Thursday July 30 2009 - 5:07am Eastern (Toronto, ON) 

Marco Belinelli to the Raptors, eh?

Well that one sure came out of left field.

If nothing else, give Bryan Colangelo credit for one thing:  He keeps his moves VERY quiet.  Since coming to Toronto, how many signings or trades have been a complete shock to all of us (yes, I’m including the media)?

This summer has been unreal.  Like the players or not, did you see the Reggie Evans deal coming?  How ’bout a 4-team trade that would allow the Raps to sign a marquee free agent, keep their Mid Level Exception, and give them cap flexibility for next summer?  How ’bout the signing of Jarrett Jack to an offer sheet? 

How ’bout Marco Belinelli for Devean George?!

Colangelo has coveted Belinelli since he came into the league as the 18th overall pick in 2007.  In fact, there were rumblings of a possible deal for the Italian guard last season – that likely would have seen Joey Graham heading from Toronto to Golden State.

The 23-year-old guard has, admittedly, had an “average” start to his NBA career.  After struggling through his rookie season, Belinelli had a chance to bust out a little bit last year … given the glut of injuries the Warriors were experiencing.  He started 23 games for the Bay Area Boys – including an impressive 15-game stretch from mid-December to mid-January where he averaged more than 15 points per game and earned a ton of respect from his teammates.

Speaking about Belinelli back in December 2008, then-teammate Stephen Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle

“When (Marco) wasn’t playing, when he said he wanted to be traded and all that stuff, I was like, man, we’re going to lose a good player.  He’s a guy that got caught up in a numbers game, and I’ve been through that too. I’m glad he’s taking advantage of his opportunity, because that’s what it’s all about.”

That opportunity will now come in Toronto.

Belinelli is a 6’5″ shooting guard with solid range, good athleticism, and strong ball-handling skills — good enough to even see some minutes at the point if need-be.  And despite what you may have read in other columns or blog, the guy isn’t a stiff on the defensive end either. 

Again, let me quote the SF Chronicle from December 2008 regarding Belinelli’s defence:

” … The second-year guard has gone from benchwarmer to starter in wake of injuries to Jackson and Jamal Crawford. Known as a shooter when he entered the league last year, Belinelli has blossomed into a part-time point guard and, perhaps most surprisingly, a full-time defender.  Though Belinelli isn’t the quickest athlete, he plants himself where his opponent wants to go more often than not.  And Warriors coach Don Nelson has become comfortable enough with Belinelli’s defense that he’s matched him against the likes of (Ray) Allen and Kevin Durant.”

I liked the prospect of George playing for the Raptors this season.  He was a guy that I thought would bring some veteran experience to a relatively young Toronto line up.  And the fact that he had an expiring deal next summer, made him that much more valuable given the free agent sweepstakes that are coming in 2010.  But if you’re Bryan Colangelo, and you’re given the chance to pick up a young up-and-comer with a lot of upside in return for an aging vet who is on the downside of his career, you jump at that chance.  Besides, the likes of Chris Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon, and even Evans should be enough of a “veteran” presnce in your line up … and from the financial side of things … Belinelli could be off the books next summer as well (like George would have been) if Toronto decides against his 4th year option. 

This is a very good deal for the Raptors.  In fact, check out what long-time Warriors (and previously LA Lakers) writer Tim Kawakami had to say about this trade in his San Jose Mercury News blog: 

” … Even I didn’t imagine Nelson/Riley would give away Belinelli to Toronto for something as meager as George, who I know fairly well since I covered him his rookie year with the Lakers and have watched him fairly closely in the many years since.

This is just a dump. A we-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-this-talented-player dump. A terrible, misguided, noxious dump by a team now run by an erratic, tired coach and a GM who does his bidding.

George is 8 years older than Belinelli, by the way. He has a $1.6M expiring contract this year, but Belinelli’s would’ve expired next summer if the Warriors didn’t pick up his option, plus Belinelli is MUCH MUCH BETTER than George.”

It should be noted that this trade has yet to be finalized by the league, but it is expected to go through the NBA Offices some time before Noon on Thursday.  At that point the deal will be done:  Belinelli for George and cash considerations.

And one final note for those that care (and I think this has little-to-no significance):  apparently the “cash considerations” of this deal equate to the Raptors picking up a significant chunk of George’s $1.6 million salary this season.

Anyway … another solid move by Colangelo and Company.  The rebuild of the Raps continues. 

Time will tell if this transaction has any impact – good or bad – on Carlos Delfino. 

E. Smith

34 Responses to “Belinelli? Buono!”
  1. 1.

    How the hell did BC score Belinelli. He should be the starting four to start the year. Why would any team want to dump this guy?

    - Rob from brantford
  2. 2.

    Marco Belinelli should be the starting 4 and if i was calderon i would be worried for my job if belinelli play’s some pg this year. Best move in raptor history. The raptors have to pay this guy and keep him around for years.

    - Rob from brantford
  3. 3.

    Eric, love the research and the quotes. The comments in the blogosphere weren’t too complimentary on that aspect of his game. Thanks for the perspective.

    - Michel G
  4. 4.

