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I think teams making sports psychologists available has helped and the awareness level of mental health issues has never been higher but there is much work to do.
What will help, I think, is if more athletes – and more high profile athletes – let their stories be told. I am sure there are athletes I know who are dealing with issues privately and I applaud them for seeking him; when they feel comfortable making it public will be a big next step.
Q: Hi Doug,
Just curious, is there any movement in the front office towards potentially getting a WNBA team in Toronto? As a father of three young girls I would love to be able to take them to games.
A: There hasn’t been any serious discussions, I keep telling them they should do it and it would be successful but so far they haven’t listened.
I have been meaning to ask this ever since Lowry got injured and 2 teammates carried him off to the dressing room. Why wouldn’t the league with all its money provide a folding wheelchair which could be kept by the bench somewhere, for occasions such as that. That is a long walk for anyone with an injury. It could even make it worse to put weight on it, depending on the injury. Surely there must be a better solution. It seems pretty mickey mouse when a player has to hobble all that way to get treatment.
Has this never been brought up? Do you know their reasoning for this. Makes no sense to me.
Thanks for your work keeping us informed.
A: There are wheelchairs and stretchers available courtside at every arena – remember Dwyane Wade? – and no athletic trainer or team physician is going to let any player take unnecessary risk leaving the court.
It could be simply vanity but if the medical professionals were at all worried, there would be been an alternative to being carried by teammates.
Q: Hi Doug:
Phyllis here from Nova Scotia (your pal Eric H.’s wife!) While I watch every Raptors game I can, and can hold my own in any male basketball convo, I don’t read your blog as often as Eric does. My bad, as they would say, but I do catch it on a somewhat regular basis, especially when Eric draws my attention to something in particular.
As I love music as much as – probably more than – I do the Raptors, Eric often plays me your tune of the day. Today’s song – Younger Than That Now – was an appropriate one, especially since it’s my birthday. I totally agree that one doesn’t get to hear the Birds enough and this was also a reminder of what a poet Dylan was/is. Along with my current tradition of celebrating the whole month (after a certain age one is allowed!) I decided on hearing the song that I would start yet another a tradition for me. Each birthday I now plan to post on FB an appropriate song. Thanks for the idea, and thanks for inspiring me to post this particular song.
A: Well, this is nice.
Happy birthday, I’m glad you’ve got a new tradition and Birth Month is an outstanding idea I will copy. I’m still at Birth Week but it’s time to expand.
Q: To me, Jon Montgomery was one of the great moments of 2010. His personality and joy came shining through in a way that many athletes cannot manage. Given your knowledge of the Canadian team, are there a few potential stars in the making like Jon?
A: I’m not all that familiar with the Winter Olympics, the lead-up to the Games is generally busy – but I was looking forward to the McMorris fellow in the slopestyle.
The one thing I really like, though, is that some of us don’t know and stories emerge as the Games go on. That’s one of the most fun parts.
Q: Noticed Jerry Stackhouse’s name seems quite popular as a prospective candidate next year should any coaching jobs become available after the season. Tons of respect for a Star NBA player who rolled up his sleeves and went to work to broaden his skills. Is Jerry under contract to the Raptors? If he was hired by another team; would there be compensation? What has more value to a prospective employer? An experienced NBA assistant coach or a Head Coach in the D-League with strong bona-fides.
A: I’m not sure what Stack’s contract status is, I would imagine it’s a one-year deal, but if he was to get an NBA job – and I don’t think that’s farfetched at all – the Raptors wouldn’t stand in his way even if he was under contract. It’d be like an NBA assistant moving to a head coaching job.
But there would be no compensation.
I also think it’s likely that this summer – when other NBA jobs come open – that Jerry will get at least an interview or two. I also think he’d be a solid fit in Charlotte but that’s just a good narrative.
Q: Greetings Doug,
The Raptors bench. Clearly they are a strength for the team and have been directly responsible for some wins this season. I know come playoff time the usual thing is to cut down the rotation but do you think this post season we may see some thinking outside the box? Just because nobody has tried it before (that I’m aware of), doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. The three point shot never used to be essential either until….well we all know now.
