toronto-raptors
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Friday , Nov , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh: ‘Ah … I miss Toronto’

Ah...I miss Toronto. We always joke and laugh about the good times we had there, me and my friends. It’s good to miss something. If I didn’t miss it, that mean I didn’t have a good time.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Memo to Chris Bosh. Just stop. Stop talking to the Toronto media because it won’t change a thing.

Bosh, who ditched Toronto for Miami as a free agent last July, won’t change fans’ opinions by giving feature interviews. In fact, he’s making things worse.

The city’s five daily newspapers, three national television stations, and loyal fans are dissecting each word of every quote. Each time Bosh opens his mouth he adds fuel to the fire.

They won’t forget, let go, or move on, either. Take Tracy McGrady. He bolted Toronto years ago, but remains public enemy number one each and every time he plays in the Air Canada Centre. 

Then there’s Vince Carter. His jersey has been burnt. Radio stations have pranked his hotel room. And fans shower him with boos whenever he suits up in Toronto.

Bosh should expect the same treatment. The way he left neutralizes the seven years he spent in The Big Smoke.

His best course of action is to stop talking about the past in Toronto and win big in Miami.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 31 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Gibson or Jack joining Bosh, James, and Wade in Miami?

"Two different team executives said they expect the Heat to dangle $3 million and second-year PG Mario Chalmers to a lotteryy-bound team looking to shed the long-term contract of a mid-priced spot-up shooting PG. Riley's objective is to find another shooter to space the floor, a la BJ Armstrong or John Paxson in their Chicago days playing alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’d be a point guard in name only.

Reports indicate the Miami Heat is scouring the earth for a ball handler with a jump shot. Think B.J. Armstrong and Steve Kerr next to Michael Jordan in Chicago. Think Kenny Smith alongside Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston.

His role would be simple: dribble up-court, get open, catch, and shoot.

Sound simple enough, right?

The belief is Heat executive Pat Riley will acquire such a player after the December 15th deadline by offering a lottery-bound team some combination of money, draft picks and, possibly Mario Chalmers.
 
The names most commonly mentioned: the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ‘Boobie’ Gibson and Toronto Raptors’ Jarrett Jack.

Hopefully, Riles has something better up his aging sleeve. It’s unlikely Gibson or Jack call South Beach home.

Perhaps Riley missed it. After The Decision came The Reaction. Cavaliers’ owner Daniel Gilbert declared war on LeBron James in an internet letter to fans.

Gilbert called his former franchise face everything imaginable: immature, narcissistic, and the so-called king.

It’s safe to say Gilbert felt betrayed by James announcing his decision on national television, so he won’t trade him his former sidekick in Gibson.

Meanwhile, Jack isn’t exactly a spot-up shooter. Sure, he can knock down open looks, but he’s more comfortable shooting off-the-dribble.

Expect Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo to keep Jack because he competes, provides leadership, and makes reasonable money.

They’ll instead try to move Jose Calderon, who - because of his stand-still defense, big-ticket contract, and injury prone nature – wouldn’t fit in Miami.

The Heat wants a shooting point guard.  Wanting and getting are two different things, though.

Chances are, Gibson or Jack won’t be re-enacting Armstrong with Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade in the south Florida sun.

--Oly Sandor.   

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Tuesday , Oct , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Hedo Turkoglu on Toronto Raptors’ struggles: it’s not the players

Hedo Turkolgu was predictably booed in his first return to Toronto on Sunday.

“People have to realize it’s not always the players,” said Turkoglu. “People just got to see what’s really going on and make a judgment after that. I’m not a random guy. Chris (Bosh) was an all-star. Other guys, all-stars, too. You have to ask them what was the reason that they left. Then people will realize . . . instead of just going after the players. (Vince) Carter, Tracy (McGrady), whatever. I know (Bosh), I hope he doesn’t get booed. He gave a lot of good stuff for this organization. I think he deserves to be welcomed in a nice way.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Hedo Turkoglu is right.

