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Old 05-31-2012, 08:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Star: Raps could have interest in Lamb, Rivers, Barnes, Waiters

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The website Hoopshype.com has the Raptors paired with Duke’s Austin Rivers, son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and a player who is viewed as a combo guard after being found wanting at the point in college. That seems a little too easy, no? ESPN has the Raptors linked with Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters, while Draftexpress.com has Connecticut shooting guard Jeremy Lamb going to the Raptors behind another player said to interest Toronto, small forward Harrison Barnes of North Carolina.

There are Raptors fans who believe the team did itself a disservice by not tanking and increasing their odds of a better pick. Leaving aside the moral implications of that approach – tough to talk “culture change” without executing it – the truth is it was wholly unrealistic to expect a team led by a once-fired coach trying to rebuild his reputation with players looking for another pay-day and expect them to blow a few games just for yucks. The Raptors, in other words, didn’t have players good enough or comfortable enough to tank. In fact, what the Raptors need more than anything is more talent across the board. It’s just the degree of need that varies.

This is very clearly Casey’s team, more so in some ways than it is Colangelo’s team. Andrea Bargnani can play for Casey. DeMar DeRozan can if he continues to show a willingness to engage in the nasty areas where offensive genius is rewarded. Ed Davis, with more muscle, is a ball magnet – maybe not enough to be a starter, but enough to come off the bench. And don’t forget Jonas Valanciunas, the Lithuanian big man and last year’s top pick who is said to be on the verge of a buy-out. The rest of what the Raptors have is, frankly, disposable. So Colangelo was right on Wednesday to say all options are open: about $12-million (U.S.) in cap space, an amnesty clause, and with three picks in the draft, a willingness to put together a trade package. Colangelo is open to drafting for positional need, but will also consider taking the proverbial best player available.

“We feel with a player at eight, we can add to our building process, or package it with something else to create a trade asset,” Colangelo said.

And that’s how it should be. This club wasn’t one or two picks away going into Wednesday night. It certainly wasn’t coming out of Wednesday night.

Status quo leaves options open for Raptors - The Globe and Mail
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