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No Picks, No Cap Space....No problem

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Seriously....at what point is it comedic? Another international player? Is this now a pre-requisite for playing north of the 49th parallel? Whether it is or not, the most important part of the Raps acquiring former Piston Carlos Delfino is that it helps provide some clarity to what we at the HQ have been discussing for some time....the SF position.

For a couple of second round picks the Raps have acquired another versatile player who can play both the shooting guard and small forward position. As mentioned by one of our readers Delfino is another member of that highly touted 2003 draft class, of which the Raps now have three members. Having played his first few years in the league in Detroit where the back-court minutes have been dominated by All-Stars (Billups, Hamilton) and the SF position by a Tayshaun Prince, Delfino has had a tough time getting much burn averaging a mere 14 minutes a game.

His three seasons in Detroit were far from noteworthy, and Delfino was known more for his disruptions off the court then his play on it. It has been well documented that Delfino has on numerous occasions been in heated arguments with Flip Saunders and the two never saw eye to eye. In fact, late last season when Detroit was in town it was readily apparent that player and coach were not on the same page. Flip was all over Delfino when he was on the court and gave him the quick hook after missing a rotation. Now that it has been confirmed that Flip is the coach of the Pistons for at least another season, perhaps it is not surprising that Delfino has been shipped out.

Its likely that Delfino doesn’t mind the move either as he has never been shy about his desire to be dealt. Last summer in an interview with an Argentinian newspaper Delfino was on the record saying he wanted more playing time and as a result did not want to be in Detroit. As of yesterday Delfino has his wish.

So what exactly does Delfino bring to the table? Well according to BC, "Carlos is a talented basketball player that should thrive in our system." It’s hard to argue with the Lego-master these days, and Delfino could finally break out. His offensive game somewhat reminds me of Joey Graham. Both are athletic players, have shown a propensity to get to the rim, sometimes settle for the jumper and they are both decent on the ball defenders. The other glaring similarity is that neither of them has a quick release. The one major difference however, is that Delfino seems to have a slightly higher basketball IQ. This likely relates to his experience as a player. Delfino has been a winner at all levels, was a member of the gold medal winning team at the 2004 Olympics and of course has been part of a very successful team in Detroit. Add in some extensive experience is Europe and just because he was only getting limited minutes for the Pistons doesn’t mean he is green by any stretch of the imagination.

Perhaps the more important question is what does this mean for Mo Peter and the aforementioned Joey Graham? I think it is probably safe to say that Mo Pete’s time in Toronto has come to an end. Of course replacing Mo with Carlos was something that Franchise had suggested around the trade deadline. It wouldn’t be surprising if at the end of the day that is how it works. BC has dealt a couple of low picks for Delfino and dealing Mo in a sign-and-trade could easily help recoup that loss, and possibly more. If you are Mo Pete though the signal is clear. Re-signing here is really not an option. Minutes will still be tough to come by and this team is preparing to move on without you.

The message to Graham is also a clear one. If Graham is not ready come training camp to elevate his game then don’t expect much. Delfino will undoubtedly be looking to secure more minutes than in Detroit and the two of them will be battling it out for valuable PT. That is of course assuming that Joey is still around come training camp. We’ve suggested, and many of you have agreed that at the price and with the talent it would be hard not to give Graham a chance, but who knows whether BC agrees. Would anyone be surprised if the SF position for the 07-08 team was manned by totally different personnel? Having watched BC at work since his arrival it wouldn’t surprise anyone if neither Mo or Joey returned next season. As much as Graham’s inconsistency has infuriated the fans, it must leave Colangelo in fits. Besides, if BC were to move Graham that would only leave Calderon, Bosh, Martin and Sow from the last regime (with the latter two unlikely to return). It would almost complete the make-over.

I guess the biggest question that I have is Delfino’s character. Is he a good fit for this squad? If he doesn’t get the minutes he wants will he become a distraction? The teams chemistry was solid last year and even when players like Mo Pete were not getting the minutes you never heard a peep. Is this team ready for a player that seems to have a "me first" attitude?

Although in the grand scheme of things dealing for Delfino was a small move, it’s clear that despite not having any draft picks and with little cap space you still can’t sleep on this team, which will make waiting for next season that much easier.

HOWLAND