So Bosh is in Miami, LeBron is in New York, Miami or Cleveland, Amare is in New York, Boozer is in Chicago and Joe Johnson and Wade stayed with their teams. I haven’t seen so many big names switch teams since Tom Cruise’s annual Mardi Gras party. All that’s left to do now is clean up the mess.
Okay, the Raptors are officially one of the losers of the free agency period so far. Even though Chris Bosh is now among the pantheon of most hated ex-Raptors among fans, losing him was a very big blow for the franchise. It doesn’t mean the Raptors simply should slink back home licking it’s wounds.
While the Raptors aren’t going to get nearly as much for Bosh as some hoped (if anything at all), they can still try and take advantage of the situation. The Raptors aren’t the only team that have lost out. Both New Jersey and the Clippers had hoped they would be able to land a big name free agent, and that didn’t happen. Even Minnesota was hoping to land, at the very least, David Lee.
With the prospect of trying to actually compete thankfully dim, the focus, as I’ve said before, needs to be on the future. Teams like the Nets, Clippers and T-Wolves may very well be desperate enough to make a questionable deal that will help them immediately, giving fans the comfort in knowing that all was not lost. With Carmelo and Durant all but locked up, no one on the horizon has the allure of this free agent crop.
The first team the Raptors need to focus on are the Nets. With the third most amount of cap space, and nothing to show for it, they have to be hurting. The new Russian owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, has to be feeling like the fat kid at the prom, right now, wondering why no one will dance with him. Apparently Boozer didn’t even offer them a chance to match the offer from the Bulls, who were obviously higher on his list. Even David Lee looks like he might be going to Golden State, if rumours are correct. That’s got to sting. Now they have nearly $40 million in cap space and hardly anyone to spend it on. That’s less than $20 million in salaries. In other words, they need to start spending money just to reach the NBA minimum of $41 million.
So with the Nets not apparently high on their third pick in the draft, Derrick Favors, for some unknown reason, it’s a good bet that he might still be available. Depending on how desperate the Nets are, would they be willing to trade him for Turkoglu? No, probably not. Maybe Turkoglu and Jack? Would they take on both Bargnani and Turkolgu and give up Favors and the Nets other first round pick, Damion James? That would be one hell of a salary dump for the Raptors, and a way for the Nets to compete for a playoff spot next year. They’d still have enough left over to sign another free agent, believe it or not. That’s the great thing about having nearly $40 million in cap space available.
Losing nearly $20 in salary and getting two young studs in Favors and James would give the Raptors a head start in their rebuilding process.
There are also the Clippers, who delusionally believed they actually had a shot at LeBron. Now they are looking at overpaying guys like Mike Miller, who probably won’t want to sign, anyway. Do they want to start the season $25 million under the cap with their only small forward on the roster being Al-Farouq Aminu, a rookie. What they need is a veteran presence, and who better than….(drumroll, please)…Hedo Turkoglu?
It’s actually a perfect fit for both. The Clippers need a small forward who can initiate the offense since Baron Davis is more of a scoring guard than a point guard and Turkoglu needs to go somewhere he’s not hated. Hell, he might even help them get to the playoffs.
And if the Raptors can get Aminu out of the Clippers, it might very well be the best return the Raptors could even hope for.
Then, of course, there are the T-Wolves. Apparently spurned by David Lee, they apparently are looking for big men who don’t play defense, and what better guy than Andrea Bargnani? The T-Wolves are another team team that will be under the minimum salary cap if they don’t spend more money, and could simply absorb his contract, returning Ricky Rubio’s rights, of course.
So just because the Raptors have not done all that well so far, doesn’t mean they can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Or at least in a nice polyester knock off.