    Great move by the Raps. We are now a little thin at the 3 spot but come September I am sure there will be a few Veteran 3′s to be had at the minimum on a 1 year deal. With this move I now think Delfino will not be returning to the Raps. BC has addressed every weakness of this team from the past few years. I can see the Raps sitting nicely in the 4 spot in the East!

    - Paul O
  5. 5.

    What a great Trade for the Raptors and it was out of the blue. I’m so happy with BC and what he’s been doing. Can’t wait for the finalization of the roster and opening day! (praying its not on Halloween again this year)

    - Aaron
  6. 6.

    Good move by BC. I know I’m gonna get killed by asking this. But, we are somewhat thin at SF; is there any chance that they might consider resigning Joey G?

    I must admit I think Joey could really contribute a good 10-15 minutes per game and he is also able to play the 4 spot(also thin) in a pinch.

    - Greg
  7. 7.

    Editorial note: pls refrain from using the phrase “isn’t a stiff”, it forces me into Araujo -convulsions. :)
    I’m still recovering from Babcock Exposure Syndrome.

    - Tom L
  8. 8.

    hey eric dont you think joey g could fill that void at the 3 for 10 15 mins a night? it would be a fairly cheap option way less then delfino and he could get the job done

    - fabio
  9. 9.

    I definitely think the priority now is to get a SF that can also play a bit of PF if need be more than getting Delfino, don’t you think Eric?

    Oh ya and finding away to get rid of Banks would be another miracle because I was impressed by Douby’s ball handling and passing in summer league (I know it’s only summer league) but I think he might even make Roko expendable.

    - O.J.
  10. 10.

    Joey.G IF Delfino leaves? I would do it!

    Great move from BC he is very young and I bet Barganai is very happy with this move!

    - Raps Fan
  11. 11.

    Eric man… you think BC is done now or are there still some moves to be made? I love the deals he’s done but I’m still concerned that our Defense/Rebounding hasn’t improved that dramatically.

    - Adam I.
  12. 12.


    The 4 is PF and 5 is C, so Marco would play the 2 (SG) and occasionally the 1 (PG).

    - James from Mississauga
  13. 13.

    Rob from brantford:

    Calm down now. Calderon has nothing to worry about and “Best move in raptor history.” I think the sign and trade for Turkoglu and all the benefits that ensued from the 4 team deal is the best trade in raptor history.

    I also think you meant Belinelli should be our starting 2. Our starting 4 is Bosh and I think is job is safe.

    - Michel G
  14. 14.

    Nice trade, basicalyl young gun for old horse…that’ll work for me any time.

    For the record, i wanna set the first two posts straight(Rob from Brantford)…you gotta learn the number system in the NBA. a “4″, as you put down is a Power Forward. Meaning, he’s going to replace Chris Bosh? The dude’s 6’5″ man…come on hehe.

    The number you were looking for is the “2″ (Shooting Guard) where we do’nt havea defined starter and he could very well steal his minutes from Jarrett Jack. But i still wouldn’t be surprised to see DeRozan starting.

    ALSO, Calderon’s job is only threatened by Jack right now…Belinelli will get time, but he’s no starting point guard.

    Just remember…5= center, 4=Power forward, 3=Small forward, 2=shooting guard, 1=point guard.

    - Taylor
  15. 15.

    It’s undoubtedly a good move from BC, taking a flyer on a guy with potential and giving up a bench warmer.

    I’m not as high on Belinelli as other Raps fans are, though. I think saying that he could play some PG is a bit ridiculous, considering his awful assist-to-turnover ratio. Also, he gets lost on defense all the time. I think he’ll basically be Kapono, but he’ll be making 1/5th of what Kapono makes.

    - Vittorio De Zen
  16. 16.

    If you aren’t excited yet, this commercial may get you pumped up. The Italian translation is below

    Beli , you’re not gonna last too much in NBA .. you come from Bologna, where you was the Star, Where all appreciated you, now .. here in Nba you’re nothing.. you to take Donuts for your team-mates in the morning, wash their dirty clothes ..and you must defend ..!
    we all know how you defend in Italy .. in Nba there are strong players.. like Kobe.. what you will do with Kobe? and the most important thing : You must learn to listen !

    - Brad Spencer
  17. 17.

    Not comparing the two because they play different positions but I think Belinelli can do for the Raptors what Keon Clark did when Glen G picked him up back when…they were both talented guys who were on the cusp of being good players that can contribute to their team but were not given a real opportunity to perform by there former teams…

    - Mr. T
  18. 18.

    Devean George, man do they cut him up in the article, is this guy really that bad? I remember watching Laker Games and was thought he was a really good roll player. hhmmm

    - Chris Ball Boy lol
  19. 19.

    BC is not only putting together a basketball team but he is building a FAMILY atmosphere, Guys that can get along with each other, Brotherhood, look at the line up…. 2 Italians Bargnani, Belinelli, Bosh and Jack brothers from college a great locker room guys in Calderon and Rasho, Turkoglu, Blue collar guys in Evens, Wright youngstars that want to learn the game and getting better by the minute in Roko, DeRozan, Douby give I don’t see anyone here with a big ego(I may be wrong) Can’t wait to see this team on the court. Looks Good on paper, let’s see what this squad can do this year, I predict TOP 4 in the EAST and Division Champs.