Ultimately, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is at fault for the miserable state of the Toronto Raptors. The wealthy sports property owns the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, MLS’ Toronto FC, the Air Canada Centre, and the Raptors.

This company prints money. Hand over fist. Despite the Maple Leafs’ strong start, winning comes second.

Fans know this. They hold MLSE accountable. They criticize GM Bryan Colangelo and the organization while sippin` double-doubles with cream at Tim Hortons, by the water cooler at work, over Molson Canadians at the pub, and during 3-on-3 runs at the playground and ice rink.

However, Colangelo doesn’t play the games. Turkoglu does.

Colangelo, for all his errors in judgment and misgivings about assembling a team of Euros from every semi-republic on the other side of the Atlantic, punches the clock and is professional. While in Toronto, Turkoglu’s effort and professionalism was, well, mediocre.

With a $53 million contract and skills to burn, the Turkish swing became a target. Five daily newspapers, three national sports channels, and some of the game’s most loyal fans went at him.

It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it became personal. Toronto and Turkoglu had no choice but to part ways this summer.

Hard feelings still exist. They’ll always be there, too. So Turkoglu should expect Toronto fans to boo. Instead of complaining, Turkoglu would be wise to accept his share of the blame.

After all, the organization didn’t arrive at training camp fat and happy. The organization didn’t go through the motions all year. And the organization didn’t skip a game with the flu and hit up the clubs just a few hours later.

Turkoglu did.

The sooner he accepts this, the better off Turkoglu will be. As for MLSE and the Raptors, they may be beyond help.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Oct , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Michael Jordan: I could score 100 points in NBA game today

"It's less physical and the rules have changed, obviously," said Jordan. "Based on these rules, if I had to play with my style of play, I'm pretty sure I would have fouled out or I would have been at the free throw line pretty often and I could have scored 100 points."
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s still Michael Jordan.

It doesn’t matter if he’s middle-aged. It doesn’t matter if he rocks a beer gut. And it doesn’t matter if his career in the executive suite and owner’s booth is full of mistakes.

He’s still Mike; The Greatest of All-Time. I still want to be like him. You still want to be like him. Heck, we all still ‘want to be like Mike’. Or, how Mike was when he played.

When Jordan says he could drop 100 points in a present day NBA game, people believe. Six championships, playoff MVPs, and embarrassing Byron Russell will do that.

People believe because Jordan is still their hero. He’s that masked man in a Chicago Bulls uniform who can do no wrong. 

Jordan was the biggest superstar of an era.  He was bigger than any movie star, musician, and politician. The late eighties and nineties were his time.

So we overlook facts. The facts are simple: today’s players have evolved. They’re bigger. They’re faster. And – on the whole – they’re more committed to their craft.

Almost every team has a shut down guy. Almost every team will use a zone to slow an opposing player who is feeling it.

Kobe Bryant, the closest thing to Jordan, notched 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. Bryant was in a zone. He took every shot and got every call. That Raptors team was awful.
 
It was a perfect storm for Black Mamba to notch 100. And he still ended up 19 points short.

Still believe in Mike?

Jordan can say what he likes. That’s why we love him. However, he’d struggle to score 100 points in today’s NBA.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Sep , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nuggets finally realize they must trade Anthony?

The Nuggets are losing their reluctance to trade Carmelo Anthony, according to sources familiar with the thinking of the front office.
 
 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Denver Nuggets have come to their senses. They must cut their losses and trade Carmelo Anthony.

It’s inevitable. They have no other choice.

Anthony won’t sign an extension with Denver. If he doesn’t get a trade, he’ll opt-out of his contract next July, and leave as an unrestricted free agent.

The Nuggets would then suffer the same miserable fate as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, who may never recover from LeBron James and Chris Bosh signing with the Miami Heat.

