The Last Games Before A Lockout Start Tonight

All quiet on the Raptors front as we await the NBA Finals to begin. Jay Triano has yet to get his official stamp of approval but the Raptors have until June 15th to decide on his option. Andrea Bargnani has shut up for now and is still a Raptor the last we checked. While the Raptors still hold the 5th pick in the draft and no one seems to have a consensus on what they will do at the 5th spot if they in fact stay there. But the focus of the NBA is on the NBA Finals starting tonight.

The Miami Heat are in fact what we thought they were at the end of the day. Almost everyone picked them to be in the spot they are now in the NBA Finals. On the other hand beyond Mark Cuban and Mavs fans I am not sure how many people thought the Mavericks would be here in the NBA Finals. They face the same franchise that they blew a 2-0 lead to in the 2006 Final. Aside from D-Wade and Dirk almost everything has changed for these franchises. Dallas is a much better defensive team than they were back in 2006. Pat Riley is no longer on the bench for the Heat.

It may not be popular to say it but Miami is likely going to win this series. Dallas does not really have a scoring threat in the middle and that is something you need to attack a weak point of the Heat. Dirk has been fantastic in these playoffs but he is just one guy he will need help if Dallas is going to pull off the upset. Dallas does have a chance at winning if they can get looks from three point range and stick them. Miami has improved on defence a lot over this year. How they rotate and cover the three point line will be vital in this series.

All the talk in this series will be about Dirk and Lebron both seeking their first title but Jason Kidd has had several chances to win a title and come up short as well. If he can turn back the clock and have a great series he could be an X-Factor for the Mavericks.

But realistically I can't imagine the Heat losing this series. But I did not imagine the Mavericks sweeping the Lakers for what it is worth.

Heat in 6 is my pick.

Also speaking of the Lakers, I am stunned and confused at how the Lakers could hire Mike Brown to replace Phil Jackson. This is actually happening? The guy Cleveland fired because Lebron James wanted no part of him? Kobe Bryant seems as stunned as all of us. I sense this being a huge mistake for the L.A Lakers and this is not going to be a long or happy marriage between Brown and Bryant.

In other coaching news Kevin Mchale is expected to be the new coach in Houston. When you look at some of the hirings this off-season it makes me wonder despite my objections to it that if the Raptors choosing to stick with Jay Triano was unfortunately their best option. I would not hire Mike Brown or Mchale to coach the Raptors. No chance in hell. It would appear that Jeff Van Gundy is happy to stay in broadcasting for now. I would consider him the top candidate without a job right now in the NBA. When the dust clears I am not convinced Triano will last any longer than the option on his contract. But it would appear this off-season was slim pickings and that might have to do with the impending lockout as well.

Speaking of which we are rapidly approaching that lockout becoming reality. In just over a month this will be reality. The last image we may have of basketball is Miami Heat celebrating an NBA Championship that is something that will only add to the pain of a lockout for most.


Starting 5 with Paul Jones

It has been awhile since we have been able to catch up with Paul Jones the radio voice of the Toronto Raptors. We talk with Jonesy about a number of topics including the whole Bargnani saga. Is Demar ready to lead this team? How would a lockout impact on Ed Davis? Along with the fact Bryan Colangelo is back and very likely Jay Triano is as well. In addition we talk about the Raptors draft and what they might do? Could they look to bring Tristan Thompson home and challenges that would be involved in doing that. Also we briefly touch on the creation of a Canadian Basketball league. In addition lots of this sprinkled in about what is likely to be a lockout situation for the NBA. Along with some thoughts at the end on the NBA Finals with Miami and Dallas. It is always a great conversation when we have the chance to sit down and chat with Paul. He has always been someone who has not just been a great guest for us here in the Dino Nation Blog but someone who has always shown me support and encouragement and I am grateful for it.

Had a problem embeding this interview in the blog. My apologies so please click on this link and hear the interview on our podcast site.

Paul is off to Miami to take in the NBA Finals and see his brother Mark who does fine work with ESPN covering the NBA and various other things as part of ESPN. The odds that two brothers end up working covering the NBA has to be pretty long. I remember Mark from all the way back to when he worked for TSN. Two harder working people you would be hard pressed to find. It is always great to have Paul stop by and be a guest with us. One of the many great people that I can say has helped me along the way. I appreciate it greatly.


Bargnani On Thin Ice

It seems pretty clear now that Andrea Bargnani is well on his way out of Toronto. If he isn't the chances of him restoring himself with this fanbase pretty much is done. Another guy making comments overseas and in this modern world they quickly come back to bite him in the butt in North America. You only need to look at last summer when Hedo Turkoglu did a similar thing and he ended up traded to Suns and gone. Bargnani in an interview in Italy expressed that he was not exactly happy with the comments his G.M Bryan Colangelo made about him in his post season press conference. He said that he was fine with being traded and would welcome a trade to a warmer NBA destination where he could play his natural position.

The Raptors/Bargnani went in damage control mode and released a statement yesterday addressing these comments from Bargnani from Andrea himself.

Andrea Bargnani Statement:

"I wish to personally clarify and correct an inaccurate portrayal of my words that recently appeared in the media. Much of what I said was taken out of context with respect to an entire conversation. I want to make clear my love for Toronto and I consider the city my second home. I never said that I wanted to leave Toronto and I am sorry if fans interpreted the inaccuracy in that way. I am proud to represent Toronto and the Raptors Organization. I appreciate what Bryan Colangelo and the organization has done for me during the past 5 years of my career. I always work to improve myself as a player to reward the organization and our fans with the best team possible. "

First off, has anyone every heard Andrea Bargnani talk like this? This has PR written all over it and quite honestly it stinks about as bad as his defence and rebounding. Unlike when Chris Bosh left last summer I am pretty confident in suggesting most Raptors fans would welcome the idea of Bargnani no longer being a Raptor.

This debate on playing his natural position has been on that has remained from the very start of his career. No matter what anyone says it seems pretty clear that Bargnani mentally feels he is playing out of position and it has an impact on him. This is a failure on his part to adapt and a failure on the organization to get him to fully buy into his role on this team.

The time has come for he and the Raptors to part ways and move on. I have been convinced of this for a long time. Bargnani with the tag of being the team's first overall pick will never live up to that. If you look back on the Raptors history I think many would be hard pressed to put him in the top 5 players all time. He has not lived up to the billing that comes with being the first overall pick and has been a failure overall in his time with the Raptors. His strengths as a scorer are far out weighed by his overall lack of effort and lack of defensive ability and ability to rebound.

The problem for the Raptors becomes once again they are going to be dealing a player from a position of weakness and not strength. Bryan Colangelo's job of moving him has become harder based on this latest episode. But as he proved with Hedo Turkoglu that is not going to stop him from moving him.

Raptors fans for the most part would say the sooner the better. But in this current climate with a lockout looming that might be easier said than done.


Top 10: Things Raps Can Get for Bargnani

If you haven't heard by now, Andrea Bargnani recently made comments suggesting that if he were no longer playing for the Raptors he would like to play in a warmer city and in a role that best defines his talents. You can read about it here. So if he were to get his wish of a warmer climate what will the Raptors be able to get in return?

#10: A Milli Vanilli CD: while Bargnani is off enjoying his warmer climate and we're here enduring the spring rains, why not listen to some Blame It On the Rain

#9: A copy of NBA Elite 11: The game that was never released because it just wasn't that good, kinda like Bargnani, he just isn't that great a player unless he can put some effort on rebounding and defense.

#8: Eddy Curry: Not sure I'll even go through with this trade.

#7: Nate Robinson: We're gonna need some comic relief sometimes and I've heard he's a great cheerleader on the bench

#6: A brand new Spalding from Wal-Mart: you can never go wrong with a brand new Spalding.

