Archive for August, 2009
Monday, August 31st, 2009
Monday August 31 2009 – 11:06am Eastern (Toronto, ON)
Enough time has gone by since my last blog – and you’ve all had plenty of time to weigh-in (pro or con) on the lack of coverage for our Canadian Men’s National team. So it’s time to move on …
SPEAKING OF THE CANUCKS
After big wins over Mexico and the Virgin Islands to start the FIBA Americas, Canada dropped its next two games to finish 2-2 in the 1st round of action.
But in spite of the tough (close) loss to Uruguay and the blowout defeat at the hands of Puerto Rico, Leo Rautins’ crew still advanced to the quarter finals. Argentina is up next for Canada – on Tuesday September 1.
Jack Armstrong and I are back on the air today – hosting “The Game Plan” – and we’re hoping to hook up with one of the coaches (or players) from Team Canada … to discuss this tournament a little bit further. Nothing is confirmed yet though!
SWING FORE DREAMS
Big, BIG shout-out to Ryan DeCaire and Brandon Vlaar for inviting me out to Carlisle Golf and Country Club yesterday for the first-ever “Swing Fore Dreams” charity tournament – in support of McMaster Children’s Hospital.
The rain held off and the sun managed to squeeze through a number of times as I hacked my way around Carlisle alongside Paul Jones and Sherman Hamilton … raising money for a great cause!
More than $3000 was raised for MCH. Outstanding!
Kudos to Ryan and Brandon for running this charity tournament. Both young men are only 17-years-old … so to organize and execute this event is beyond impressive. I know I wasn’t doing anything close to this when I was their age!
Again, great job guys. Your 4+ months of hard work definitely paid off and I look forward to coming back next year.
Oh, and for those that are interested …
My old “Sports Central” co-host Billl Hayes used to say: “Eric, you don’t PLAY golf … you COMMIT golf” …
And those words were bang-on yesterday. Well, sorta.
If I break 100 it’s not a good day … it’s a GREAT day. Well, earlier in the week I shot a 94 and was on top of the world! But yesterday my tally was back where it should be. 105. HOWEVER, I was playing from the blues – not the whites. For anyone that knows golf … that’s a substantial difference – especially for a guy that’s not the greatest golfer in the first place! But Sherm and Jonesy were talkin’ a big game about the blues so I reluctantly agree to go with the flow.
E – 105 (94 earlier this week)
Jonesy – 91 (88 earlier this week)
Sherm – 98 (88 earlier this week)
As the calendar flips to September tomorrow … expect to hear from some of your Toronto Raptors very shortly. Though Training Camp doesn’t start for another month, most of the guys will start trickling in to T.O. over the next couple of weeks for informal workouts at the ACC. These sessions are generally initiated by the players – not the team – as they take it upon themselves to get in some early work before camp officially begins.
For a team like the Raptors – with so many new faces – this kind of gathering should prove to be very valuable if for no other reason than “chemistry”.
STERN IN THE BARBERSHOP
This interview is about a week and a half old, but for those that missed it … it’s certainly worth a watch. If you’ve got 5 minutes while chillin’ at home or daydreaming at your desk at work, check it out.
NBA Commissioner David Stern chatting with New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden:
An outstanding read on former NBA’er Tim James:
Friday, August 28th, 2009
Friday August 28 2009 – 12:57pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
Hockey is king in this country. I know that. I accept that.
But I don’t accept unbalanced coverage. I don’t accept a sport or a team being completely ignored – not when it’s a NATIONAL team playing a Top 4 sport (hockey, football, baseball, basketball).
I turned on the TV this morning – getting my daily fix of sports highlights. This is just one of my many routines as a “fan”, let alone as a broadcaster that is prepping for an afternoon radio show. And I wondered aloud … How long will it take for me to see some clips of the Canada/Mexico game at the FIBA Americas yesterday?
I watched most of the game live – so I didn’t NEED to see the highlights. But knowing how often the Raptors and/or the NBA gets pushed down and down in the highlight shows on our country’s sports networks … I had a feeling in my gut that Leo Rautins and his Canadian Team would get little love as well.
And I was right.
Despite the fact that we normally go ga-ga in this country for NATIONAL teams – even women’s soccer (think back a few years) – the men’s basketball team was barely an after-thought today on both Sportsnet and TSN.
