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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.

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Saturday , May , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Ricky Rubio to sign with Minnesota, Jonny Flynn to Toronto?

If Rubio does indeed sign as expected, point guard Jonny Flynn's days in Minnesota are numbered. Sources also indicated to HOOPSWORLD that Flynn is almost sure to be traded in that case with the Toronto Raptors being one of the most probable destinations.
 

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Whenever Ricky Rubio crosses the Atlantic and joins the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jonny Flynn becomes very available.
 
Sources say Rubio’s migration will happen this summer –and sooner rather than later.
 
Unfortunately, Flynn’s stock is at an all-time low, so the Timberwolves won’t get much for the sixth pick in 2009. Hopefully, executive David Kahn reflects on how he wasted this asset.
 
For instance, Kahn could have traded the lottery pick two years ago for an established pro, young asset(s), draft picks, or cap relief.

He could have drafted a player at another position like Stephen Curry (and used him at off-guard), DeMar DeRozan, Tyler Hansborough, James Johnson, or even Taj Gibson.
 
If Kahn was absolutely determined to have another table-setter, he could have drafted Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, or Darren Collison.
 
Just not Flynn, who has underperformed. Now Kahn has the unpleasant task of trying to get something for his underperforming asset.
 
The above report cites Toronto as a likely home for Flynn. The former Syracuse star had expressed interest in suiting up for the Raptors.
 
Perhaps this happens. However, MLSE, the wealthy and dysfunctional holding company that owns the Raptors, has bigger fish to fry, specifically executive Bryan Colangelo.
 
Colangelo’s contract expires next month, and there has been no indication on whether he’ll be extended or let go. Instead, he twists in the wind.
 
Under such circumstances, it’s hard to imagine Colangelo acquiring Flynn. He’d have to trade veteran Jose Calderon and make a call on youngster Jerryd Bayless.
 
And he probably doesn’t have authorization to do anything except focus on the draft.
 
So the Rubio saga will continue when he lands in ‘The Frozen Tundra of Sota’. Only his presence will create a stir with Flynn.

Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Apr , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

DeMar DeRozan on improving 3-point shot: ‘it will come’

Hoops Hype: You had only attempted 46 three-pointers in the first 78 games. Is that the next part of your game that you want to expand?

Demar DeRozan: Oh yes, definitely. It will come through time. I really don’t stress about it. Because once it comes, that is another part of my game that will develop. Will work on that this summer a lot and come back ready next year.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.

The Toronto Raptors 2011 struggles can be tied to former franchise face Chris Bosh joining pals LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in South Beach.

Without Bosh, the Raptors had to rebuild. They already had a key piece in DeMar DeRozan -the second year man from USC, who looks more than capable of filling Bosh’s considerable shoes.

DeRozan is explosive, dynamic, and committed, and deserves greater consideration for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award after his terrific campaign.

However, to become an All-Star, to regularly attend David Stern’s February classic, he must extend his range. Currently, DeRozan is a solid mid-range shooter; he must become a three-point gunner.
 
Then DeRozan will be unstoppable. He’ll be able to go to the hoop at will or punish sagging defenders with his newfound stroke.

He’ll have help, too. There’s a crew of up-and-coming pieces in The Big Smoke: Jerryd Bayless, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, James Johnson, and Sonny Weems.

The Raptors also have cap space, a trade exception from the Miami Heat, and an upcoming lottery pick. The future is looking up north of the border. It starts and ends with DeRozan taking the next step and developing his three-point shot.

Fortunately, he knows this. Fortunately, he’s a gym rat, who loves working on his game. Fortunately, he’s mature beyond his years. And fortunately, he wants his team to succeed.

So next year looks promising -or just better than 2011- because of DeRozan. Bottom line: there’s something for Raptor fans to look forward to.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Nov , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

CP3 factor: why Hornets may trade Stojakovic and Bayless to Raptors for Jack

The New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors are in serious discussions on a five-player trade that would send Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless to the Raptors for Jarrett Jack and David Anderson and Marcus Banks, a source told ESPN.com Saturday.

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This swap would be a win-win for both parties.

The rebuilding Toronto Raptors would attain Peja Stojakovic’s expiring contract and developing piece Jerryd Bayless, while the New Orleans Hornets would add an experienced combo guard in Jarrett Jack.

The deal was nearly made official yesterday; however, the Raptors and Hornets were still ironing out last minute details, specifically the amount of cash that would change hands.

Here’s the key point: the Raptors are starting over, the Hornets, after some mediocre seasons, are back.

After losing Chris Bosh in The Great Free Agent Chase of 2010 to the Miami Heat, The Big Smoke is in makeover mode. They want financial flexibility, young talent, and draft picks.

Enter Stojakovic and Bayless. The Euro sharpshooter is in the last year of a multi-year pact; Bayless is a 22 year old with upside.

Meanwhile, New Orleans –under rookie coach Monty Williams’ defensive system- is highly competitive. Jack, who can play both guard spots, will bolster their bench. 

Expect the Georgia Tech grad to relieve superstar Chris Paul and spell Marco Bellinelli at the two-spot.

Most importantly, this deal would show Chris Paul that the Hornets want to win.

Expect Toronto and New Orleans to continue talking. There are too many benefits not to.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Portland and New Orleans both win with Jerryd Bayless trade

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired a conditional, future first round draft pick from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Jerryd Bayless, it was announced on Saturday by General Manager Rich Cho.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s the rarest of trades – a mutually beneficial arrangement for both sides.

Last night, the Portland Trail Blazers sent promising combo guard Jerryd Bayless to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for a future first round pick.

Portland accomplished a few things moving Bayless. First, they created minutes for Rudy Fernandez at off-guard. Second, they saved $2.5 million. Finally, they scored a first round pick to include in future trades.

Bayless will do several things for New Orleans: he’ll back-up Chris Paul; he’ll also play next to the superstar table-point guard; and he’ll strengthen a shallow bench.

Best of all, Hornets coach Monty Williams spent several years in Portland as an assistant. Williams is familiar with and believes in Bayless.

Look for both sides to reap the benefits of this deal for some time.

--Oly Sandor.

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