Archive for June, 2010
Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Wednesday June 30 2010 – 8:01pm Eastern – Cleveland, OH
I’m on vacation right now (hence the reason I haven’t written anything in a few days) – but I wanted to check in with a quick blog anyway. I figured I should try to stay on top of this free agent circus … even if I’m supposed to be OFF!
There are a lot of rumblings floating around right now regarding Chris Bosh’s imminent departure from Toronto … and some folks are unfairly putting Bosh in the same boat as Vince Carter or Tracy McGrady or they’re blaming CB’s soon-to-be move on the Great White North in general.
To be clear (for those making comparisons): Carter signed a long-term extension with the Raptors. For that matter, so did Bosh (and Antonio Davis (in his hey-day).
So the theory that folks don’t want to play in Toronto is bogus. Players simply want to win … and win on a consistent basis. Thus, with due respect to the organization, it’s probably tough for the Raptors to be a big draw to free agents right now due to lack of success the franchise has had in its 15 year existence. Five trips to the post-season and just one 2nd round appearance (the team’s best playoff performance ever) is not a lot to bank on and sell to folks around the league. Thus, Bosh isn’t leaving (if he goes) because of ‘TORONTO’ or because of ‘CANADA’ … it comes down to winning and having a chance at championships.
The Pacers, Kings, Cavs, and Bucks (to name a few) don’t have much to offer from a ‘city’ perspective, but past or present those teams won – consistently – and, thus, they became (or have become) attractive destinations.
If the Raptors prove to be a consistent, perennial playoff contender – if not championship contender – year after year, they too will draw-in the big names … with no regard for the fact that this is the only team in the league that settles above the 49th parallel.
But if Bosh walks at 12:01am tonight (well, technically, ‘tomorrow’) … don’t blame the city or the country. It’s a business and Bosh has the right to leave if he wants to.
Friday, June 25th, 2010
Friday June 25 2010 – 2:35pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
It was an interesting night for the Toronto Raptors as a projected Top 10 pick fell a few slots in the draft and landed in Toronto’s lap.
Big man Ed Davis did not work out for any teams outside of the Top 10 teams but when he was still on the board, Bryan Colangelo had to jump on him.
The North Carolina product is a solid shot-blocker and rebounder and he gives the Raps some insurance for the potential departure of Chris Bosh.
Davis, the son of former NBA’er Terry Davis, is recovering from a wrist injury but Colangelo is still hoping that the lanky forward will suit up for the Raptors in the Vegas Summer League in a couple of weeks.
Soon after the selection was made, Davis joined the media at the Air Canada Centre via conference call:
Jay Triano then weighed in on the acquisition of Davis and looked ahead to the rest of the evening and what might be in store for Toronto:
But apparently Triano was wrong about the Raptors being done for the night. Colangelo was able to add another big man to the roster when he pulled off a late night deal with the Dallas Mavericks … sending a 2013 2nd round pick and some cash to the Lone Star State for Florida State’s Solomon Alabi.
Colangelo hinted at the Alabi deal (but didn’t officially announce it) and talked about his ‘draft night’ overall when he spoke with reporters just before midnight:
The usual tradition is to have the draft picks in town the day after the draft but due to the G20 summit going on in Toronto, Davis (and maybe Alabi) will not have a press conference and jersey unveiling until some time next week – or later.
For more on the Raptors and what went down over the course of the evening, check out the live chat that Paul Jones and I hosted for nearly 6 hours last night:
Have a good one folks
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Thursday June 24 2010 – 4:02pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
A lot of you have been Tweeting and emailing … asking about the FAN 590′s on-air and personnel changes that were announced earlier today.
I truly wish I had the chance to respond to each one of you individually — something I’ve taken pride in doing for many years now; responding to every Tweet and every email I receive. However, I have simply been overwhelmed by all of your responses today … and given how busy today is already – with the NBA Draft going down – I just won’t have the time to chat with all of you on a 1 on 1 basis.
Check out the link below … It’s a clip from “The Game Plan” earlier today … where Jack and I explain exactly what’s happening with our show and why the decision was made to restructure the 2pm-4pm afternoon slot on the FAN.
From consistency and continuity in the afternoons (something the FAN didn’t have with Jack and I on the road with the Raptors so much) to the quality of our personal lives with our wives and children (something Jack and I didn’t have given how much time we spend on the road with the Raptors – and then hosting the daily show as well) … the change to “The Game Plan” is understandable.