(Note: I did not monitor The Score for two reasons. First off, The Score aired the Canada/Mexico game live yesterday … and they will air all of Canada’s games live. Secondly, The Score doesn’t really have a highlight SHOW anymore. They run their highlight reel/wheel and that’s about it. There’s no actual “show”.)
But here’s how things broke down – segment by segment – on Sportsnet (CONNECTED) and TSN (SPORTS CENTRE):
* Sportsnet (11am-11:30am)
1. Michael Vick returns to the field
2. Team Canada hockey scrimmage
3. Roberto Luongo contract talk
4. Patrick Kane in court
5. Paul Kelly’s future with the NHLPA
6. New York Yankees / Texas Rangers
7. Boston Red Sox / Chicago White Sox
8. AL East standings
10. Breaking down the Team Canada scrimmage w/ Steve Yzerman
11. Alexei Kovalev / Ottawa Senators
12. Cliff Fletcher stays with the Leafs
13. Los Angeles Dodgers / Colorado Rockies
14. NL Standings
15. Rich Harden waivers
16. Golf – The Barclays
18. Brett Favre fitting in with the Vikings?
19. Misplays of the Day
20. Approximately 11:26:30am … show ends
* TSN (11am-12pm)
1. Team Canada hockey scrimmage (which lasted approx. 9 minutes 45 seconds!),
2. Michael Vick returns to the field
4. Patrick Kane in court
5. Ottawa Senators / Alex Kovalev
6. Jacques Demers
7. Roberto Luongo contract talk
8. TSN / Kraft promo (Sports Centre in Fredericton area) and profile of New Brunswick community
10. Boston Red Sox / Chicago White Sox
11. New York Yankees / Texas Rangers
12. American League standings
13. Paul Kelly’s future with the NHLPA
14. “Insider” segment by Darren Dreger (RE: Paul Kelly)
15. Approximately 11:28:30am – COMMERCIAL
16. TSN “resets” … starting with Team Canada hockey scrimmage
17. Team Canada hockey
18. Golf – The Barclays
20. Los Angeles Dodgers / Colorado Rockies
21. San Francisco Giants / Arizona Diamondbacks
22. NL Wild Card standings
23. Canada vs Mexico (*FINALLY came at about 11:44am and lasted exactly :28 seconds*)
24. Toronto Argos
25. Plays of the Day
26. Top 10
27. Back to Fredericton for the Kraft promo / profile
29. Highlight of the Night
30. Show ends
I was ready to jump all over TSN … for giving us nearly TEN minutes of hockey scrimmage coverage before getting to any other sport or story … but at least they covered the men’s basketball team! Yes, it took them *45* minutes to do so, but at least they covered it!
However, I can’t even imagine what the folks at Sportsnet were thinking. How do you not even MENTION the game? Heck, even if you didn’t have :28 seconds (like TSN) to show a clip or two … did you not have :05 or :10 seconds to put up a graphic … or … AT THE VERY LEAST … verbally mention the score?
Again, hockey is king — and hockey sells … while other sports (especially basketball) seem to struggle to attract advertisers in this country — but how can this game and such a lopsided victory be ignored?
This is a world-qualifier for the men’s basketball team. It IS a big deal. If this had been a world qualifier for hockey – or dare I even say … soccer … I’m sure there would have been more attention.
So why does this basketball bias exist?
I have no idea. I don’t have a good answer for you folks.
But I can guarantee you that Jack and I will be talking about Team Canada (BASKETBALL (and hockey (we’re balanced))) later today on “The Game Plan” from 2pm-4pm.
FYI … Team Canada’s second game goes today at 4pm – LIVE on The Score – against the Virgin Islands.
And if you didn’t see how yesterday’s MONSTER 95-40 win over Mexico unfolded, check out the boxscore here:
Thursday, August 27th, 2009
Thursday August 27 2009 – 11:28am Eastern (Toronto, ON)
The FIBA Americas Championship tipped off in Puerto Rico yesterday, but Canada’s first game of the tournament comes later t0day (at 4pm Eastern) when they face Mexico.
At stake: 4 spots in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.
And the Canadians will face some stiff competition – especially when you factor-in how (relatively) young and inexperienced most of the Canucks truly are.