#5: Dwight Howard: Yea we all know this ain't gonna happen

#4: Kevin Durant's backpack: It's just a cool backpack

#3: Carlos Boozer's gym bag: This bag took Boozer out and had him sidelined for month's and the Raptors could use some of that grit in the post.

#2: Lebron's headband: That headband is really going places as it keeps progress up Lebron's hairline each game.

#1: A lifetime supply of Primo pasta and sauce: If Bargnani leaves, Primo will lose their sponsor and all that pasta could go to waste.

In all seriousness though, I doubt he was publicly suggesting he want's to be traded though it really does seem like he is, plus with the media these days things do tend to get blown out of proportion. If he is traded though I believe the Raptors can at least get a decent player of two and hopefully can get a starter quality C in free agency. Anyways tune in next week for another installment of the DNB's Top 10.


The Madness

I have to be honest since hearing the news on Friday that one of my childhood heroes passed away in a car crash in Florida, basketball has not been on my brain much at all. Randy "Macho Man" Savage was my hero as a kid. He was cool. He had a unique charisma that was something like I had never seen. While many will think of Bruins or Celtics games when they think of the old Boston Garden. I will remember it as the place that Randy Savage beat Tito Santana to win the Intercontinental Championship. He cheated to do it by popping him in the face with a piece of steel he had hidden in his trunks. That was only the beginning of one of the greatest wrestling careers in history.

Many people look at wrestling and wrestlers as some lesser form of athletes. But Savage prior to setting foot in a wrestling ring was a baseball player of some note. He played in the minors for the Cardinals, Reds and a couple other organizations. He was a high flyer and did moves in the ring that back in the 80's no one else did. He was as amazing as many of the best dunkers you would see in the NBA. Randy was truly a world class athlete. While many wrestlers as they age become shadows of what they once were. Savage was a guy that still did all the moves that made him famous. He also unlike many wrestlers backed away from the business when he got older.

You may say if you are still even reading this...why the hell are we talking about a wrestler in a basketball blog? It is a fair point. But I guess the reason why is Savage has had a big influence on me. You may have even seen me bust out my Randy Savage impression when we were trying to put together an event with St Louis Wings that we had titled RaptorMania. But Basketball and wrestling have had there moments of coming together. Dennis Rodman going in the hall of fame this year once fought Savage. Randy took the former basketball star and stuck him in a porta potty and dumped it over with Rodman in it. Randy admits in an interview that was not in "the script". Rodman fought many times in the ring including in a match facing Karl Malone in which Malone was teamed with Diamond Dallas Page and Rodman with his buddy Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Rodman has been on many reality shows and actually was on one in which celebrities trained to be wrestlers run by the Hulkster and he won the show. Beating the likes of Screech from Saved by the Bell and other B list celebrities. None of this likely will be mentioned in Rodman's Hall of Fame Speech. Nor will the fact that during the NBA Playoffs while Rodman was with the Bulls on an off-day in a series, I am sure Phil Jackson was thrilled to learn Rodman was on Monday Nitro with Hogan. Ron Artest is easy to deal with in comparison to Rodman.

I have mentioned this one before as well. Jerome William AKA JYD (Of the NBA) once refereed a match in Toronto at a local house show. He was one of many on those Raptors teams back then that was a wrestling junkie. Vince Carter while being a Raptor was know to be in attendance when WWE hit town in Toronto as well. He was once pointed out by the WWE when he was in attendance at a taping on Monday Night Raw.

Even the Miami Heat were dubbed early on the MWO and were featured in this hit video on You Tube.

Lebron and D-Wade were recently two of the many celebrities that wished The Rock Happy Birthday on a recent episode of Raw. Oh and no Chris Bosh was not. Guess The Rock doesn't give a damn about Chris Bosh's Roody Poo Candy Ass. But the Heat are getting a great performance from Bosh in the conference finals vs the Bulls. Bosh has been a huge part of why Miami has a 2-1 series lead. It seems hard to believe that the Bulls can win 3 out of 4 games vs the Heat. After all the hype and B.S it appears the Heat will be exactly where they were expected to be. In the NBA's Version of a World Title Match better know as the NBA Finals.

As unlikely as it is for the Bulls to win 3 out 4 vs Miami. It seems even more unlikely that the Thunder can win 3 straight vs the Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder blew a lead late in Game 4 and were almost home and cooled out tying the series back up at 2. But then that evil German Guy Baron Von Dirk decided to go nuts and the Thunder were in trouble. Maybe if they had Kendrick Perkins hit Dirk with a steel chair that might help their chances.

But if the Thunder or Bulls want some inspiration they can watch Randy Savage in Wrestlemania 4 as he had to win 4 matches to become the World Champion for the first time. It would take a scripted out come for the Thunder or Bulls to come back at this point. I can't imagine the Heat choking and it is becoming more and more clear the Mavs days of choking might be behind them.

As entertaining as the NBA Playoffs have been and likely will be, it is not nearly as entertaining as the Macho Man Randy Savage. Be it wrestling in a ring or talking on a microphone. Randy Savage was the best at both. In basketball we always tend to look for next this guy or that guy. Who is the next Jordan? The next Shaq? There will never be a next Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Here is one of my favorite Savage interviews of all time. It was on the Arsenio Hall. For those not old enough to remember that show, it was once the hottest late night show on T.V for a brief time in the late 80's and early 90's. Savage was about to defend his title vs Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 5. The Mega Powers explode is how it was billed. The tag team that was Hogan and Savage. This was classic Randy Savage at his very best.

I will miss Randy Savage he was a huge part of my childhood. I have laughed and had my eyes fill with tears all weekend long watching memories of the Macho Man. He was a one of a kind original and had an impact that extended far outside of professional wrestling. It has been a very sad weekend for me. Charles Barkley said that athletes should not be role models. I guess that would mean wrestlers who are tremendous athletes should not be as well. However here is the thing we don't just choose who are role models are as kids. They just are who they are. For me that was a guy who was not exactly a role model in his behaviour. Savage be it as a bad guy or good guy would always bend or break the rules. But there was something cool about Randy Savage and he was bigger than life in a lot of ways. From his flashy robes to his over the top personality. Shaq might be the closet thing we have in basketball to this type of personality. He is also a huge wrestling junkie as well. Ali the famous boxing champion said that a lot of his smack talk was based on his love of wrestling.

Some of you may hate that I use wrestling lines in this blog probably far to often for most people's liking. It was Randy Savage that made me into a wrestling fan. He was the reason that I got drawn into it back in the mid 80's along with many in my generation. But in the NBA there have become good guys and bad guys and a lot of shades of grey. You may all hate the Miami Heat but part of what has made this season one of the more compelling in many years has been because you hate them. In wrestling they call that ironically "getting heat" and in Miami they have had more then their fair share. But unlike in wrestling the good guy doesn't always win the big one. Sometimes in real life the bad guys win.

The Macho Man along with Oh Yeah!!! Would also say from time to time. "It is what it is" and the Miami Heat are what they are. Macho Madness will live on forever and if the Heat can do what they set out to do they may live on forever as well. Sometimes cheering for the "Bad Guys" can be fun. Randy Savage taught me that many many years ago. But the difference is that while Savage could be vicious in the ring and break ever rule in the book. There was a humour to him and a likeability to him as well. I am not sure if you can say the same for Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

But whatever happens let it happen. The time is now...Oh Yeah Dig It!!!

Macho Madness will live in my heart forever it is as much a part of me as my love of basketball. While some may cry foul for Reggie Miller not being in the basketball hall of fame. It is a bigger crime that Randy Savage was not in WWE Hall of Fame while he was alive. Randy Savage was a legend in his sport and champion. Reggie Miller was a guy that made a lot of 3's and torched the Knicks. He also is one of the worst announcers in the history of basketball. Savage was a better announcer in his sport too. But it in Macho Man terms... Reggie Miller is a grain of sand in the Sahara Desert and Macho Man is the whole desert.

