There has undoubtedly been a buzz around the possible acquisition of Jay Williams to be the Raptors 3rd PG for the upcoming season. As reported, the offer put to the former Duke star was non-guaranteed and as a result he has turned it down. According to Raptors' GM Rob Babcok, Jay has decided to "go somewhere else". Not very specific but it would not be surprising to see Williams end up in Houston now that there is serious concern over the recovery of Bob Sura post surgery.
So the immediate question is who will be the Raps third PG. There is now less pressure on the Raps brass to bring in a player who will contribute night in and night out as Calderon has done nothing but impress at the Eurobasket Tournament, and Rafer has come out and said he wants to clean up his act.
Consequently camp invites have been sent to three point guards including 13 year veteran Robert Pack, who most remember in his glory days when he and Dikembe played for the Nuggets, Tierre Brown who has bounced around the league and last year played for the Lakers, and Corey Williams a virtual unknown. A big man (Toree Morris) and a slasher, Bryant Matthews (the only player from the Raptors' summer league squads asked to return) have also been sent invites. It is more than likely that it will be one of the PG's who takes the Raptors final roster spot. Noticeably absent from the list is Omar Cook, the Raptors' third string point guard at the end of last season who was expected to make the camp this year.
Next up on the media watch are some blurbs concerning Sam Mitchell's optimistic views on the Raptors' potential this coming season. Mitchell compares this year's Raptors' squad to his Milwaukee Bucks squad of a few years ago who were faced going into their season with similar "doom and gloom" projections. In the article Mitchell also discusses Rafael Araujo's offseason and looks forward to seeing his contributions this upcoming season. Check in late next week for the final article in the "Brazillian Beast or Bust" series here at Raptorshq.
Finally, an interesting interview with Raptor first round pick Charlie Villanueva. Villanueva goes 1 on 1 with Jon Robinson of IGN.com in discussing his upcoming season, the recent draft and his take on the new NBA Live 06 video game in which he is featured. Our one hope here at Raptorshq is that when Charlie sees himself as a Lamar Odom type player...he's referring to Odom minus the "chronic" suspensions...
Now two of us here at RaptorsHQ are in debate as to the Jay Williams situation.....here is both sides in our first "Jump Ball".....
Franchise: Admittedly, this is a huge disappointment for myself as both a Raptor fan and Duke/Jay Williams fanatic as a fully recovered Williams could have given this young squad the leadership at the point position it so desperately needs. That being said, Babcock is right not to commit anything guaranteed to Williams at this point. As much as I'm a fan of him as a player and person, Williams may never again be the player he was projected to be and Babcock knows that signing him to a large guaranteed deal could be disastrous to a team trying to free up cap space. This is especially true considering the recent play of our two overseas prospects; Roko Leni Ukic and Jose Calderon.
Howland: Why not give Jay Williams a guaranteed contract? Prior to his injury he had serious potential and has continued to show a great deal of heart while on the comeback trail. He's a leader, he's a good presence in the locker-room and he could (key word, could) turn into a hell of a player. Neither of the three PG's invited to camp are going to provide near the excitement or upside as Jay. Seems like MLSE is being a little cheap on this. We are not sure what Jay's stance is on all of this but if the contract is for just less than $700,000 US, and all he wants is for it to be guaranteed, DO IT! As mentioned above, the third PG is not going to be expected to contribute much, it allows Williams to continue to heal and make the final leap from 85% to 100% while in a Raps uni. Give him a chance and he will likely reward. Even if he doesn't, a such a small amount of cash this seems like a no brainer. After Babcock's statement's last week (which I completely agree with him making, he is simply managing expectations) at least a signing like this would have stimulated some more team interest. This list of training camp invitees is about as exciting as watching paint dry.