By: David Kay
Toronto Raptors (40-42 in 2009-2010)
2010-11 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Andrea Bargnani/David Andersen/Solomon Alabi
PF: Amir Johnson/Reggie Evans/Ed Davis/Joey Dorsey
SF: Linas Kleiza/Julian Wright/Ronald Dupree
SG: DeMar DeRozan/Leandro Barbosa/Sonny Weems
PG: Jarrett Jack/Jose Calderon/Marcus Banks
Head Coach: Jay Triano (3rd season)
2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $60.1 million
-Raptors acquire SF Julian Wright from Hornets for SG Marco Belinelli
-Raptors acquire C David Andersen from Raptors for 2nd round pick and cash considerations
-Raptors acquire SG Leandro Barbosa from Phoenix for F Hedo Turkoglu
-Raptors sign SF Linas Kleiza to 4-year, $18.8 million deal
-Raptors acquire two 2011 1st round picks from Miami for PF Chris Bosh
-Raptors sign PF Amir Johnson to 5-year, $34 million deal
-Raptors acquire C Solomon Alabi (50th pick) from Dallas for Cash Considerations
Off-Season Grade: D+
Maybe Raptors management was a bit naïve and of course hindsight is always 20/20, but by holding onto Chris Bosh last season the franchise set itself back at least a couple of seasons by not dealing him prior to the trade deadline. Not sure if you heard, but Bosh joined forces with these two other pretty good basketball players in Miami leaving a gaping hole on the Raps’ roster.
Toronto’s immediate response to losing Bosh was signing Amir Johnson to a 5-year, $34 million deal. That is right… the Raptors are paying nearly seven-million bucks a year for a guy who has career averages of 4.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Talk about ignoring the market value of a player… ISH!
Hedo Turkoglu who was supposed to be the marquee signing last season that would convince Bosh that the franchise was dedicated to winning… Yeah, that did not turn out well. The Raptors ended up dealing an unhappy Turkoglu to Phoenix for Leandro Barbosa and replaced Turkoglu by signing Linas Kleiza who spent one season playing overseas and looked impressive this summer at the FIBA World Championships.
Toronto does get credit for having a solid draft getting Ed Davis at #13 and acquiring Solomon Alabi for cash considerations. Both players are relatively raw and will need time to add strength and further develop their game, but are nice re-building pieces for the Raptors.
A year ago, the Raptors suffered the heartbreak of missing out on the post-season by one game. There will not be any drama like that this season as Toronto will be battling for the worst record in the NBA and hopes of landing the top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
To put it bluntly, Toronto’s starting line-up looks like a second string unit for a title contending team. Andrea Bargnani now goes from being Bosh’s wingman to the number one option. Kleiza and Barbosa will provide some scoring punch while the Raptors will hope Demar DeRozan will take a major step during his second season. Toronto might have the worst collection of power forwards in the league so replacing Bosh will be even more difficult than anticipated.
The point guard situation was a bit of a mess last season. Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon split time in the starting line-up but neither real cemented themselves as “the guy.” Calderon saw a dip in his production and was almost traded this summer to Charlotte. Expect the Raptors to try and dump his remaining two years, $20.3 million deal on someone this season in hopes of clearing up cap space for next off-season.
Looking Ahead to Next Summer:
Toronto will have a pair of first round picks next season (their own which figures to be in the top five and the Heat’s which will likely be in the late 20’s) so that will help the re-building process. If Leandro Barbosa opts out of the final year of his deal, the Raptors could have somewhere around $20 million in cap space. The problem is Toronto is not exactly on the wish lists of any major free agents meaning the team will either have to overpay to land a big name or possibly swing a trade to take on a star player’s expensive contract.
NBA Power Ranking: 29th
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