Even the most optimistic of Raptors fans probably thought that between the season finale on April 26 and the Draft Lottery on May 30, there wouldn’t be much in the form of interesting or intriguing Raptors news. But as Manchester United supporters are painfully aware today, assuming makes a big pretty big ass out of everybody.

This time last week, I thought we’d have to pass the time with things like Jonas Valanciunas’ birthday.

How quickly things change. Since then, we’ve discussed DeMar DeRozan’s place on the U.S. Select Team, the possibility of Steve Nash playing for the Raptors next season and we’ve given you our interview with Mr. Ultimate Raptor himself, Vince Carter.

Those are so last week though. Now? Just a small matter named Jeremy Lin.

In a Saturday column by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News (that somehow flew under the radar until guys like CBS, Business Insider and USA Today ran with it on Monday), the Raptors were mentioned as potential suitors for Lin’s services. Here’s some of what Lawrence had to say:

After writing that “Toronto will be in direct competition with the Knicks for Steve Nash,” Lawrence writes about how the Raptors “like” Jeremy Lin and that they’d obviously like “what he’d do for their attendance” (though as most of us in Toronto know, attendance and fan support isn’t really an area of concern right now). Lawrence goes on to write that in an attempt to keep the Knicks from matching an offer for Lin, back-loading a contract would be a good option for the Raptors.

The most interesting line, though, is Lawrence following up with this, on the possibility of Toronto submitting a big, back-loaded contract offer for Lin:

According to league sources, that’s what the Raptors just might do if their Nash plan falls through.”

The Raptors being interested in guys like Nash and Lin shouldn’t really be considered news, and if the source of the chatter was simply bloggers in Toronto or elsewhere coming up with “hey, this makes sense” kind of posts, then we’d simply acknowledge the post, perhaps discuss it, and then move on.

But what makes the last week so interesting for Raptors fans is that credible NBA writers and reporters like Sam Smith and now Mitch Lawrence aren’t just saying that it’s a miniscule possibility that technically “could” happen, but rather that it’s something league sources and other people in the know believe might actually happen. There is a difference between the two, and right now, that’s the difference between this being just another summer of dreaming for basketball fans in Toronto, and being an off-season in which we’re all rightfully anxious to begin.

If any of these reports end up coming to fruition, then I think we’ll all understand what exactly Bryan Colangelo meant when he foresaw an “exciting and active” off-season.

Comments (26)

  1. I think Lin makes a whole lot more sense for a rebuilding team like the Raptors than Nash does being only 23, and he’s even a pretty good defender. I’d have no problem with Lin if they can lock him up for a fair salary that isn’t too outrageously high (because obviously they’ll need to outbid New York for him).

    But I also fear that Lin is one of those players that teams will overpay for and be pretty disappointed with later on.

  2. He can be had pretty easily if the Raptors want him that badly what with the Knicks already pushing $60 million with 6 players on their roster for next season but I just wouldn’t be comfortable with the type of guarantee it would take to get him out of NYC.

    I think the Knicks will match anything short of a Calderon type deal (4+ years, guarantee of 8+ million a season) and that would be crazy to offer someone with his talent level/track record even considering his age.

  3. They each carry different types of risks & returns.

    Nash is older, yet proven + he can boost sales and exposure at the Canadian level

    Lin is younger, unproven yet he caters to the multicultural aspect at a global level.

    Both would likely be good on the floor to.

    Very intriguing…

  4. With all due respect to the Raptors, I hope Steve Nash doesn’t sign with them and plays for a team with a legitimate title shot in the next couple of seasons. As cool as it would be to see Nash play in Canada, it would be a million times cooler to see him win a title and we all know that won’t happen in Toronto, at least until well after he retires.

    Jeremy Lin, on the other hand, would be a good signing that I’d definitely want to see happen.

  5. If lin goes to toronto, it could up their attendance record

  6. Isn’t the knee injury he had the type that effects a players career? His knee might turn out being a big probLin

  7. no blart knees can be devastating injury but can recover and be 100% Bynum knees seem to be fine after the surgery but players like T Mac and Roy have their problems, back is a fucked up injury that you will not be able to recover from that Howard will have back problems from now on.

  8. damon Stoddemire won ROY as raptor point guard and went on to a blah career, Lins good season could be right place right time, Hedo looked like a no loss move at one time. Buyer beware

    • Damon Stoudamire had a blah career? He was a starting point guard on a perennial championship contender. His numbers diminished because he wasn’t the chief scoring option.

      He was a very, very good player for 10 years. That’s not a blah career.

  9. Sam Smith is a credible writer??

    And, doesn’t Lawrence just re-report Sam Smith’s story?

    Not sure there’s actual news here.