Ten countries are vying for those 4 spots, and here’s how the tournament breaks down …
Following “Round 1″ the top four teams from each group will qualify for the Quarter Finals. But standings within your group will determine your seeding in the second round (i.e. – A1 will play B4; B1 will play A4 … and so on).
Following the Quarter Finals, the 4 remaining teams will battle-it-out in the Semis … however … all 4 will already have qualified for the 2010 Worlds.
And does Canada have a legit shot at being one of those four? Well, time will tell. I’m already guessing that Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Brazil have a leg-up on the rest of the competetion – so that would leave the Canadians with 1 spot to compete for … against 6 other countries. But who really knows how this will unfold. Upsets happen; Cinderella stories happen
WHERE CAN I SEE IT?
Canada’s game (today at 4pm Eastern) can be seen LIVE on The Score. And every game for Canada will be available on The Score:
Friday August 28 vs Virgin Islands – 4pm Eastern
Saturday August 29 vs Uruguay – 4pm Eastern
Sunday August 30 vs Puerto Rico – 4pm Eastern
The Canadian Men’s National Team looks like this:
G – Jermaine Anderson (Toronto)
F – Joel Anthony (Montreal) *
G – Ryan Bell (Orleans)
F – Jermaine Bucknor (Edmonton)
F – Aaron Doornekamp (Odessa)
G – Carl English (Patrick’s Cove)
F – Olu Famutimi (Toronto)
F – Levon Kendall (Vancouver)
G – Tyler Kepkay (Vancouver)
G – Kyle Marc Landry (Calgary)
C – Philip Isiah Martin (Hamilton)
G – Andy Rautins (Syracuse, USA)
F – Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto)
F / C – Jesse Young (Peterborough)
* only player on Canada’s roster with NBA experience
Still not primed and ready for Team Canada? Check out the chat that Jack Armstrong and I had with Head Coach Leo Rautins on yesterday’s “Game Plan”
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
Wednesday August 26 2009 – 11:27am Eastern (Toronto, ON)
The dog days of summer continue in the NBA. There’s not much to talk about right now. Things will be VERY hot in another month though … as camps will be opening around the league.
There are a few notable stories right now though:
(1) Allen Iverson writes on his TWITTER account that the Memphis Grizzlies made an offer to him yesterday. We’ll find out if A.I. decides to take the deal or not. Keep in mind … on the weekend … DIME Magazine reported that sources had told them that Iverson had a deal done with Charlotte and the signing would be announced some time this week. Time will tell I guess … as this saga continues!
(2) ESPN has an interesting – and ‘frightening’ – story today about the NBA and its officials facing a potential labour war. Apparently the referees deal with the league runs out next week and both sides are far apart RE: trying to negotiate a new contract. Check out Marc Stein’s story for more and tune in to “The Game Plan” with Jack Armstrong and me for more info on chatter on this subject (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4422452)
(3) Michael Beasley in rehab. Some reports have stated it could be for substance abuse … others are saying it’s stress-related. I’m saying: it’s none of our business right now. Let the man deal with whatever is bothering him and talk about it when he’s ready to talk about it. I give him – or his friends/family/advisers – credit for having the strength to recognize that help may have been needed … and he went and go it. It takes a strong man (strong person) to do that.
Remember last month when Canada and Italy got into some fisticuffs during a friendly overseas? Well, the brawlin’ continues on the hardwood – and this time the scuffle got MUCH worse – as Mexico and Uruguay squared off during a tune-up for the FIBA Americas.
SHOUT-OUT TO FAN 590 STAFFER
If you’re a regular listener to the Fan 590, you probably know the name – or at least the voice of – Andrew Nie. Andrew is normally on the air Monday-Friday from 8pm-1am. He’s the FAN’s evening sportscaster and all-round nice guy!
Well, my best wishes go out to Andrew right now … following MAJOR surgery a couple of weeks ago.
Nie had open-heart surgery to replace his aortic root, ascending thoracic aorta, and his aortic valve. Wow!
All the best Andrew. Look forward to hearing you back on the airwaves some time in October or November – once your recovery is over!
