Tuesday March 31 2009 – 11:40am Eastern (Toronto, ON)
This decision is still 3+ months away. But I thought I’d take an early look …
Depending on what Toronto does with Anthony Parker, Joey Graham, Carlos Delfino, and more; and depending on how things play out with the NBA’s B.R.I. (Basketball Related Income) – which helps determine the cap and tax number – Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors should have around $10 million to spend in free agency this summer (give or take).
The most glaring need for the Raptors would seem to be the 2-3 (SG/SF). The team needs another legit scorer and they need to address their defence as well (hopefully with the same player) — someone who can guard the likes of Kobe, LeBron, Wade, and more.
Yes, there’s a decision that needs to be made RE: Chris Bosh. And if he is traded, you may be able to address the 2-3 via that deal.
Yes, there’s a draft coming up in June that could help with this decision as well.
And, yes, there’s a CHANCE that any player (Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani) could be moved … but I think it’s a safe bet to assume that this team – at the very least – is set at the point (Calderon) and up front (Bargnani) at the very least. But after that, there are holes at SG (Anthony Parker – free agent) and SF (Shawn Marion – free agent). And, again, Bosh may be a question mark.
So based on that, let’s take a look at some of the SG’s and/or SF’s that are available on the open market this summer and who may be a fit for the 2009-10 Toronto Raptors:
Ron Artest – Defence, grit, attitude. But the right fit in the locker room? And is he enough of a scorer?
Ben Gordon – Can he defend or is he just a scorer and that’s that? And is a shot-happy 2-guard a good fit with Andrea Bargnani (whether Chris Bosh is still around or not)?
Wally Szczerbiak – He is a former All Star but at this point of his career he seems like the perfect fit as a second-unit guy, not someone you’d rely on for 35+ minutes per night and 18-20+ points every night.
Allen Iverson - Depending on the length, this MAY be Iverson’s last contract. He is one of the greatest scorers in the history of the game but I don’t know that he’ll be making his next destination north of the border. And at this point, I don’t know if he has the overall package (factoring-in age too) that the Raps would be looking for.
Marquis Daniels (*team option) - Some of his personality issues that were called into question in Dallas seem to have been cleared up in Indy. He’s long and he can defend but can he take his offence to that next level if he were more of a focal point?
Trevor Ariza – Much like Daniels, the biggest question may be if he can raise his offensive game on a consistent basis. Right now, he seems to be doing so in LA – since moving into the Lakers’ starting line up. There’s no doubt that he has the athleticism and D.
Jamario Moon – Personally, selfishly, I’d love to see Jamario back in Toronto one day, but he is not going to be brought back as a marquee signing to start at the 2 or 3. It’s just not happening – nor should it.
Keith Bogans – A solid veteran that would be a good second-unit guy, but he’s not the answer to your issues if you’re looking at him for the starting 5.
Desmond Mason – Coming off a major injury, I’d be very hesitant. He’s a GREAT guy and he’s shown the ability to fill it up in the past, but is his game on the decline - especially with the injuries? That’s a fair question, no doubt.
Hedo Turkoglu (*player option) – Alright, he’s not a 2-3. He’s a 3-4. But he can handle the ball as well – even play a little point-forward. His overall game is solid but you’ve got to wonder how the offence would work with another big that likes the jumper more than he likes the post. Whether it’s Bosh-Turkoglu-Bargnani or just Turkoglu-Bargnani … I don’t know if the pieces match. Plus, I don’t see Orlando letting him walk anyway.
Grant Hill – He’s a future Hall of Famer in my eyes, but at this point in his career, he’s simply not the answer for T.O.
Matt Barnes – He’s a piece to the puzzle … but I don’t see him being the kind of guy that could elevate his game to the level that the Raps would need/want on a nightly basis.
Shawn Marion – You’re already seeing him get a 30-game tryout with the Raptors. He seems to have an endless amount of energy and he addresses your need for a quality defender and rebounder. He’s shown some grit as well and whether it’s been ‘good’ or not, he has shown a willingness to be a voice in the locker room too. The question is though – can he create his own shot or does he rely on others too much? But Marion – in my eyes – would have been a guy Toronto looked at in free agency even if they hadn’t already traded for him.
It should be interesting to see how it all plays out in the next few months. But if the decision were mine, in no particular order, the 5 guys I’d be looking at the most would be: Artest, Gordon, Marion, Daniels, and Ariza.
And keep in mind, if you have about $10 million … there’s a VERY good chance (especially given today’s economic climate) that you’ll be signing any one of these guys for $5-$7 million … so there should be money left to spend on other complimentary pieces as well.
Off to Orlando shortly.
Talk to ya tomorrow – when the VLOG finally returns!