Pre-Draft Workouts for Tuesday, June 16, 2009

If the Raptors can't afford Bosh, could they look to make a play for Smith?

If the Raptors can't afford Bosh, could they look to make a play for Smith?

Before we jump into this morning’s workout at the Air Canada Center, I thought it might be interesting to get into statements made by Chris Bosh to Michael Grange that appeared in yesterday’s Globe and Mail.

It’s a good read, not only because you’ll learn that Sean Williams drives a tricked out Monte Carlo, but also because the Toronto Raptors’ Chris Bosh is apparently taking his off-season training regiment to another level.

That’s great news for Raptors fans, however if you continue reading, you spot the rub.

Bosh’s off-season regimen has been motivated by last summer’s Olympic experience and seeing the lengths to which the Lebrons of the league go in order to stay max value players; the very amount Bosh himself feels he’s worth.

Two things immediately struck me about this article.

One, does this mean that Bosh thinks he deserves his own puppet?

Two, and more importantly, this is really the first time this off-season that Bosh has essentially stated for the record that he’s going to be asking for a max deal.

Now to us here at the HQ, this is hardly shocking. But I bring up the point because I know that many of our readers recently were looking for quotes from either Colangelo stating that Bosh would expect the max, or from Bosh himself, stating something similar.

Well, I don’t think there’s much room for debate now, Bosh views himself as a max player much like Lebron James and other peers.

The problem is, he’s not Lebron James and never will be.

James wouldn’t have delivered an NBA title to Toronto last year but I don’t think there’s any question that by replacing Chris Bosh with King James, the Raptors would at least have made the playoffs.

And at $130 Million, the approximate value of the contract CB4 will undoubtedly be looking for, again you have to ask yourself how Toronto can afford to pay Bosh that much down the road. Most accounts right now have the Dinos with about $10 Million this summer to spend depending on the salary cap, and if the Raptors renounce all free agents and don’t extend any qualifying offers. Assuming they use up that $10 Million this summer, and with only tiny contracts coming off the books next summer, it doesn’t take a math wiz to see that there’s just no way the Raptors can pay Bosh max money and re-up Andrea Bargnani as well without clearing more space…or of course be willing to pay the luxury tax.

Continuing on the Chris Bosh topic, some food for thought - could Colangelo approach things from an entirely different angle and move Bosh for nothing more than cap space this off-season?

Rumours are swirling that Josh Smith is on the trading block and on paper, would seem to be a good yin to Andrea Bargnani’s yang. He’s got a massive trade kicker at $6 Million, but clearing Bosh’s salary for the upcoming season, slightly less than $16 Million, would make things financially possible, and he’s be almost half the price of Bosh for the next four years.

Few problems of course.

First of all, who knows if this rumour is anything more than the latest Chad Ford special.

And second, would Smith want to head north?

Hell, even if he would, considering his rep with coaches, is this the type of player the Raptors want in their organization, one who in many ways is the exact opposite of Bosh in terms of professional conduct on and off the court?

Switching to this morning’s workouts, from the Raptors’ media crew here are the scheduled attendees:

-Toney Douglas, Guard, Florida State.

-Gerald Henderson Jr, Guard, Duke.

-BJ Mullens, Center, Ohio State.

-Jerel McNeal, Guard, Marquette.

-Aron Baynes, Center, Washington State

-Greg Gamble, Guard, Buffalo

The first thing that jumps out is "no Evans or DeRozan."

Does this mean then that either will be attending this morning but not working out?

There was no mention of it from the Raptors’ crew so I’m guessing unless Toronto schedules one more session later this week or very early next, neither will be coming to see the Raps pre-draft.

I’m not sure if you can infer anything from that other than these are strategic moves made by players’ agents but it is disappointing none-the-less. However that’s not to say that there aren’t some interesting prospects at the ACC this AM; in particular for me, Henderson and McNeal.

Henderson is a very real option for Toronto at 9, particularly if the draft takes a crazy turn and names like DeRozan, Flynn, Evans and others are all gone by the time the Dinos are on the clock. Henderson may not be a star in the league, but he’s one of the more NBA-ready players in the draft, has the athleticism and lock-down defensive capabilities the Raps desperately need from the wing position, and while a "good-guy" in the mould of the various other players Colangelo has previously brought to TO, doesn’t shy away from gritty play. Ask Tyler Hansbrough.

Henderson brings his intensity and athletic ability to the ACC today.

Henderson brings his intensity and athletic ability to the ACC today.

McNeal has been a sleeper favourite of mine for two years now and while he’s not ninth overall pick material, I’m thrilled that he’s on Toronto’s radar, and coming in for a closer look. He’s undersized for the 2, but I’m convinced that he can be an effective combo guard at the next level based on his play for at the 1 last year in place of Dominic James. He’s also one of the best athletes in the draft, an intense defender and possesses great length and the ability to get to the rim at will. Sound like something Toronto could use off the bench if they nabbed a second-round pick?

Additionally, I’m glad Toronto is bringing in Toney Douglas, one of the players I feel is the most underrated from this year’s draft class. He’s not as athletic as McNeal, or as tall, but is a much more efficient scorer able to knock down shots from close and from long-range. He too is a bulldog of a defender and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him eventually go in the late first-round. The match-up between he, McNeal, and divisional rival Henderson should be very intriguing indeed.

Rounding out our list we have Baynes and Gamble, two players who toiled in relative obscurity last season in the college ranks, both of whom I suspect were last-minute replacements for other prospects.

Baynes in particular I think was brought in to match up against the final player in this morning’s session, 7-footer BJ Mullens. It’s interesting that Toronto is bringing Mullens in for a look considering he’s hardly even a lottery lock. There’s no question he has some intriguing traits as a prospect, especially his athleticism for such a big man, but I’m going to say right now that this is a player with "buyer beware" written all over him. I fail to understand why left Thad Matta’s program after only one year as he’s incredibly raw. He’s drawn comparisons to Chris Kaman, but to me he’s years away from being able to contribute at an NBA level, and I’m praying that this isn’t Hoffa Part II for Raps’ fans.

One final note in this morning’s mish-mash – MLSE announced yesterday that Adnan Virk would be joining their broadcast team.

Here’s the important stuff from the press release:

VIRK JOINS MLSE'S BROADCAST AND CONTENT TEAM

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) announced Monday that Adnan Virk will join the organization as a member of its broadcast and content team.

Virk will co-host the pregame shows for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC home games on Leafs TV, Raptors NBA TV and GOLTV. In addition to reporting duties on the three television networks, Virk will also become a blogger on the teams' websites.

"We're extremely excited to welcome Adnan as a member of our broadcast team," said Chris Hebb, senior vice-president of broadcast and content for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "We believe Adnan's one of the best young sports broadcasters in the country. His passion for sports and knowledge of sports combined with his energy and sense of humour will be a great asset for our broadcast team and our audiences."

Virk began his broadcast career in 1998 behind the scenes at TSN as an associate producer. His first move in front of the camera came in 2002 on OMNI Television as host of Bollywood Boulevard and Omniculture.

Most notably, Virk is known for his on-air work on The Score network, where he began working in 2003 as an anchor, reporter and show host.

There have been rumours of this move coming down the pipes for a while now and it will be interesting to see what his full role entails with the Raptors’ broadcasts.

If it means that Paul Johnson is out, this gets a big thumbs up from me as we continue to see a remaking of the Raptors so far this off-season, both on and off the court.

FRANCHISE

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