I have lost many people in my life it is part of the deal with getting older. It is part of the harsh reality of life. In sports all of the guys that I followed in basketball have long since retired. Dr.J, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and many many others. Hopefully the folks running this league and the players come to realize that life is short. We can not afford to miss a season of basketball. We all only have so many in our lifetimes. Lockouts and money don't mean a heck of a lot in comparison to life itself.

Life is fragile and tomorrow is never guaranteed for anyone. Randy Savage left a mark on the world that is far larger than anyone could possibly imagine. But we all leave our mark on this world and make sure it is a good one because you never know when your time is up...for today mine is...God willing will talk with you all tomorrow and for many years to come.

RIP Macho Man - Randy Savage


Friday Thoughts with the Dino Blogger

Here are just some random thoughts from me on a Friday. Ready? Let's Go:

1. Thunder Up and feeling the Heat as I am just 6 games away from nailing the NBA Finals again in October. I picked the L.A vs Orlando final a few years back not I am on the verge of picking another final. Could you have to more opposite teams in terms of rooting for? I love the Thunder and the fact they are proving people wrong. Miami on the other hand is kind of like selling your soul to the devil if you root for them. They are just not likeable and so many people would love to see them fail. But I am in on both and think it would give you a classic good vs evil final.

2. NBA Combine: I love basketball honestly I do. But the NBA Combine on T.V is nothing but a bunch of "experts" trying to validate themselves while we watch players do basketball drills it is far from exciting and really doesn't tell you much. Individual workouts with teams are a bit different from that. But if I hear anymore about Jimmer I will scream. Here it is for you all....Jimmer is a bust in the NBA. That is all. As for Raptors no Kemba Walker working out or Brandon Knight. Some may say that is bad. I say that is good. The less teams see of them the better. If the Raptors stay at 5 my gut says Kemba Walker is the pick. Demar DeRozan would like that a lot. During NCAA Tournament DeRozan mentioned to me how he and Ed Davis both know him pretty well.

3. Weather is terrible. I mean I am not one of these people that complains about the weather a lot but seriously when Sun was out yesterday I was like what the hell is that? This has been a terrible spring for weather. Just awful.

4. Lockout will have a very negative effect on this draft. Vegas Summer League has already been cancelled. If you have been following the NFL Lockout you are well aware of the fact players have no contact with teams during a lockout and that is going to be huge for these kids coming out in the draft. They will be starting with a disadvantage not that different from the one Ed Davis faced with his injury this year.

5. Tristan Thompson being in this draft makes sense to me. Cory Joseph does not. I hope the best for both of them but Cory Joesph has a lot of convincing to do if we expect to see him on an NBA Roster when thay start playing basketball again. For those that think I am a total homer in wanting Thompson on the Raptors here is something to counter that. I would not pick Cory Joesph at all. While Thompson offers some things the Raptors don't have, Joseph is not an answer to replace Calderon and I would take Bayless over him without much thought. Myck Kabongo is the guy the Raptors should do anything possible to draft. But that is next year. While I hope the best for Cory, I don't think it makes a lot of sense for him to be in the draft.

That is all that is on my mind at the moment that I can think of. See you folks on Monday.


B.C's To Do List.

So you might have heard that Bryan Colangelo is back. So after a month in limbo what does Bryan Colangelo have on his to do list? There are lots of things if he plans on this team being better whenever we are playing basketball again. Here is a list of some of the major ones.

1. Decide on Jay Triano- Now it would appear he has this one already made. But does he simply just pick up the option on Jay's contract and let him play it out? That is what you hope will happen. Could he actually give Jay an extension? If he were to extend Jay it would be pretty much tying his own future to Triano's. Colangelo himself only has two years plus an option so it would seem logical he gives himself the option to make a coaching change if need be by just picking up the option. But if you are hoping for a change now, Bryan has given every indication that Jay Triano will be back and this is likely taken care of very soon.

2. Pick, Trade Down or Trade Out- What will Colangelo do with the draft after falling to #5 after the draft lottery. In his post season remarks he seemed willing to move the pick if the right deal was out there. After the lottery he seemed to be more likely to keep the pick. Although he admits that after the first two picks in this draft there is a ton of uncertainty. Tristan Thompson lies out there likely as a pick near the end of the lottery. He plays at a position where the Raptors are pretty much set though. You could get out of the draft altogether and perhaps tie one of the players you would like to move with the pick. Colangelo admits his greatest need is a center and that no one like that exists in this draft. Any team want the 5th pick and Jose Calderon or Andrea Bargnani? Bryan Colangelo is looking to find out you have to imagine.

3. Reggie Evans In The Mix?- Reggie Evans is the one free agent that has some questions on if he will be back or not. It is safe to say that Sonny Weems and the rest of the Raptors free agents are likely gone. In terms of what your plan is with Reggie could impact on the draft. If you are not looking to bring back Reggie Evans it opens the door to draft a Tristan Thompson or someone else at the four spot. Problem is you will not know what the cap will be and how Reggie can fit or not fit prior to the draft. Should the Raptors draft Thompson or someone else at that position you will have a good indication on Reggie's future with the Raps.

4. Predict the Unknown- Bryan Colangelo is a sharp guy and will need to be that as he is likely going to have to anticipate what the new CBA is going to look like as he tries to reconstruct this team. A new NBA with no MLE and a Franchise Tag could make B.C's job a lot easier in terms of being able to lure free agents to come north of the border. While a lower cap would make the prospects of trading a Bargnani or a Calderon a much more difficult task. The one thing he does know is if he chooses to stay at number 5 in the draft there is a little extra money to play with. Only about 650,000 from 3.55 million to 2.9 million. Not a lot but still a difference.

5. Find A Center- I can only imagine how Bryan must watch the Dallas Mavericks and just shake his head in disgust. Tyson Chandler was almost a Raptor after all. It can not be under estimated how that trade that never was with the Bobcats impacted on B.C's plans for last year. The Raptors would have a much different outlook had that trade gone down. But it didn't and he is still stuck with Jose Calderon and still has no real center to play for him. It is essential the Raptors have a defensive minded center in the mix to play next season. Regardless of if Andrea Bargnani is back or not.

6. What You Do With A Problem Like Andrea? - Colangelo made it clear to anyone listening that he was not impressed with the effort of his former number 1 pick on the boards and on defence. He also made it clear he is not afraid to move him. Talk is talk but can he follow up the talk with action? There is no question that this fan base is more than ready to see Andrea go bye-bye. But is B.C truly ready and if he is can he find a team that is willing to roll the dice on Bargnani? The odds of finding that team might be better than finding a team willing to take Jose Calderon. What has been clear to almost everyone is that if the Raptors are to become better on defence, they can not start the season with Jose and Andrea in the starting five.

7. Find Some Gems In Free Agency- This is not a free agent class like last season. There may never be another like it ever. But next off-season will be pretty close. So this free agency is all about getting value if possible. The best name out there for the Raptors might be Nene and if Leandro Barbosa picks up his 7.2 million dollar option it might help the Raptors lure the fellow Brazilian to come to Toronto. If you say your biggest need is at Center then this is probably the best option available to you via free agency maybe altogether. You also have a former member of the organization in Denver should you look to construct a sign and trade. It is a long shot but if Bryan wants to make a splash landing Nene would do that.

8. A Defensive Minded Wing- Not sure how you get him but James Johnson alone is not enough the Raptors need a wing that can defend and do a solid job guarding some of the NBA best. I would venture to say that guy does not exist in the draft. Shane Battier is out there in free agency but will draw a ton of interest. So it would seem this would have to come via trade. But these type of players are rare and hard to find and you wonder what the Raptors would have to give up to land this type of player.

9. End The Euro Experiment- Bryan Colangelo tried to look to Europe to avoid the Raptors greatest problem of being able to keep or land stars from the U.S. It has been a failure by all accounts you would have to say. It was a good idea and was worth trying but clearly it has not worked out. The best basketball nation in the world playing at NBA rules is still the United States. Not to say never bring in a Non-North American but the whole idea of a united nations style team in Toronto has been a bust.

