Wait...some non-lockout news to kick off the LBL's?
Yep. For a change we'll start close to home as an American company eyes the Maple Leafs. As reported by the Toronto Star yesterday, a U.S. investment company is interested in buying the Toronto Maple Leafs, and this of course could have major repercussions for the Toronto Raptors, owned of course by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Leafs.
However not so fast says the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts. According to an investment banker familiar with MLSE, the company wants "a premium price for its shares," and he doesn't think an investment firm is willing to pay it.
Also on the local front, apparently Toronto city councillors want NBA to get back to playing basketball. Aside from the whole Jamaal Magloire letter-writing piece, which made me laugh, it was interesting to see that there may in fact be some major financial damage done by a lost season, something that wasn't originally being expected by many.
As for the Raptors, not much player news but I had to grin at this article discussing some of the lockout implications for the team. Surprise, surprise, the Spinmaster (should we switch his nickname from Legomaster to this??) Bryan Colangelo is using the lockout to laud his draft efforts last spring. From the post:
"Last year, if we chose the player everyone wanted us to, we wouldn't have taken a young European player in the draft, who's likely the best young centre prospect to come to the NBA in years," Colangelo said. "Instead, we made a selection that caused a little bit of angst in the room, and a thousand people (were) booing rather than cheering and getting excited about something."
None of us saw that coming.
Back to more lock-out talk after the jump...
First up, one of the best pieces you'll read regarding the situation, penned by SI's Ian Thomsen. This marks Thomsen's second straight brilliant piece regarding the mess the NBA is in right now, and I believe he's absolutely right in saying that "A Camera, A Chair, and David Stern Could Save the Season."
NBA.com's David Aldridge discusses the current plight of the players, in a very good piece as well, highlighting the players' decision to fight back against the barrage of owner CBA demands. And Forbes notes that the NBA Lockout Costs League $800 Million...and Counting; and that the players are justified to take the fight to the courts.
But as understandable as the players' decision is in terms of "fighting back," does it actually make sense? Former NHL player Dave Andreychuk tells current NBA players: Sitting out the season will only make it worse.
Where does MLSE stand in terms of the owner demands in this lockout? Not amongst the "hardliners" according to this piece from the Indianapolis Business Journal.
And last but certainly not least, wait, we do have some Raptors' personnel news.
In an ESPN Insider piece yesterday, ESPN.com's David Thorpe looks at some of the top prospects in the upcoming draft, and what NBA teams would represent a good fit. For the Toronto Raptors?
Mr. Harrison Barnes.
Here was Thorpe's take:
Harrison Barnes, G/F, North Carolina Tar Heels
Best NBA fit: Toronto Raptors
It's clear that Barnes has some explosive offensive potential, especially as a shooter. His game can mature over time into being a shooter and a slasher, a rare and potent combo.
But it's Barnes' defense that intrigues me most, as he looks to be someone who can be a lockdown guy in a league that features many wing scorers with size. That element alone gives Barnes an edge over some other prospects, with many teams in dire need of defensive help.
Imagine the impact Barnes could have in Toronto, probably the worst defensive team last season. Not only would he immediately upgrade the Raps on that side of the ball, but his perimeter shooting partners well with their shooting guard, DeMar DeRozan, who can slash but does not shoot well from the perimeter.