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The Mailbag: August 25, 2005

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Crazy Man Babcock (Return of the Red Rocket): I have to hand it to Babcock, this summer he has made no decisions that I take issue with. If he can pull of a coup like Luke Jackson for Aaron Williams, or Aaron Williams and Mo Pete for Lorenzen Wright, he will have had a very successful first full offseason. We’re gonna suck this year, but we may not suck two seasons from now. That is better then I’ve been able to say about the Raps since 2001.

We completely agree with this analysis. The only thing that may have surprised some people, with mixed reviews, was when Roko decided to play abroad. But then again better Roko than having drafted Fran Vasquez. We think the Bonner deal was brilliant and compared to similar deals this off-season like Brian Scalabrine (5yrs- $15M) this really makes this signing look good. Rumour has it Bonner has been working on his dribbling in order to drive to the hoop if defenders step too far out to prevent him from nailing the J. If Bonner develops his game this is a great deal.
Unfortunately there has been little in the rumour mill these days concerning Lorenzen Wright and/or Luke Jackson. We do know this however, Babcock is not done as there are too many guaranteed contracts on this roster. We foresee a deal prior to the season starting and maybe a buyout of Lamond Murray. We would be all for an Aaron Williams for Luke Jackson deal as it provides more youth, upside and hope for the future. If there were three guys we would like to see moved it would be Lamond, and the Williams boys but only if we are getting cap space or at worst 80 cents on the dollar.
Not sure how this team is going to shape up in regards to wins and losses, but we like this team a lot more than last years squad. There will definitely be some long nights and there will be some solid one’s as well. The Atlantic has gotten tougher, no doubt and we are building. We are still going to get our tickets (and sport the RaptorsHQ t-shirts) and hope for a controversy free season where the young guys start to build some chemistry.

LIL Scrappy (Return of the Red Rocket): I think they might go after pg Anthony Carter or Smush Praker now because they would be some of the cheapest and if they have any money left they can sign Slokar too a rookie contract and then trade some expensive vets to charlotte for some picks.

No doubt the Raps need another PG or a big guard that can handle the ball. Neither of these guys really do much for us. We would like to see Omar Cook before either of these two guys. In terms of PG’s, the Celtics made a great move getting Dickau at a reasonable price. Really there is little out there now and although some think Jayson Williams (Duke) may be the answer it is really impossible to tell what, if anything, he would bring to the team. We do know he would be a good locker-room presence. We have been thinking about a sign and trade with Memphis for Watson. The market is drying up, it appears like interest is not as high as expected and there may be an opportunity to bring in a PG who could definitely give Rafer a run for his money as the starter.
It seems like the Raptors brass are set on letting Slokar play abroad this year. There are obviously pros and cons to having him here, as there are for letting him grow overseas. The fact of the matter is whatever happens it will have very little impact on the Raps standings wise. We think Slokar is a great pick value wise and he looked solid in Summer League. We are unsure whether he would contribute much and having him ride the pine all year does not seem beneficial in the long term.
There is no way Charlotte and the Raps make a deal involving picks. Charlotte is slowly building a strong nucleus of young guys and are using the draft to stockpile talent. There is still no pressure on them to win games, let alone go .500. It might be a different story next year after they have had three consecutive drafts but now, there will definitely not be a Raps-Cats deal.

Utes - (Old Dukie, New Dino?): Isn’t it funny how all of the talk about trades and such revolves around salary - the nhl trade talk is going to start sounding like this very soon. It means the GM’s have to do their homework

We will allow this one NHL comment. No more. Other than, way to kill the game boys.

Jawbone - (No Duhon, Next Step?): Of the Big Three you listed I’d have to say Ron Mercer should be the leading candidate. As you mentioned, offense has been a major concern for the Raps in recent years. Yes, Mercer had an injury riddled season last year and has never truly lived up to his potential but given an opportunity with the right team chemistry perhaps he could finally have the breakout year everyone used to expect from him. As for JYD….well, I know he’s a nice guy and loves the city of Toronto….but then again so do I. And I’m not getting signed! Bottom line is he was great for the team a few years ago but has been a non-factor since then. He’s charismatic and energetic, so perhaps the Globetrotters should be his next stop.

Jawbone for threeeeeee from dowtown Bangkok! The Raptors SHOULD have signed you buddy, that halfcourt stop and pop John Starks three point shot of yours is DEADLY! Well, looks like JYD is being steered in the front office direction with the Knicks so we won't be hearing the JYD Bark anytime soon in the ACC. As for Mercer, it looks like a resigned Bonner puts Mercer out of the picture. Babcock knows he's got to address the backup point guard situation and as previously mentioned by my colleagues, the Raptors will be looking to move some players to clear space for such a a third-stringer.