Getting something is better than nothing. If the Nuggets can’t have Anthony, they might as well get back a combination of draft picks, young players, and expiring contracts.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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Wednesday , Sep , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Linas Kleiza: ‘I want to go back to Toronto and prove myself’

"I just felt it was a good move by me to improve my career and improve as a player," Kleiza said of the year overseas. "I had a big role on a very big team, a very good team. That kind of helped improve all my skills and allow me to show what I wasn't able to do in Denver.

"In Denver I was a role player and I did it pretty good," he said. "But coming back here and showing I could do a lot more things I'm not just that player that I was in Denver. That's why I want to go back to Toronto and prove myself all over again. Show people that I was a better player than I was in Denver."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Linas Kleiza can’t be worse than Hedo Turkoglu.

In July of 2009, the Toronto Raptors inked Turkoglu to a five-year, $53 million pact. The Canadian Dinosaurs were expecting a banner year from the Turkish swing.

What they got was something different: Turkoglu arrived at training camp out of shape; never bothered getting in shape; underperformed all year; behaved unprofessionally; and finally requested a trade this off-season.

Thankfully, GM Bryan Colangelo accommodated his request, shipping him to Phoenix for combo guard Leandro Barbosa. 

Kleiza won’t have the same sense of entitlement. After a year in Greece, he’ll be hungry for regular minutes and will give a full effort when on-court.

Unfortunately for Kleiza, the Raptors are loaded at the swing spots. So he’ll compete with Barbosa, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, and Julian Wright for playing time at the two and three spots.

However, Kleiza has starred for Lithuania at the FIBA World Championship. For instance, he had 30 points and 9 rebounds in a Sweet 16 win against China.

And if Kleiza keeps having those kind of nights, minutes won’t be an issue in Toronto.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Aug , 18 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh: ‘Nobody wanted to make the playoffs more than me’ in Toronto

Chris Bosh has again insisted that he never quit on the Raptors during his time in Toronto. "Nobody wanted to make the playoffs more than me," Bosh told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

"Nobody else wanted to make it more than me, trust me. I put in the work to be successful. I had a turned ankle and I had a broken nose that I had to stay in the hospital for, and I played through it. I know what I put into that organization and what I put into it was everything I had every night."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Chris Bosh has said his piece. The Toronto Raptors have said their piece. All involved must move on.
 
Nothing is gained by Bosh repeating his stance that he never quit on the Raptors and played hurt. And nothing is gained by the Raptors repeating their stance that he didn't play through pain and had 'checked out'.
 
Both look petty. Both look bad. And both have bigger fish to fry in 2011.
 
Bosh is public enemy number one in Miami with fellow Kings LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, while GM Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors must focus on fielding a competitive team.   
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Tuesday , Aug , 17 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Leandro Barbosa on leaving Phoenix: ‘I asked for a trade’

Yeah, I knew I was going to get traded. I asked for a trade after the season. I told Phoenix I wanted to play in a better situation for me, which I think I have in Toronto. I didn’t get that chance to play a lot in Phoenix, so I wanted to go to a different team. The first team that came was Toronto, and I have a good relationship with Bryan Colangelo, so everything worked out.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: A change should do him good.

After winning The Sixth Man of the Year award in 2006-07, Leandro Barbosa's career stalled with the Phoenix Suns. His play was inconsistent because of injuries. And Jared Dudley emerged in 2010, taking the minutes Barbosa typically got.

So he quietly requested a trade. And Toronto came calling.

If healthy, the Brazilian speedster should get plenty of minutes, shots, and touches north of the border with the Raptors. His positive outlook will be much appreciated in a market that has taken plenty of hits.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Tracy McGrady on the Pistons: `My game will do all the talking`

``My game this season will do all the talking I need to do now,'' McGrady told FanHouse Friday when reached on his cell phone. "There's no need for me to say anything else at this point.''

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Having a chip on your shoulder is never a bad thing, but Tracy McGrady must channel his emotions.