  10. this could change the raptor franchise for the better imagine this starting 5

    lin derozen harrison barnes ed davis jonas valunchewis

    (note how i left out bargs the dudes gotta go)

  11. Brian Cardinal, Brian Cardinal, Brian Cadrinal .. Dude played well for a month, and even during that stretch he struggled mightily against more athletic players. I’d rather stick with another season of Calderon at the point instead of taking a huge risk with a guy like Lin, at least he’s consistent and not turnover prone. Please Colangelo, use that salary cap wisely !! I’ll take another 20-win season if it means we’re building for the future and developing guys like Derozan, Jonas and whoever we pick up in this draft.

  12. Joseph, do you think acquiring Lin or Nash would mean moving Calderon and/or Bayless? if so what can be the possibilities, they might be able to free salary space and get a decent return for Calderon, but that’s all i can see. How will this effect them, what are your thoughts.

    • I think acquiring either Nash or Lin would certainly be the end of at least one of Calderon or Bayless in Toronto. I can see Calderon, especially as an expiring contract, being worth at least a decent return. At least I hope so.

      • Would love to see Bayless stay as a shooting guard

        • My concerns about Bayless playing SG is that a) he’s undersized, and b) how would he do if he has to play off the ball? When he’s played well, he’s been the main ball handler. Lots of players look better when they’re dominating the ball, but simply aren’t good enough to do that and win.

  13. I can’t understand why we would throw a 5,5,12,12 contract at Lin.

    He’s a decent player, but soo many questions surround linsanity.

    - was linsanity due to a short season where no one could scout him properly? He’s not all that athletic, or quick, and his fg and 3pt fg % are not that high, so once people figure him out, will ‘regress’?
    - will he be able to average his Feb stats for a while, or is he just a flash in the pan?
    - why were his march numbers so much worse than his feb numbers?

    I would balk at anything higher than a 5,5,6,7 contract – at least that way the final two years are stomachable. Otherwise, the risk is too high that the final 2 years $24 M will be a serious albatross.

    • Couldn’t agree more, lakonomy. What has Lin done to justify a hefty contract?? He had a good few weeks under Mike D’Antoni, who could make just about anyone look good. I don’t think Lin’s the answer for the Raps.

  14. imagine all the Asians that would come to the games! there are so many in this city already, there wouldn’t be any room in the stand for any other people in the stadium, sold out, instead of ht dogs for sale it be spring rolls, instead of beer it be saki! it be an ASIAN LINVASIAN!

  15. I hate when anything other than basketball is attached to a possible signing.

    Is Lin the right point guard for the team? I dont care if he is Asian or Martian. Will he get the job done at our price?

    Will Nash be a player on the Raps or a spectacle?

    The best signing would be to get both. Have Nash teach Lin. Best of both worlds.

  16. Different team, I know, but I can already see similar a similar trend for this Raptors off-season as there was for the Jays this past year. There was speculation about the Jays being in on just about every major free agent out there, and weird circular feedback from the media that saw certain speculation (read: Yu Darvish) gain credibility through repetition and drive wildly inaccurate media cycles.

    The stories around Nash and Lind are plausible, and it’s clear the Raps will be busy this off-season, but I just can’t quite get excited about any of this just yet. It seems too early in the off-season for these rumors to have any teeth, and I suspect Lawrence’s comment about Nash is just an amplification of Smith’s speculation, without basis.

    What Smith prefaced with the this-is-probably-bullshit-but-it’s-plausible-so-I’ll-maintain-credibility-and-get-credit-if-its-true-and-in-the-meantime,-page-views “many believe” qualifier, Lawrence has stated more forcefully: “Toronto will be in direct competition”. I just don’t believe Lawrence has a source other than Smith’s statement, but now any writer can reference Lawrence and it’s now a Fact that the Raps are after Nash. It doesn’t pass the ol’ smell test for me.

  17. Lin is the perfect storm for a bad contract. He’s a free agent the summer after a breakout season where he had a short period of extraordinary play, but since he was injured, didn’t even play a full season, plus he had a lightening-in-a-bottle season popularity-wise, as well.

    Basically, any team that offers him a contract will be buying at not just a high, but a absolute peak.

    One problem I have with signing him for attendance reasons is that a) Toronto has never had an attendance problem and it’s proven fans will pack the place if they simply start winning and b) it’s not a basketball reason.

    It’s not that I don’t like Lin, and think his ability to run the pick and roll would be extremely valuable on this team, but he played at his peak under very specific circumstances, with a VERY PG friendly coach in an uptempo offense and when one or both of the star players were out and he could completely dominate the ball.

    Of course, if management thinks they should keep Bargnani based on his 13 games, it’s probably fitting if they sign him based on basically the same number of games.

  18. Until the new owners actually take possession of the team, does BC have autonomy to sign anyone up to the cap limit, or even exceed it?

    Just wondering if his hands are tied to some degree…

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