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Tuesday August 25 2009 – 1:27am Eastern (Toronto, ON)
Yesterday, we got into the “headscarf” issue and FIBA (see Monday’s blog for all of the details ( http://blog.rogersbroadcasting.com/ericsmith/2009/08/24/what-not-to-wear/ )). And some of you were asking about the official FIBA rules regarding uniforms and additions or accessories to the uniforms (like headbands, etc). So I did some digging … and … here ya go:
4.3.1 The uniform of the team members shall consist of:
• Shirts of the same dominant colour front and back.
All players must tuck their shirts into their playing shorts. ‘All-in-ones’ are
• Shorts of the same dominant colour front and back, but not necessarily of the
same colour as the shirts.
• Undergarments that extend below the shorts may be worn provided they are ofthe same dominant colour as the shorts.
4.3.2 Each team member shall wear a shirt numbered on the front and back with plain
numbers, of a solid colour contrasting with the colour of the shirt.
The numbers shall be clearly visible and:
• Those on the back shall be at least twenty (20) cm high.
• Those on the front shall be at least ten (10) cm high.
• The numbers shall be at least two (2) cm wide.
• Teams shall use numbers from four (4) to fifteen (15). National federations have
the authority to approve, for their competitions, any other numbers with a
maximum of two (2) digits.
• Players on the same team shall not wear the same number.
• Any advertising or logo shall be at least five (5) cm away from the numbers.
4.3.3 Teams must have a minimum of two sets of shirts and:
• The first team named in the programme (home team) shall wear light-coloured
shirts (preferably white).
• The second team named in the programme (visiting team) shall wear dark-coloured
• However, if the two teams agree, they may interchange the colours of the
4.4 Other equipment
4.4.1 All equipment used by players must be appropriate for the game. Any equipment
that is designed to increase a player’s height or reach or in any other way give an
unfair advantage is not permitted.
4.4.2 Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players.
• The following are not permitted:
▬ Finger, hand, wrist, elbow or forearm guards, casts or braces made of
leather, plastic, pliable (soft) plastic, metal or any other hard substance,
even if covered with soft padding.
▬ Objects that could cut or cause abrasions (fingernails must be closely cut).
▬ Headgear, hair accessories and jewellery.
• The following are permitted:
▬ Shoulder, upper arm, thigh or lower leg protective equipment if the material
is sufficiently padded.
▬ Knee braces if they are properly covered.
▬ Protector for an injured nose, even if made of a hard material.
▬ Spectacles, if they do not pose a danger to other players.
▬ Headbands, maximum five (5) cm in width, made of non-abrasive, unicolour
cloth, pliable plastic or rubber.
4.4.3 Any other equipment not specifically mentioned in this article must be approved by
the FIBA Technical Commission.
ON THE LINKS
Some of you will be interested — ’cause ya like guys like Paul Jones and Sherman Hamilton and you understand the friendly rivalries and ribbing that usually exists between guys. Others will say “who cares about this”.
If you fall into category B, skip this and read further below.
I had a chance to golf in a tournament with Jonesy and Sherm yesterday at Carlisle Golf and CC and here’s how our scorecard looked at the end of the round:
Jonesy – 88
Sherm – 88
E. Smith – 94
I’m quite content finishing 6 strokes back of both Paul and Sherman. They are much better golfers than me … and anytime I break 100 it’s not a “good” day … it’s a fan-freakin-tastic day! So I was thrilled to snag a 94.
STILL SEARCHING FOR $249,900,000
I read that my buddy Doug Smith (Toronto Star) is in Vancouver/Whistler right now …
Perhaps he could do some digging on some west coast investors that are interested in joining me, Jonesy, and Jack Armstrong in our bid to bring an NBA team back to Vancouver.
RIM boss Jim B. still has yet to contact us … but … our attempt to raise funds for Van-City has been going on for about a year now and Jack recently upped his stake in the potential franchise to $50,000 (he used to be on-tap for only $25k – the total that Jonesy and I have penciled in).
So we’re up to $100,000 for our bid. Just help us find the remaining $250 million or so (that’s the total we figure it’ll take).
The guys at petemarasmitch.com even did up a logo or banner/poster for me:
I’ve had a few people ask me about Chris Webber’s recent video on NBA.com … where he picked his Top 5 Raptors of all-time (basically picking the top players at each of the 5 positions (PG, SG, SF, PF, and C)) …
Saying things like “we’ve talked about them too much already” – when signing-off from his video – isn’t going to endear him to many Raptor fans out there … but … keep in mind … this is SHOW BUSINESS folks. C-Webb is TRYING to get a stir or rise out of you.