10. Defence First Point Guard- Another hard thing to find but something this team needs badly. The evolution of the point guard position in this league has made this a huge priority. Even in a weak draft class you are adding even more fast and athletic point guards to the league. If you don't have someone that can at least make it difficult for them to get into the paint you are in trouble on most nights in this league. Calderon and Bayless are far from capable of doing this. Raptors need someone that can be a better first line of defence.

Can Bryan accomplish all of this in one off-season? If he does he might just win back this fan base and be declared the saviour he was when he first came. But realistically this will be very hard to do especially in an off-season in which a labour stoppage is likely and a new CBA is certain at some point. But Bryan is a sharp guy and will be able to adapt quickly to whatever that new deal will be. That is the main reason you should be happy he is back even if you have not been thrilled with his performance to this point. Bottom line is Colangelo is going to be a very busy guy laying the foundation for his off-season before a lockout takes hold of the league.


Top 10: BC Thoughts During Draft Lottery

Unless you've been hiding under a rock in the last 24 hours, you'll now that the Raptors gota bit of bad luck at the draft and ended up with the 5th pick. Now that may not be the worst of news as they can still get a solid player with that pick. Anyways after getting word that his team will be getting the 5th pick instead of the third you have to wonder just what was going through Colangelo`s head.

#10: Did I remember to DVR, The Voice, tonight?

#9: Can't believe I flew all the way to New Jersey for this.

#8: Guess it's back to the drawing board.

#7: Talk about a bad, second 1st day on the job.

#6: Maybe I should have worn my lucky cuff links.

#5: That Dan Gilbert is one lucky guy

#4: Wonder is Dan Gilbert would accept Bargnani for that #1 pick. I mean they are of equal value right?

#3: I wonder if David Kahn would trade #2 for #5 since he can't draft a PG with that pick?

#2: If I drafted Bargnani with the #1 pick and got DeMar and Ed with numbers 9 and 13, number 5 really doesn't seen that bad afterall.

#1: Wonder if Kyrie has seen this video of Cleveland yet? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysmLA5TqbIY


Raptors Land at 5

Toronto Raptors unfortunately followed the form of our mock draft lottery simulation. When we ran the lotto 100 times the 5th pick was the most popular outcome and that is where the Raptors ended up. Thanks to Both the Jazz and Cavs moving up. The Cavs did not earn the pick with their own selection which ended up at 4. The first round pick they acquired in the Baron Davis trade from the Clippers landed them the first overall pick. The Jazz also moved up with one of their two picks to end up at 3rd. The only team in the top 3 at the start of the night that remained there with their own pick was the Minnesota Timberwolves who have never won the draft lottery and selected first overall. They wind up 2nd in the draft. So based on how things have shaken out it is likely the Raptors if the choose to remain and keep the pick they could select Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight at the 5th spot.

Bryan Colangelo in a conference call after the lottery admitted that if the Raptors had been at number 3 as of this moment he is not certain who they would have selected. He noted that the lack of a true center was the Raptors greatest need and does not really see a guy in the draft that addresses that need. He did point out the Raptors did save some money by moving down the 2 spots. Pointing out it added to the free agency money the team would have to spend. Colangelo noted about the great uncertainty of this draft class and he almost seemed relieved to have been dropped to five as opposed to staying at the 3rd spot. Colangelo said that if there was a year to move back from three to five this might have been the year to do it. Saying that there was a group of players after the top 2 in this draft class that Raptors could have considered at the 3rd spot.

There was also talk of the whole keeping his job thing. Bryan had this to say on remaining in Toronto and with the Raptors."I'm happy to be back and committed to this organization to the city and I am proud to call Toronto home and am glad to be not having to look for another house." In addition he pointed out with his position being secure the business of the Toronto Raptors in terms of basketball operations can move forward now. Trade calls and determining the future of Jay Triano. It seemed pretty clear although Colangelo has much to do in preparation for the draft he seemed like he was anxious to get the coaching situation dealt with. Based on his comments after the season it would be highly unlikely to see the Raptors not at least pick up the option on Jay Triano's contract which needs to be addressed by June 15th.

There was no talk of moving the pick but that was something Colangelo did not rule out in his post season remarks and with the Raptors dropping two spots that might be even more attractive an option in a draft that Colangelo even admits has a lot of uncertainty.

Here is a copy of the press release earlier in the day on the Colangelo extension.

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday the club has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with president and general manager Bryan Colangelo. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed. Colangelo was named to his current position February 28, 2006. He joined the franchise following 15 years in the Phoenix Suns organization, where he served 11 seasons as the club’s general manager including the last seven as team president.“Over the past few months Bryan has worked on a winning plan for the Raptors,” said Richard Peddie, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “Today I’m happy to report that he has everyone’s 100 per cent support of his plan and we look forward to seeing its success on the court.” “I’m very pleased to get this resolved and I look forward to following through on the next critical phase of rebuilding our basketball team,” said Colangelo. “I am deeply committed to the organization and our fans and I’m even more proud to call Toronto home.”Colangelo’s arrival in Toronto was marked by a series of trades and free agent acquisitions that resulted in nine new players on the roster at the start of 2006-07 training camp. In his first full season at the helm of the Raptors, the team improved an NBA-best 20 wins over the 2005-06 season to tie a franchise high with 47 victories. Toronto went on to win the 2006-07 Atlantic Division championship, securing home court in its return to the playoffs after missing the postseason the previous five seasons. For his efforts in leading the Raptors’ dramatic change of fortune, Colangelo was named 2006-07 Sporting News NBA Executive of the Year. It was his second such honour, having received the award in 2005 after guiding the Suns to the third-greatest turnaround in NBA history en route to winning the Pacific Division Championship. He is one of only three executives to win the award with two different franchises (Bob Bass, Jerry West).>During Colangelo’s career as a general manager, his teams have appeared in the NBA Playoffs 11 of 16 seasons, captured four division championships and posted an overall record of 665-612 (.521).

So the Raptors land B.C but no good luck from him at the draft lottery this time around. Although some might question how lucky he was in the first place considering the feelings of a lot of folks about his last number 1 pick of Andrea Bargnani. Colangelo did reference talking trades as part of his off-season work and he made it quite clear in his post season remarks that if he was running the show he was not afraid to look at moving Bargnani. Well time to see if he meant it. But it is nice to have him back as although I have not always agreed with his moves he has proven to have the ability to correct his mistakes and keep this team in a position to have a chance to make changes and correct it's course. Colangelo referenced the toughest part of this season had nothing to do with his personal contract situation it was having to endure the losing and that is something we can all agree on. Welcome back B.C you have a lot of work to do.

Starting 5 Season Wrap with Matt Devlin

It is always a good time to catch up with Matt Devlin and talk some basketball. After the Raptor season was done he hit the road for the playoffs with TNT. So it took awhile to catch up with him but we finally have on NBA Draft Lottery Day. Some thoughts on the Raptors of course. Does Matt think he will see Andrea Bargnani next season in a Raptor uniform. Does he believe this team can play defence with both Jose and Andrea on the floor? Do I have any lucky charms? It is a magically delicious addition of the starting 5. Well maybe not but there is a lot of info and talk of the playoffs sprinkled in throughout. Thoughts on Mavs and the impact Tyson Chandler has had with them instead of here in Toronto as was the plan for the Raptors last off-season. Thoughts on the Raptors last two picks in Demar DeRozan and Ed Davis this and a lot more as we sit down and talk with Matt Devlin. Including an explanation as to why we have that picture of Matt from this season in the Raptors press room. It is always fun to have the play by play voice of the Raptors pay us a visit and always nice to see him to his thing with the folks at TNT for the playoffs. Not as nice as seeing him doing some Raptor Playoff games though.

