Tag:Toronto Raptors
Posted on: January 8, 2009 6:43 pm
 

Delfino staying put; Pargo could be available

OREM, Utah -- With former Nets center Nenad Krstic bolting Russia and returning to the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA executives gathered here this week for the annual D-League Showcase have their radar up on others who could follow.

No G.M. should get his hopes up about Carlos Delfino returning to the States this season, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. But the other former NBAer playing in Russia, Jannero Pargo, is a good bet to return to the NBA for the right situation, the people said.

The sources -- one of them a top international scout and the other a person directly involved in NBA front-office dealings -- said Delfino is integral to Khimki BC's plans and loyal to its coach. Essentially, Delfino is committed to the team for the rest of the season and will re-evaluate his options afterward.

Rumblings about rampant interest in Pargo -- such as, for example, from the Lakers -- have been exaggerated, the second source said. But the Knicks -- coached by Mike D'Antoni with a style suitable to Pargo's skills -- are "quite possible" as a landing spot, the person said. Pargo, playing on a one-year deal for Dynamo Moscow, is friendly with Knicks point guard Chris Duhon, and they're both from Slidell, La.

The issue in Russia is that the sagging international economy has caused many teams to pay players late or not at all. The problem with Pargo finding a home back in the NBA is that the veteran's miniumum would be a pay cut. There have been various reports about what Pargo's deal is worth, but one of the sources knowledgeable about his situation said it was $3 million.

If, as expected, the Knicks get a $4.5 million disabled player exception for Cuttino Mobley, they may be inclined to use it for Pargo. They don't have to pay him the entire amount. But whatever they don't pay, they would forefeit because it can't be split among players. Given that the Knicks still have their $1.9 million biannual exception, using the Mobley exception would be better for them because they could save the biannual for next summer.

 

Posted on: December 22, 2008 11:48 am
 

Raptors look to deal, but not with N.Y.

The silly season gets sillier by the day. A reasonable, workable trade scenario involving the Knicks and Raptors was floated on Bulls.com by veteran NBA writer Sam Smith -- Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry to Toronto for Jermaine O'Neal and Anthony Parker. Sounds good. The Knicks get something for Marbury, and J.O.'s monstrous contract comes off the books in time for the 2010 free-agent derby. Only one problem: The Knicks and Raptors haven't discussed a trade in months, according to an executive familiar with both teams' plans.

One thing is clear: Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is looking to deal. O'Neal isn't fitting in with Toronto, and Colangelo is under tremendous pressure to turn this team around to appease Chris Bosh, who has the all-important player option in 2010. A likely trade chip will be Parker and his $4.6 million expiring contract. Toronto will come up numerous trade scenarios floated and discussed between now and the Feb. 19 deadline, and is all but certain to pull the trigger on something. Just not this one.

Marbury's buyout talks continue to creep forward, but a person with ties to Marbury said he doesn't expect anything to be finalized before January. The Knicks have given Marbury permission to find a deal with another team, but Marbury's representative, Hal Biagas of the NBA Players Association, is playing that side of it close to the vest.

There will be no trade market for Curry, on the books for $31.5 through 2010-11, until he gets on the floor and plays. He hasn't logged a minute since preseason due to a knee injury.

 

 

Posted on: December 21, 2008 12:06 am
 

Wade passes on extension talk

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With ice packs adorning his legs and a box of protein drink in his hands, Dwyane Wade sat at his locker and deferred credit to his teammates for his 43-point night. Earlier, he'd deferred to his teammates on the floor, finding Daequan Cook for a clutch 3-pointer late in the Miami Heat's 106-103 victory over the Nets.

A frigid, icy New Jersey night awaiting him, Wade also was in no hurry to accelerate speculation about his plans for the free-agent summer of 2010. Even though everybody else is doing it.

A few nights ago in the hallways of this very arena, Utah's Carlos Boozer caused quite a stir when he said he has decided to decline his player option for the 2009-10 season and weigh his options. On Saturday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that LeBron James -- who has consistently fanned the flames of his impending free agency -- is considering signing an extension with the Cavaliers after the season. Such a move would signal James' contentment with the Cavs' plans to build him a championship team. It also would make July 1, 2010 -- when James has the right to decline his player option and become a free agent -- a moot point. A few weeks ago, James himself called that date "a very, very big day."

Wade, too, has a right to become a free agent in the summer of 2010, along with the likes of James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, and Paul Pierce. Unlike Boozer, whose player option comes a year early, Wade isn't ready to announce his intention to test the market. And unlike James, he isn't ready to say he'd consider re-signing with Miami next summer, either.

