For the Bryan Colangleo and the Toronto Raptors, the off-season has been rather turbulent thus far. However, it seems as though the Front Office has weathered the early Steve Nash related storm, and has made a few moves to keep the team afloat. The HQ's Scott Campsall argues that despite how the off-season has gone so far, the next few moves the Dinos make will go a long way in deciding how this team fairs next season.
A great deal has happened over the course of the last couple of weeks for the Toronto Raptors and despite some bumps in the road, their off-season seems to be back on track.
At the beginning of last week the Dinos looked to be in the lead for free agent point guard Steve Nash after offering him a lucrative three-year $36 million dollar deal.
Bryan Colangelo then made another strategic move in an attempt t increase the Raptors' chances at landing Steve Nash by signing Landry Fields to a back-loaded contract worth $20 million over three years. Fields was thought to be a potential centerpiece of a sign-and-trade agreement between the Knicks and Suns, if the Knicks were able to reach a financial agreement with Steve Nash. By signing Fields away from the Knicks, they would be left with little else to offer the Suns.
The Knicks were believed to be the other team besides Toronto and Phoenix seriously in the mix for Nash's services.
About mid-week, these plans changed after the Suns agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, granting Nash the opportunity to chase a ring with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in L.A. This move came as a surprise to many, including Raptornation who had been lead to believe that Nash-to-the-Raptors was all but a done deal.
In the aftermath of the trade, fans were left wondering what the next move would be, and perhaps more importantly, had Colangelo struck out one too many times? The answer: not quite, as the following day, news broke that the Raptors had acquired Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets for a protected first-round pick and seldom used guard Gary Forbes.
Although the move isn't quite as sexy as a possible Steve Nash signing would have been, Kyle Lowry may have been the better basketball option all along.
In Lowry the Raptors have their starting point-guard for at least the next two seasons at an absolute bargain of a salary, and a player that will fit in with Dwane Casey's defensive-first philosophy.
But, at the end of the day adding Lowry alone doesn't guarantee the Raptors will be significantly improved next season. Sure, they will also have Landry Fields, Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and presumably Quincy Acy, but the youth of those players is a concern if you are hoping for an immediate improvement in the standings.
The question then becomes: what's next for the Raptors? They have very little cap space to use--as Adam pointed out yesterday--and still have a logjam at the four position, with a gaping hole on the wing still remaining.
Jose Calderon's $10 million dollar salary also stands out as another piece that needs to be addressed. With the Raptors recently rescinding their qualifying offer to Jerryd Bayless, it does seem like they may go ahead with a point guard tandem of Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon, but having a backup with that large of salary doesn't seem like something that will sit well with Mr. Colangelo.
This brings up the idea of potentially amnestying Jose in an effort to clear cap space and make a run at another wing player. But again, Calderon is still a good NBA player and to simply to let him go for nothing doesn't seem like something that Colangleo is going to do--especially now that the Steve Nash ship has sailed.
The Lowry move is a huge on in terms of changing the culture of this team and being competitive going forward, however there are other areas which need to be addressed before you can consider this off-season a success.
Although it remains unknown exactly what Bryan Colangelo plans to do next, what we do know is that the next few moves he makes will go a long way in deciding the team's future complexion.