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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 12.02.10
It's second round or bust for Raps
King of Dunk?
There’s another level the Raptors have to reach if they want to be considered with the likes of Cleveland, Orlando, Atlanta and even the struggling Celtics, who are showing signs of age and decline.
Maybe the Raptors will get there simply by showing the kind of improvement they’ve shown in the last two months.
Perhaps GM Bryan Colangelo doesn’t have to sacrifice a core piece to make the team better.
Whatever happens in the days leading up to next Thursday’s trade deadline, the Raptors will ultimately be judged in the post-season.
The team has come too far to settle for anything less.
It’s second round or bust.
"This has been a part of my NBA dream for a while,'' DeRozan wrote in his blog on raptors.com.
"I grew up watching dunk contests, especially during all-star weekend, and it's probably the thing people most look forward to. Just to be a part of that, being on the main stage with three other guys, with the whole country watching. It's exciting and you couldn't ask for anything more.
"I have to say the Vince Carter year was my favourite dunk contest. He really showed something different in that dunk contest and put it back on the map. That twisting windmill 360 on his first dunk? That was the first time anybody had ever seen anything like that. Gotta make a statement on that first one!"
Bosh: Kid from Dallas returns a hero
What Bosh is saying, and what he has been saying for the better part of two years, is he hasn't made that decision -- so how can anyone else know?
"It has not been easy," he admits when asked about all the speculation. "I guess this is wishful thinking from other forms of media. Welcome to my world."
You would think, based on the overwhelming sense of certainty, that Bosh was just one of the few guys in a position to move this summer, but that too would be wrong.
In what could be the biggest free-agent class of franchise-type players in the history of the league, Bosh is joined by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and then a notch below come others such as Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer.
An ESPN poll this past August asked 52 of its NBA types -- writers, researchers, statisticians and the like -- where each of the potential big names would wind up in 2011.
Just three voters or a paltry 5.8% believed Bosh would stay in Toronto.
James? Oh 73.1% had him staying in Cleveland.
Wade? Not quite as certain, but 67.3% believed he would still be in a Heat uniform past 2010.
And the best reason given for this certainty of Bosh heading elsewhere?
" ... Reports from behind the scenes have led many to believe that Bosh wants to leave."
Yeah, there's that vagueness again.
Colangelo for his part wants nothing to do with commenting on the motives of the American media or any media for that matter.
"As long as Chris Bosh and his agent realize our intentions it really shouldn't matter," Colangelo said.
But it does matter. People get pissy when they feel like their home or even their home team are being summarily dismissed in the battle to attract or keep one of their best and brightest commodities.
And it's doubly pissy when most of that dismissal is coming from outside the country.
Don't expect much on deadline day
"I was thinking it was two to three years that I was going to be in school," Bosh said in an interview this week. "Everything was just hoping and wishing. That was a different mentality. It was like, `Maybe I can make the league, I want to do this and maybe I want to do that.' You just hope for everything."
A lot of what Bosh had hoped for has come true for the 25-year-old Raptors power forward.
He's about to play in his fourth all-star game (he was selected one other time but forced out of the game due to injury) and he's won an Olympic gold medal. He's having his best season ever for the Raptors, averaging career highs in points and rebounds and emerging as a dominant force in almost every game.
He will be one of the most coveted free agents on the market this summer, a fact that has Raptors fans worried about losing another "franchise player." Not bad for a relative kid who should have as much as a decade left in his career.
"For me, it happened kind of fast, it got accelerated kind of fast," Bosh said. "I'm still a young dude and I get to do all this stuff. Get to play in the all-star game ... be on this (Toronto) team, be a leader. It's pretty cool what's happened."
What's happened this year is that Bosh has become one of the top handful of power players in the game. He's bigger and stronger than he's ever been, having spent much of the summer in the weight room and the gym trying to perfect his craft. He's still got a smooth jump shot and a better inside game, he's taking hits and giving them and is the only Raptor to have appeared in all 52 games this season.
While Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo could very well pull off a deal of some sort, this much can be said for certain: Bosh, on the eve of free agency, is not going to be dealt before the deadline in the name of the Raptors ensuring they get some sort of return for the forward.
"There haven't been many inquiries [about Bosh] recently because we're adamant about our position," Colangelo said before he and a group of Raptors employees and players, including Bosh, took off for Dallas for the All-Star Game yesterday.
That should have gone without saying. The Raptors have won 18 of their last 24 games, eight of their last nine, are a season-best six games over .500 and are just four games behind Boston for the Atlantic Division lead. They seem unlikely to reach Colangelo's admittedly optimistic goal of 50 wins, but it is not completely out of reach, either. Trading Bosh now would make all of that meaningless.
Beyond that, though, there seems to be no need to further placate Bosh after what Colangelo did this off-season. This is not Vince Carter encouraging Glen Grunwald to deal the fourth pick in the 2003 draft -- ultimately used to select Bosh -- for immediate help. This is not LeBron James flirting with New York just enough that the Cavaliers feel it necessary to discuss taking on any player, despite a ridiculous salary, in the name of winning now and thereby keeping James.
Bosh is as good as any star at not missing the forest for the trees.
And what Bosh sees right now is not a perfect club, but one finding itself and gaining a bit of swagger. Besides, there is not an obvious candidate to deal.
Jose Calderon? Jarrett Jack has been good as a starter, but both point guards benefit with a more limited role. To excel, they need each other. Also, let's face it: Calderon's contract is not an attractive one.
Antoine Wright? That suggestion is so December. He has developed into the crunch-time defender and capable shooter that the Raptors expected.
Marcus Banks? In order to get something of value, you have to give up something of value. And Banks' contract kills his value.
As of yesterday, Colangelo said there were no deals of any nature percolating. A minor trade could get done before next Thursday. To expect anything more than that, however, would be baseless.
Sunshine Girl – 12.02.10
RF Girl of the Day -Chelina Manuhutu
Happy Valentine's Day! Don't panic, guys, we are publishing SUNshine Girl Samantha a little early so nobody will get busted by checking her out on Valentine's Day. The only hitch in the plan is that there will be another Girl on Sunday. So be careful!