If McGrady treats the Detroit Pistons’ system like an all-you-can-shoot-buffet, if he believes the season is all about his redemption, if he demands a set amount of minutes, touches, and field goal attempts, then this chip is a negative.

However, if McGrady facilitates for others, if he uses his length, size, and athleticism to defend, if he stuffs the stat-sheet like when he was with the Toronto Raptors, then this chip is a positive.

Bottom line: McGrady may never find his past form. He must accept this. He must move on. He must play a role for Detroit.

If he can do this successfully, a contender may consider him as a sixth-man, game-changer for 2012.

Then his career will have been salvaged. And then the chip on his shoulder will have been a positive.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Aug , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh on free agency: ‘I played with people’s emotions’

"If you think about how many times somebody asks you, 'How are you,' that's how many times I was asked, 'Where you going?'" Bosh told the Daily News on Wednesday.  "So it's like, well, in my case, I'm going to have fun with it. I'm going to play with people's emotions. I'm going to be high and low."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: There's no doubt about it.

Chris Bosh had a plan for July 1st. He knew what he was doing.

When free agency hit, the All-Star power forward was bolting on the Toronto Raptors and signing with the Miami Heat, joining fellow superstars and friends LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

He executed his plan perfectly, using his rights as a free agent to sign with the team of his chosing. Fair enough. Just don't play 'with people's emotions' and don't brag about it afterwards.

Bosh should remember Karma is a mo-fu. For instance, Vince Carter kicked the Toronto Raptors after his trade to the New Jersey Nets, telling John Thompson he didn't always try and give a full effort.

Carter's career has never recovered. He stumbled with the Nets, and he struggled with the Orlando Magic in 2010.

If there's justice, Bosh will reap a touch of what he has recently sown.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Aug , 12 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Jose Calderon for T.J. Ford?

The four-team, five-player trade that went down on Wednesday could have actually been a lot bigger, according to a league source.

The Bobcats and Raptors nearly got involved in the fray.

Under one additional wrinkle, Charlotte would have sent Erick Dampier to Indiana, the Pacers would have shipped T.J. Ford to the Raptors and the Bobcats would have acquired Jose Calderon.


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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Oh, the irony.

In 2008, GM Bryan Colangelo and the Toronto Raptors decided they couldn’t have the two-headed monster of Jose Calderon and T.J. Ford at point guard.

So Ford, and what was left of his $33 million contract, was traded to the Indiana Pacers for Jermaine O’Neal. Calderon was then re-signed to a five-year, $45 million deal, and named the starter.

Two years later, both are struggling. Ford had a mediocre 2009. He spent 2010 chained to the bench. Meanwhile, Calderon has shown his defense and health isn’t good enough to be Toronto`s full-time starter.

Colangelo, who has spent his off-season making band-aid moves, considered swapping the former teammates for each other.

Yes, Calderon to the Bobcats. Erick Dampier to the Pacers. Ford to the Raptors.  

This would work. Calderon’s statuesque defence and pricey big-ticket would come off the books. Ford would back-up Jarrett Jack. Best of all, his big-ticket expires at season’s end.

Maybe this is enough for Colangelo to re-visit the past and re-acquire Ford.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Aug , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Bosh, Colangelo, and Turkoglu should shut up and take the high road

“People have to realize something is wrong with that organization and nobody wants to go there anymore,” he said in a phone interview from Turkey. “It’s not just the players who see this.”

Bryan Colangelo recently accused Chris Bosh of quitting on the team during the second half of the 09-10 season.

"It’s funny that people will talk behind your back,” Turkoglu said of Colangelo. “If he was feeling this way, why not have the guts to say it during the season? Why not say it to Chris? Now that Chris has left, it’s not nice to say those things.

“Chris has been a franchise player and he did a lot of good things for the Raptors. I don’t think Chris is the type of player to quit on his teammates.

“I just don’t understand why you would say these things,” he added. “Like I said, that organization has problems.”

