I Want to Believe

Could Wright be defending the likes of Bryant as Toronto's starting 2 next year?

Could Wright be defending the likes of Bryant as Toronto's starting 2 next year?

After yesterday’s Star-Trek related post, the title of this morning’s may suggest that I’m continuing with the sci-fi theme and using X Files as the analogy for today.

And while I was a big fan of the show, and even David Duchovny’s sleaze-filled performances in Californiacation, that’s not the case.

Instead, the title simply reflects that while I’ve been quite skeptical of Colangelo’s work so far this off-season, I hope more than anything that I’m wrong in my criticism. After all, it now sounds like he’s managed to extract two wing players from Dallas via last night’s convoluted sign-and-trade for Shawn Marion; something that seemed unfathomable just days ago.

To top it off, from the sounds of things and because of this deal, it also seems like BC now has regained the mid-level exception!

If this isn’t a stroke of genius I’m not sure what is frankly.

Marion looked to be a goner, the team was cash-strapped despite what the most ardent fans would have you believe, and as I wrote yesterday, after the top four guys, this team was essentially a Klingon (Evans), a member of the Borg (Humphries) and the security crew in red shirts from the original Star Trek series.

Now, things are starting to look quite different.

While neither are stars, both Devean George and Antoine Wright are upgrades over…um…nothing, which was in essence what Toronto was working with at the wing positions outside of DeMar DeRozan and Hedo.

Because of his size defensive abilities, I could even see Wright starting at the 2, suddenly giving Toronto a very big starting line-up, with spots 2 through 5 being manned by players 6-7 and over.

The possible arrival of Wright is ironic in fact considering that a) he essentially replaces Joey Graham as another forward from that draft class who has failed to live up to expectations and b) this was a player as one of our readers pointed out, who the master of condescension Doug Smith referred to as being essentially useless and out of the league this season.

Interesting then this morning that suddenly Mr. Smith is referring to him as "serviceable" isn’t it?

Now Toronto’s line-up (including the mid-level) could foreseeably look something like this:

PG: Jose Calderon, Roko Ukic, Marcus Banks
SG: Antoine Wright, Carlos Delfino, DeMar DeRozan,
SF: Hedo Turkoglu, Linas Kleiza, Devean George
PF: Chris Bosh, Reggie Evans, Nathan Jawai
C: Andrea Bargnani, Patrick O’Bryant

That’s a bit better isn’t it?

I plan on looking at the impact of these additions statistically once things become official but on paper, this is already a better scenario than 24 hours ago and don’t expect the Legomaster to rest on his laurels.

In fact looking at that roster, she’s a bit thin up front so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Toronto go after only one of Delfino or Kleiza, and use the rest of the mid-level on a respectable big man. (Rasho?)

I’d still like to see a bit more athleticism added into the mix and perhaps a real back-up PG, but it’s tough to complain much when Colangelo managed to rid the team of Humphries’ contract and fill some gaps all in one fell swoop.

Do I still feel that the team should have waited until next year to sign Andrea?

Yes, this is still something that I can’t understand.

With the salary cap expected to fall sharply, I’m still bewildered as to why you pay Bargs $10 Million now, when you could probably get him for half that next year? It's not like he's going to be an unrestricted free-agent so Toronto can always up the ante to match and based on the league’s financial situation, I’d fall out of my chair if that amount ended up exceeding what they’re presently paying him.

Think about this for a second.

If the cap falls down to the $50 to $53 Million range, that means everything else, mid-level included will drop. This year's restricted free-agents are having serious trouble getting the offers they feel they deserve (see Lee, Millsap and Marvin Williams) mostly because of teams tightening wallets and over-spending on unrestricted free-agents with mediocre upsides like Ben Gordon.

So how bad is it going to be next year when names like James, Wade, Nowitzki and Stoudemire could be available unrestricted?

Does anyone really think that suddenly teams are going to throw $12 Million at Bargs knowing that Toronto could look to match? That scenario hasn’t unfolded this summer with much less talent on the market so I’m not sure why things would suddenly change next summer when there’s LESS money to be had!

Both with that and the Hedo signing I really think that Bryan Colangelo is rolling the dice here but I understand that at times as a GM that’s what you’ve got to do.

Sometimes it results in an over-the-hill Jermaine O’Neal, sometimes it results in drafting Amare Stoudemire.

It’s much easier however for me to swallow said gambles when other more sure-fire pieces are put into place around these moves. The proposed Marion sign-and-trade isn’t alleviating all my concerns, but it’s certainly helping.

In fact, you could argue I think that this could be Bryan Colangelo's best trade yet, one-upping getting something for nothing in the Hoffa deal.

Again, I want to believe that BC’s big moves are indeed shrewd maneuvers that take this team to the top.

He’s made some major changes to last year’s motley crew, and now I’m just hoping for a few more Lego pieces over the next while to really get me excited about next season.

FRANCHISE

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