In case you missed the big news of the Day B.C is back and has 2 year extension with an option for a 3rd year. Scott Carefoot has the news in Raptor Blog on The Score. Our Conversation with Matt happened just prior to this news breaking unfortunately. But we did discuss the future of both B.C and Jay in this interview. Life is timing and sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. It can also be about luck will see how the Raptors luck is tonight. Thanks to Matt for stopping by to talk with us.

B.C Is Back

It is widely being reported that FINALLY the folks at MLSE have decided to extend Bryan Colangelo. The deal is said to be for 2 years with an option for a 3rd. This ends this long drawn out saga that was quite honestly a waste of time. So based on what Colangelo has said it would be a shock if a Jay Triano extension is not announced very soon as well. So for those of you that wanted change you hope this means that the Andrea Bargnani trade game is now officially on. But as far as the coach and the G.M it is status quot for the short term. Have an interview coming up with Matt Devlin in which we talk about this situation prior to this breaking news .


Picking and Playing The Lotto.

Happy Monday people, before we get to some draft lottery stuff we need get our Conference Finals Picks on the record. So.....

James and Ryan both see it the same....Heat and Thunder both win in 6 games.

I am 8 wins away from nailing the finals in the pre-season. I had said it would be a Thunder vs Heat final long before it became the cool thing to do. But that being said the South Beach Heat took it on the chin yesterday. After a good first quarter the Heat got steam rolled despite a great game from Chris Bosh who was the games leading scorer with 30 points going 12-18 from field and 6-6 at the line. D-Wade and LBJ only combined for 33 though and Derrick Rose the MVP had 28. Bulls took it in Game 1 by a score of 102-83. OKC and Dallas tip up game 1 of the Western Conference Final after the Draft Lottery Tuesday.

So speaking of that Draft Lottery it is time for the DNB Draft Lottery Simulation. We are going to simulate the Draft Lottery 100 times and give you the results. You can give it a go yourself as many times as you like thanks to the folks at ESPN. Here is a link to simulate your own Draft Lottery.

What Pick Raptors Will Get?

  • 1st Pick- 18%
  • 2nd Pick- 17%
  • 3rd Pick- 17%
  • 4th Pick- 21%
  • 5th Pick- 24%
  • 6th Pick- 3%

The Raptors in our Simulation of 100 times beat there actual Lottery Odds of 15.6%. Most believe in the fan base if the Raptors landed that first pick they would select Kyrie Irving but according to ESPN and our 100 Simulations using there Lottery Simulator there is 0 outcomes where the Raptors land Irving and they also say the Raptors will select Derrick Williams out of Arizona with the first pick. He would fill a need for Raptors at Small Forward likely there biggest position of need. But in school he was a power forward and you would be asking him to change positions. In our 100 Simulations there is only 4 players the Raptors would select. Here they are with the % of times they came up as the Raptors pick.

Of note even at 6 spot the Raptors would not take Kemba Walker. It seems obvious that ESPN feels the Raptors are not interested in drafting a point guard position. But many closer to this team would tend to disagree with that assessment. While it is true that Raptors do need a small forward it seems unlikely to me that they would leave Irving on the board at number 1.

With all due respect to ESPN when I look at draft my first stop is Draft Express and here is where they Rank the 4 choices ESPN thinks will be Raptors just based on the best available talent.

  • Williams (2nd)
  • Kanter (8th)
  • Knight (5th)
  • Lenoard (11th)

While Irving is Ranked #1 and Kemba Walker a surprising 3rd. If we base it on the Draft Express Rankings here is 1-6 the possible places the Raptors could select.

  • 1. Irving (PG Duke)
  • 2. Williams (PF Arizona)
  • 3. Walker (PG UConn)
  • 4. Valanciunas (C- Lithuania)
  • 5. Knight ( PG/SG Kentucky)
  • 6. Vesely ( SF/PF Czech Republic)

However you care to break it down there is no Lebron James or Blake Griffin walking across that stage in New York regardless of who wins the lottery. If you are wondering about Tristan Thompson and how the Raptors could find him in the draft. It would take a pick that is higher than 11 according to ESPN unless the Bucks hit the Lottery because he was the selection of the Bucks every time it seemed when I was running the simulations. According to Draft Express Thompson ranks 14. So if Raptors were trading down to land the home grown talent it would take a pick still in the lottery to do it most likely. But it is unlikely the Raptors would do that you would think given Thompson is an undersized power forward and that is not a need for this Raptor team. If the Raptors do go point guard in this draft what will that mean for the chances of Myck Kabongo being a Raptor next season? Make those odds slim you would think. Kabongo is likely on the same path as Thompson and Joesph who both played just a year at Texas and then bolted for the Draft. If the Raptors want a shot at him they would need to be back in this Lottery next year that promises to have a much more talented cast of characters.

So get your popcorn ready for tomorrow night and watch 30 minutes of bad T.V to find out where the Raptors will be picking. As for the who they will be picking or if they even keep the pick that will play out over the next month or so. If you are looking for a saviour out of this draft you will be very disappointed.


DNB Weekend Edition - 3up and 3 Down

Blogger the platform that we produce the DNB on, apparently had a Friday the 13th curse yesterday. So in a rare off-season Saturday performance we have an episode of 3 up and 3 down. If you forget how this works basically it is 3 things that are good right now in NBA or with the Raptors and 3 things that are bad. Pretty Simple and if you want to play along in the comments with your own feel free.

3 Up

#1- Game 7- For first time in these playoffs we have a game 7. I am not exactly happy about it personally seeing as it involves OKC that I have picked to go to NBA Finals. But nothing beats a game 7 in a series. Here is hoping it is actually a good game. But not every game 7 produces a classic game. Sometimes they can produce huge blowouts just as easy as a close game. Fans in Oklahoma City get the chance to see their first ever game 7 for their team in OKC thanks to the Grizzlies upset of the Spurs. The Mavericks love the fact they get to watch yet another game in this series as they sit back after sweeping the Lakers and watch. They have a rooting interest as well. Grizzlies won the season series against Dallas, OKC did not if you think that matters at this point.

#2- Bynum Suspension- It is nice to see the NBA make a clear legit statement when someone does something clearly wrong. This is not the NHL it is the NBA and goon justice will not be tolerated. Bynum will miss 5 games of next season and his pay for those games of over 800K for his cheap shot on J.J Barea. Guess it wasn't a cheap shot after all. NBA got it right and sent a clear message. Something the NHL has never been able to accomplish. Good job NBA.

#3- Charles Barkley- I just love Barkley on TNT's coverage there is no one more entertaining and flat out honest in covering the NBA. I may not always agree with Sir Charles but I always enjoy his views and his humour. He is never afraid to let himself be made fun of and have fun as well. Barkley may in fact be an even better broadcast talent then he was a basketball talent and that is saying a lot because Barkley was a hall of famer as a player.

3 Down

#1 The Draft Lottery Show- Being a Raptor fan has given me the chance to watch many a draft lottery show. It is a stupid production of T.V and totally designed to create a sense of drama. But to have this be a 30 minute T.V program is quite honestly a joke. Worse it is handled by ESPN the people that brought you "The Decision" speaking of bad television. Every year it is the same boring and predictable crap. While the lottery itself can not be predicted (Conspiracy Theories Aside) the show surrounding it can be. It never changes and it quite honestly is terrible T.V

#2 Heat Haters - I have got to the point that I am just tired of it. Time to move on from this. It is not going to happen but if you have been so blinded by hate that you can't understand that Lebron James and Chris Bosh made a smart choice for their futures by going to Miami you really are delusional. I admit the Heat do themselves no favours in terms of avoiding the hate they have inspired. But bottom line is these 3 guys did this for one reason and that is wanting to win a championship. That is what an athlete should always strive to be. It is easy to make them the bad guys but some blame should go to organizations that had them for 7 years and failed to surround them with a team that was able to be successful. But hating on the Heat has just become the cool thing to do. Hate them all you want but make no mistake they don't care. If they win the NBA Title that will be the ultimate in your face to all you that hate them. Oh and by the way all this hate only serves to motivate them more.

