So now what?
That’s probably the top question on most Raptors’ fans minds with the impending free-agent signing of Hedo Turkoglu on the way.
By all accounts now it’s just a matter of seeing how much money Bryan Colangelo has left to spend and how he decided to divvy it up to fill out the remaining roster spots.
The problem is, and as our poll on the home page reflects so far, it seems that fans are pretty divided about the Hedo signing in the first place.
Issues of depth, costs, Bosh, and even DeMar DeRozan starting at the 2, who we discussed recently on The Score.com with some of our other HQ Associates, all keep popping up, and it’s going to be very interesting to see what BC does next.
I’ve of course been quite steadfast in my belief that this signing is a bad idea but I’m not going to rant on that more today. Instead, I’m hoping that bringing one of the top free-agents causes the "Celtics effect" here in Toronto, thereby bringing other assets in for cheap who wish to play for what they believe will be a top squad.
Boston continues to play this card quite well and yesterday grabbed Rasheed Wallace in their continuing attempt to lead the "Eastern Conference arms race."
To me this move gets them back at the top of the ladder if everyone stays healthy, with Cleveland and Orlando occupying the next two spots. Suddenly KG can play less minutes, Wallace becomes a legit "sixth-man of the year" candidate, and talk about the most intense team in the league! (And as an added bonus, they can let some other club over-pay for Big Baby Davis.)
But getting back to the Raptors, how does the rest of the HQ feel about the Hedo signing?
Read on as both Howland and Vicious D give their thoughts:
To me, this is, once again, BC trying to catch lightning in a bottle. This is a great approach when it works (aka Boston two seasons ago) and possibly the worst approach when it doesn't (aka JO and the number of assets required to make the deal and then rectify the situation). I for one believe that you build a team over the course of time and take advantage of particular situations at a given time.
The problems I have with this deal are as follows:
1. Hedo is 30 and it is a five-year deal. If you want to know why Orlando let him walk it was for exactly this reason. It made more sense for the long-term viability of the roster to acquire Vince for a few seasons rather than re-sign Hedo for five. I have a hard time believing Hedo is going to be a $12M a year player five years from now. His contract may not be a cap killer yet, but it will be. I truly believe that we are not that far off from readers rightfully complaining about Hedo and his contract.
2. If the cap situation dictates nothing more than minimum players then this deal really hurts in the short and long terms. This team now has four core assets, a rookie, and little else. The lack of depth hurt the team last year and could easily be the downfall of the team going forward unless BC manages to sign a few talents on the cheap.
3. I have said this a number of times - Bosh is not a max player. If the Hedo signing is to appease Bosh so he will sign a max contract next summer then this will be a crippler for the franchise.
4. Right now DeMar DeRozan would have to start. Am I the only on who thinks this is a bad idea? Having watched him play this past year there is no question he grew as a player but start? Even if the T-Mac comparisons are justified it took McGrady a while after he arrived on the scene. Further, if DD starts, is he the guy who will have to match-up against players like Pierce, Lebron, Wade, Kobe etc.? This could have a detrimental effect on the development and confidence of the rook. I don't think he should start this season. In my opinion he is not ready and having him start would be mismanaging an asset.
5. From a defensive standpoint and from a toughness standpoint this team remains very flawed. There are guys who could be signed for around the minimum and play solid D (Dahntay Jones, who the Raps frustratingly passed on signing last year) so this could still be fixed, but this team remains VERY soft. Sure Reggie Evans is a thug but the rest of the guys are anything but. Hedo doesn't address the toughness or defensive issues. Further, he doesn't help this team on the glass, something that has killed this team time and time again. As long as Bargnani is at the 5 the Raps need a 3 who rebounds like a fiend.
All that being said there are positives.
Hedo can, at times, be a spectacular player. Although this past season was not as strong as the season past, he does give the Raps a really good wingman.
However I find it odd that people would reference his playoff performance as the ultimate indication that this was a great signing. His points, rebounds and assists were all DOWN from his regular season numbers. Turk did have some GREAT plays, but he had an equal number of bone headed ones as well.
I could end up being wrong, but even after reading all of the comments over the past couple of days I still have a feeling that this won't end well.
I have a tough time believing this acquisition will turn a 33 win team into a 45 (plus) win team, which is what needs to occur to make this signing worth while.
When the season ended, I said to my friend that the Raptors will probably target Hedo Turkoglu, but I just didn't know how that was all gonna play out. I mean to sign Turkoglu, the Raptors would need about $10 million, of which they really had none if they wanted to keep the rights of their restricted free agents.
Of course late last week, Turkoglu shocked everyone by renouncing his rumoured verbal agreement and is now your newest Toronto Raptor.
Already, I know that we at the HQ will debate this new player throughout the summer.
At face value, Turkoglu becomes a great offensive threat who is streaky, can finish at the basket, and is able to make clutch shots. On the other hand, his defense is somewhat lacking, he's not nearly the rebounder that Shawn Marion is, and of course comes at a much greater cost than the Matrix.
In fact, some people may even say that Turkoglu is merely a better version of Jason Kapono.
So here's the thing.
Would you rather have a guy who has been decent but not spectacular since his days playing with a number 1 point guard, a guy who can rebound and has proven himself to be a player that can do many things, but has never been particularly strong at clutch baskets, shooting, or leadership? Or would you prefer the man who was an integral part of the Eastern Conference champions, who can play the pick and roll to perfection, shoot the daylights out of a building when on, and can play a little point guard, but has difficulties defending and rebounding?
Whichever it may be, what matters to me more is just how Colangelo manages to resolve this deal and how he chooses to fill out his roster. Depth has now once again become an issue as has toughness and rebounding. The Raptors simply cannot hope that DeMar DeRozan is the only answer for athleticism and defense, and unfortunately, Anthony Parker and Carlos Delfino may not even be re-signed. Heck, the Raptors may not even be able to squeeze Linas Kleiza into the club.
At the end of the day, one thought is prevalent in my mind: Colangelo is indeed trying to rebuild much of his 2006-2007 miracle team. A large European interest coupled with a deft shooting touch and a club geared towards offense, the Raptors may very well be repeating the sins of their immediate past, however time will tell.