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Sunday , Jun , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Barbosa opts-in; discussing long-term extension with Raptors

It appears Leandro Barbosa will not be heading back to Brazil after all. Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo told QMI Agency Saturday afternoon that Barbosa has picked up his $7.6 million U.S. player option for the 2011-2012 season. Barbosa beat a midnight deadline to make a call.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It's a mutually beneficial arrangement for player and team.

The player, Leandro Barbosa, gets another year with the Toronto Raptors at $7.6 million. The Brazilian is still productive, but wouldn’t command such a wage as a free agent.

After all, Barbosa is no longer a perennial candidate for Sixth Man of the Year or even a top reserve. Injuries and age have taken a toll.

There’s also uncertainty surrounding the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new CBA will alter the league’s financial landscape, limiting the leverage a veteran like Barbosa would have on the open market.

So taking the guaranteed money made sense. It was a no-brainer.

However, the Raptors are also pleased. Barbosa will model professionalism for the team’s younger core. And he still has moments as an off-the-bench, game-changer; new coach Dwane Casey will take advantage of his speed on defense.

Word is Barbosa and the Raptors are talking extension. And this mutually beneficial arrangement will likely continue past 2012.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jun , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Colangelo finally admits ‘Euro’ vision failed by hiring Casey?

Colangelo certainly paid attention as the 54-year-old Casey has been thrown the keys to the Raptors broken-down car, being affirmed on Tuesday as the new head coach of the NBA franchise. Casey, who signed a three-year contract, will take over from Jay Triano of Niagara Falls, Ont., who was relieved of his coaching duties earlier this month, in the aftermath of a frustrating 22-60 regular season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Hiring Dwane Casey is the closest Bryan Colangelo will come to admitting he was wrong.

When hired, Colangelo had a vision for the Toronto Raptors. They’d be the NBA’s ‘Euro’ club. They’d emphasize scoring and skill. They’d collect players from every republic, federation, principality, and semi-autonomous region in Europe.

Most importantly, they’d win.

On the surface, it made sense. Americans were hesitant to come to Canada, even if it meant playing in a world class city such as Toronto.

So Colangelo did his best with what he had. Problem was, it didn't work.

Defense still wins championships. Drafting and re-signing Andrea Bargnani and having Jose Calderon at point guard made the Raptors vulnerable at point guard and center.

Slowly but surely, Colangelo has changed course. Bargnani, the player he drafted first overall, is at a crossroads with the organization. Calderon is more of a platoon player.

The new Raptors are young, athletic, and raw. The new Raptors are Jerryd Bayless, Ed Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, and James Johnson. 

This collection of talent needs help in their own end, which is Casey’s speciality. He was the brains behind George Karl’s defensive sets in Seattle, had Minnesota running at 20-20, and helped Rick Carlisle’s Dallas crew win a championship.

For now, Casey is the Raptors’ only off-season change. His hiring represents Colangelo changing course from offense to defense.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.