#3 Lockout Looming - I can not fully enjoy anything that is going on lately without realizing that we are heading in the direction the NFL already has with a Lockout almost a certainty. I have worked hard for over 3 years to build something here in the Dino Nation Blog and now I am left to sit back and watch my future be determined by Millionaires vs Billionaires. I am no where close to either and try to eek out a living doing this. To say I take the lockout personally would be the truth. I will always love basketball and the NBA. Unlike the NHL Lockout that turned me off the sport altogether combined with the insane media coverage in this country since. But will this make me more jaded about NBA and the sport going forward? It is likely it will, I am only human after all. In every Lockout there are lots of people that depend on these leagues to make a living that are not making millions that get screwed by them. Those people along with the fans of the sport are always the big losers in any lockout.

So that is it putting in some rare work on Saturday for you all. See you folks on Monday.


Get Your Tickets Lottery Tuesday

First off an apology we had mix-up yesterday with the blog. Normally Ryan does his Top 10 feature and as such I decided to take the day off. Ryan was not available though so my apologies to you all. But were back and talking about all those lottery balls some of you were cheering for at the end of the season. The NBA Lottery takes place on Tuesday and the Raptors in their history have been participants far to many times for peoples liking. 16 seasons minus 5 playoff appearances make this the 11th time the Raptors will be a part of the NBA Lottery. They have won it officially once but technically twice. There was the Allen Iverson year that technically the Raptors had won the lottery but based on the agreement they signed to enter the league were unable to select one and ended up settling for Marcus Camby. Now Isiah Thomas claims that Camby would have been his pick at number 1 anyway. I know believing what Thomas says for some is hard, but to be honest with Damon Stoudamire coming off the Rookie of the Year I tend to believe him. The Raptors also were in bad need of a big man at the time. The other time the Raptors won was of course the Andrea Bargnani draft in which the Raptors took Italian number one making him the first ever European to be selected as such.

Much like that draft class Bargnani was a part of this one is just as bad if not worse on paper. Irving out of Duke is expected to be the number one pick in this class that is clearly lacking star power. That fact has also caused both Tristan Thompson and Cory Joesph to jump into this draft as well. Sad news for Raptor fans that were hoping to see them turn in Texas burnt orange for Raptor red and white. It would seem unlikely that either fit in the Raptors plans for the draft. Thompson being an undersized 4 is one of many at that position that probably don't make a ton of sense for the Raptors. A big reason for that is the performance of Ed Davis who slipped to the Raptors last year in the draft. Amir Johnson has a long term deal and Davis has been good enough to think the Raptors are set at power forward. You also have Reggie Evans who at least seems willing to return if wanted.

We still have no idea who will be running the Raptors draft but regardless of who it is the fact remains that Raptors if there is one position they can feel somewhat confident in what they have it is power forward. Not that anyone is making the position better than the guy that held that position for 7 years in Chris Bosh. But there is no dynamic player in this draft class "like a Bosh". You could make a strong case that if the Raptors don't win the lottery outright they may feel happy and justified to get out of the draft altogether. Whoever the Raptors would take at the other possible positions would not be worth the rookie contracts they would sign. That is important to note because under a new and expected to be more restrictive CBA to be over paying on rookies not worth the value of their deals could be costly. The draft is the last event of the current CBA so it would be unlikely you see those values change (for this draft) under a new agreement. In fact I am almost certain they can't. But not 100% certain. If the Raptors don't win on Tuesday it would seem likely they try to package the pick and tie it to Bargnani or Calderon for a trade. But that may also be difficult as teams may not want to risk taking on their significant salaries going into that CBA as I just mentioned is expected to be more restrictive.

If Colangelo is not running the show it is expected or at least rumoured (was a story on Yahoo) that Wayne Emery would once again step in and run the show on a temporary basis. He did the same when the Raptors finally showed Rob Babcock the door. He actually did a decent job in his short time at helm. He was able to unload Jalen Rose on the Knicks and set up the cap flexibility that Colangelo enjoyed when he arrived on the scene. That being said the fact the Raptors have just left this whole situation of who is actually in charge of things up in the air is a total joke. Safe bet to say we will not see Colangelo representing the Raptors at the Draft Lottery. I mean how could he given his uncertain future with the club.

The Raptors are not in a great situation no matter how it plays out. If the Raptors were to win the Draft Lottery and select the expected number one pick in Irving that would almost certainly make the Raptors out of the mix in terms of Myck Kabongo in next seasons draft. Kabongo will be playing his freshman year at Texas next season. In the people I have talked with, some of those being NBA Players, seem to be a believe that he is the most talented of that Texas/Toronto Trio. So to just assume he will be in next seasons draft is not much of a stretch. Irving also a point guard would make it a very interesting situation with Calderon and Bayless also currently on the roster. It is hard enough in this league to have two guys that believe they are capable of being the starter let alone three. That being said if the Raptors win the lottery trading the 1st pick seems unlikely. 1993 was the last time it happened when the Magic who had won the draft lottery two years in a row and drafted Shaq the year prior traded Chris Webber to Golden State after selecting him number one overall. But anything other than number one for the Raptors it is likely the pick is very much in play you would think.

Bottom line there is no Lebron James, Shaq or Yao Ming that can drastically change a franchise in this draft. Not even a John Wall or Blake Griffin. The Raptors have the bad luck of being very bad at the worst times it would seem.


The Raptor Waiting Game Continues

Houston Rockets already have final 3 candidates for their vacant coaching position. While the Raptors still have said nothing about their G.M and coach at this point. If everything remains the same it really won't matter much. But should the Raptors make a change at G.M the chances a coaching change is made increases as well. So what exactly is the hold up with things. Raptors season has been done for almost a month now. It is not like Bryan Colangelo is going to change his future whatever it might be in the next few months. Unless he has a plan to rig the NBA Draft Lottery I am not sure what exactly he could do technically to improve his status. While technically teams once eliminated from the playoffs can trade with other non playoff teams. It is a rare event that trades are made at this time of year. Colangelo did swap for Reggie Evans a couple years back. But with the lack of a CBA in place the chances of that happening this season is slim.

MLSE as an organization has always went on about having people of high character in the organization. Well is it not of high character to allow people to know if they have a job or not? Is that not the right thing to do? Not to mention do you not owe it to your loyal fans to let them know about the future of the franchise? This makes the organization look bad and does them no favours in terms of future hiring in management. Not to mention if there are indeed going to make changes they are falling clearly behind other teams looking to make changes. Unless they are looking and just not telling anyone.

But however you cut it people have become use to it as reflects in our Dino Nation Blog poll over there on the right. MLSE knows how to make money no one will question that. But in terms of how they run all their sports franchises people can look at their track record and judge for themselves. They say things start at the top and that top is the MLSE Board and they have been a complete failure to fans of Raptors, Leafs and Toronto FC. They are the one constant as all of these teams have continued to fail. While the profitability is without question. The production and quality of the products is. It is a good thing profits are not measured by wins because if it was MLSE would have been filing for bankruptcy long ago.


NBAZ In 7 DayZ - Playoff Edition

Hello all. I apologize had some really life stuff to get done on Friday. Back at it for a new week and will do a little self Q & A talking about mostly the NBA today. So here we go with some Questions and Answers.

Is Phil Jackson Done?

