Although there are certainly some high profile point guards - Mike Bibby and Andre Miller - on the trading block, don't expect a major name - at least not until there is a definitive answer to the Ford question. There is no way the Raps are going to mess with their salary-cap situation with a guy like Bibby (2 more years at $13.5 million per year) or Miller (2 more years at $9.6 million per year). But there are a number of quality guards out there that could play the role the Raptors
need. Some realistic candidates include:
1. Damon Stoudamire, Memphis Grizzlies
2007-08 Numbers: 7.3 PPG, 3.9 APG, 39.7 FG%
Okay, so he didn't exactly leave the team under the best circumstances - but that was almost 10 years ago. Stoudamire is dying to get out of Memphis, so much so that he's already asked for a trade. Despite how it ended, Stoudamire's best years in the NBA were those he spent in Toronto; and with his career winding down, he should welcome an opportunity to return to the playoffs - something that won't happen in Memphis. He would bring a veteran presence that, unlike Martin, can still play for a Raptor team that is pretty young. "Mighty Mouse" is only under contract for one more year after this, at a very reasonable $4.35 million. When T.J. returns, Stoudamire could even fill in at 2-guard if needed.
2. Sam Cassell, Los Angeles Clippers
2007-08 Numbers: 11.6 PPG, 4.0 APG, 41.6 FG%
Though he may be 38 years old, Cassell might be exactly the kind of player the Raptors
need. With two NBA Championships, he can provide some valuable playoff experience. But perhaps most importantly, Cassell could bring some feistiness that is sorely lacking with this Raptors
team. He would be the most entertaining personality, since Charles Oakley, to wear a Raptors
uniform. Cassell's contract expires at the end of the year, so there is no long term commitment to worry about. With the Clippers doubtful to make the playoffs, it's likely he's being shopped already - expect the Boston Celtics to come calling for a backup to Rajon Rando.
3. Luke Ridnour, Seattle SuperSonics
2007-08 Numbers: 5.6 PPG, 2.9 APG, 40.0 FG%
Ridnour's lost his starting job to Earl Watson and the Raptors
have shown interest in the Oregon Duck in the past. Ridnour is at his best on a team that likes to run, so he would fit in well with the Raptors
style. The biggest stumbling block, however, is Ridnour's contract: three years left at $6.5 million per season. Plus, where does he play when Ford returns?
4. Bobby Jackson, New Orleans Hornets
2007-08 Numbers: 6.5 PPG, 1.6 APG, 35.0 FG%
Jackson is really more of a hybrid shooting/point guard. But if there is one thing that Jackson has provided throughout his career it is instant offense from the bench. He always comes into the game looking to be aggressive. Unfortunately, Jackson also has a history of injuries - he's only played more than 70 games in a season four times in his 10 year career. If needed, Jackson could slide over to the 2-guard and fill the role that Juan Dixon was supposed to play. Jackson has two years left on his deal at $5.67 million a year.
5. Dan Dickau, Los Angles Clippers
2007-08 Numbers: 5.8 PPG, 2.8 APG, 38.7 FG%
It almost seems cruel to suggest that Dickau might be moved. In five years in the league, the former Gonzaga Bulldog has played on seven different teams, including two separate stints with Portland. But Dickau's been able to stay in the league because he can hit the occasional shot and limits his turnovers. He could provide the Raptors
with a steady, experienced hand. His contract expires at the end of this year, so there is no future commitment. Dickau could be the definition of a short-term fix.