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Old 06-30-2012, 01:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pulling out all the stops

It will be glitzy without being over the top, thorough to a fault and will attempt to answer all the pertinent questions and concerns.

It will include friends and familiar faces and play a bit on its historic nature.

And when the Raptors begin their full-on assault on NBA free agent Steve Nash a minute after midnight Sunday morning, they will have one very significant factor on their side: The man in charge has done it before.

Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo has been down this road before, wooing Nash to Phoenix from Dallas in a franchise-changing free-agent signing eight years ago and if there is one thing for certain, it’s that Colangelo will know what’s necessary.

On that day in question, Colangelo pulled out all the stops.

A private jet ferried a group of front-office personnel, coaches and players to Dallas. With them were bells and whistles like printed materials, video presentations and a staggering financial commitment. There’s no telling which part of it turned Nash’s mind to the Arizona desert but you can bet Colangelo will employ some of the same tactics.

Of course, Colangelo cannot — and will not — talk publicly about a player still under contract to another team and neither will he lay out the specifics of his plan of attack.

But it’s only logical that the second he is able to, he will be on the phone to Nash’s representatives to set up a meeting while several of his front-office and basketball personnel are waiting to swoop in and deliver the message in person.

“This is an interesting year because there are a few pieces that make a lot of sense for us and we will certainly prioritize those pieces,” was about all he could say during a media session Friday to introduce draft picks Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy at the Air Canada Centre.

“The draft process was obviously a big part of the steps we’re taking to structure the roster and now that we have the draft behind us, there are some known commodities, known pieces that are fitting into the puzzle,” he said.

Nash, of course, is at the top of a very short list. The 38-year-old guard is among the top handful of point guards in the league, he’s got at least two or three years left in his career and the Raptors have the financial wherewithal to make him an offer more lucrative than almost any other team in the league.

And Colangelo said publicly for the first time Friday — without making mention of Nash in any form lest he run afoul of NBA tampering rules — that he may have to use Jose Calderon’s salary as part of his overall free-agency plan.

“Jose is a very good basketball player and a very important part of this team. He’s become a leader of this team, but if we feel there’s a piece that will make us better or improve our basketball team and we have the flexibility . . . I think we should always pursue that and I think Jose understands that,” said Colangelo.

“If he comes back, we’re going to be happy to have him and coach (Dwane Casey) loves Jose Calderon, but as we construct the roster, you do your best to put the best possible team on the floor with a vision and a plan and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

That vision also includes — in a lesser role — Ross and Acy, who were picked eighth and 37th, respectively, in Thursday’s NBA draft.

And as they handled their inaugural media sessions, they sat next to coach Casey, who fairly beamed at their answers to questions.
Toronto Raptors pulling out all the stops in bid to woo free agent Steve Nash - thestar.com
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