Monday , Jul , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Making sense of the Toronto Raptors` makeover

While executives with the Raptors or the Charlotte Bobcats have yet to confirm the trade, multiple media outlets and even some of the players involved have said Toronto is putting together a multi-team deal that will see last year’s free agent signee-turned-disappoinment Hedo Turkoglu sent to the Phoenix Suns while Jose Calderon will be sent to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Raptors would get guard Leandro Barbosa from the Suns, along with a traded player exception worth $2.7-million (all currency U.S.), while Charlotte is sending both Boris Diaw and center Tyson Chandler to Toronto.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is making moves like he’s on a home makeover show.

Except he’s changing centers, forwards, and guards. Not blinds, wall colors, and furniture.

In one week, Colangelo remodelled a Raptor squad that missed the playoffs in 2009 and 2010, and made a habit of imploding down the stretch.

Out is superstar Chris Bosh, 2009 free agent prize Hedo Turkoglu, and platoon point guard Jose Calderon; in are former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa, defensive stud Tyson Chandler, and former Most Improved Player of the Year Boris Diaw.

Colangelo also drafted power forward Ed Davis, re-signed Amir Johnson, and tendered an offer to restricted free agent Linas Kleiza.

How the new parts fit together is unknown. However, the Raptors have improved in three areas: defense, attitude, and cap flexibility.

Chandler, Davis, and Johnson instantly add a get-stops attitude. Of course, this is also an addition by subtraction situation; Calderon is the NBA’s worst defensive point guard.

With better interior defenders, the skilled Andrea Bargnani can slide from centre to power forward, his natural position. This will help the Italian on both ends of the floor.

Turkoglu was a problem all year. He arrived out of shape, underperformed, and spent too much time socializing before requesting a trade. And now he`s gone.

Meanwhile, Bosh gave his all and, with the exception of the last ten days, behaved like a professional. However, the losing took a toll. He and the club both needed a change.

Best of all, the Raptors gained cap space. For instance, Turkgolu has four years and $40 million remaining on his deal, while Calderon is on the books for three years and over $30 million.

Coming back is Chandler’s expiring pact for $12 million, while Barbosa and Diaw each have two-year contracts for a combined $32 million. This financial flexibility can be used to sign free agents or retain in-house talent.

Toronto will certainly be different in 2011. But will Colangelo’s latest remodel job and improvements lead to more wins and a post-season birth in a revamped E»astern Conference?

– Oly Sandor.


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