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The Mailbag - February 2nd Edition

Clark (Around the Mocks - Updated Jan. 31)

I agree that he (Mike James) is a reliable PG, but unfortunately we would have to commit too many years and too much money.
Also, James who is a DECENT player, is having a career year and will demand 5 years most likely and a long contract to a 30+ guy is the last thing we need; His value is high and the Raps could be better served by trading him, to get a younger SG who can get open looks with Calderon penetrating and dishing to the SG for wide open jumpers.

Franchise: Clark, I'm leaning towards you on this one. As Howland and I debated in our last "jump ball," I'm worried about the size and dollar value of the contract James will be demanding. However I can't deny his competitive spirit and if the Raptors can keep him at a reasonable price and surround him with some more options, maybe he doesn't NEED to be such a "space-mountainey" type player. I still think too that if he does ask for too much, losing him for nothing isn't the end of the world. James is a great complimentary piece but this team still needs some size in the backcourt. Calling Rajon Rondo, calling Rajon Rondo.

Murray The Swede (Tip In: Jazzmatazz)

Glad you like Swedish music, Chapman! I’d be happy to translate the lyrics from ta det lugnt (= take it easy) for you.

Chapman: Well, this might have been the most obscure comment we have ever received. However, if you're out there Murray, the crew here at RaptorsHQ (well, maybe not Howland), would love to get those translated Dungen lyrics. Hit us up at

By the way, if you've got any Kelly Clarkson lyrics translated into Swedish, send them along as well. Don't want Howland to feel left out.

Chris (Tip-In: It's A Bird, It's a Plane...No, It's Kobe Bryant)

Is it just me or do the Raptors always end up on the wrong side of history, first it was the loss to that Israeli team and then we get lit up for 81 points. It is tough being a Raptors fan sometime.

Franchise: Couldn't agree with you more Chris. Tough losses, great draft picks that have fled for warmer pastures, historic performances against name it. However each time I see the Hawks' 10 fans at Phillips Arena or see another lawsuit involving a New York Knick associate, I allow myself a small grin...

RaferMadness (Raptors Fire Babcock)

Looks to me Peddie, who is known to be a financial wizard, saw a drop in attendence and thought that he needed to find a scapegoat to save face with the fans, because it sure wasn’t Babcock's performance as GM that got him fired this year.

Chapman: Great point, RaferMadness. Here's my take on the whole thing. Apart from what I wrote in the Bucks recap, I think that MLSE wanted to take some heat off of the floundering Maple Leafs.

When Babcock was fired, the Leafs were mired in the throes of an eight-game losing streak. Toronto papers cried for them to trade Mats Sundin, to fire Pat Quinn. Instead of bowing to these "demands", Peddie and the powers-that-be at MLSE decided to fire Babcock. This diverted the media's attention from the problems of the hockey team, all while creating the smallest PR mess possible.

Ever see the movie "Wag The Dog?" If you haven't, go out and rent it, watch it and then come tell me that it didn't remind you of the Babcock firing.

Aaron (Embry Gets The Ball Rolling)

Is there any news on Alvin? I assume he’s going to retire, but he seems to be out there practicing with Sow every day now. Too bad, he was the first great (or at least long-term) Raptor, it would have been nice to see him finish his career here on some sort of positive note.

At this point would you do anything to honour him? (retiring his number is a little much, but an Alvin Williams night or something?)

Franchise: Retiring the number may be a bit much I agree but the Raptors really SHOULD do something to honour him. This franchise has had more turnover then a pancake house and it really has to start laying roots of SOME SORT and building tradition. Unless we want to have pictures of former stars like Camby or franchise centerpieces like Carlos Rogers and Alvin Robertson adorning the ACC halls forever, Alvin should be recognized. We've seen Alvin in warmups too and he still maintains he'll play again at some point however no one seems to know exactly when that will be. If he's forced to end his career on the court, the Raptors organization should at least give him a PR position of some sort or perhaps honour his dedication to the club with an Alvin Williams wing or seating section. Perhaps this offseason we'll run an article with some options as to this!

Zherdev (The Dismissal of Rob Babcock - A Study In...)

OK…answer me this question.

Donnie Walsh is heralded as some sort of genius for getting Peja Stojakovic out of Sacto in exchange for Ron Artest, while Babcock is ultimately fired for, in large part, his handling of a similar situation with Vince Carter?

Let’s examine this:

Walsh gets a rent-a-player (you really think Peja will resign with Indiana?) for half a season and then, likely, loses him for nothing. End result: Artest for half a season of Peja.