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They've all moved on, so it's time for the high road.

This spring and summer, Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo and former players Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu have exchanged words through the media.

If you're keeping track, here's a recap:

After seven years in Toronto, Bosh signs as a free agent with Miami. The way he leaves, tweeting constantly and smiling on television, alienates Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the wealthy holding company that owns the Raptors.  

Colangelo unofficially suspends Turkoglu at the end of last season for unprofessional behaviour. Turkoglu requests and receives an off-season trade to Phoenix.
 
End of story, right? Wrong.

In late July, Colangelo tells the Fan 590 radio station that Bosh 'checked-out' on the Raptors after the All-Star game. Bosh responds angrily. Turkoglu slams Colangelo and the organization.

Got all that?

The above saga resembles a junior high tiff between tweenie Twilight fans, and not the inner workings of a professional sports organization or professional athletes.

The key word is professional. Professionals don’t initiate nonsense. Professionals don’t get caught up in nonsense. Professionals are busy with their jobs.

Perhaps Bosh, Colangelo, and Turkoglu should just remember the ancient law of Omerta, where to quote super agent Arie Gold 'silence is golden`.

All involved may not be familiar with The Godfather or Entourage, so we'll try another route. They should remember the saying: 'if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all'.

Their mud slinging has made a bad situation worse. Thankfully, Colangelo now gets this and had little response to Turkoglu's recent comment.
 
"I still consider hedo a friend in this business and wish him well again in Phoenix, " he said.
 
Unfortunately, the damage is done. All three have taken a hit.
 
--Oly Sandor.
 
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Sunday , Aug , 01 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No Way Jose: Why Colangelo and Toronto can’t trade Calderon

"My future will be known when Toronto and my agents make a decision," Calderon said. "They are working daily for the best solution for me and the franchise. Now, there isn't anything new to say."

Calderon is Toronto's highest-paid player with the departure of All-Star Chris Bosh. He'll make $9 million this coming season, but his contract increases to $9.7 in 2011 and $10.5 million in 2012.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: One man's junk is another man's, well, junk.

It's no secret Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is having difficulty trading Jose Calderon and the remaining three-years and $30 million on his contract.

After all, Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats exposed Colangelo and Calderon when 'His Airness' pulled an audible in mid-air and cancelled a trade to acquire the Spanish point guard in July.

For a variety of reasons, Calderon could be staying put:

1) The recession is lingering. A lockout is coming next July. In this economy, few teams have the resources or desire to assume Calderon's big-ticket.

2) The teams that can afford Calderon want better value. For instance, he's earning star money but - with his poor defense and health - is really a reserve.

3) The league is stacked with point guards. Last year, Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson, and Darren Collison entered the league, and proved they could start or come off-the-bench.

Two years ago, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, D.J. Augustin, Jerryd Bayless, George Hill, Mario Chalmers, and Goran Dragic were drafted and have also shown they can play.

These young table-setters, who are tied to cheap rookie contracts, have killed the trade market for expensive veterans like Calderon.

4) Calderon thrived when Toronto played an up-and-down system. Back then, offensive basketball was enjoying a brief renaissance.

Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns aside, the renaissance is over. Defense is in demand, which means Calderon - the NBA's worst perimeter defender - is not.

So Colageno could be stuck with Calderon, a player he supported, paid, and has turned on. Things could get awkward if Calderon is in Toronto for 2011.

All will be noted by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the wealthy holding company that owns the Raptors, when Colangelo's contract expires next summer.

And the organization will not have any of these difficulties cutting ties with their underachieving executive.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

No ‘different': Bosh treated Toronto like Carter, McGrady, and Stoudamire

Bosh, who left for the Heat earlier this month, responded to allegations made by Colangelo on Toronto radio station FAN 590 that claimed the All-Star was "checked out" late last season and chose not to play some of the Raptors' final games.

"I play this game as hard as I can every time I step on the court," Bosh said. "On the back of my jersey it says 'Bosh' ... The Boshes are hard workers. We have a lot of pride in what we do, in our jobs and in life."