But who are my “Fab 5″ …
Well … are we going with guys that put up great numbers AS A RAPTOR … or are we talking about guys that have had great numbers in their CAREERS … even if their time in Toronto was merely a cup of coffee?
If we’re including anyone that ever wore a uniform in T.O. I would put Chauncey Billups ahead of Damon Stoudamire at the point. And both Jose Calderon and Alvin Williams should get some serious consideration for that PG slot. But in the end, it’s hard to argue with what Mighty Mouse did in his time with Toronto.
TMAC is a lock at SG – with a special shout-out to Doug Christie.
Vince Carter – and nobody else – occupies the all-time SF slot … and will for YEARS. Meanwhile, Chris Bosh is the best power forward this organization has ever seen.
At center … again … if we’re basing things on “career” numbers and not tenure in Toronto, Hakeem Olajuwon would be #1. Marcus Camby would be #2. But for contributions to this club, Antonio Davis takes the cake.
As you’ll see, despite the “controversy” from some of you out there, I pretty-much agree with Webber’s choices:
Monday, August 24th, 2009
Monday August 24 2009 – 9:23am Eastern (Toronto, ON)
In case you missed this story over the course of the weekend, it’s worth checking out. This issue crosses social, political, and religious lines I suppose; very heated and potentially precedent-setting as well.
I’ll say this: I respect everyone’s beliefs and their rights to those beliefs – 100%. However, we all have a choice regarding where we want to be employed (well, where we want to APPLY at the very least). And if I know going in that there is a “uniform”, I should know that I have to conform to the rules of that employer and the job’s dress code … or simply find employment that will allow me to wear whatever I want – for social, political, or religious reasons – whenever I want.
INTELLIGENT, RESPECTFUL, comments are welcomed below.
Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
Saturday August 22 2009 – 12:34 Eastern (Toronto, ON)
So the talk of the town these days seems to be Allen Iverson – and where the free agent guard may land by the time next season rolls around.
Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a great piece on A.I. today on Yahoo Sports. Check it out: http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AuDLAvLC5z79L3vUutghBKvqbwM6?slug=aw-iverson082009&prov=yhoo&type=lgns
But I wanted to weigh-in as well and give you my Top 5 Most Likely Destinations for “The Answer:
1. Charlotte – Reunited with former Sixers coach Larry Brown; Someone to drive ticket sales for the Bobcats?
2. Miami – Some added punch for Dwyane Wade (and Miami is one of the few teams in the East to have a VERY quiet summer)
3. Memphis – Ticket sales; Potentially-deadly threat when combined/paired with OJ Mayo; Chance for most $$ for Iverson?
4. LA Clippers – Star power for “the other team in LA”; Potent back-court possibilities with Baron Davis
5. Greece - Money, money money
Now … that said … let’s look at the Top 5 places he SHOULD go (if money wasn’t a factor and *IF* the teams listed actually wanted him):
1. San Antonio – The perfect veteran team with the perfect veteran, no-nonsense coach
2. Boston - Another good fit on a veteran team with a player’s coach in Doc Rivers (but would A.I. back up Allen and/or Rondo?)
3. Miami - (The only team to appear on both lists for me*) … See reasons above
4. LA Lakers – If Phil Jackson can control Denis Rodman, he can handle Iverson. And if A.I. wants to win – playing with Kobe is a good start
5. Denver – Yes, back to Denver! He played well there and he got along with George Karl. He helped the Nuggets win 50 games.
Iverson deserves to be in the league still. He may be a “me” guy too often, but he’s too talented for some team out there to NOT offer him a deal. A.I. just has to realize he isn’t a young man anymore and he has to keep his attitude in check. He needs to know that at this stage of his career he’s better served to be a good piece on a very good team, as opposed to being a very good piece on an average or below average club.
I look forward to seeing where where he’ll be when Training Camps open in October.
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
Wednesday August 19 2009 – 5:58pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
Somebody called in to the Fan 590 yesterday – during the open-phone segment of “The Game Plan” – and asked Jack Armstrong and me to do a breakdown of what kind of stats we’d expect from certain members of the Raptors this year.
The caller was most interested in statistical predictions for Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, Marco Belinelli, and Hedo Turkoglu.