We’re not going anywhere though.
I’ll still be all over the Raptors – as the analyst, host, and reporter – and I’ll be on the air whenever I’m needed … hosting or co-hosting shows, etc when it fits with my sked. Meanwhile, Jack will be around to join me for the “Hoops” show and he’ll do NCAA hits, guest spots on various talk shows, and much more. Basically, very little is truly changing with Jack and I if you look at what we’ve done for the FAN for the past 12+ years.
Thanks for all of your support!
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Thursday June 24 2010 – 3:25pm Eastern – Toronto, ON Paul Jones and I will be chatting LIVE tonight during the NBA Draft.Check out www.fan590.com and/or www.sportsnet.ca for the link to the Live Chat and join us for an evening of hoops talk.We’ll hit the web live at 6:30pm and go ’til … whenever.E. Smith
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
By Eric Smith
“All the uncertainty would lead you to believe there’s a lot of balls in the air, a lot of trade discussions happening right now,” said the general manager. “How the roster looks today, it’s going to look entirely different, I’m sure, a few weeks from now when it all plays out.”
That quote came from Bryan Colangelo yesterday afternoon when he met with the media for the final time before Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Let’s break down what the President and GM is likely dealing with …
Marcus Banks – though he has one year left at a hefty price, don’t be surprised if he is waived by the Raps (if he can’t be traded (long shot).
Jose Calderon / Jarrett Jack – Colangelo said at his end-of-the-season press conference that at least one of the two guards likely wouldn’t be back. Do you deal the steadier guard with a higher price tag or the aggressive guard with a more manageable contract?
Hedo Turkoglu – he has to be traded. However, you can’t make a bad deal – and take on bad contracts – just for the sake of shipping him out. You can’t feel ‘forced’ to move Turk; you must be patient in waiting for the RIGHT trade.
DeMar DeRozan – too early to give up last year’s #9 pick.
Sonny Weems – great upside and energy and a ridiculously good (for the team – and the cap) contract!
Rasho Nesterovic – great guy … solid vet on the floor and in the locker room … but I’d be shocked if the big Slovenian was re-signed.
Antoine Wright – he had ups and downs during a season that began with high expectations and responsibilities. Based on how things went down, I don’t see Wright being re-signed either.
Patrick O’Bryant – he’s still living on hope and potential as a former Top 10 pick but I think the Raptors experiment with POB is over. I hear he will get an invite to join Toronto’s Summer League team in Vegas as a last-ditch effort to crack the roster for the Raps or some other team.
Reggie Evans – has a lot to prove this year after an injury-riddled season last year. He should be a legit part of the rotation for 15-20 minutes a night and I don’t see him being moved by BC.
Amir Johnson – all signs point to Johnson being re-signed as a free agent and carrying larger load with the Raptors next season.
Andrea Bargnani – nobody on the roster is untouchable. However, given the uncertainty of Chris Bosh’s free agent status, I can’t imagine that Bargnani would be on the move. In fact, like it or not, he could be the new ‘face’ of the team … depending on what happens with CB.
Marco Belinelli – here’s a piece that could be dangled in a potential move though I don’t know that his erratic play would fetch you much. If he’s back in T.O. there’s still a role for him but the Italian will have a lot to prove.
* Chris Bosh – to leave or not to leave. Six months ago I thought he was staying. Six weeks ago I thought his future with the Raptors was 50/50 at best. As of today … if I had to put a number on it … I’d say 85-15 that he’s leaving town. I still believe this team can be better WITH Bosh, however, orchestrating a sign-and-trade for #4 may be a great chance for Colangelo to improve the club on the fly and acquire 1 or 2 solid pieces to the new ‘core’ that will take this team into its next chapter.
I’m on the golf course today and have yet to speak to anyone from the Raptors’ front office (today), but my gut is telling me that by the time the draft is over tomorrow night the Raps will have made at least one significant trade.
Have a good one
Monday, June 21st, 2010
Monday June 21 2010 – 11:38am Eastern – Toronto, ON
The NBA Draft is just a few days away and some folks have been asking about Canadian, Andy Rautins, and the prospects of him being selected by a team on Thursday night.
Well, as I wrote a month or so ago, I believe Rautins will get drafted. In spite of what you may have read on many of the drafted-related websites that are out there, I’ve talked to enough scouts who tell me that Leo’s son has such a wide range of skills that he could be a valuable complimentary player for a lot of teams. Though some of the sites claim Rautins is not skilled enough to be a 2 and not good enough – at the point – to be a full-time 1, the folks I’ve talked to are saying otherwise.