"I don’t know," Wade said. "I'm not concentrating on that right now. I'm not concentrating on my contract or talking contracts. I'm trying to help this team get to the playoffs and that’s all I'm worried about."

Like me, Wade didn't think Boozer's comment Wednesday night was anything controversial or surprising. Top-tier players with capable representation made sure they negotiated for the ability to sign a new contract -- with their current team or another one -- before the collective bargaining agreement expires in 2011. With a new deal between owners and players coming, who knows if the money will be there in 2011 or '12? It probably won't.

"I think it’s just giving yourself flexibility," Wade said. "And I think [Boozer] just came out and said he’s going to use his flexibility come next summer. I don’t know how it’s perceived out there, but that’s all it is. He gave himself flexibility and he gets to use it."

On Saturday, James spoke for the first time about re-signing with Cleveland next summer rather than waiting until 2010.

"You play out this season of course; I will consider it," James told the Plain Dealer. "The direction we are headed is everything I expected and more."

I asked Wade if he'd heard about James' comments.

"Oh, yeah," he said. "I'm sure he has a great opportunity in Cleveland, where he’s building a championship team. Just because you signed a three-year deal doesn't mean that you won't sign an extension beforehand."

James signed a three-year, $60 million extension with Cleveland in 2006, turning heads by turning down the team's five-year, $80 million. Wade did the same.

"The deal that was signed by everybody was just to give themselves flexibility and options," Wade said. "And he can sign a longer deal this summer and be in Cleveland a long, long time."

At some point, maybe Wade will be ready to say the same thing. Not yet. He is leading the league in scoring and having a season worthy of MVP consideration. On back-to-back nights, he scored 35 to topple the Lakers and equaled his season high with 43 to turn back the Nets. 

But unlike the dominance he displayed at the Olympics, Wade's excellence comes on a team that has a long way to go before it can even talk playoffs, much less championships. In that respect, Wade's situation is most similar to Bosh's in Toronto. Both need to see how things play out before they commit to anything.

"I'm under pressure to do well and to see what decision I'm going to make," Bosh told me recently. "And the organization is under pressure to bring this team around. We want to win now."

So far, Wade is content to walk the walk, rather than talk the talk.

 

Posted on: December 12, 2008 11:01 pm
 

Vince Carter's 0-for-13 night

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There are plenty of reasons not to venture out to a Nets game on a Friday night. Traffic, for one. A half-empty basketball arena, for another.

You could be as unlucky as the passengers on the Toronto Raptors' second bus from their Jersey City hotel and get into a minor scrape with another vehicle. This is what happened to the bus carrying Chris Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal, and several members of the Raptors' coaching and front office staff. Trying to navigate the narrow city streets, the driver of the aforementioned bus learned that buses don't fit on the narrow streets of Jersey City, especially when they are attempting to turn a corner. After one such unsuccessful maneuver, the bus crashed into a car behind it while backing up to make room. This resulted in Bosh and O'Neal arriving about an hour before tipoff.

This was nothing compared to the night Vince Carter had. While Bosh and O'Neal spent much of the fourth quarter on the bench enjoying what amounted to a 101-79 victory, Carter sat and stewed about the worst shooting performance of his 11-year career.

Carter was 0-for-13 from the field Friday night, scoring his only three points at the foul line. It was the first time he'd played at least 10 minutes without a field goal. He had two 0-for-3 shooting games while with the Raptors in 2001 and '02, but left those games in the first quarter with injuries.

"He's a scorer," Bosh said. "When you do something like that, that's a credit to the defense. He's very talented, and he's hard to stop. We tried to limit his points in the paint. We tried to put a body on him at all times. We tried to make him get through different layers of defense instead of just getting past one guy and then laying it up. We didn't want to do that. We wanted to make him beat one guy and then meet somebody else, and then probably somebody else after that."

Carter met three such people midway through the third, but they were seated in the stands behind the basket. Lunging for a loose ball, Carter landed awkwardly on two people in the first row. He had fallen, and he couldn't get up. A guy in the second row jumped up and helped him to his feet. "Thanks, baby," Carter said as he ran back on defense.

That was all the help he got on this night, and all he had to say, too. Carter, who typically answers postgame questions in the interview room, left the building before stopping by to chat.

Wasn't much to talk about.

The Raptors, now 2-3 under interim coach Jay Triano, put forth their best defensive effort of the season in holding the Nets to 31 percent shooting from the field. They got outrebounded 50-37, but are beginning to show signs of defending the basket and pushing the ball in transition, two critical areas Sam Mitchell wasn't able to extract from his underachieving team.

Next time in New Jersey, though, the Raptors will want to find a new hotel. Not to mention a new bus driver.

 

 
 
 
 
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