"Everybody thinks, 'Oh, he was gone as soon as the season was over,' " he said. "It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. As different as another country is, it was still home for me. I had been there for seven years."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: You'll forgive Toronto Raptor fans for rolling their eyes after reading Chris Bosh's latest comments.

Bosh tried to clarify a few things in an interview with ESPN: he denied GM Bryan Colangelo's claim he went Vince Carter on the Raptors and quit; he also denied accusations he was always going to leave as a free agent; and, most importantly, he swears nothing was meant by calling Toronto 'different'.

The power forward told ESPN he, like Toronto, was 'different'.  How could that be bad, right?

Raptor-nation will agree Bosh is 'different'. The tune he's now singing is indeed 'different' than the mood and attitude he projected in late June and early July.

A month ago, Bosh – like a kid on Christmas Eve - couldn't wait for free agency. He had no reservations, concerns, or second thoughts about ditching Toronto to join free agent buddies LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in a big American market.

For instance, his constant tweets, documentary film making aspirations, and regular television appearances with Wade and then James rubbed salt in a stinging wound for Raptor fans.

Only after his signing, only after the smoke had cleared and the backlash had begun, did Bosh reach out to the city that embraced him for seven years.

The most disappointing part is that Bosh was supposed to be 'different'. He was supposed to be 'different' than superstars Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Damon Stoudamire, who crapped on Toronto when leaving.

In the end, Bosh wasn't different'.  Sure, his words were 'different' than the tone VC, T-Mac, and Stoudamire struck when exiting, but his actions were, unfortunately, the same.

Aren't actions, not words, what really matter? Aren't actions what people should be judged by?
 
So forgive Raptor-nation for rightfully rolling their eyes at Bosh.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 27 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Bryan Colangelo: Chris Bosh ‘checked out’ on Toronto Raptors

When it came to a Monday radio interview, Bryan Colangelo "chose his words carefully," but didn't leave many bullets left in his pistol. Colangelo intoned that Bosh took a long time to return from injury even though he had been medically cleared and that he started thinking ahead to his future at the expense of the Raptors. "Despite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games ... I'm not even questioning Chris' injury. I'm telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn't there and he chose not to play," Colangelo said. ... Colangelo went on to elaborate: "Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn't quite into it down the stretch, he wasn't the same guy. I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo may be right.

Perhaps Chris Bosh checked out on the club during the second half of the 2010 season. Perhaps he had already decided to partner with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in South Beach. And perhaps, he should have played through the pain.

Colangelo, however, was wrong to trash Bosh. Dead wrong.

Good organizations don't insult former players who left three weeks ago. They move on. They replace them. They sell fans on the coming season.

The two-time Executive of the Year knows better. He was schooled by his father, a well tenured NBA executive and minority owner who now runs USA Basketball.

Colangelo's perspective was understandable, though. Bosh showed Toronto no respect during free agency. His constant tweets and film making alienated Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the wealthy holding company that owns the Raptors.

His confidence and self-assured smirk must have had Raptor fans wondering what happened to the humble kid they embraced seven years ago.

So Colangelo may have been right. He should have resisted temptation and continued with the high road.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Sources: Chicago expected to sign McGrady this week

The Bulls are prepared to sign free-agent Tracy McGrady if he proves to be healthy and willing to accept a bench role, according to a source. McGrady is scheduled to workout for Chicago on Monday.

"Nothing is done until it's done, but I expect the Bulls to sign McGrady later this week," the source said. The length and value of the contract McGrady could sign is yet to be determined.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: His role must be clearly defined before both parties sign a contract.

In other words, the Chicago Bulls must politely tell Tracy McGrady he'll complement stars Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer, not vice-versa.

The Bulls should also call 'RaptorsTV' and ask for video of McGrady's final season in Toronto. They should then remind him how effective he was when using his length and athleticism to defend and facilitate for others.

