News broke on Tuesday evening that Raptors guard Jerryd Bayless is probably done for the season with a partially torn left oblique muscle. Bayless injured himself in the Raptors’ loss to the Knicks last week, suffering what the team called a “hip pointer” at the time.

While he attempted to play through the injury a couple of times, the pain continued to force him to the bench, despite putting up decent numbers as he tried to soldier on.

Two obvious thoughts or questions come to mind with news that Bayless is done for the season. One, has Jerryd Bayless played his last game as a member of the Toronto Raptors? And two, what does this latest development mean for the remainder of the Raptors’ season?

Bayless battled injuries all season, from a sprained ankle suffered in the third game of the season to his recent hip and oblique troubles. When he was healthy this season, I thought he was very good. In the short stretch of games where he started at the point, he was excellent (21.8 points on 54 per cent shooting, 57 per cent from deep, 7.6 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals), leading some of us to wonder whether he should be given more of an opportunity down the stretch of what is supposed to be a season of development.

Now we’ll never know how Bayless could have built on that impressive string of games. What we do know, though, is that the 23-year-old has about a $4.1 million qualifying offer option for next season. If the Raptors pick it up, and no extension is reached, then next season will be Jerryd’s final chance to prove himself as an important piece of Toronto’s future. If the Raptors don’t use the qualifying offer, or if Bayless is highly coveted by another team, then there is a real chance that he’ll be in another uniform next year.

Jerryd has repeatedly stated that he loves the city and that he wants to be here, and based on his play when he was healthy, you would have to think that Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors would have him back for the right price, so we’ll have to see how this all plays out.

As for the other question, the Raptors will now go forward with Jose Calderon at the point, and very little else. Gary Forbes has played well recently, but he’s far from a true point guard, so if Calderon goes down with an injury (which isn’t exactly out of the question) or if his play goes South as a result of an increase in minutes played, then today’s news may mean that the Raptors tank is about to hit full throttle.

I assume that lack of point guard depth and lack of overall bench depth is why the team signed Ben Uzoh to a 10-day contract on Tuesday.

Most of us wanted this team to lose enough games to grab a top-five draft pick, but we wanted them to improve defensively, be competitive and even throw some upset wins in there to keep both us and the young players interested. For the most part, Dwane Casey and the players have delivered on exactly what we asked for.

What we didn’t want is the Raptors to tank at the expense of the younger players or to tank embarrassingly. Unfortunately, Bayless’ injury (and even DeRozan’s) could be the start of such a tank, regardless of how hard Casey usually has his team playing.

The Raps were well on their way to a 40-plus loss season weeks ago. Subtract Leandro Barbosa and Jerryd Bayless, throw in a banged up DeMar DeRozan and a struggling Andrea Bargnani, and this could get U-G-L-Y.

Comments (11)

  1. It’s unfortunate for Bayless, because he could have had the chance to prove if he deserved a long-term extension that they may not be able to give him next year.

    But this is definitely good for Tank Nation.

  2. It’s unfortunate for Bayless but could be a blessing in disguise for the Raptors as it gives them another opportunity to bring him back essentially on a one year “prove it” deal barring him getting some crazy offer as a RFA.

    I just hope he’s able to stay healthy (unlikely) or is given a shot to play starter’s minutes (also unlikely).

    Forbes has been playing really well so I don’t see any tank implications here.

    • That’s when I mean though. If they can sign him for next year only, I think they would. But he can’t really prove if he’s worth the Raptors matching any type of offer sheet by another team if it were to happen. Do they match any long-term offer? I don’t think they would now.

      Even if he comes back one year, he’d be an UFA next year. I Don’t think he’d come back to Toronto as an UFA.

  3. If I was in Colangelo’s shoes, I’d try to lock Bayless down for 3 years at $10-12 million. Because of his recent injury problems, he’s probably not going to get a better offer than that. That’s a nice, low-risk contract that could reap high rewards.

    • I wouldn’t have a problem with that. The risk would be more than worth it considering the ability Bayless flashed with running an offense, the fact that there’s no chance in hell we draft a point guard and the fact that Calderon is going into a walk year and his future is pretty murky. Plus, Forbes is better suited to a Barbosa type/scorer off the bench role anyway.

  4. The tank could get ugly, but there’s no way we catch Charlotte, Washington, or New Orleans. This is actually a good thing, too often have I seen teams win games once they become meaningless.

    Harrison Barnes or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, here we come!!

    • Why all the Barnes love? I would definitely prefer MKG or Beal.

      I agree with Scott. If BC can lock Bayless up for 3 years for $10-12 Mil, it is likely a win-win deal for Bayless and the Raptors. I’m just not sure if I’d offer the QO if we can’t lock him up for 3 years. It might be better to use the cash to go after Dragic instead of a 1 year Bayless rental. I say rental because I agree that he would be gone once he became a free agent.

      Tank on!

  5. I think Bayless is great…agreed, good for TankNation. Bayless might not be a starter but he can be a great combo guard off the bench – can’t he be Jamal Crawford or something?

  6. Lets go RAPSUCKS!

  7. I”d wait until after the draft, and if the Raptors don’t draft, or acquire, another PG, then I like Scott’s idea of offering him a 3 year/$9-10 million contract.

    Yes, he played well when he started, but still didn’t show enough PG skills to prove he can run a winning team. He shoots way too much, too easily gets baited into one-on-one play, and the offense is way too inconsistent under his direction. I think he’s shown enough to keep him and see, but I’m not ready to hand the keys over to him.

  8. Re the last part:

    Weather anyone likes it or not, this should be a tanking time. I`d love one Anthony Davis, and since Charlotte has Biyombo at PF, if we could get the second pick, he might fall to us. Or we could try and trade up.

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