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Hot Potato - CV Smooth is the Latest Raptor Moved

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-----Original Message-----
From: Francis, Adam [ON]
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 2:29 PM
To: Randell, David

Howland, read this:

Free-agent guard Jason Terry has told teammates that they can expect him to re-sign as early as possible, but the Mavs -- who also hope to sign Howard and Dirk Nowitzki to contract extensions -- still plan to pursue Toronto's Mike James in a sign-and-trade. Mavs coach Avery Johnson is a fan of James' toughness and confidence and likes the idea of playing James and Terry together.

The issues? The Mavs are planning to offer Marquis Daniels in a sign-and-trade for James, having concluded that Daniels' future is elsewhere, but the Raps are cool on the swingman, believing they'll get better sign-and-trade offers. Issue No. 2: James, 31, is seeking a five-year contract, and the Mavs are unlikely to offer more than three years. With James expected to attract plenty of interest in the West alone, Dallas could be forced to look elsewhere in its search for better playmaking and another shooter.

-----Original Message-----
From: Randell, David
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 2:52 PM
To: Francis, Adam [ON]
Subject: RE:

Re; Mike James....BETTER THAN DANIELS? He could simply sign as a FA, ODD.

-----Original Message-----
From: Francis, Adam [ON]
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 3:12 PM
To: Randell, David
Subject: RE:

I don't get the Daniels stuff either...who does Colangelo think he could get better? Daniels could play the 2 as well, something I don't think Joey can do yet and looking at our current lineup, we have a mega hole there.

Team for sure so far:

PG - Calderon, Alvin Williams
SG - Mo Pete
SF - CV Smooth, Joey Graham, PJ Tucker
PF - Bosh, Humpheries, Sow, Bargnani, Garbajosa
C - Nesterovic

That gives us only 3 spots, maybe 4 depending on Alvin as James is gone for sure and I doubt we bring Martin or Barrett back.

Maybe we bring over Ukic. I doubt Slokar comes though as we already have 4 perimeter-style PF's...curious eh? All similar style.

So with Ukic we have two openings. Major needs are at point, shooting guard, and maybe another true center.

Who does BC take out of this weak free agent crop? Here's some interesting players that might fit or could be had for the maybe a bargain price:

1. Nene - rebounding, toughness, groomed behind Rasho

2. John Salmons - could play the 1/2 thus filling two spots.

3. Deveon George - might be had for cheap and could help on D and rebounding.

4. Marcus Banks - for obvious reasons

5. Toni Kukoc - can play a ton of positions, gives the team a really good outside shooter and veteran leadership

6. Michael Olowokandi - could be had for cheap and could backup Nesterovic

7. Brian Grant - Shell of his former self but would play hard and be a good role model for the young PF's.

8. Nazr Mohammed - for obvious reasons

9. Reggie Evans - not really any room for him but his rebounding and defence would be welcome.

10.Jackie Butler - sleeper pick as a center...might be had for cheap as well.

My worry is that all of Colangelo's moves point towards moving Villanueva...

-----Original Message-----
From: Randell, David
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 4:01 PM
To: Francis, Adam [ON]
Subject: RE:

We need guards in a bad way. Problem with Banks is he wants the full mid-level. Seems a bit risky.

I don't want any more C's. Bosh will suck it up and play some 5 along with Pape. Salmons could be nice

When Colangelo says he has a better guard....guys I think of that may be available:

1. M. Bibby
2. M. Daniels
3. A. Miller
4. B-Diddy
5. Mo Williams
6. Jaric
7. Udrich
8. Watson
9. Ridnour
10. A. Daniels

A wide range. I just think for high end Charlie has to go and you know I DON'T DIG THAT.

-----Original Message-----
From: Francis, Adam [ON]
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 4:33 PM
To: 'Randell, David'
Subject: RE:

Interesting are my thoughts

1. way Sac-town moves him.
2. M. Daniels...not really a point but would be great behind Mo.
3. Miller...don't think he'll go unless they get another point back in a K-Mart deal.
4. B Diddy...very interesting but risky
5. option
6. Jaric...if his contract wasn't so bad, I'd take a look at him
7. Udrich...he wasn't being used in San An but with Nick gone he'll get time. Plus is he any better than Jose?
8. Watson - still my favourite option I think.
9. Ridnour - better shooter than Jose but too similar in my mind
10.A. Daniels - don't want, not a pure point at all.

Looking at this you really realize how valuable good point guards are. The teams that have them won't trade them and there are very few out there. I think you need to look at teams that have more than one decent option...teams like Utah, Seattle and Milwaukee.

