Chisholm: Raptors not set up to tank
Old 07-26-2013, 02:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Chisholm: Raptors not set up to tank

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For the Raptors, Iím just not sure that they have the right personnel to successfully pull off a tank job. Firstly, you have Jonas Valanciunas locked-in as the closest thing the club has to a young franchise player, and heís probably already better than any young assets in Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix and Milwaukee. Secondly, you have a club that appears motivated to at least start the season with Rudy Gay flanking him, and despite his warts Gay is more talented than anyone on most of the expected tanking candidates. Thirdly, you have a coach on a one-year contract that you would have a very hard time convincing to make tanking-based decisions, especially if 2011-12 is any example. Then if all that wasnít enough, you have an organization that has been bad for so long they are starting to lose relevancy in their home market, which makes tanking an unappetizing proposition from a managerial position, too.
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Iíve used this word a lot since Masai Ujiri took over the club, but I think his philosophy, both generally and with the Raptors specifically, is to be opportunistic. He doesnít lock himself dogmatically into one way of doing things, he keeps himself in a position to be flexible, to make moves when the right moves make themselves available and waits patiently until those kinds of moves are there. I donít think that heíll ever commit whole hog to tanking because it tends to kill flexibility and the odds are too long that you actually get a payout at the end worthy of the sacrifice. Heíll acquire picks when he can because picks have value no matter what a teamís strategy is. Heíll try and avoid large, onerous, multi-year contracts unless the player is both truly worth it and can still be moved later. Heíll make moves that allow him to accomplish his immediate goals while also retaining the flexibility to change course down the road because that affords him the luxury of being able to shift when something isnít working and going all in when something is.
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Now letís look at the Raptors. Theyíd need to unload Gay and Lowry, for sure, in order to plummet to the depths of some of those aforementioned teams, and they couldnít take legit talent back because that might help the team win. Since neither Gay nor Lowry guarantees you great draft picks (their respective contract situations make it hard for teams to surrender picks for them), youíd probably lose value in any transaction that respects the hopes of being bad enough next year to Ďcompeteí with the leagueís worst teams. Losing value in a trade is almost never a good management strategy, and it certainly runs counter to Ujiriís history as a team GM.
The Raptors Aren’t Setup For Tanking | Raptors Republic: ESPN TrueHoop Network Blog
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree with many things said in this piece. It will not be easy to tank this season.
However, the real question is, EVEN if we have to lose a lot of value while trading gay/lowry and EVEN if we only get a 5th pick in the draft, is it still better than to continue with this roster.

It comes down to whether you believe this roster with minor tweaks can ever compete for a title or not. I don't, but if TL and DC think it can - I'd be willing to buy it given their level of competence.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with many things said in this piece. It will not be easy to tank this season.
However, the real question is, EVEN if we have to lose a lot of value while trading gay/lowry and EVEN if we only get a 5th pick in the draft, is it still better than to continue with this roster.

It comes down to whether you believe this roster with minor tweaks can ever compete for a title or not. I don't, but if TL and DC think it can - I'd be willing to buy it given their level of competence.

I don't think it can compete for a title, and I doubt they do either. But i'm guessing they're going to use the next 6 months to evaluate who they believe can be part of the roster that can eventually contend and trade the rest but they won't give them away to tank, thankfully.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't think it can compete for a title, and I doubt they do either. But i'm guessing they're going to use the next 6 months to evaluate who they believe can be part of the roster that can eventually contend and trade the rest but they won't give them away to tank, thankfully.
see, the problem is that this roster is almost impossible to tweak without blowing it up. Assume they decide we need to get rid of gay. We can either trade him (for more or less the same type of player) or let him expire (or trade for expiring and picks). In that case, we'd still have no cap space to sign a replacement for him, so we'd end up with a team that has lowry/demar/JV and some picks and no cap space. In order to get max cap space, you would need to let lowry walk to. Then we'd have max cap space, but a shitty team, so no prospect to attract a big time free agent. And anyway, by my definition, trading lowry and gay for picks IS tanking ...
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And anyway, by my definition, trading lowry and gay for picks IS tanking ...
By anyone's definition that's tanking. But I just don't see them blowing things up completely. Especially not to tank. Not from what we're hearing.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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By anyone's definition that's tanking. But I just don't see them blowing things up completely. Especially not to tank. Not from what we're hearing.
I wasn't predicting it either, just outlining the fact that this team CANNOT be retooled because it's locked. The only hope to improve is either we somehow convert gay in lowry in better players at the same position through some lopsided deal (fairly unlikely) or that we strike gold in late lottery or worse (again, not very likely).

If anybody has any ideas of how we could achieve a retool without blowing up, I'd be happy to change my mind. I offered this challenge many, many times to the anti-tank crowd and have yet to see anything.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wasn't predicting it either, just outlining the fact that this team CANNOT be retooled because it's locked. The only hope to improve is either we somehow convert gay in lowry in better players at the same position through some lopsided deal (fairly unlikely) or that we strike gold in late lottery or worse (again, not very likely).

If anybody has any ideas of how we could achieve a retool without blowing up, I'd be happy to change my mind. I offered this challenge many, many times to the anti-tank crowd and have yet to see anything.
The only path I see is letting Gay and Lowry walk at the end of the year, and signing a max free agent superstar next summer. Seems highly unlikely anyone would want to come here, but there it is. Then you have to fill out the 1 or the 3 with what little cap space you have left (say, 4M), or trade DD to fill that hole, and try to find a 3+D 2-guard with the remaining cap space, and use minimum signings to fill out the rest of the roster.

