For the time being, the Toronto Raptors continue to do exactly what Bryan Colangelo said they would do, and that’s add veteran players with short-term contracts to fill holes in the current line-up.
Yesterday, it was the signing of Canadian centre Jamaal Magloire. Today, it’s the reported acquisition of Mickael Pietrus from the Suns in exchange for a second round draft pick that may never be swapped.
Pietrus, who probably had his worst season since his rookie year last season, comes at the expense of $5.3 million, which is too much for what he provided last year, but is ultimately forgivable since the Caribbean-born Frenchman has just one year remaining on his current deal.
It should also be noted that this is another case of Bryan Colangelo acquiring a player that he originally wanted years earlier, but again, we can’t really knock BC here. With Sonny Weems in Lithuania, Linas Kleiza recovering from micro-fracture surgery and free agent Julian Wright apparently more interested in a “music” career, the Raptors had to fill a hole at small forward behind James Johnson.
Now they’ve reportedly done that, without sacrificing an ounce of their precious cap space heading into next season. For a team that everyone knows isn’t necessarily interested in winning too many games or making the playoffs this season, this is a solid pick-up.
If this deal goes through as planned, the Raptors will head into a hurried training camp, which starts today by the way, with a roster that includes Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless at point guard, DeMar DeRozan, Leandro Barbosa, James Johnson, Mickael Pietrus and Linas Kleiza at the two and three positions with Andrea Bargnani, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, Jamaal Magloire and Solomon Alabi rounding out the roster as the team’s five bigs.
To me, if you add a veteran point guard and either another big or wing player, that roster is complete. Not good by any stretch of the imagination, but complete.
Barring a Dwane Casey defensive-made miracle, that team should lose a lot of basketball games, which means Raptors fans should be able to start drooling over the loaded 2012 draft class soon.
I know it seems pathetic to be excited over a team I am predicting will be among the worst in the NBA (again), but I really do think this team will improve its defence and culture under Casey while losing all those games this season. I also believe they will have no choice but to compete every minute they’re on the floor if they want minutes.
The young players that belong will be separated from the players to be left by the wayside after this season. The team will play hard, they will play (better) defence, they will hopefully entertain. If the 2011-2012 Raptors can do all of those things, maybe steal a win from a top team every now and then, and still end up with a record bad enough to get a high pick in a good draft, then this season will be totally worth it.
Then they can add a good amount of cap space (on track to have about $13 million come off the books after this season), that expected high draft pick and Jonas Valanciunas to the players that proved they belong this season.
And then fans, dare I say, the Toronto Raptors will have a solid building model in place.
For this season though, get ready for a lot of these kinds of jokes from people who like to rip on this team and on us Raptors fans.