Well, to be frank, I’m not going to project numbers and averages. That’s an impossibility. And it’s not fair to the players – or to me for that matter – to guess what kind of scoring or rebounding numbers we all should expect … without even knowing how many minutes a guy may play or what type of role he may have on the team over the course of 82 games.
However, I can talk in generalities …
Turkoglu has to get after it on the glass a little bit more. I don’t think he’s the stiff (at rebounding) that some folks like to make him out to be. I believe the way/style he plays – and his positioning on the floor - often hinders him from going after it down low more often. But he does have to use his 6’10 frame more to his advantage and help ease the load on Chris Bosh’s shoulders. As good as Bosh is, he’s not Dwight Howard so there’ll be more opportunities to contribute on the glass. And, of course, his scoring can’t drop off. He’ll be looked at as the first or second option on every trip down the floor.
Bargnani’s breakdown can read just like Turkoglu’s. I know I got killed by many of you for saying this a month or so ago, but I don’t believe the big Italian’s rebounding prowess is that bad. When you’re 7’0 and you’re spending a lot of time on the perimeter – or your busting out in transition (off a defensive possession) and allowing Bosh to take almost every board in sight – you’re not going to gobble much up. But the more Bargnani plays in the middle … the more he’ll have to establish himself as a legit rebounder. A center can’t average 5 rebounds per game. He has to get those totals up and prove that he can improve on the glass as well as he did as a defender (arguably Toronto’s best defensive big man last year).
Belinelli and DeRozan can fall into the same category overall. Granted, DD has more hops than “Rocky”, but the Italian can be explosive in other ways (off the bounce, good with his handle, etc). But defence is where both players can make or break their seasons – and maybe the Raptors overall as well! Perimeter defence was one of the greatest weaknesses for Toronto last season and both of these guys will be looked upon to help solve that issue (along with guys like Antoine Wright and Jarrett Jack as well). Plus, without knowing who will start or who will come off the bench, it’s impossible to predict what kind of scoring impact either player will have. At first glance, just based on experience (though very limited) … Belinelli likely has a leg up in that category given that he already has NBA experience and he brings 3-point range to his game as well … something DeRozan hopes to add and develop over the course of time.
COLANGELO ON THE FAN
Speaking of “The Game Plan”, Jack and I had a chance to chat with the President and General Manager of the Raptors – Bryan Colangelo – earlier today. In case you missed it, check it out here:
We are hoping to have one of the newest Raptors – Amir Johnson – join us on the show on Friday afternoon.
Monday, August 17th, 2009
Monday August 17 2009 – 12:36pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
The details are kind of all over the place right now, but here’s what we think we know …
Marc Stein of ESPN was first to report this morning that the Raptors were working on a deal that would send Carlos Delfino to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchanges for young forward Amir Johnson.
Stein was saying that the only way this deal would get done though, is if Delfino agreed to sign on with the Bucks for at least 2 years.
But just minutes after that story came out, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star posted a story in his blog stating that league sources had told him that Delfino AND Roko Ukic will be on the move to Milwaukee … for Johnson and another player in a 2-for-2 trade. That “other player” is not known at this time.
I have tried contacting a couple of Raptors’ sources and have had no luck getting any confirmation (yet) one way or another.
At first glance – without knowing who the “other player” in this trade is – the initial reaction may be that the Raps are giving up quite a bit. Ukic is a young guard with a lot of upside. After only one season, can anyone really say – one way or another – that Roko will make or break it in the NBA? Thus, it’s a roll-of-the-dice to deal him so early in his career.
HOWEVER, with Jose Calderon locked-in for 4 more years and Jarrett Jack just signed to a 5-year deal this summer, there’s quite a log-jam at point guard … and finding time for Ukic may have been tough for Jay Triano. Ukic will probably have a greater chance at playing in Milwaukee — especially if the Bucks lose Ramon Sessions in free agency.
As it stands now, if anything were to happen to Calderon or Jack, Quincy Douby would like serve as the #3 depth PG and you can always run the offence – at times – through Hedo Turkoglu. Turk has a great handle and it wasn’t uncommon – especially after Jameer Nelson went down – for him to run the show in Orlando. Plus, dare I say it: Marcus Banks is (for now) still on the roster too.