I see that option above, keeping the core long term, and tanking as the three viable options, and I know which one I lean towards.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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While they are not set up to tank, there is nothing to say that many of these guys who are prepping for the season because they have something to prove would not be moved when they have maximized their value....at which point they are bound to get better trade returns.

And even if they don't get moved, I'd look to teams that will be impatient to deal with like the Knicks and Lakers. The Knicks could even lose Carmello to the Lakers if Bargnani and Amare prove useless to keep him around.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The only path I see is letting Gay and Lowry walk at the end of the year, and signing a max free agent superstar next summer. Seems highly unlikely anyone would want to come here, but there it is. Then you have to fill out the 1 or the 3 with what little cap space you have left (say, 4M), or trade DD to fill that hole, and try to find a 3+D 2-guard with the remaining cap space, and use minimum signings to fill out the rest of the roster.

I see that option above, keeping the core long term, and tanking as the three viable options, and I know which one I lean towards.
They might be able to trade one of them in order to get something in return... I hope they won't just let them walk away, if that's going to be MU's path.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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we have the best timing don't we? when we do suck the draft class sucks. when the draft is loaded (best since 2003), we just aren't set up to tank.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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They might be able to trade one of them in order to get something in return... I hope they won't just let them walk away, if that's going to be MU's path.
If they bring something back, that cuts into the cap space. To me, if they trade the two of them, they should do so in December or so, and try to bring back youth and picks, and tank the rest of the way. If they wait and try to bring back equal talent, they'll be bringing back equal salary as well, and will lose out on even that slim hope of playing the free agent game (if the direction is win now, that is).
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't think it can compete for a title, and I doubt they do either. But i'm guessing they're going to use the next 6 months to evaluate who they believe can be part of the roster that can eventually contend and trade the rest but they won't give them away to tank, thankfully.
I was right on this with you jeffb & I agree!
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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might not be on topic but heard from a good source that mitchell wiggins (andrew wiggins dad) is going to be hired by the Raptors as some sort of scout.

ujiri planting the seed early!
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Unless Rudy Gay has a monster year there is no way he's walking away from 19 million. He would have to go so far and play so well above what he has to justify walking away from the option year. Just don't see it happening even for a longer term.
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Are the Cavs, Wizards and Pelicans tanking? They have their franchise players with Irving, Wall and Anthony Davis and are win mode now. Raps have Jonas. They have lost their best players (Chris Paul and Lebron) the last couple of years, and were bottom feeders during this period. Sometimes alienating your fans and the losing has to stop, and your franchise has to become relevant in the NBA landscape. The Raps are not taking the tanking approach, and they are a team set up to make the playoffs!!
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Are the Cavs, Wizards and Pelicans tanking? They have their franchise players with Irving, Wall and Anthony Davis and are win mode now. Raps have Jonas. They have lost their best players (Chris Paul and Lebron) the last couple of years, and were bottom feeders during this period. Sometimes alienating your fans and the losing has to stop, and your franchise has to become relevant in the NBA landscape. The Raps are not taking the tanking approach, and they are a team set up to make the playoffs!!
And notice how all those guys were drafted 1st overall? Those teams all actually tanked, rather than the retooling BC chose to do to keep the impatient fans like you happy. They're all better than us and will be in the future. Even as young as those guys are they're a tier higher than Rudy and theyre likely going to improve as they're all under 23. We might not be in a position to tank right now, but that can be fixed.
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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might not be on topic but heard from a good source that mitchell wiggins (andrew wiggins dad) is going to be hired by the Raptors as some sort of scout.

ujiri planting the seed early!
Link?
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:50 PM   #18 (permalink)
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doubt it would be legal to do that
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:51 PM   #19 (permalink)
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And notice how all those guys were drafted 1st overall? Those teams all actually tanked, rather than the retooling BC chose to do to keep the impatient fans like you happy. They're all better than us and will be in the future. Even as young as those guys are they're a tier higher than Rudy and theyre likely going to improve as they're all under 23. We might not be in a position to tank right now, but that can be fixed.
You don't need the No. 1 overall pick to get a franchise player. I think the Raps have their franchise player in Jonas. OKC drafted Durant @ No. 2, Westbrook @ 4. Actually the year we did draft Jonas, we had the third worst record in the NBA. So we did tank that year.
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:56 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The only path I see is letting Gay and Lowry walk at the end of the year, and signing a max free agent superstar next summer. Seems highly unlikely anyone would want to come here, but there it is. Then you have to fill out the 1 or the 3 with what little cap space you have left (say, 4M), or trade DD to fill that hole, and try to find a 3+D 2-guard with the remaining cap space, and use minimum signings to fill out the rest of the roster.

I see that option above, keeping the core long term, and tanking as the three viable options, and I know which one I lean towards.
exactly
I would add a 4th option:

trade gay + assets or lowry + assets for a disgruntled elite player. This would assume either ross blossoms, or we use multiple #1 picks in future seasons to sweeten the deal. For example: lowry + next season's pick for rondo. Quite unlikely still, but I guess it's possible.
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