Swept by the Dallas Mavericks and his team coming unglued down the stretch. It just doesn't seem like the ending we expected. Do we really think he is done? He says he is mostly likely done and this is it. If it truly is, it this was a sad ending of the greatest coaching career perhaps ever in the NBA. Many will claim he coached great players and that is why he was successful. But there is a challenge in that. He had a unique system that perhaps only he can truly make work. You would think with all the success his triangle offence had more would have tried it. But there is only one Zen Master to run it. This season we saw Jerry Sloan leave also in a way not fitting his great career. Many do not remember an NBA with out Sloan or Jackson but when we do finally play basketball again the chances are that will be the case.

Heat Check for Miami in Game 4?

It makes sense that Boston won game 3 but now can Miami respond and with game 4 and put the Celtics on the ropes? It will be interesting to see what happens. Rajon Rondo not at 100% is not good news for Boston. Heat will win this series but a win in game 4 will make that road a lot easier. In the playoffs where ever game is made to be bigger than life this is a game for the Heat and Celtics that is massive. Lebron and D-Wade have shown a way to co-exist. For all the haters and doubters the reason these guys came together is the playoffs and this series was suppose to be the final step to the Finals. Expect Miami to answer in game 4 strong.

Mavs... Really?

Is the Mavs label as chokers done? Beat the 2 time defending champs in 4 games straight is more than impressive. It has to be depressing for Raptor fans to watch the Mavs with Tyson Chandler and Peja playing roles. Chandler should have been a Raptor after all. While Peja never played like this with the Raptors. In fact he barely played. But Dirk is looking good and Jason Terry has been a modern day version of Vinnie "Microwave" Johnson from Bad Boy Pistons. Next up is the surprising Grizzlies or the Thunder. Either match-up you would expect the Mavs to be a rather large favourite. Although being the Favourite is not the greatest thing now is it? Ask the Lakers about that.

NBA Player only a Mother could love?

Chris Anderson comes rushing to mind. Wonder if his mom has a tattoo?

Hawks are they a surprise?

Hell yeah. I mean with Kirk out this team was suppose to be the ones swept aside in 4. Someone forgot to tell Jeff Teague that. Seriously who is this guy and what has he done with the really Jeff Teague? While the Bulls are a one trick pony. But Derrick Rose is not running in the Kentucky Derby he is running with the Bulls and he needs a little help. Anyone care to step up and help out the M.V.P please let D.Rose know. BBM....Text...or just show up and play.

Am I Worried About My Thunder?

Nope...ok a little. But I believe in OKC and I personally find it insulting that people think Dallas should be rooting for the Thunder. That is what they were saying on TNT. Well root for them all you like. I am pretty sure the Thunder will be happy to see the Mavs and not Lakers on the other side of this series. Game 4 is important for OKC. They have had leads in this series and need to close out things in games. These Grizzlies are not going away. Spurs are sitting at home because of that. If OKC doesn't want to join them a win in game 4 is vital.

A belated Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I love my mom greatly as you all know.


Bargnani Trade Game

It has become pretty clear that the Toronto Raptors have an appetite to trade Andrea Bargnani, as much as he has for Primo Pasta and sauce. So today in the blog I am going put on my fantasy G.M hat and see if I can find a deal that makes some sense. The first team that came rushing to mind in wanting to unload Bargnani was the Golden State Warriors. Why them? Well they really have never cared about defence and Bargnani's ability to score and shoot three's fits right in the mix with what they do.

So here is the best deal I could come up with that might make some sense for both sides.

To Golden State:

Andrea Bargnani (PF/C)-(Done for Andrea's Benefit)

Jerryd Bayless (PG)

Solomon Alabi (C)

To Toronto:

Andris Biedrin (C)

Jermey Lin (PG)

Not the greatest trade but Biedrins will rebound and can be a legit 5 in your line-up. Bayless will need to go anyway assuming you can not move Calderon and the Raptors target a point guard in the draft. I tried working this trade to include Udoh or Wright and could find not scenario that made any real sense for the Raptors. Lin is a project and makes for an excellent 3rd option at the point and can develop into a back-up you hope for when Calderon is off the books. Maybe you add a swap of first round picks for Raptors 1st pick this year for Warriors first next year in a stronger draft class. But that would leave you very thin at PG. MLSE would love to have Lin to engage the Asian Community. When he came this season there was a lot of interest from them when the Warriors paid a visit.

The New York Knicks were said to be interested in Andrea Bargnani and again another team not known for it's D under the current coach they have. How interested would they be? Well this trade would test the limits of that. I can not find any trade that makes any sense for the Knicks given their plan to try to bring in Chris Paul. If Calderon's deal was a year shorter you could come up with some things that make sense but it isn't. So despite the rumours it doesn't seem like New York is a likely landing spot. Which is to bad given they have some interesting players like Landry Fields who would be someone you would want to see come back the other way. Assuming Barbosa picks up his option you might be able to take a second look at this trade option again. That 7.1 million off the books along with Bargnani makes it more interesting for the Knicks.

How about Orlando no way Andrea Bargnani can play the Center there. Dwight is already making up for a ton of poor defenders anyway and Stan Van Gundy never liked his hair anyway. I tried to make this on work but gave up after many failed attempts. I was attempting to bring back J.J Redick and another piece in Ryan Anderson but I was denied based on the BYC's in both Redick and Bargnani's contract. Stan Van gets to keep his hair and we look for another partner to trade wiith.

Here is one if the Suns are truly crazy it does work math wise but doesn't really stand up to the whole logic test. But this team did trade for Hedo Turkoglu right?

To Suns:

Andrea Bargnani PF/C

Jose Calderon PG

James Johnson SF

Raptors 1st round pick 2011

To Toronto:

Steve Nash PG

Marcin Gortat C

The only way this happens is if 2 things are true. One that Steve Nash truly wants to leave the Suns and come home to Canada with the chances of a title in his final years being limited. Two that the Suns are convinced they can find a point guard of the future with the Raptors pick (TBD) in the draft. For that to happen you would have to believe that guy would be Irving and thus the Raptors would be trading the 1st overall pick because seems doubtful Irving would slip to 3rd or lower. The Suns would have to be insane to do this or have a gun put to their heads.

The point to all of this is moving Bargnani will be difficult to say the least. What you need is a trading partner that is a team that is not worried about his defence and has a significant need for his scoring. The BYC on his contract also makes moving him a challenge as well. That subtracts value of his contract in terms of trades. It will be difficult to make it all work but if Bryan Colangelo has showed us anything in his time here, it is that he can find ways to make deals happen. Well deals not with the Charlotte Bobcats. This is of course assuming that Bryan is the trigger man on this deal. Which we are still waiting to hear from MLSE on. Must be caught up in Leafs Playoff Fever....Wait a minute. About the great success the soccer team has had at the start of the MLS season....Um NO. To busy counting money and looking to get out while the getting is good for the Teacher's Pension Fund....DING DING....WINNER!!!!

The one thing that I have taken away from my own observations and talking with others like Jack Armstrong yesterday, is that there is no way the Raptors can start the next season with Calderon and Bargnani on floor as starters. If they do this off-season will have been a complete failure. A lot of their ability to do so will be determined by the new CBA whenever that is finally agreed too. As such all these trade ideas will need to be revisited anyway as the rules will have changed and may make trades easier or harder to execute. I have said this so many times in the last few months, it is hard to evaluate where this team is heading based on that. It is like trying to find a town you have never heard of with no maps or GPS. Not exactly easy. But what seems very easy to figure out is Bargnani is clearly on the market and likely the best asset the Raptors have to trade that they are willing too.


Starting 5 Season Wrap with Jack Armstrong

It is one of the great thrills I get from my job working on the Dino Nation Blog in talking with our guest today. Jack Armstrong is one of my favourite people to talk with for so many reasons. But first and foremost is because of his honesty in his evaluations of this team and franchise. I always have a great deal of respect for his frank and honest answers to the questions he is asked. Raptors have a lot of those questions at the moment and we try to tackle as many of them as possible. Jack weighs in on Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon's futures. The lack of a decision on the future on Bryan Colangelo. Some thoughts on the Raptors in terms of the draft. A look at where the future of Demar DeRozan and Ed Davis should be heading. As well as why he feels that Jay Triano is capable of being able to change is approach to demand more from his team. That and a lot more with Jack Armstrong in about a 30 minute conversation that has a lot of interesting points made by Jack. Really is well worth your time to have a listen.

