There were a couple of disappointing points of the Raptors’ off-season so far – namely letting Jerryd Bayless go – but between my own opinion and from what I can gather from RaptorBlog readers and commenters, it seems most Raptors fans are pleased or at least content with how the summer has gone and the general direction of the team.

Adding Kyle Lowry was obviously the biggest splash, but drafting Terrence Ross (and Quincy Acy) and officially getting Jonas Valanciunas’ buyout and Lietuvos Rytas release completed should also prove to be positives going forward.

For the most part, it’s been a productive couple of months that should see a younger, more athletic and even more defensively capable roster take the court come October. Bryan Colangelo hasn’t done enough to assure anyone that the Raptors are a future contender or that his job is definitively safe, but he’s done enough to field a team that should be able to compete for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and as underwhelming as it might sound, that’s a start.

But perhaps the most talked about decision of the Raptors’ off-season was the lucrative offer-sheet extended to Landry Fields. Some of us feel Fields is due for a bounce-back season and will thrive again away from Carmelo Anthony. Others feel the third-year Standford product is nothing more than a rookie fluke who wasn’t worth a look this summer. Whether it really was all in an attempt to keep Steve Nash away from the Knicks or not, whatever side of the Landry Fields argument you fall on, no one will deny that the Raptors overpaid to acquire him.

His $6-7 million cap hit might look more manageable after what I expect will be a solid season as a glue guy for this team, but right now, I won’t deny that the price is steep.

The question, though, is how damaging do you think Fields’ contract is to the Raptors, and how much of the goodwill from the Lowry trade and Valanciunas arrival does it wash away?

The reason I ask now is that in Chad Ford’s latest “off-season grades” for ESPN, he seems to believe that the Fields contract is quite the stain.

Ford gives the Raptors a B- (23 out of the 30 teams received a form of an “A” or “B”), summing up his take on the Raps with this:

The only thing keeping the Raptors from getting an A is the fact that Fields’ offer sheet was not matched by the Knicks.

And later this: It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a pretty big blemish on what has otherwise been a pretty positive summer.”

The whole “grade” system is obviously arbitrary, but Ford’s closing point puzzles me.

Ford admits that he would have been ready to give the Raptors an “A” without Fields in the equation. That one “blemish,” as Ford puts it, doesn’t just drop the Raptors from an excellent A to an A- or a B+ or even a standard B. It nearly drops them to below average status in terms of summer performance.

If you honestly didn’t like the acquisition of Lowry, the drafting of Ross or the Raptors’ overall work this summer, that’s fair. I’d still argue against you, but at the end of the day, it’s your opinion, and it’s not insanely crazy.

I’m just having a hard time understanding how some Raptors fans and even Ford can say that virtually everything the Raptors did this off-season was beneficial, but by giving that one guy a little over the league average salary for the next three years, they nearly ruined everything.

To me, it’s a little too dramatic, especially in a summer where Omer Asik got $25 million.

I’ve already argued my case (both at RaptorBlog and on recent RaptorBlog Radio podcasts) as to why I don’t think the Fields contract is as bad as some dramatics will have you believe, so I won’t go down that road again. But I will leave you with this, Fields’ cap-hit is expected to be around $6.3 million per season. Last season, players in that same range were named Drew Gooden, Jermaine O’Neal, Al Harrington, Michael Beasley, Tayshaun Prince and Glen “Big Baby” Davis. There are a couple of productive players and some veterans in that group, but it’s not exactly a who’s who of impressive NBA talent in 2012, either.

The Raptors “overpaid” or bid high to pry a young wing defender and rebounder, who’s just 24-years-old and has had NBA success, away from a division rival.

If you think that’s the definitive move in a summer that saw the team acquire Kyle Lowry, draft Terrence Ross, bring over Jonas Valanciunas and let Jerryd Bayless go, I think you’re missing the point.

Comments (9)

  1. I agree with you. Maybe people don’t understand how the “Poison Pill” deal works and they are getting hung up on the third year. 6 milly and change on only a 3 year deal is not that big a blemish IMO. i think they overpaid but seems like every free agent (beside those going to champ contenders) gets overpaid.

    Here is a quick question – with the poison pill deal – how does that last year work in terms of trading him? I know how it works for the Raptors, but would the team acquiring him get a 6 million dollar expiring, or would it be the actual term (whatever that 3rd year is) expiring?

  2. If I’m not mistaken, Larry Coon (ESPN’s “capologist”) has said that the cap hit is averaged out for everyone EXCEPT the RFA’s original team (the Knicks, in this case).

    So in terms of trades, the contract is the same for other teams as it is for us.

  3. To make a splash you need to take a risk, its easy to sign the guys worth the money, its tougher/riskier to find the guy that will BE worth the money or make you look like the genius 2 years down the road. Perhaps colangelo has the future hindsite on Landry Fields, thats what vaults a team ahed of others. Better risk then the Hedo or O’neil signings of the recent pass.

  4. I hope Fields’ signing works out. It just kills me that Andy Rautins was picked one pick before him in the draft…also by the Knicks.

  5. I gotta give BC a C grade for the raps… Some wasn’t his fault but the handling of Sam Michell, Bosh, the first round pick, the Fields contract, etc was just simply wrong. Not sure why I’m not failing him hopefully Val and Ross and the entire season work out

  6. Letting Bayless go was not a mistake. It was addition by subtraction. He was selfish and had conflicts in the locker room. He wants to dominate a game more than he wants to win it. Better than Mike James but not by much.

  7. otherwise, I’m with you. Fields needs to play well enough offensively to draw a little attention anyway from the real firepower on the first unit, but he doesn’t need to score 15 a night. He’ll be a good fit. You’ve got a very astute defensive mind now in charge of a group of defensive stars. I think Fields will relish his role.

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