Friday April 24 2009 - 4:03pm Eastern (Toronto, ON) 

It’s April 24 2009.  A TON can change before the NBA Draft on June 25 – let alone in the weeks and months following that.  Realistically, the roster and/or players below will change quite a bit before Training Camp rolls around in October.

But based on some of the comments that Bryan Colangelo made on Monday – at his end of the year press conference – and based on those currently under contract with the Raptors, here’s an early look at how the team COULD look next season.

Again, keep in mind that Toronto’s season has been over for just one week and SO much could change this spring/summer.

STARTING FIVE

PG – Jose Calderon
SG – Carlos Delfino * (restricted)
SF – Shawn Marion * (unrestricted)
PF – Chris Bosh
C – Andrea Bargnani

BENCH

G – Quincy Douby
G – Roko Ukic
G – Marcus Banks
PF – Kris Humphries
F/C – Patrick O’Bryant
G/F – Jason Kapono
C – Nathan Jawai

—–

So, there are 10 guys under contract right now.

And, of course, trades (or waivers?) could change that group at any point.

Now, considering the following too:

- The addition of the 1ST round draft pick
- Decisions to be made with Anthony Parker (unrestricted), Delfino (restricted), Marion (unrestricted), and Joey Graham (restricted)
- A decision RE: Jake Voskuhl (unrestricted) … though I’m guessing he won’t be back

Adding the first found pick and Delfino (whose name was constantly brought up by Colangelo on Monday – so you’ve got to assume that where there’s smoke, there’s fire) and the Raps roster/contracts would sit at 12.  That would leave 3 spots open for Marion (or “Player X” if the Matrix walks and Toronto looks elsewhere or if they get something for Shawn in a sign-and-trade) … and then what? 

Parker?  Graham?  Both?  Neither?

Again, based on what is on paper at the moment - would it be wrong to think that (a) you’d have to pick between Parker OR Graham given how many 2′s and 3′s you might have on your roster already when the season begins?  And (b) you’d have to address your front court size and experience with one or both of those remaining roster spots if your current bigs off the bench are only Humphries, O’Bryant, and Jawai?

The roster (the bench especially) is stacked heavily with guards and forwards but still very light on big men.  Outside of Bosh, Bargnani, Humphries, Jawai and O’Bryant, where would Toronto turn?  Hence the reason I think that you’d have to think that any money that’s left after Marion (or his replacement) will be spent (or trades will be made) – in addressing size and toughness (“toughness” being something else that Colangelo stressed a number of times at his Monday presser as well).

Plus, the Raps will PROBABLY be looking at a SG/SF in the draft.  Toronto’s 1ST round draft pick is slotted to come at #9.  But the Raps could move up in the lottery.  However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume they don’t get a higher pick and they stay where they are.  If that’s the case, Toronto will likely be looking at guys like:

- Tyreke Evans
- Stephen Curry
- Earl Clark
- Gerald Henderson
- Terrence Williams
- Demar DeRozan

So, when it all shakes down, what does this mean?

Well, as I’ve said a number of times … there’s a lot of work to do.

I still believe this team should have been in the playoffs this year and I still believe they can be a 5-8 seed in the East – even with the way the roster is constructed right now … with a core built around Calderon, Bosh, and Bargnani.  But a lot of work has to be done and a major move may be needed to get this team out of the “5 to 8″ talk and into the “1 to 4″ category.  That’s the goal … but … admittedly … it’s tough to see Toronto being able to hang on the same level with Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston right now.

Time will tell.  I should be an active, exciting off-season.

E. Smith

* Head’s up … this may be the last blog until Monday.  We’ll see.

29 Responses to “An EARLY Look At 2009-10”
  1. 1.

    Great Blog Eric,

    What about James Harden he is slipping in the draft, can he fit into Toronto’s run and gun game?

    - Raps Fan
  2. 2.

    Eric,

    Great Comments. Couple of questions:
    1. Of the available SG in the draft, who seems to be most highly regarded. I know James Harden was earlier this year but he seems to have slipped. What about Tyreke Evans?
    2. Any hope of Rasho Nestorvic coming back to T.O. He’d be perfect to back up Bargnani and would be a great presence in the locker room.