If these expectations aren't laid out, McGrady and the Bulls could be a difficult pairing.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Sacramento Kings get a mentor in Antoine Wright

The Kings are expected to sign Antoine Wright to a one-year deal on Friday, according to Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News. Wright averaged 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 67 games with the Raptors during the 2009-10 season.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He's the ideal mentor.

Last year, Antoine Wright was a bright spot for the disappointing Toronto Raptors. He consistently defended, knocked down a few jump shots, and won Coach Jay Triano over with his toughness and work ethic.

Wright will do the same for a young, talented Sacramento squad. He'll model professionalism and contribute on-court, too.

At one year for what was the veteran's minimum, this was a smart pick-up for the Kings.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Must have: Colangelo and Raptors can`t lose Barnes

Matt Barnes announced on Monday night that he is going to sign with the Raptors. However, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that Orlando's limited sign-and-trade options may scuttle the deal, according to sources.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Before they sign the contract, before they shake hands, before they profess their love for each other in front of reporters, there is business to attend to.

Yesterday, Matt Barnes – a coveted free agent – announced via twitter he had signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Toronto Raptors.

His tweet omitted that Toronto and his old team, the Orlando Magic, have yet to work out a sign-and-trade. Unless Barnes restructures Toronto’s offer, a sign-and-trade is the best option because both teams have limited cap space.

Once again, the Raptors’ plan has hit a snag.

Last week, they thought they had a deal to send often injured point guard Jose Calderon to the Charlotte Bobcats for forward Boris Diaw and center Tyson Chandler.

But Bobcats owner and executive Michael Jordan got cold feet. His Airness suddenly called off the trade, pulled out his blackberry, and took the Dallas Mavericks’ package for Chandler.

Now there’s a complication with Barnes.

Look for GM Bryan Colangelo to pull out all stops to complete a sign-and-trade with Orlando. After all, Barnes would inject the right quota of nasty into an all too docile Raptors squad.

For instance, last season no teammate stepped to the Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce after he dunked on and kneed franchise-face Chris Bosh. No teammate challenged Pierce, and, with Bosh on the ground in agony, Coach Jay Triano had to confront Pierce.
 
  
(Triano forced to play tough guy because no Raptor defended Bosh.)

This play surely influenced Bosh’s decision to depart the Great White North as a free agent for the warmer pastures of South Beach and the Miami Heat.

Consider what would have happened if Barnes was a Raptor last year. He would have gotten in Pierce’s grill; he would have taken revenge on the next Celtic to drive the lane; and - for good measure or, perhaps, his own enjoyment - he would have talked smack on-line.

Such an edge is rare. And Barnes developed his nasty streak floating on the fringes of the NBA for several years. As a result, he plays each game like it’s his last; nothing is taken for granted.        

So Colangeo and the Raptors can’t take for granted that they have Barnes. Too much is at stake not to. 
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade: ‘LeBron James didn’t quit’ on Cleveland

"He's not a quitter," Wade said. "He didn't quit."

"LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, guys like that understand what Boston's defense was about," Wade said. "Their defense was built on not letting one player beat them. You either settle for the outside shot or you pass to your teammates. LeBron had one bad game in the playoffs. Other than that, he did what he could do with the defense all watching him."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call ... The Miami Heat's three superstars must do exactly this: they must have each others' back.

After their free agent coup, South Beach's basketball team will be public enemy number one, sporting a bulls-eye the size of North America all season on their black, red, and white uniforms.

So Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade have to support each other because the pressure will be intense. Night-in, night-out, the Heat will face a motivated and energetic opponent.

These three will also understand the scrutiny each will face in specific markets. For instance, Bosh and Wade will get the backlash LeBron will experience when Miami is in Cleveland. Both will face - to a small extent - something similar when Miami rolls into Toronto and Chicago.

Bosh, James, and Wade are close friends. They'll need this friendship next year.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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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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