It’s been a pretty crazy few days in Raptor land. Steve Nash may be coming home to Canada to lead the Raptors back to the playoffs with the hope of hosting a postseason game for the first time in four years.
There have been all kinds of wild rumours and big time dollar figures being thrown around over the “twittersphere” and beyond. While you may agree or disagree with the players names and dollar figures being tossed around. One thing should be very clear for Raptor fans.
We are lucky to have Bryan Colangeloas our General Manager.
In his time in charge of the Raptors he has been active and creative in trying to build a team that will be competitive. True, his attempts haven’t always brought success on the court, but he has shown resiliency and an ability to admit his mistakes, which keeps the Raptors active every year.
In the past he presided over shrewd business decisions like trading highly regarded rookie Charlie Villanueva for TJ Ford, going overseas and bringing in fairly unknown international players like Jorge Garbajosa and Anthony Parker. Those moves won him an Atlantic division title.
He tried to take the next step by trading to acquire Jermaine O’neal, but that didn’t work out so he turned him into Shawn Marion and then ultimately Hedo Turkoglu.
Now the Hedo acquisition, at the time, was a stroke of genius. A trade that simply should not have been able to happen. The Raptors acquired the biggest fish in the pond that year. A calculated and complicated transaction that, in the end, didn’t pan out.
Hedo was moved quickly (he was likely to be run out of town anyway) for Barbosa who was moved to clear capspace.
And here we are.
Many will look to Colangelo’s record and see a whole lot of failures. Jermaine O’neal didn’t mesh with Bosh, Turkoglu was an unmitigated disaster. But what I see is a GM trying to improve every year and who continues to take risks. Better yet, none of the risks he has taken has cemented the raptors into Salary cap hell or left the team stuck with an untradeable contract.
He’s taken risks, but, unlike other GMs, has been able to get himself out of situations that haven’t worked.
Now this offseason has started with a bang.
Colangelo is throwing a lot of money in an attempt to lure Steve Nash back to his homeland and has made a gigantic offer to Landry Fields.
The Steve Nash signing is about building a culture and selling tickets (lets not kid ourselves here). Nash would instantly become the face of Toronto sports. Sorry Jose Bautista and Phil Kessel, but Nash would instantly become the most marketable athlete the city has seen in a long time. That is instant cash for MLSE.
A three-year offer is also safe in many ways. Nash is older but there is every indication his body can continue to withstand the grind of an 82 game season. Three year contracts are shorter terms and become tradeable assets in the final year. If the Nash thing doesn’t work out, his contract is a chip to play in that third year.
Nash to Toronto would mean butts in seats. But let us not forget the basketball side of this story. Nash would be a steady hand at the driver’s seat for a team filled with young talent. His addition instantly makes Demar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Bargnani that much better. It takes a lot of pressure off of them as well.
Nash has made a career out of creating superstars. Players that have played with Nash have made names for themselves because they were given the ball in the right places. Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudamire, Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, and more have all benefited greatly from playing alongside Nash.
There is every reason he can do the same with Toronto’s young, talented lineup.
Nash to Toronto makes sense. Basketball wise and money wise as MLSE stands to make millions on jersey sales and merchandise.
Hence the signing yesterday of Landry Fields.
The New York Knicks are one of the few competitors for Steve Nash (yes LA and Dallas are hanging around too but they aren’t really in play). Colangelo, in a brilliant move, effectively eliminated his stiffest competition for the prize he wants.
New York can’t use Fields in a sign and trade, they’ve taken their eye off of Jeremy Lin (their now biggest concern) and likely have no money left for Nash.
A stroke of genius.
Also, assuming the Raptors do not rescind the offer after signing Nash, Landry Fields represents a significant upgrade at the 3 for Toronto. He’s tough, can score and plays strong on the defensive end. A trait I’m sure that is not lost on Dwane Casey. He’s also likely to improve his game with Nash distributing the ball.
Now this decision could all blow up in the face of Colangelo again. He could lose Nash to Dallas or Nash could sign and be a bust in the mould of a Hedo Turkoglu. Maybe we watch Nash deteriorate in Toronto and he isn’t able to take us anywhere.
Something tells me that if given the opportunity, Colangelo will right his wrong, clean up his mess and be able to point the ship back in the right direction. That’s what he’s always done.
For now we get to enjoy one of the most exciting off seasons the Raptors have had in years. There is a real buzz surrounding the team and in the eyes of most, a real shot at achieving some success.
We have Colangelo to thank for that.
The Zan Tabak Herald