketball who know the NBA's salary cap system well enough to first-guess what moves might be coming.

Basically, though, from a pure on-court perspective, their 1-11 slots look a sight better than they did at the outset of the 2008-09 season. Here's what it might look like in late October:
Starters: José Calderón, Antoine Wright, Hedo Türkoğlu, Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani
Second team: Roko Ukic, Devean George, DeMar DeRozan, Carlos Delfino, Reggie Evans, Rasho Nesterović
Shouting "Playoffs!" is an inside joke among Blue Jays fans, but it could work in this instance.

1 comment:

Mike Radoslav said...

Excellent move by BC! is about as cliche as it goes right now in regards to the Raptors but honestly, this does seem like pulling something out of nothing! It was only a matter of days things went from "we're going to lose the MLE and piece together the team with low level contracts" to "we've got support for the bench and our MLE back!"

I agree with Doug Smith I don't think anhy other GM can match what Colangelo just pulled off - yes, that's not exactly a big feat to accomplish but it's certainly a welcome change!