Delfino’s departure has been a foregone conclusion since the signing of Jack and the acquisition of Marco Belinelli. With those two players in T.O. and DeMar DeRozon, Antoine Wright, and Turkoglu along for the ride as well, bringing back the Argentinian became somewhat of a redundant move.
Thus, I’m not convinced that Toronto is “losing” anything significant from their roster.
I like(d) Roko as a person and as a player, but the depth issue would have plagued him this year. And Delfino’s already been gone for a year.
The bigger question may be … what is Toronto “GAINING” for their roster?
Again, we don’t yet know who the other player / component of this deal may be. But we do know that Johnson is a 4-year veteran who is still only 22 years old. He barely saw the floor in his first two years with the Detroit Pistons – appearing in only 11 games total over those 2 seasons.
But in spite of his lack of playing time (keep in mind, he was stuck behind Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, and Antonio McDyess while in the Motor City ), Joe Dumars rewarded Johnson with an $11 million extension, and Johnson lived up to his end of the deal by moving up the depth chart and earning some P.T. He appeared in 62 games in each of the past two seasons, averaging about 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in approximately 13 minutes of action. Detroit then dealt him to Milwaukee this summer.
It’s probably not fair to speculate about Johnson’s role with Toronto quite yet. Let’s wait to find out how things unfold a bit in Training Camp. However, at first glance it would seem that the youngster could move ahead of Patrick O’Bryant on the depth chart of big men, but he’d still likely be battling for time behind Rasho Nesterovic and Reggie Evans (and, OBVIOUSLY, Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, and Turkoglu).
Johnson is also entering the final year of his deal (over $3.7 million) so if he’s not in Toronto’s long-term plans (who knows) he could be (a) a valuable chip in the trade market this season, or (b) an even more valuable expiring deal for the Raps next summer … when they are trying to free up money and flexibility for Bosh, et al.
If this 2-for-2 deal goes down, Toronto’s roster will stand at 15 and barring any other moves, the team will now be complete. And that means: Goodbye Pops Mensah-Bonsu. In fact – for what it’s worth – Pops “tweeted” on his Twitter account that he was in Houston … and there are rumblings floating around that the Rockets are interested in signing him. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.
The FAN 590 will continue to follow this story over the course of the day and report any details as soon as they become available.
I will be on the air – co-hosting “The Game Plan” with Jack Armstrong – from 2pm-4pm today.
Sonny Weems is reported to be the “other player” coming from Milwaukee to Toronto
Friday, August 14th, 2009
Friday August 14 2009 – 11:57pm Eastern (Toronto, ON)
Some folks suggested in the “comments” section of yesterday’s blog that I pay tribute to my man – Magic Johnson – in today’s blog. Magic turned 50 today.
And in honor of Magic coming to the big 5-0, some of you wanted me to rhyme-off his Top 50 greatest moments.
Well, to be honest, there’s no way in hell I’m going to sit here and brainstorm *50* memories. That ain’t happenin’. Haha. But here are a select few:
- His comeback to the Lakers in 1996 (playing in 32 games after a 4-year absence from the NBA)
- Playing C for LA in Game 6 of the ’80 Finals–as a rookie! Tallying 42 PTS, 15 REB, & 7 ASST
- Showing up on the cover of Sports Illustrated in a tuxedo while still playing at Michigan State
- Winning the MVP award at the 1992 All Star Game
- THE skyhook of all skyhooks (sorry Kareem), that gave LA the win in Game 4 of the ’87 Finals
- 1979 NCAA Final against Larry Bird
- Hall of Fame induction in 2002
- First of 3 MVP awards in 1987
- Standing on the podium … alongside other Dream Teamers … wearing Olympic gold in 1992
- Unfortunately, his retirement announcement (the 1st one – due to HIV) prior to the 1991-92 season
- Taking over as coach of the Lakers for the final 16 games of the 1993-94 season
… And many more.
In fact, one little-know fact about Magic is that he’s the one primarily responsible for the term “triple-double” coming into the every-day lexicon of NBA writers, broadcasters, and fans (though Oscar Robertson had more in his career – and is the true kingpin of that stat – nobody had come up with the term “triple-double” until Magic came around and started filling up the stat sheet).
Anybody else care to share their favourite Magic moments? Feel free to do so below.
And check out this video as well: