It looks like Alvin Williams may have to hang them up once and for all. After undergoing another round of surgery to remove bone spurs, the Philly native may simply not be able to return from this latest setback. It's a sad story as everyone is rooting for Alvin but one that may result in him inevitably having to retire.
With the December 15th trade date a day away trade talks around the league are heating up. And while GM Rob Babcock could package a few of the Raptors' surplus of draft picks in hopes of making a deal, Babcock states that it's rather unlikely that he'll be able to acquire a competent big man in any event. Big men in the league are scarce and competent ones are simply too valuable for most teams to think of dealing.
One player whose name has come up in trade rumours is Eric Williams. Williams has spent the better part of the season sitting on the bench nursing various injuries but is looking to return shortly.
Williams' health will probably be a key factor in any trades that he may be involved in so Babcock may have to get him playing significant minutes before other teams take a second look.
Morris Peterson is having one of his best seasons to date but don't think that means he'll necessarily be kept. ESPN.com performed a breakdown yesterday as to what teams could offer the Indiana Pacers the best deals for disgruntled star Ron Artest and surprisingly the Raptors were chosen as one of them. ESPN.com's Insider broke down possibilities from each NBA team assigning them a ranking from 1 to 5 with 5 being a great trade option for Indiana with 1 being "not plausible at all." Here's what they said about Toronto:
Morris Peterson ($4.55 million) would be a fit for the Pacers, but GM Rob Babcock would first try to move the dreck (Eric Williams, $3.9 million; Aaron Williams, $3.38 million) he received in the Carter trade.
Plausibility rating (Peterson): 4
Plausibility rating (Williams/Williams): 1
Among other teams that were given a 4 ranking (no one received a 5) were Sacramento (trading Stojakovic), Philly (trading Korver and Green), Miami (trading Antoine Walker) and Denver (Lenard and Nene). Interestingly the Nets received a 3 for a deal which would include none other then Vince Carter...
On the flip side of the coin, perhaps Mo is too valuable to deal as he really is starting to fit into his role with this team. Would Rob Babcock really risk disrupting team chemistry for the sake of short term wins and deal Peterson in an Artest deal? Would you if you were in Babcock's place? We welcome all feedback as usual...
Another name bandied about in trade rumours (moreso by Raptor fans then other teams) is Jalen Rose. Rose's struggles this season have been well documented but he refuses to play the role of Ron Artest and has been quite professional about his limited playing time. Perhaps Rose simply needs some time to get in better game shape and Babcock will be able to establish a destination for him later this season.
One player who needs more playing time but preferrably with it coming away from home is Rafael Araujo. "Hoffa" has shown decent abilities away from the ACC but at home has simply struggled. A matchup against Tyson Chandler tonight doesn't bode well either but if he can match up with the larger and slower Michael Sweetney, he could be a factor.
Gene Keady has so far been a great fit with the Raptors. The former Purdue coach will be primarily asked to help instill some defensive ideals into the young players on the team and his vast coaching experience should help the Raptors long term.
ESPN.com power rankings still have the Raps ranked among the league's basement dwellers but they have climbed another spot. Another good week starting tonight against the Bulls and the Raps should be able to pull up a few more spots.
And finally, in today's media watch, we look at NBA.com and Draft.net's rookie rankings. Both sites have 2 of the Raps 3 rookies in their top 10 with CV Smooth leading the charge. He's ranked 2nd this week with NBA.com and 4th with Draft.net. Channing Frye's recent play has garnered him a good deal of R.O.Y. attention and also making a strong push is none other then Jose Calderon.
A couple days practice since the Raptors' win over the Bobcats on Saturday night should have Toronto adequately prepared for the Bulls tonight at home. The Raptors HAVE to come out with some energy though, something they've been unable to do for most of their home games so far. The Bulls are a great defensive team and Toronto will have to be equally persistent on that end of the court to prevent the Bulls' gunners (Gordon, Deng, Hinrich etc) from going off. If Chris Bosh is matched up with Michael Sweetney he should be back at the line 14 times tonight. Sweetney is not quick enough to defend Bosh and therefore feeding CB4 all night will be a key for the team. The Bulls lack the inside presence they had last year with the loss of Antonio Davis and Eddy Curry and an ailing Tyson Chandler. Therefore attacking the Bulls inside will be key. On the perimeter the Raptors will have to contain Chicago's athletic guards and prevent Duhon and co. from penetrating at will for easy kick-outs. This is a winnable game for Toronto but one that they may have to grind-out for the full 48 minutes...something that has been quite difficult for this young team at times this season.