It’s On, Baby!!!

Posted on December 5, 2011 | 2 Comments

Even thought the players haven’t even finished voting on the new offer, yet, the lockout is technically over and things seem to be back to normal. Teams are already on the phones making trade offers and talking to agents about signing players. Ah, it’s good to have the NBA back.

TRUTH AND RUMOURS

With everything seemingly back to normal, so are the rumours flying around. Especially around the Raptors. At first rumours began swirling that they were in the market for Tyson Chandler or Marc Gasol, two of the biggest names on the market. Now, normally this would be great news, but in a year where their main goal should be to develop their youngsters and get a high draft pick, spending a lot of money to get marginally better is not the smartest thing to do.

Thankfully, Colangelo apparently debunked that rumour, and then later solidified his position that the Raptors were not going to be making any major acquisitions this summer.

That COULD have had something to do with the fact that Chandler’s asking price is said to be in the $20 million per season range. Tack on Nene and Marc Gasol, who are apparently asking for $17 million and $15 million a season respectively, and even if Colangelo was thinking about it, that’s simply out of their price range. Now, I like all three players, but not one of them has even made an All-Star team, and I don’t see Chandler or Nene improving much (or at all) considering their ages.

Maybe those numbers aren’t correct, or maybe those guys are just trying to get back at the owners for locking them out, but it seems a little delusional to be asking for that much money. I mean, I don’t think anyone, including the Atlanta brass, felt that Joe Johnson was grossly overpaid when he was re-signed, but at least he was a perennial All-Star. Rudy Gay was also shockingly overpaid, but is there anyone who doesn’t deny he at least has the tools to be one of the best players in the league?

Of course, the rumours weren’t done flying. The next one was that last year’s draft pick, Jonas Valanciunas, could actually be joining the team this year instead of staying the entire season in Europe. Like clockwork, though, that rumour was (mostly) squashed by Colangelo. Maybe Valanciunas found out how much money Chandler and company were asking for and wanted to get his rookie contract over and done with, so started the rumour himself, but whether Valanciunas wants to or not, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be in a Raptor uniform before next fall.

It seems Colangelo’s doing more rumour squashing than anything else, this offseason. That’s okay by me, though.

**Late Addition**

Now apparently DeAndre Jordan and Shane Battier have been added to the Raptors wish list. Colangelo is seeming more and more like an addict. He can’t seem to stop himself (unless these rumours are also false, which would not be a surprise) from bidding on players.

I’m a big fan of both these players, but I’ll save my critic of these potential signings until my next post.

CENTERS OF ATTENTION

Speaking of Chandler and company, it’s becoming likely that at least one, if not two of them will be in a different uniform next season. Mark Cuban, I’m guessing, choked on his tequila when Chandler’s agent informed him of his asking price (and Chandler’s puzzled they aren’t running to re-sign him????).

So apparently New Jersey, Golden State and Houston are the three teams in the running for Chandler’s services. Last year, none of those teams made the playoffs and currently don’t have much talent, which is, I suppose how they can apparently afford Chandler’s asking price. I find it curious, though, that Golden State is already overpaying Andris Biedrins to play the same position, and are now going after Chandler. This while Dorell Wright is their starting small forward. That’s like spending money on a great paint job for your car even though your seats are milk crates.

And New Jersey is courting Chandler even though the center position is one of only two positions that are actually a strength for them. Maybe they’re still hurting over getting screwed in the 2010 offseason when all they came up with for all their cap space was Travis Outlaw, who’s the odds on favourite to get amnestied by New Jersey and wanted to get the big free agent prize sometime.

THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD

Nene appears likely to be joining the mass exodus from Denver. After coming away with a better deal than everyone thought they could get for Carmelo, allowing them to finish with more wins than New York AND one more postseason win (I’ve gotta say I loved that), Denver’s in danger of losing half of their top players after the trade. Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Marton are all paying for Chinese teams who apparently won’t let them out of their contracts until March, when their season ends. Arron Afflalo is getting a lot of love around the league and may be gone. And Nene apparently wants out of Denver after apparently not feeling respected by them. This after they re-signed Nene to a 5 year $48 million contract back in 2006 after four disappointing and injury riddled seasons to start his NBA career. Apparently respect doesn’t carry over very long.

MEMPHIS BLUES

Marc Gasol is the big name free agent center least likely to leave his home team, and the one apparently asking for the least amount of money (coincidence?). With Gasol being such an important piece for a team that won it’s first playoff series ever last spring, it’s not surprising that Michael Heisley has stated that he’ll match any offer for Gasol. Unfortunately, it’s a catch-22 for the Grizzlies.

If they re-sign Gasol for anywhere close to the $15 million he’s asking for, then they’ll be paying their core players $50 to nearly $60 million a season over the next 5 years. That’s a hell of a lot of money for a team that only won 47 games last season and didn’t make it out of the second round. And only Zach Randolph has ever made an All-Star team, and he doesn’t play defense.

Is it any wonder why Shane Battier has pretty much packed his bags? There’s no way they can afford to pay him, especially since they overpaid Mike Conley at the beginning of last season.

Michael Heisley has gone on the record and stated that they are, in fact, NOT trading Rudy Gay despite all the speculation to the contrary. It wasn’t a huge jump in logic. If they re-signed Battier, who was their starting SF in place of an injured Rudy Gay when they beat the #1 seeded Spurs in the playoffs, for half the amount they re-signed Gay, then I don’t see how they could keep Gay. As it is, Battier leaving Memphis is a foregone conclusion, so I would be surprised if Memphis did not give this core a shot.

When this situation needs to be revisited is after the season. If Memphis doesn’t win at least 50 games and make it to the second round again (both unlikely, in my opinion) then I’d have to think that they’re going to try and move one of their big contracts, and Gay or Gasol would probably be the most easily moved. Stay tuned…

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Comments

  • FPB

    I think they move Gay first. He wasn’t part of the run, and that might hurt him, he’s not that efficient of a scorer.

    I think Randolph played good defense in the playoffs. Also rebounding like mad helps it. I think he’s stigmatized for his jailblazers years.

    They’l get rid of O.J Mayo before anything. (owned 12M$ over 2 years). He was relegated to a smaller role with Allen, and he was borderline useless in the playoffs.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    Ya, I agree. If the Grizzlies falter at all, or even don’t improve as much as some expect them to, I can see Gay getting a lot of the blame for that simply due to the fact he was missing for their playoff run. Personally, I think they just happen to run into two teams they matched up particularly well with, at the time.

    As for Mayo, I’m assuming he’s gone, already.

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