February 14, 2009

The Matrix

Brace yourselves, my friends. You're about to read a post about the Toronto Raptors...

First and foremost, so long, Jermaine O'Neal. We hardly knew you, mate.

I think it's safe to say we all know of the deal by now. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo finally - no, mercifully - made a move, and O'Neal, along with Jamario Moon and a first round draft pick, is off to the Miami Heat. Your newest Raptors are "The Matrix" Shawn Marion, and some dude named Marcus Banks, who I've never heard of, but who makes more than $4 million a season.

I was actually going to post breaking news of the trade yesterday afternoon, when word dropped that the deal was done. But then I remembered that I don't really give a shit.

Sorry, it's the truth. I care about the Raptors. Not so much about the Craptors. And, make no mistake about it, occupying second-last place in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors are once again the Craptors.

If you're looking for analysis on the big trade, you'll find a small nugget of it here. You know this already, but the trade is all about cap-space. Colangelo is clearing the decks as, with each passing day, we get closer to the summer of 2010, when everyone and their mother becomes a free agent in the NBA.

That being said, O'Neal and his ridiculous salary - $23 million next year - had to go. With the emergence of Andrea Bargnani as a not-so-useless NBA centre, O'Neal, Colangelo's prized off-season acquisition, and his wonky 67-year-old knees, became expendable. Period.

In Marion, the Raptors get a guy who can rebound, and who is known to play defence. I know, imagine that. "The Matrix" is a free agent at the end of the season, and I'm not sure anyone is really expecting him to stick around, his ties with Colangelo be damned. But, hey, I'm sure we'll offer him the choice between the blue and red pill (sorry, I had to do it).

As for Jamario Moon and Marcus Banks, they're all but irrelevant. Moon is clearly happy to just be in the NBA. He doesn't seem interested in, you know, actually improving. Was there another player in Raptors history who so frustrated his coaches? And, Banks. Well, he's going to live up to his surname and get paid a fuck-ton of money to sit on the bench, so who am I to criticize what is, in all honesty, one sweet gig?

As I mentioned above, Toronto's first-round draft pick, between 2010 and 2015, is going Miami's way. All you need to know is this: whenever the Raptors make the playoffs again after this season, Miami gets the pick. And you also need to know this: it doesn't matter the sport, when MLSE makes a deal, it includes a first-rounder going the other way.

Based on some of the comments I've seen over at RaptorBlog.com, it's the addition of the first-rounder that is causing die-hard Raptors fans major angst. As a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan, I'm used to the trading of premium draft assets. So, I'm not about to get my boxer briefs all tied up in knots. Deep down, I know that if the Toronto Blue Jays could trade draft choices, they'd deal their first-round picks, too.

Know this, however, and boxers/briefs/panties beware. If Marion walks away this summer, the Raptors (read: Bryan Colangelo) will have traded T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston, a first-round pick in the 2008 NBA draft (Roy Hibbert), and a conditional first-rounder between 2010 and 2015, for Nathan Jawai, Marcus Banks, and salary cap room (cap room that O'Neal would have provided in 2010, anyway).

Somewhere, Rob Babcock is smiling.


Zack said...

Marcus Banks makes $4 Million a year, because when the Celtics were bad, he was the only man who could dribble and pass the ball, and could (and I use this term and loosely as possible) "manage the game", therefore he was rewarded handsomely for this.

LeafFanInVan said...

Now I'm concerned. If Colangelo is given all this freedom and still makes a hash out of it, what chance does Burke have with the Leafs to right the ship?

I know they're different GMs, but they both came in with the same expectations and the team in the dumpster.. Is it something in the water at the ACC??

bkblades said...

If people really thought any team would be willing to deal for O'Neal straight up without any incentive (read: a conditional draft pick of some kind), frankly, I think it's ridiculous. This deal would not have gone down without the draft pick - Miami needs inside help, but they're not that desperate. After all, they're already in the playoffs in the Leastern Conference.

On The Fence Sports said...

LeafFanInVa - Well you can't blame everything on Colangelo. Our star PG has been injured for plenty of games. Yes, he was on the floor for many losses but just another team that underachieved.

I am pretty shocked that the Raps had to include a 1st rounder to get the deal done. The earlier we can find the capspace the better, IMO.

Our starting 5, if they find some consistency, come together, and stay healthy, can wreck some havoc in the eastern conference. calderon, parker in the back with bosh, andrea, and marion upfront. To me that sounds like a playoff team in the eastern conference.

With 27 games left and only being 5 games back of the 8th and final playoff spot I can't see why the Raps still can't make the playoffs. An 18-9 or 20-7 finish to the season isn't out of the picture especially in the east.

On The Fence Sports

Stan the Caddy said...

this isn't related to the Raps, but neverthless, Jason Blake!!

eyebleaf said...

@ Zack: Thanks for the 411 on Banks. I'd rather Roko play than he at the point, still.

@ LFIV: It's definitely something in the water. I mean, look how fast shit has turned on Colangelo. Hard to believe we won the division just two seasons ago.

@ BKBlades: Leastern Conference, indeed. I don't think anyone is surprised the deal went through based on that first-round pick. I mean, rumours have been rampant about this deal for weeks. The pick was obviously what was holding it up. I think the concern is whether this deal really needed to be made. It's all about 2010, so why not just keep O'Neal and continue to suck? Unless Colangelo wants to go to the JFJ route and sneak in with Marion as the 8th seed, so we can get our tails handed to us by Boston or Cleveland. I don't know. Under that scenario, it doesn't look all that great, even if we do make the playoffs (!).

@ OnTheFence: Marion is going to help. The Raps will make the playoffs. You heard it here first.

@ StanTheCaddy: Blake's second goal was dis-gust-ing. I love that man. I seriously do. And I wish we could play the Penguins every night. Great effort, all around, tonight. It it wasn't for Marc-Andre Fleury, that game is 9-2, at least, Toronto.

matthias @ mopupduty.com said...

Good deal for the Raps. Losing a first rounder hurts but they seem to overdraft their players anyways by about 10 picks.

Seems to me that the team is ramping up for a serious run in 2009-2010

Escaped Lab Rat said...

It'll be interesting to see what happens in the off season. They have to balance keeping Bosh happy by fielding a competitive team, with the prospect of the 2010 free agency class. It's a good trade overall simply because what we had wasn't working.

Bhattorious said...

U Forget, the Raps got $3 Million as well, and they can buy a mid-range 1st pick if they want.....

Raps will be better, and WILL make the playoffs...

Go Raps Go....Fuck u TSN2