    - Joe
  3. 3.

    Wow Eric man, think allot about next season!?! With so many needs and limited cap space for those needs what is it that we would be getting in terms of quality at position? I don’t think “A” list players are going to be clamoring to come here on a MLE and we can’t put all our “eggs” in one “basket” so what available players would be able to fill the teams needs?

    - Lanny from Whitby
  4. 4.

    I didn’t included Harden because he’s projected to go Top 5. If Toronto doesn’t move from #9, there’s little-to-no chance that Harden will still be around at that point.

    As for Rasho, if you recall, Jonesy and I mentioned months ago that there’s a strong chance that Nesterovic could return next season. I believe he is interested in coming back as well.

    - E. Smith
  5. 5.

    If the Raps resign Bosh (which I believe they will, even if he winds up traded within a couple years), resign Bargnani (who should command approx. $8-$12 million per year) and don’t trade Jose (who’s contract @ $9 million seems untradeable) — how is there any cash at all for another $8 million plus player?

    I don’t see how it’s possible. In fact, I don’t see how the Raps can sign a $10 million FA this season (ie. Marion) and then have enough cap space to resign Bargnani after this coming season.

    It looks to me as though the core 3 — Bosh, Jose and Bargs — are the guys management hopes will take the team to the promised land over the next few years.

    And, given their significant defensive issues, and the fact that none is likely to develop into a true scoring team leader…is that core 3 good enough?

    Is adding a bunch of spare parts around the same 3 guys we already have going to get us into the top four in the conference?

    I think at least one of the guys absolutely has to go, for this team to win more than one round.

    - brento
  6. 6.

    I don’t see enough quality in having both Douby and Marcus Banks behind Calderon and Ukic.It just seems like too many G roster spaces and not enough from them.

    And aren’t three big men off the bench enough? Hump, O’Bryant and Nathan Jawai have potential, but not really a situation where you don’t lose a ton going to the bench. Hopefully, Hump can come back full speed and Jawai can develop quickly. O’Bryant showed flashes if he can bring it consistantly. I don’t see a “6th man award” type.

    It still seems like a lot of question marks that may be a 5-8 position but we’re a A lister away from 3-4 in my opinion.

    - Gary
  7. 7.

    Someone forgetting Pops? Or do you think he won’t be brought back?

    - Tyler
  8. 8.

    Pops is NOT coming back! he will cost to much! So, I think a guy like Rasho should be the guy be should pay money for not Pops

    Nate Jawai? can he be the next Paul Millsap?

    If Bosh gets inquired like what happen to Carlos Boozer do you think teams will be interested in him? If that happens I think the Raptors will sign him for less because we don’t know what he can do!!! we don’t want to make the same mistake as Jermaine O’Neil!!!!!

    - Raps Fan
  9. 9.

    bench seems very very weak…kapono soft and terrible d, a bunch of unproven talents with the likes of douby, banks, jawai, obryant…we need a sixth man who can be the go2 guy in the second unit (AP/ Graham perhaps?)

    - MTS
  10. 10.

    Hey Raps Fan:

    (A)Pops Mensah-Bonsu will cost too much? Huh? What on earth are you talking about? The guy has bounced around, was cut by San Antonio, signed a mid-season, extremely low cost contract with the Raps, played a handful of games and got hurt.

    Jason Kapono costs too much. Pops would likely be the least costly player on the team. In fact, he’ll be lucky to sign a contract with any team this off season.

    If he isn’t a league-minimum kind of guy, who is?

    (B) Can Nate Jawai be the next Paul Milsap? Huh?

    That’s like asking if Marcus Banks can be the next Magic Johnson. What in the world has Nate Jawai ever done to warrant you asking if he can even tie up his own shoes without tripping on his own feet?

    What an insult to Paul Milsap.

    (C) I don’t really know what you mean by “Chris Bosh will get inquired…” but what makes you think he will sign for less than the max amount? There’s no chance that will happen.

    The same mistake as Jermaine O’Neal? Huh? What are you talking about?

    The Raps traded for an injured, over the hill, pain in the neck of a centre in O’Neal. How can you even begin to compare Bosh to O’Neal?

