While Jerryd Bayless torched opposing benches this season and then looked phenomenal in a five-game sample as the Raptors’ starting point guard, Raps fans debated whether Bayless should replace Jose Calderon as the team’s starting point man to finish the season. But they also debated about whether the Raptors should sign Bayless long term (he has a $4.1 million qualifying offer for next season) and what he would be worth if they did extend him.

He’s had his share of injury problems this season, but based on his solid play when healthy and the ever present NBA need for a scoring punch off the bench, most of us assumed the Raptors or another team would give the 23-year-old with a still unreached ceiling a fairly sized contract.

However, once Bayless was sidelined for the season, I thought it could deter any possible competition the Raptors might face for Jerry’s services this summer, assuming Toronto is interested (why wouldn’t they be?). At the very least, I figured Bayless’ absence from the lineup would keep him out of any potential free agent spotlight and cool the RFA talk.

So much for that.

ESPN stats master John Hollinger included Bayless in a column about free agents with potential to be this year’s “Mr. Wright,” as in Brandan Wright, the once unwanted youngster who has carved out a nice role for himself with the defending champion Mavericks. Here’s a couple of snippets as to what Hollinger had to say re: Bayless -

He’s averaging a point every two minutes with a solid TS% (56.1), and he’s not just jacking either — he’s averaged nearly seven assists per 40 minutes over the past two seasons.

Hollinger added this: “While he’ll never be a pure point guard, his knack for getting to the basket and drawing fouls has been complemented this season by a spike to 42.3 percent on 3s. Bayless has “Mr. Wright” potential on other levels too. He was a lottery pick, he’s been traded twice, and he is still only 23.”

It should be noted that Hollinger included players that he believes “should be available for the midlevel exception or less.” That’s one bit of good news for the Raptors.

I was already thinking of writing a quick post in reaction to Hollinger’s recognition of Bayless. As I was cooking that up, I refresh my twitter feed, and see this tweet from astute NBA twitter mind, @HPbasketball:

Perhaps I’m reading too much into a couple of Jerryd Bayless mentions in a span of a few hours, but it appears that people have noticed the type of season Bayless has had.

If NBA media people outside of Toronto took notice, it’s pretty safe to assume NBA executives did as well.

Scott recently stated that he’d like the Raptors to try locking Jerryd up for about three years, at around $10 million to $12 million total. I’d like that deal and agreed with Scott, as I’m sure most of you would as well. But those figures were based on an assumption by all of us that not too many teams will be looking to pay Jerryd.

The Raptors might get more competition for Bayless than any of us originally bargained for. And if there is a team out there with their sights on him, it begs the question, how high are Bryan Colangelo and Raptors management willing to go to secure a high potential, but potentially high risk young combo guard?

Comments (4)

  1. I’ve said before in your last post about his season ending. The timing of the injury (being a contract year) was really bad. The Raptors would have had a better idea if they wanted to match an offer and keep him long term. But I can’t see them wanting to match any offer worth more than 5Mil per year.

    Anything less than 5Mil, I could see it being worth it to match, and I think they would. But I think he’s going to get paid around 5-6Mil for 4-5 years, just enough so the Raptors don’t match.

    I’d bet that he’ll be the starting PG for New Jersey or Phoenix next year.

  2. Oh yee of little faith. The Raptors will certainly resign him especially how well he played after the injury. they will probably trade away jose calderon come draft time.

  3. Very good player, but injury-prone. Can’t get a streak of 5-6 games without rolling his ankle or hurting his hip. “and he’s still only 23″… well if you get hurt so often at 23, it can only get worse as you grow older. That is why it’s tricky for teams to invest long term in such players.

  4. If the Raps want to keep Bayless they should pick what they feel is a value price, offer less and then don’t go beyond that value price regardless of what others may offer.

    Considering where the Raps are right now, what we’ve seen of Bayless, and the lack of any consitency there is no reason to get into some sort of bidding war for Bayless.

    10-12 mil for 3 years is probably too much as is.

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