Meanwhile, Babcock gets the Williams, Zo and 2 draft picks for VC. End result: Joey Graham, another first rounder and whatever Eric Williams brings the Raps in a deal.

Now you tell me who got the better deal.

And, while MLSE is firing, get rid of Peddie. That guy is a waste of space.

Franchise: You hit this bang on Zherdev. The Aaron Williams deal may have placated fans for a bit but let's just see what moves are up next before we start chanting hymns to Embry. Peddie still has to go. And as for the Artest deal...if Sacramento doesn't go on a winning streak soon (which will be tough with their bench play of late) it won't be long before Artest gets that crazy look and starts demanding a trade or time off. As I mentioned in my breakdown of the Williams deal, this now gives the Carter deal a shot in the arm and could possibly provide the Raps with 4 players from the draft picks ALONE to use for the future of the franchise. Indiana meanwhile dials rent-a-Peja and Sacramento is stuck with one guy who probably is a year away from singing Metric's Monster Hospital...

Andrea Bargnani (Around the Mocks - Updated Jan. 31)

This guy is the real deal. I saw him play when Benneton-Treviso came to play the Raps two years ago in the pre-season and even then he was the best player on the floor. He’s long, lean, can put the ball on the floor and is solid shooter from the outside. Although we have Bosh and CV, I wouldn’t mind drafting him b/c I think he’ll be a terrific player. Plus, I’d like to hear Steven A. Smith lament us again on draft night again!

Franchise: Andrea...yes, he's got a girl's name but we've heard good things. We still haven't caught Bargnani in live action of any kind but with the way Chapman's throwing games on the "Rogers TIVO," we'll get to him eventually. (Greg Oden, Billy Skywalker and co are up first this weekend however...) Bargnani has kept his status up all year so far in the eyes of most scouts apparently so perhaps he won't suffer the dreaded Martynas Andriuskevicius free-fall.

I'm actually curious to hear what those Timmy's at ESPN are going to say this year REGARDLESS of who the Raptors pick. RaptorsHQ might start taking bets on the possible Screamin' Steven A. comments...

Ustat (Around The Mocks 2006 Edition)

Maybe we should get former raptor SG Dee Brown to unretire and draft PG Dee Brown (Illinois), keep Eric Williams and draft Eric Williams (C Wake Forest) and also draft Allan Ray (SG Villanova) and trade for Ray Allen. Maybe get Bobby Jones (SG- Washington) for some golf lessons.

Love to hear Chuck Swirsky call that game: Dee Brown to Eric Williams to Dee Brown to Eric Willams to Ray Allen, Allan Ray kaboom.

Chapman: I like your line of thinking, Ustat. Here are some other possibilities, provided we can acquire another draft pick to draft these lineups.

The All-Williams Draft: Shelden, PF, Duke; Shawne, SF, Memphis; Marcus, PG, Connecticut; Justin, C, Wyoming; Marcus, SG, Arizona.

The All-Music Draft: Adam "Jim" Morrison, Gonzaga; Taj "Macy" Gray, Oklahoma; Josh "Pat" Boone, Connecticut; Richard "Jimi" Hendrix, Alabama; "The C.J. Giles Band", Kansas.

Chris Young (The Dismissal of Rob Babcock - Part II - A Ship With No Rudder)

I didn’t know Babcock was a Creemore guy. *sniff* I miss him for that, but not much else. ‘Cause you know Peddie and his acolytes are drinkin’ whatever the officially licensed dinks are. My question: If this was about a power struggle (and it was, by all logical accounts), how is bringing in a new GM going to mean a victory for Mitchell? Whoever comes in is going to want to name his own coach, right? The more I look at this, the more I see Embry comes out the ultimate winner.

Franchise: Chris, evidently your colleagues at the Toronto Star Mr. Smith and Mr. Backpack Feschuk didn't give you the Harbourfront Sports Grille scouting report ha ha. Yes, we got the inside tip from one of the establishment's lovely waitresses that Babcock, a frequent diner, loved his Creemore. We're not sure what Sam Mitchell's drink of choice is yet (we're guessing a shot of prairie fire) but we'll get back to you on it. And as you correctly pointed out, he might be taking a few of these shots in the near future. I guess when we wrote the column we were looking at the "win for Mitchell" as more of a win in the short-term. The way we saw it, a case could have been made after the road trip and Bulls match that Mitchell was the one to get the axe. So for now he's left standing...but as to five months from now...who knows...

PS - Keep up the great blog work over at the Star and make sure Skeets' hygiene doesn't deteriorate again...