    I seriously don’t understand your remarks — they don’t seem to make any sense, whatsoever.

    - brento
  11. 11.

    Now, it doesn’t make sense but, it will make sense next year!

    - Raps Fan
  12. 12.

    hello eric!!

    thanks for ur unending blog here..hehehe.. ^,^,,

    i miss TORONTO RAPTORS so muuuch!!

    - josephine
  13. 13.

    in my opinion. i want anthony parker ,joey, POPS to come back.. POPS makes the fans go wild with his incredible dunks! FULL OF ENERGY but i think more practice and hard-work can be a key to his development.. hehehe.. ^,^..

    - josephine
  14. 14.

    Raps Fan:

    Oh! Now I get it!

    Chris Bosh will get “inquired” this year, just like Carlos Boozer got “inquired” last year!

    How silly of me to question your logic!!!

    The Raps, obviously, don’t want inquired players. Uninquired makes so much more sense. Anyways, Bosh strikes me as the kind of guy who gets inquired.

    I like your earlier suggestion of signing Allen Iverson. I highly doubt he would ever get inquired.

    Thanks for the clarification. Now, it all makes sense :)

    - brento
  15. 15.

    I doubt pops will be back. O’Bryant already seems like a better player than him and has a lot more potential. We should be patient with O’Bryant hes got game and you can see it.

    For Free Agents i hope we keep Marion he really makes up for Barganni’s weak rebounding ability. With Delfino returning and a top 10 pick the Raptors are due for an excellent season next year

    - Kim
  16. 16.

    Eric, Thanx for your reply.
    This is your blog . I respect that completely .
    You are very fair and always allow a wide variety of opinions .
    I appreciate your opinions . Take care

    - Chas Calz
  17. 17.

    Bento,
    You have good ideas, but hate filled comments in Blogs are unlikely to make this team better next year. I was hoping your MBA courses included Anger Mgmt 101, but it looks like that was not the case.
    Relax. Have a pint. Breath.

    Pops will not be offered a contract and BC will let him explore. If nothing is out there, then we may offer a min contract. Regarless, he’s not the guy that will get us top 4 in the East, so who cares.

    Rasho will likely be back, and will be one of the better backup centres in the league. Not spectacular, but consistent game after game for 15 or so min.

    Re: cap room – there are probably 20+ teams with the very same problem – the economy and big contracts are not unique to the Raptors. Look at how tough a position Detroit is in. Wizards – HUGE contracts. Sixers?! Look at across the league and you find similar pain. Which is why Marion may have to sign for $7/8M somewhere, not $10M+

    Let’s all be polite despite having differing views (which is good).

    Cheers,

    - Tom
  18. 18.

    Free advice to BC: .
    #1-Bring in a new head coach . Let him hire his assistants

    #2 -See if Bosh wants out .. If so , make a blockbuster deal .. package Bosh with a few others .

    #3 Release the bottom third of your roster . This will force you to upgrade the talent .

    #4 Donate about 10% of your 2009 salary to your favorite charity to atone for the ugly season you had .

    - Chas Calz
  19. 19.

    That’s good, Chaz.

    But, I’d suggest more than 10% — with all the dough in the Colangelo family, BC’s not in it for the cash.

    That said, I think the Raps are feeling backed into a corner with Bosh. He won’t tell the team he’s not planning to resign, so they can’t trade him. Plus, enough if he is traded…he’s an AllStar with an expiring contract, so we’re not getting too much in return. Probably a draft pick, couple prospects and a mid-level veteran.

    Bosh has nothing to gain by telling the team he wants out. I predict he signs with Toronto (given all the cap issues throughout the league), and then asks (privately) for a trade if the team doesn’t excel in the first two years.

    And releasing the bottom third of the roster isn’t enough. They would just be replaced with more stiffs, anyways.

    The team’s problems are more complicated than just having a weak bench. That they do, but they also have major, major issues with the starting five, particularly on defense.

    No rebounding, no aggressiveness, no steals, nothing.

    I think they need to make changes to the Big 3 first — and then tweak the rest of the roster.