That was the end of our email conversation

...and what's not written anywhere is what occured soon after that last sentence was put to electronic paper. Instead of looking at the stack of impending docs to be translated in front of me, I drifted off into thoughts of point guard trade options, in particular the three teams I had just mentioned. Utah benched Deron Williams at times for Keith MacLeod, but there was no way Utah would trade Williams was there? No, I couldn't envision such a situation. What about Seattle? Same old issues though that we've all gone over a million times. Taking on Earl Watson meant giving up similar salary, something Seattle is probably hesitant to do. And I still wasn't convinced that Seattle would move either player. Now the Bucks however...if they were happy enough with Maurice Williams and Charlie Bell, would they move TJ Ford? What if we offered Villanueva?...

Unfortunately, at that moment the phone rang and one of our clients at work called to demand, in her usual irritated and self-righteous tone, "where her translation was?!" So much for playing fantasy GM...

The point of this string of emails, besides perhaps displaying how basketball-obsessed we are here, is to show that anyone who took a good look at Toronto's current roster knew that there were suddenly way too many players at the 3/4 on this club. The trading for Humpheries, the drafting of Andrea Bargnani (and PJ Tucker to a lesser extent) and the rumoured impending free-agent signing of Garbajosa meant that Toronto was carrying four perimeter-oriented power forwards including Villanueva. Something had to give. And unfortunately that someone was Charlie.

I for one am sad to see him go. While I do like this trade, it's always tough to watch a player with such promising talent, move on to another team, especially considering he was one of the lone bright spots for the Raptors last season on the NBA landscape. Villanueva will now be paired with Andrew Bogut, Dan Gadzuric and Joe Smith (Magloire probably won't be around) to form one of the East's most promising front-courts. In addition, teamed with Bobby Simmons, Michael Redd and Mo Williams, Villanueva should thrive and continue to expand his game making the Bucks an even better team than last season.

As for the Raptors, the trade nets Toronto the pass-first point guard that the squad so badly needed and a great defender to boot. No, Ford is not exactly a dead-eye shot (.405% career fg percentage) but he is improving in this area. And what TJ will do is get the ball to fellow Texan Chris Bosh and will replace James' in terms of breaking down opponents' defensive sets. In fact this team should be ready to fly up and down the court now as Ford is one of the league's fastest players from end to end. We saw in the playoffs what Devin Harris could do...well Ford is perhaps quicker and much more of a pass-first time point. Colangelo also gets an undervalued player out of this deal. TJ was off for a year due to spinal injuries (let's hope those have passed for good) and only last year did he again show what he may be capable of in this league. Keeping Ford around long-term definitely won't break the bank.

But did Colangelo give up too much for Ford? Here at the site we're split. (Until Chapman returns from Cuba with the tie-breaker.) I think Charlie has more potential than Ford but the trade had to be made for the sake of Colangelo's bigger picture. (Drafting of Bargnani, getting minutes for Garbajosa, having a real floor general.) Howland disagrees and feels that we should have gotten more in return. Villanueva was looking like he had all the makings of a perennial All-Star while TJ may never be more than a slightly quicker Kenny Anderson - steady but not spectacular.

In addition, Villanueva was one of Rob Babcock's redeeming qualities and a fan favourite. We're just not sure how raptornation is going to react to this news when they wake up today. And we're not quite sure why Colangelo needs more "cash" (the other part of this confirmed trade) unless he's got some big free agent plans.

Speaking of which...this is now how Toronto's roster looks:

PG - Ford, Calderon
SG - Peterson
SF - Graham, Bargnani, Tucker
PF - Bosh, Humpheries, Garbajosa, Sow
C - Nesterovic

Counting Alvin Williams, that's 12 of the 15 players on the roster right there. It now seems more and more likely that Ukic will be brought over and tutored in the "third stringer" role. The obvious holes still are at the 2 and 3 spots where really Bargnani and Tucker are more "variations on the 4" than true 3's at this point. That leaves Peterson and Graham to hold down the fort. Unless there are more trades in the works, (and who knows at the rate BC is shipping out players) free agency beckons. While today's article was supposed to be an extensive look at the various free agent options for Toronto, that will now have to wait until Monday. But in the meantime, here's some food for thought. How would a 2/3 like Peja, Bonzi Wells or even Trevor Ariza look in Raptors' colours? Each is interesting for various reasons and maybe Colangelo is preparing to chase one of them hence his Scrooge McDuck-esque stockpiling of loot.

One thing's for sure. Whatever moves Colangelo makes regarding free agency, it sure seems like we won't have to wait long to see what's forthcoming...