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.

Comments (8)

  1. Pietrus isn’t a bad player, and I bet he will get a bunch of minutes in our new defensive system. Great pick-up if you ask me.

    For once, I like what BC is doing.

  2. Great pick-up, love his versatility and the fact that they only have to commit to him for a season.

  3. Tough to figure out the 8 man rotation right now, just as it was last year, which I think was a problem. Maybe Calderon, Derozan, Pietrus, Bargnani, and Davis starting; Barbosa, Amir, Bayless, and either JJohnson or Kleiza the first four off the bench (wait that’s 9…); and Magloire and Alabi subbing in to hack big guys, plus one of the threes sitting at the end of the bench looking pissed (my money’s on Kleiza) until he demands a trade, gets shipped out, and is replaced by a borderline NBA guy who’s just happy to be there and give out high 5s, etc…

    By the end of the year, Casey gets tired of Calderon’s “ole” D and Bargs’ wussiness, and yanks them in favour of Bayless and Amir.

  4. They just signed some guy name Gary Forbes to a 2-year deal, another three added to the mix.

    Also, not surprising that the Raptors acquired a French guy and Panamanian.

  5. @ Eggs I feel like along with his expiring contract this might be another really good move. Starting line up Calderon, Derozan, Pietrus, Bargnani, and Davis. As i’m assuming that Casey would rather have Barbosa coming off the bench. Your scrub line then becomes Bayless until he is ready to start, Barbosa, JJohnson/Kleiza, Amir/Klieza, Macgloire/Amir
    This allows Amir to get enough rest if neccessary and allow Kleiza to chuck up as many FG attempts as he wants until he starts to miss. Coach also said that players would have to earn their spots this year. Hopefully this is true.

  6. So, a question for Scott or you, Joseph, or anyone else. Has the $14.5 million trade exception from the Bosh trade now lapsed? I know there was some discussion that it was frozen while the lockout was on, which means that the 1 year clock from July 10, 2010 stopped sometime around the July 1 lockout date and should be started again, what, today? So, it seems likely that this will have been an unused “asset” from that sorry business. Am I right? Was a portion of it used on a deal last year?

    Is the trade exception something worth using before it expires? I can’t think of anything since, as Joseph’s post states, preservation of cap space is one of the goals for 2012.

  7. “And then fans, dare I say, the Toronto Raptors will have a solid building model in place.”

    For the Raptors to have a building model in place, they need a good player first. Usually you need more than one to actually start building, but I’d settle for one. Without any good players, you’re not building, you’re just bleeding.

    Obviously Davis, Amir Johnson, and DeRozan could each become a good player. But they are all average at best (DeRozan probably a touch below that right now) and I mean average players, not average starters. The Raptors don’t have a single guy in the top 20 in the NBA at his position given how Calderon’s game has declined.

    Pietrus isn’t a bad signing for 15 minutes a game, mostly spelling DeRozan. Unfortunately, Pietrus can’t realistically play forward for Toronto, because he doesn’t rebound nearly well enough and we need plenty of rebounding from the 3 because Bargnani is so bad at it.

    Forbes is a signing I like better, he can score buckets, and is a better passer and rebounder, and can probably play the 3 more.

  8. I am the GRAYTEST.

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