    Bosh, Bargs and Jose have proven they are not capable of competing with the Top 3 guys on most Eastern Conference teams.

    - brento
  20. 20.

    Teams can turn things around in a hurry .

    Look at the Jays .. Cito, Tennace and Beeston seem to have transformed the Jays .

    Of course, it’s early , but they don’t use their injuries as excuses…any they’ve had many .

    But I’m confident that BC , if he continues to listen to HOOPS and reads this blog faithfully, will turn around the Raptors next season ..

    - Chas Calz
  21. 21.

    Brento. What the hell is wrong with so-called Raps Fan? He wants to see the Raptors get destroyed again Pops should come back next year. And Millsap; he is way too good to be compared to Nathan Jawai. He can’t even handle the D-League so why bother bring him back. Chaz, I wish that BC would listen and read blogs because he is proud of causing destruction like Babcock did. Oh…one more advice you should have given to BC is to trade Bargnani. Allow me to give you a part of an article from the Toronto Sun and what Colangelo overlooked.

    ” In case you missed Tuesday night’s masterpiece, Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy torched two of the game’s top perimeter defenders in Shane Battier and Ron Artest in leading Portland to its first post-season win in six years.

    All Roy did was score 42 points and make all kinds of step-back jumpers in crunch time.

    And to think the Raptors could have had Roy when they had the first overall pick in 2006.

    Kudos to Andrea Bargnani for elevating his game this season, but does anyone actually think that Bargnani is capable of scoring 40 points in a post-season game?

    We think not because Bargnani, like many jump-shot-happy players, doesn’t have what Roy possesses — a fearless mentality.

    Roy made 12 trips to the charity stripe against the Rockets.

    His ball handling skills continue to evolve and Roy even played the point position in the fourth quarter.”

    I know for my case, Bryan cannot be trusted of off-season moves and draft picks. Because he only listens to Gherardini who MUST GO!!!

    - BOJACK
  22. 22.

    Chas Calz, you appear to have a man-crush on Eric.

    -Lots of crazy ideas on here since the season ended. I think I’ll just let BC do his job and look forward to an improved Raps team for 09/10

    Cheers

    - Gary
  23. 23.

    I agree with you Chas Calz
    I am very confident in BC with all the things that happen he did it once so, he can do it again!!!

    - Raps Fan
  24. 24.

    Gary,
    You appear to have a man-crush on B.C.
    We did let BC do his job this year .
    Cheers, Chas

    - Chas Calz
  25. 25.

    It just seems to me that we have been making the exact same comments on this blog for the past 5 months now, nothing really new has been said, no ‘aha’ moments, a lot of people repeating their sentiments over and over again…when’s the draft lottery going to take place??

    - Mr. T
  26. 26.

    Both Marion and Ben Gordon are unrestricted free agents for the 2009/2010 season. Should the Raptors go after both to fill the two and three spots? Can they afford both? I think a starting lineup of Calderon, Gordon Marion, Bosh and Bargnani would be an improvement over the team they started with this season.

    J.

    - J
  27. 27.

    J.
    Gordon will be hard to sign imo because he is becoming a star in these playoffs .
    I presume Bulls will try hard to keep him .
    The line-up you mentioned might cost Raps $60 mill or so.

    - Chas Calz
  28. 28.

    Bojack,

    It’s so easy to look back at drafts and wonder why GM’s didn’t pick somebody else.

    I assume that you’ve never made any mistakes and would have a perfect draft record, but regular guys like BC won’t always get it right.

    Suppose we drafted Roy and Bargnani turned out to be a star (which he still might)… I would venture a guess that we’d be hearing more of the same whining from you in reverse.

    - Aaron
  29. 29.

    J:

    Marion, Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon and Gordon?

    From what I see, that’s a five player salary cap hit in the amount of roughly $52-$55 million for the 2010-11 season!!!

    Needless to say, that’s impossible to make happen. They would still be 10 players short of a full roster and several guys (ie. Banks at about $5 million, I think) are already hugely overpaid.

    In order for the Raps to have both a star shooting guard and small forward, one of the other three (perhaps even two) would have to be traded or not resigned.

    - brento
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