Yes, the NBA game is much different than what the kids see in the NCAA. But Rautins’ ability to defend (especially on the ball) and shoot from distance make him intriguing at the very least. He’s got good speed as well and rebounds well for a guard. Plus, he has been lauded by many – including Syracuse coach, Jim Boeheim – for his knowledge of the game and his instincts.
I made the comparison a while back (based on a chat with two NBA scouts) between Rautins and JJ Redick. Redick may be a better shooter (though Andy’s no slouch) but Rautins, I believe, has a better overall package. That said, Redick has slowly developed into his role in Orlando – which includes being called upon by Stan Van Gundy to guard folks like Ray Allen in certain stretches. Thus, if Redick can improve at this level, I don’t see why Rautins couldn’t do the same … especially if he’s coming in with an already-established base.
He may not have gotten the ‘star’ treatment that others at Syracuse received, but if you talk to people close to the team you know that Rautins was one of the leaders of the Orange.
The fact that Andy tore up the pre-draft combine in Chicago about a month ago — shooting an incredible 77% overall from the floor — should help his stock as well.
So far Rautins has worked out for:
He also took part in the pre-draft combine in Minnesota (further to the work he did at the Chicago combine) and he is scheduled to be in Orlando for a session today.
Rautins had a workout scheduled with Detroit a few weeks ago but he had to cancel it and is/was hoping to reschedule. He may have worked out for the Dallas Mavericks as well.
The Toronto Raptors have tried to get Andy in for a workout but the two sides haven’t been able to find a day that works for everyone involved. Further to their dates not jiving, Toronto currently has just one pick in the 2010 Draft … and given the fact that it’s unlikely Rautins will be selected in the first round (let alone the lottery – at the Raptors #13 pick), a date in T.O. may not materialize.
Friday, June 18th, 2010
Friday June 18 2010 – 9:42am Eastern – Toronto, ON
It didn’t look pretty last night; neither team was winning any ‘style’ points. But in the end, when the buzzer sounded and the confetti starting flying, Game 7 of the latest Lakers-Celtics showdown will go down as a ‘classic’ in my books.
In spite of a brutal first half (offensively) for LA, the defending champs fought back from a 13-point deficit in the 2nd half to win their second straight title and 5th championship overall for Kobe Bryant (and Derek Fisher).
Bryant, the Finals MVP, struggled mightily in the pivotal game. However, like any great player would (and should), #24 found other ways to impact the game. He was a beast on the glass … grabbing 15 rebounds overall … as he and teammate Pau Gasol combined for 33 rebounds overall (13 on the offensive glass). Bryant and company completely manhandled the Celtics on the glass; the absence of Kendrick Perkins (knee) certainly impacting Boston’s effectiveness down low.
Bryant finished the game just 6 of 24 from the floor (25%) but he scored 10 of his team-high 23 points in the 4th quarter and he simply trusted his teammates to get the job done as well. While Kobe was warming up in the final 12 minutes, it was the likes of Fisher (a huge 3-ball to tie the game late) and Ron Artest (20 points, 5 steals, 5 rebounds) that carried LA to its 16th championship.
When the post-game festivities started on the floor — after Ron Artest’s classic interview on ABC/ESPN — Laker great, Magic Johnson, was on-hand to help take part in the presentation of the Larry O’Brien trophy. During Johnson’s brief ‘speech’, the Hall of Famer called Phil Jackson the greatest coach of all time but many folks were/are wondering who is the greatest LAKER of all-time …
Johnson has 5 rings. Bryant now has 5 rings and a few years (if not many years) ahead of him still.
The debate is so subjective; I can totally see both sides. But in spite of last night’s performance, I’m still putting Magic atop my list. It’s SO close though. I’m fine with anyone that makes the case for Kobe being #1; I’m just not giving him that mantle quite yet. The ‘logo’ – Jerry West – is clearly #3 though.
1. Magic Johnson
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Jerry West
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
5. Shaquille O’Neal
Bryant will have a chance to move into that #1 slot very soon. Even if he doesn’t win another title (which, by the way, would give him 6 rings overall and tie him with Michael Jordan), another MVP award, deep run in the post-season, or franchise record with his name on it would be enough to make me bump Magic to #2. And Bryant is signed through the 2014 season (along with Gasol as well).
