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Old 06-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Raptors to be aggressive but cautious in free agency

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With Colangelo’s contract set to expire if ownership does not pick up an option after this season — he will never say that is a factor in any of his decisions — and the stated goal of making the playoffs, one would think Colangelo is committed to spending that money. The Raptors will have between US$10-million and more than US$22-million if they renounce the matching rights for their restricted free agents (Jerryd Bayless and Sonny Weems) and use the amnesty clause remaining from the lockout on Jose Calderon to spend in free agency.

The easiest solution: Use the money to try to make the playoffs.

“It’s important to note that the flexibility is the key to operating a business, especially in this business,” Colangelo said. “You’ve got to be able to add pieces when those pieces are available. You’ve got to have the ability to sign players when those pieces make sense. This is not necessarily [a situation where on Sunday] at 12:01 Eastern time we’re going to have two pieces in place and everything is done and we’re going to wrap things up and we’re going to see everybody in October. This could take some time. The money might not be spent right away because we might not feel the right piece is there to act immediately.”

Translation: The Raptors have priorities, and they are not going to spend the entirety of their money just because they can. They are very interested in bringing Steve Nash to Toronto, which is the next worst-kept secret in the league behind the fact that Houston is trying to acquire Dwight Howard. ESPN’s Marc Stein, who is close with Nash, reported that the Raptors are expected to send a group to meet Nash in New York as soon as allowed. Much of the Raptors’ brass will be in Los Angeles for assistant coach Eric Hughes’ wedding on Saturday, but they will put the full-court press on Nash. (If they get Nash, using the amnesty clause on Calderon would become increasingly likely.)

The Raptors also badly want to add a veteran small forward who is capable of starting, not content to go into the season with DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Linas Kleiza (another amnesty candidate) and draft pick Terrence Ross. There is no obvious target in free agency, however, at least in terms of immediate difference makers. Brooklyn’s Gerald Wallace is the best unrestricted free agent, but has a history of injuries. Portland’s Nicolas Batum, Golden State’s Brandon Rush and Boston’s Jeff Green could also work, but they are restricted free agents, which means their teams can match offers to retain them.

Colangelo once more brought up the possibility of keeping the space under the salary cap and acquiring a key player once the season starts. He has said that in the past, and little has come of it.
Raptors will be aggressive, but cautious in free agency | NBA | Sports | National Post
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