    - P Dizz
  20. 20.

    FAMILY atmosphere? What? Are you kidding me? If that’s what he’s building, I guess I won’t be having the chance to buy playoff tickets again this year.

    The Raps do not need a FAMILY atmosphere. They need the exact opposite. They need to be nasty, relentless, hungry, desperate, committed, even arrogant, if that’s what it takes.

    I will not comment on the players acquired by BC over the past several weeks. But, I’ll tell you one thing — if they bring the characteristics listed above, this team will not get past the first round of the playoffs next season.

    Oh, and Chris Ball Boy lol:

    Devean George might have been a good “role” player…not sure what you were getting at with your “roll” remark…but, in the past few years, if does look as if he’s been scarfing down a few extra “rolls” at each meal.

    What’s with the spelling these days? Does anyone actually go to school anymore?

    - brento
  21. 21.

    Woops…that should read “if they DON’T bring the characteristics…”.

    I’m sure you guys knew what I meant.

    I guess I’m the one with the grammar egg on my face now…

    - brento
  22. 22.

    It’s a great move in that it’s basically a freeroll, but can we put things in perspective here?

    The fact is he couldn’t beat out Azuibuike, Watson, or Morrow for playing time.

    Now if you want to say “well Nelly is a jerk and favoured those guys” …. then explain why all 3 shot better from the field and from 3pt land than Marco, and got to the free throw line at a higher rate. Also 2 of them (Kelenna & Morrow) had a much better PER.

    Good pickup but there’s a reason they’re letting him go instead of letting Morrow or KA leave.

    - Mike
  23. 23.

    Starting 4 huh? So he’s taking Bosh’s position in the starting lineup?

    - Jim Slim
  24. 24.

    BC deserves an A+ for his off-season roster moves imo.
    That partially atones for last year’s F- grade.

    The coaching staff is still a question mark imo, but let’s think positive .

    - Chas
  25. 25.

    I agree, Chas. I’ve been at the front of the “rip BC” line, but I give him full credit for making changes.

    However…there is a TON of player turnover, and that is NEVER a good thing (unless you’re two legends, as in Allen and Garnett). This is almost a new team, and that doesn’t bode well for the coming year. Add in a new coaching staff, and it would seem very unlikely this team will fully gel during the coming season.

    Yet, after the disaster of the 07/08 playoffs and the entire 09/09 season (outside of the first five games!), I am glad the GM has gutted the team. The Raptors were awful last year. Completely awful. Zero effort on almost every night. It was embarrassing to watch and even more frustrating to be a season seat holder.

    As I’ve said previously, I am very cautiously optimistic. I see a lot of jump shots, slow defence and weak rebounding. That’s a really bad combination. I’d be surprised if they Raps finished anywhere above the top 5 or 6 teams in the East and shocked if they made a playoff run.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    - brento
  26. 26.

    What an amazing summer for the Toronto Raptors. For me personally, this is the best time to be a Raptors fan. I can’t wait for next season and I certainly can’t wait to see Alvin Williams as one our new assistant coaches.

    - Vincent Muambi
  27. 27.

    Let’s be clear, for those that don’t know:

    PG – 1
    SG – 2
    SF – 3
    PF – 4
    C – 5

    - E. Smith
  28. 28.

    With all due respect, Vincent Muambi, I think Alvin Williams’ coaching debut should take a backseat to the performance of this radically altered team :)

    Alvin was really low-key as a player. And I expect him to be a wallfly as a coach.

    GO RAPS GO!!

    - brento
  29. 29.

    I’ve been at the front of the “rip BC” line, but I give him full credit for making changes.

    i was right behind you in that line brento.i think having rasho here to back up the 1 spot will be the bigest move of the upcoming year

    - bill
  30. 30.

    Marco Belinelli I would think he would be solid off the bench!


    *That is a solid 10 man rotation! For sure this team looks like they will make the second round in my opinion!

    I saw every summer league that DeMar played and he plays like J.Moon! I hope this guy can do more than the summer league!

    - Raps Fan
  31. 31.

    Suggestion for north of the border:

    Centre, LW, RW and two defencemen. Familiar and comforting……….

    -don’t reply if you don’t recognize sarcasm…


    - Gary
  32. 32.

    nice info article Eric

    p l e a s e

    can you cover the leafs as well???

    - eddy
  33. 33.


    - BOJACK
  34. 34.

    I think Belinelli will more effective off the bench. The 2nd unit needs some offensive. The starting line up has enough offensive and would benefit more with some defence. Joey Graham would be good as a third SF off the bench behind maybe James Singleton. Singleton had similar numbers to Antoine Wright and Joey even though he averaged less minutes last season than both players. Plus he’s a combo 3 and 4 so he could play some minutes at the 4 spot behind Evans. Antoine Wright may have a better 3pt avg but Singleton’s avgs in the other stats are similar with fewer minutes. He just needs to be given minutes.

    - JB
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