This shortened Free Agent Frenzy promises to be unlike anything we have ever witnessed in the NBA. Players will be moving from team to team at a rapid pace and by the end of the week you will need to pick up a programme to identify your home team’s starting lineup.
Here in Toronto, it is pretty clear that the Raptors need everything and anything to help the club compete with the upper echelon of NBA teams.
They are blessed with some capspace and have players with favourable contracts they could move in separate deals to acquire additional talent.
What is a GM to do?
Bryan Colangelo is in the first year of a short two-year contract as has beefed up his front office with the addition of Ed Stefanski and Dwayne Casey will, no doubt, be looking for more players that fit his philosophy.
There are plenty of players out there that could help the Raptors. I mean anything outside of another 7 foot Italian centre would help this ball club. There is also a growing feeling that the Raptors would be better off to avoid the free agent frenzy entirely this year a nd save up for next summer when they will have additional capspace and, potentially, a top three pick.
Tough decisions await in the days ahead.
Let’s take a look at some possible targets and see whether we think they might fit in with this years incarnation of the Raptors or whether the Raptors should pass.
1) Tyson Chandler – We don’t have a true centre, Dwayne Casey turned Chandler into a superstar during the NBA playoffs, he plays defense and could provide help for Andrea Bargnani under the rim. It all seems to add up to taking a chance on Chandler.
But here’s the rub. It is going to cost something stupid to get him in Toronto. He is a great player and definitely fits in with the current roster, but that money (likely upwards of $10 million) would be better spent at another time.
Verdict: A difficult Pass – save the money and spend it strategically later.
Chuck Hayes – Um, a 6’6′ Centre? Really? This aint the NCAA.
Before we all get snarky, he is actually a very efficient centre. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in effort. He fights for the ball, defends the post very well and sounds like a player that coach Casey would love.
He also won’t command $10 million a year and might actually lead by example when defending the paint.
Verdict: A cheaper centre option. Ignore the size, this dude can play. Definitely worth a look, especially if the price is right.
Shane Battier – Rumour has it the Raptors are still on his final wish list of teams. He is a natural leader and a winner. This is the type of player that comes in and puts a team over the edge. You don’t hesitate if you have a chance to add a player like Battier.
Suffice it to say I don’t think Toronto is the right fit for Battier. Sure, it would be great for us, but not for him. He would be a great veteran presence for players like Demar, Amir and Bargnani to learn from and he would instantly become one of the best forwards we’ve ever had.
Why would he do it though? He has a shot at an NBA championship with the Heat. That would be a destination that would make a lot more sense from his perspective.
Verdict – If he’s interested in logging lots of minutes and playing the role of veteran leader, then I say sign him up. I just don’t see it happening. He’ll go for the ring in South Beach.
Marc Gasol – What a dream signing, huh? Gasol playing with Calderon again, a tough big centre, a budding superstar joining our team. It would be nice to be the ones stealing a young star player from another team for once.
He’s not gonna come cheap and the Raptors likely don’t have what it takes to steal him away from Memphis. He’d be a great addition, but the timing of his availability just isn’t right.
Verdict: A pipe dream. But a wonderful one, nonetheless.
Samuel Dalembert – Another big man who would help move Bargs over to the 4 position where he will, theoretically, be more comfortable.
He’s a strong, shot blocker and he’s Canadian. Plus, how awkward would it be hearing Leo discuss Dalembert on a regular basis? Could be worth it for that reason alone.
He certainly fills a need and wouldn’t demand the ridiculous price tag the other free agent centres would.
Verdict – Not my first choice (I’m a Reggie guy), but he gives us what we need at the 5 and having a Canadian on the team would be an added bonus. It would have to be a short contract though, as Big Sammy is on the decline.
Reggie Evans – With all the talk about the need for a centre and toughness at the 5 position, Reggie seems to be a bit of a forgotten man. He fills needs the Raptors have and can still be that veteran presence in the locker room. He already hangs out with most of the young Raptors (if I am to believe twitter anyway) and seems to have their respect.
He’s tough, he rebounds, plays defense, is a great locker room personality and will come relatively cheap on a short-term deal.
Verdict: Sometimes the best answers are the ones staring you right in the face. Might be the best option out there for Toronto.
Whatever way Colangelo and the Raptors front office decides to take us, the next couple of weeks are going to be super exciting. Trades, signings and eventually: actual basketball.
The Zan Tabak Herald