To kick this edition of media watch off we go to a slightly off-topic situation...yes...the Ron Artest trade. For those who missed it, a deal had reportedly been struck to send Ron Artest from the Indiana Pacers to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Peja Stojakovic. However Ron Artest then reported that he would not go to the Kings and thus Sacramento backed out of the deal.
While this trade doesn't involve the Toronto Raptors directly, it does bring back fond memories of a Mr. Alonzo Mourning for this RapsHQ writer and once again illustrates the power players have in today's NBA. Without jumping into a philisophical debate, you have to wonder now what the fallout will be for both Sacramento and Indiana. Peja now knows for sure that he was almost dealt...how can he now resume playing for his "team?" And on the other side of things...you thought Rob Babcock got lowballed in Vince offers. Well Indiana is now unfortunately going to have an EXTREMELY tough time getting a deal that suits them. Now that other teams know that Artest holds veto power to a great extent, many teams simply won't make offers and the ones who do won't be offering much in return.
Speaking of not getting much in return, the trade theorists are still wondering if or when Jalen Rose and/or Eric Williams will get traded. Was Sam Mitchell indeed showcasing Williams as my associate Jeff Chapman pointed out? Or was he simply a better post matchup against Kenyon "The Ticallion Stallion" Martin?
Regardless of lineup changes, one player who the Raptors won't have access to for a while is Rafael Araujo. Araujo is still getting his injured shoulder checked out and no time-table has been set for his return as of yet.
With the lack of success on their recent West Coast road swing the Raptors have dropped a few spots on ESPN.com's Power Rankings. With upcoming games against the Bulls, Bucks and Kings, Toronto definitely has a chance to improve on their current standing.
GAME DAY PREVIEW
Home sweet home? After a rough road trip that saw the Raptors get blown out once, let two winnable games slip away and lose to Kobe Bryant in historic fashion in another, this should be the case. Only one of their next five games is away from home and this therefore should be a good chance to get some quality wins.
Emphasis as always with this club, is on the word should. Perhaps no other team in the league has the mental advantage over the Raptors that the Chicago Bulls do. The Raptors have lost their last 11 games to the Bulls and as we've alluded to in the past, this team simply does not match up well with Chicago.
Sam Mitchell and co. should be better prepared for this rematch, especially on the defensive end of the court. Limiting the Bulls lightning quick guards will be key both in stopping penetration for kickouts and open shot opportunities. And as usual, the Raptors must do a number on the boards.
One player who might be a huge help in this realm is Pape Sow. With his aggresive defence and rebounding prowness, Spider-man should be a big boost to a Raptors team that's been taken advantage of by the Bulls bigs in the past.
Former Bull Jalen Rose should also be key in this contest. Playing with refound confidence Jalen should be able to cause problems downlow with his array of post moves. If the Raps can get the Bulls' bigs in foul trouble, contain the perimeter and outrebound Chicago, this game should be theirs for the taking.