I know that I got a lot from that conversation and I hope you all did as well. Jack made the point that the Raptors have gotten in their own way at times in their 16 year existence. Few can argue with that. The list of things would be long indeed. You would hope that with a new CBA in place the Raptors can use it to their advantage. But as Jack said regardless of the system it will take doing all the right things that are required to build a winner regardless of the system. I hope to have Jack back closer to the draft to talk about it in more depth. For those who are unaware Jack Armstrong still covers many games in the NCAA on a regular basis along with all his work with the Raptors on TSN and elsewhere. Including on Team 990 where he has taken over doing the basketball segment on the show that I have done for last 2 years. There is no one I would pick to replace me better than Jack. He is more than just someone I talk with I consider him a good friend to me and will always support him as he has done me.


Vote DNB To Run Your Raptors.

Last night I made the mistake of talking politics on my twitter account. Should never bring up politics or religion people tend to be even more passionate about those than sports. But still we all have right to express our opinions that is what living in a free country is all about. Now in terms of sports we all have opinions about the Raptors. But in sports MLSE never has to run to gain our support to run the Raptors. Maybe they should have to, they are Canada's team after all right? So I have decided to throw my hat in the ring and look for your support to run the Raptors. I will lay out my platform and see if you want to vote for me? Yeah let's do it. Have some fun and make some points along the way. So I guess it is time to make my speech.

My fellow Raptor fans and basketball fans across this great country of Canada. The great nation that produced the man that invented this great sport of basketball. Dr James Naismith would be saddened by what the state of Canada's NBA team is in. For sixteen years, most of which under the current administration Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment this team has not produced to the level that you great fans deserve. They have failed to deliver you a winner. You have shown your support for 16 long years through buying tickets, merchandise and supporting this franchise through tough times. It is time for a change and time for someone to bring a new vision for this franchise. Not to just say you want to win a championship and not take the actions it takes to provide that championship. Toronto has not seen a major sports champion since 1993 and MLSE has never produced a championship for you. Profit over production has been the mandate of this current administration. My mandate is your mandate.... Winning.

The question becomes how to do that. One of the priorities under my administration will be to find one of our own to be part of the solution. MLSE will claim to have done that with Jay Triano, but he is part of the problem not the solution. The time is coming for a Canadian to play for Canada's team. It will be my mission to find that Canadian to be part of this franchise. It can be a valuable asset to the growth of this great sport across this country. There are talented young people that have a lot of skills and the time is soon coming that more Canadians will be a part of the NBA. It is vital that the Raptors as franchise own a piece of this infusion of Canadian Talent. It is the belief of myself and my administration that this is a way to solve this franchises greatest failure as well.

Stoudamire, McGrady, Carter and Bosh all Americans and all gone. If we can find a Canadian star to shine in the great white north the chance he would leave becomes far less likely. Steve Nash has shown us in his great NBA career that it is possible for a Canadian to be one of the best players in this league. We must find that type of person to lead us in the right direction. We also must do a better job in making American Players aware of the greatness that is Toronto and Canada. When you play for the Raptors you are not just playing for Toronto you are playing for a nation. You only need to look at how we view the Blue Jays that brought home World Series Championships to Canada. They are legends and heroes in this country for life. No other team in NBA can offer a player that opportunity. But it is hard to get someone to see that vision with a franchise that is losing. A team that has had little to no playoff success. Players issues with Canada become far less when winning happens.

Toronto is not a small market and it is time we start acting like it. This team has always acted like a small market franchise. Afraid to go beyond the Tax Threshold. Why is that exactly? It is pretty clear this team is profitable. So it is time to invest those profits into winning. This is what you all deserve for your loyalty and support for this franchise. Toronto is one of the largest markets in North America. There is no reason we can't build to establish this franchise like New York, Chicago and L.A. The Lakers not the Clippers. We will not fear being great or seeking profit over production. We see the light at the end of the tunnel and the money that success will ultimately bring this franchise.

We will run this team based on results. We want people on all levels that produce. From the players on the floor, To the coaches, to management and everywhere in between. There has been a belief under MLSE that is matters what type of people make up this organization. There is only one thing that matters and that is winning. You can be a nice guy and be loser. You can be a total jerk and be a winner. At the end of the day, regardless of the type of person you are, as long as your focus is about winning and doing what it takes to win is our only concern. While we would encourage our players and staff to be good to our fans. We ultimately want people that will give you what you want ultimately and that is wins.

We are committed to providing you a winner. That is what we will work towards every single day. We will work hard for you to provide you the winner you deserve. This is our vow to you the loyal supporter of the Toronto Raptors. We think it is time for a massive change in direction from the last 16 years of failure and promise you a brighter future that is focused on winning. We encourage you to hold us accountable to our main goal of winning. Together we can make this a success. So say no to MLSE and say yes to the DNB. Say no to profits and yes to winning. Say yes to change.

What a world that would be if we could have a chance to vote out the people that run our sports franchises. If MLSE had to run on their record as politicians do they would have a serious problem trying to keep their job. But that is not the world we live. You hope with MLSE being up for sale, at least the controlling interest in it, that whoever takes over will say they are focused on winning and actually mean it. MLSE talks about winning but at end of the day is more concerned with the bottom line in terms of profits and not championships.

There are few situations in sports where fans truly have a say. The only one I can think of is the Green Bay Packers the defending Super Bowl Champs and are owned by it's fans and the pubic. Average people with the means to do so can own a part of the franchise they love. MLSE is the exact opposite of that. It is a corporate business first organization. But the way they do business at times is a joke. The way they have treated Bryan Colangelo is flat out wrong. Regardless of what you think of the job he has done. He has for the most part been very professional in his time here and has been a gentlemen and deserves to not be hanging in the wind as he currently is. There lack of action in terms of the future is troubling especially when you consider the future for the entire league is so much in the air. Stability is required at the moment and the Raptors have none. MLSE owe Bryan better and they owe you the fans better. But there is no way to vote them out.


DNB Is Back

Well were back. Not that basketball or the Raptors are on the minds of most today. Bin Laden is dead and their is an election in this country. Two events that both are of far greater significance than Paul Pierce getting kicked out of a basketball game. More important than OKC laying a huge egg in Game 1 vs the Grizzlies. I would remind you all that what we do here is while important to us, in the grand scheme of life is not. So MLSE are a bunch of idiots and have still not decided the future of Bryan Colangelo. Yes that is frustrating but it does not impact on life to a degree of Wars on Terror or elections. It is important to remember that people have given their lives for you and I to have the right to be free and have the right to vote. So I urge you to not take that right lightly.

Now with that said here are our picks for the second round:

  • Heat vs Celtics - Ryan - Heat in 6, James- Heat in 7

  • Chicago vs Atlanta- Ryan- Chicago in 6, James- Chicago in 4

  • L.A vs Dallas- Ryan- L.A in 6, James- L.A in 5

  • OKC vs Memphis- Ryan- OKC in 6, James- OKC in 5

So that is our picks for round 2. I am not sure what the future holds for us with the impending lockout. But I will do my best to keep this blog alive. I have worked to hard for 3 years plus to just raise a white flag and give up. But the uncertain future for the NBA is a dark cloud that hangs over the future of not just this blog but I would imagine a lot of other blogs and people who make a living covering this league.

I have tried not to think about that dark future that lies ahead but I am just not able to do it. I hope there is a result that will be quick and helpful to the Raptors and the league. But I am highly doubtful that will happen. But good, bad or indifferent we are back. I feel better for having taken a break. It was badly needed.

So go out and vote no matter who you choose to support.