With back to back championship titles and 3 championship appearances in a row … we could be in the midst of another Laker dynasty.
Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Thursday June 17 2010 – 10:43am Eastern – Toronto, ON
It doesn’t get any better than this. Even if you’re not a fan of the Lakers or Celtics – or even the NBA – there’s nothing more compelling than a winner-takes-all Game 7 with the CHAMPIONSHIP on the line.
Strangely, this is the first time that Phil Jackson has ever coached a Game 7 in the Finals.
And how ’bout these interesting tidbits:
- Jackson has coached in the Finals 13 times in 20 years
- Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have played in the Finals 7 times in 14 years
- Bryant trails Magic Johnson (5) for most championship rings in Laker history. Bryant has 4
Apparently Bryant will have to overcome another (yawwwn) ‘guaranteed win’; this one coming from Celtics big man, Baby Davis. Davis had this to say to the LA Times:
“I love it,” he said of Thursday’s Game 7. “This is what it’s all about. It’s what you guys are going to talk about for years. You guys are going to remember this moment. You’re going to remember Thursday forever.”I can’t wait. I can’t wait to step up on the floor and win here in L.A.”
He continued with his proclamation, making it a tad clearer the second time around.
“We’ll come to play, we’ll compete, and we’ll be there at the end holding the trophy,” Davis said.
“We’ve got to go get it. We went through too many ups and downs to lose like this. Out of all the teams in the league, we’re the ones who struggled.
“We went through the bumps and bruises. We went through the ‘we’re old.’ We went through the ‘oh, they can’t play, they’re the fourth seed, they’re going to get beat by Cleveland, they’re going to get beat by Orlando.’
“And we’re here now, despite of what everybody else thinks. So you think we’re going to just let this go? No. We accept the challenge, and we want it. That’s point-blank simple.
“We could have gave up a long time ago and look forward to next year. But no. We’re here. So we’re going to take it while we’re here and understand that we’ve been through ups and downs and we deserve it more than them.”
Davis will get a chance to play a huge role in the Celtics’ quest for their 2nd championship in 3 years as he and Rasheed Wallace will share the load left by injured center Kendrick Perkins.
The loss of Perkins – and his shot-blocking and rebounding – should be a major advantage for the Lakers’ front court.
Maybe one day we’ll be talking about the Raptors’ quest for an NBA title but for now we’re left discussing the Draft (again). Here’s a list of the latest prospects that are in town to strut their stuff for Toronto’s brass:
Thomas Heurtel – G – 6’2 – France
Eric Bledsoe – G – 6’2 – Kentucky
Xavier Henry – G – 6’7 – Kansas
Paul George – F – 6’9 – Fresno State
Tyler Wilkerson – F – 6’8 – Marshall
Patrick Patterson – F – 6’9 – Kentucky
I’ll be interested to see how Henry does; he’s a guy I’ve had on my (mock) draft board for a couple of weeks now.
MOCK IT UP
Speaking of which … Here’s my Mock Draft:
1. John Wall
2. Derrick Favors
3. Evan Turner
4. DeMarcus Cousins
5. Wesley Johnson
6. Greg Monroe
7. Al-Farouq Aminu
8. Ekpe Udoh
9. Cole Aldrich
10. Patrick Patterson
11. Ed Davis
12. Paul George
13. Xavier Henry
14. Luke Babbitt
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Wednesday June 16 2010 – 11:38am Eastern – Toronto, ON
2010 NBA Summer League Game Schedule (All Times listed are local Las Vegas time):
Friday July 9
1 PM – Denver vs. Dallas
3 PM – Houston vs. Phoenix
5 PM – Detroit vs. LA Lakers
7 PM – Golden State vs. New Orleans
Saturday July 10
1 PM – Toronto vs. Phoenix
3 PM – LA Lakers vs. Denver
5 PM – Detroit vs. Golden State
7 PM – Dallas vs. Houston
Sunday July 11
1 PM – New York vs. Denver
3 PM – Portland vs. Houston
5 PM – Washington vs. Golden State
7 PM – Miami vs. New Orleans
Monday July 12
1 PM – LA Lakers vs. New York
3 PM – Sacramento vs. Detroit
5 PM – Dallas vs. Milwaukee
7 PM – Washington vs. LA Clippers
Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – San Antonio vs. Minnesota
5:30 PM – Phoenix vs. NBA D-League Select Team
7:30 PM – Memphis vs. Atlanta
Tuesday July 13
1 PM – Denver vs. Chicago
3 PM – Cleveland vs. NBA D-League Select Team
5 PM – Milwaukee vs. Memphis
7 PM – Portland vs. New Orleans
Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Houston vs. Toronto
5:30 PM – Sacramento vs. LA Lakers
7:30 PM – Golden State vs. Miami
Wednesday July 14
1 PM – Denver vs. Houston
3 PM – New York vs. Toronto
5 PM – LA Clippers vs. Chicago
7 PM – Sacramento vs. Minnesota
Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Atlanta vs. San Antonio
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Phoenix
7:30 PM – Detroit vs. Miami
Thursday July 15
1 PM – LA Lakers vs. San Antonio
3 PM – Golden State vs. Phoenix
5 PM – Washington vs. Dallas
7 PM – LA Clippers vs. Portland
Thomas & Mack
5:30 PM – Atlanta vs. Milwaukee
7:30 PM – NBA D-League Select Team vs. Memphis
Friday July 16
1 PM – Detroit vs. New York
3 PM – Toronto vs. Sacramento
5 PM – Washington vs. New Orleans
7 PM – Memphis vs. Minnesota
Thomas & Mack
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Chicago
7:30 PM – Milwaukee vs. Miami
Saturday July 17
1 PM – New York vs. Washington
3 PM – Miami vs. Cleveland
5 PM – LA Clippers vs. San Antonio
7 PM – Minnesota vs. Portland
Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Toronto vs. New Orleans
5:30 PM – Sacramento vs. Chicago
7:30 PM – NBA D-League Select Team vs. Atlanta
Sunday July 18
1 PM – Cleveland vs. Milwaukee
3 PM – Chicago vs. Portland
5 PM – Dallas vs. Sacramento
Thomas & Mack
1:30 PM – San Antonio vs. Memphis
3:30 PM – Atlanta vs. Minnesota
5:30 PM – LA Clippers vs. NBA D-League Select Team
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Wednesday June 16 2010 – 11:30am Eastern – Toronto, ON
For a good chunk of the Boston-LA series we’ve been chatting a lot about the play of the Celtics’ bench and how the likes of Baby Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace have been the difference. Their play – against LA’s starters and reserves – allowed Boston to open up a 3-2 lead heading into last night’s tilt.
But the Lakers woke up.
Not only was Kobe Bryant masterful yet again, but Ron Artest looked focused and determined. Pau Gasol was a monster on both ends – swatting everything in site on the defensive end – and this time it was LA’s bench that did the dissecting. Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar, and Lamar Odom all turned in key performances as the most opportune time. Phil Jackson pressed all the right buttons and Boston looked completely lost. They looked tired and uninspired … and deflated after the early injury to big man Kendrick Perkins.
Adrian Wojnarowski Tweeted this late last night: “Perkins has sprained MCL and PCL ligaments in knee, with an MRI on Wednesday to check for tear, league sources tell Yahoo.”
IF that is the case and the info is legit … and … depending on what happens with today’s MRI … it’s hard to imagine that Perkins will play in Game 7 tomorrow night. In fact, ESPN is reporting that a team source told them that Perkins is “done”.
Keep in mind … Andrew Bynum has been playing with a small tear in his right meniscus since the first round (and maybe earlier than that). He has had his knee drained a number of times throughout the post-season and continues to play through a ton of pain. Some nights have been more productive than others. But he’s been on the floor.
I’m not here to say that Perkins SHOULD be out there. I can’t tell you ‘how’ hurt he is or isn’t. However, knowing how important the next game is for his teammates – Game 7 of a CHAMPIONSHIP … on the road … against your arch-rivals – I’d be shocked if Perkins doesn’t at least TRY to play. I’m sure he’ll ask the trainers to shoot him up with as many painkillers and freezing agents as possible and try to tough it out.
Perkins would appear to be in a no-win situation. If he plays, how effective will he be? Can he truly expect to slow down Gasol … as the big man pushes his body down on the block, backs down Perkins, and attacks the glass? Will he have any kind of explosiveness of his own … when trying to rebound the ball or swat a shot (both key factors in his overall game)? And more importantly … is he hurting his team more than helping them if he’s on the floor?
Either way, the injury to Perkins should be a MAJOR advantage for the Lakers. LA used and abused Davis and Wallace (and Sheldon Williams) last night and I can’t imagine things being any different with the championship on the line on their home floor.
Let’s hope it’s a classic either way!