I wonder if during the post season when other teams are increasing their starters minutes, would they not be getting fatigued just enough that the second unit would have some advantage? And in the reverse, I know its great for Lowry and DeRozan to be getting rest now for the post season, but if the rotation is shortened and all of sudden they are expected to dramatically increase their minutes, would it throw them off at all? I know these are world class athletes who know what they’re doing, but could things like that matter? And do you think with how well the bench is doing, will a little complacency creep in to the starters effort at all? I know they have pride and are professionals, but we’re all human. Can the bench being so good, actually be a sort of negative for the starters? It will be very interesting to see.
If/when you ever come to Jamaica, not only do I know a few good watering holes, but also lots of great tasting eats. Will have a cold Red Stripe and some Jerk Chicken waiting for you on arrival if you ever make it.
A: I’m looking forward to seeing what Dwane does with the rotation in the playoffs, teams don’t usually play 10 guys but that seems to be this group’s strength so I imagine he will. He might shave a couple of minutes off the second unit but I can’t imagine going away from it entirely.
I don’t sense any complacency in the starters, I think the veterans are quite happy with the reduced workload at this point in the season.
Q: Hey Doug
I think I may know the answers to these questions but I am far from knowledgeable when it comes to the NBA trade rules, trade deadline and post deadline buying player out scenarios and feel I am missing something.
I understand the concept of salary cap considerations but,
What is the purpose of a team trading a player to another team just to have the receiving team buy the player out and have him leave? Seems to me they are on the wrong end of that deal. They lose a player another team wants/needs and end up spending more money on the buyout?
Is it about cap space or other reasons?
A: It’s mostly to save a few dollars on the bottom line rather than any cap considerations because the whole salary counts towards cap and tax.
But let’s say a team acquires a guy on the final year of his contract and there’s still $ 5 million owing. If they negotiate a buyout at $ 4 million – leaving the player to make up the $ 1 million at his next stop – that leaves the franchise $ 1 million ahead in pure spending. That’s a lot of support staff salaries for a year paid in one fell swoop.
And sometimes it’s just that teams know they won’t need the guy they acquired. A veteran might be counter-productive to a team needing to play young players.
Read your article the other day and your mention about upcoming Olympics and how Short Track Speed Skating has some roller derby elements… chances are someone has already said it, but just in case not: there is actually a roller derby skater competing in short track this year at the Olympics!
Erin Jackson is competing with Team USA, and she is a champion Roller Derby player as well. https://wftda.com/featured-skater-erin-jackson/
aka Dazzler, skater with the Calgary Roller Derby Association
A: I had no idea and now I do. Thanks.
Also while I knew there was still roller derby, I did not know about the Canadian angle. Go dazzle ‘em!
Q: Hi, Doug
I don’t know if I can agree with your comment today about Bruno. Bruno has been given way too much opportunities and I have not seen anybody got this type of patience from a professional sports organization. He got paid well and had the best-in-class supporting system to make him successful.
If you know any immigrants in Canada, lots of them, I meant a lot, have come from another country without knowing anybody or English, put in the efforts, climb all the way up and doing well.
Just wondering if the Raps could afford Van Vleet next year? What kind of contract is he worth? I really love the kid!
A: He got one contract. And, yeah, was paid well because that’s what the market dictates.
And while I have no problem with you disagreeing, it’s not going to do a thing to change my mind.
I would imagine Fred would be looking at as big a raise as he can get under cap restrictions and rules on undrafted free agents. I don’t know specifically what that number is but the Raptors can afford if they want. Might be a tax issue but there’s no reason they can’t pay it.
Q: HI Doug,
Saw this in the twitter world and wanted to share.
For the love of the game: The girls who are defying Al-Shabab to play basketball – Women in the World
A: Very cool.
Q: Am a bit embarrassed to ask this question but is the in-game blog still a thing?
I haven’t been able to find it. Had been an irregular at one point but between paywalls and then during the playoffs when everybody and his brother from the Star was posting, it just wasn’t the same. I do miss it however so if it is
still a thing, where can I find it? Many thanks.
A: We haven’t had it, or a paywall, for years. I miss it a bit but it’s not coming back.
I would like to ask you two questions and if you think they are feasible in the future.
Do you think the NCAA would ever ask our Canadian University Men’s or Women’s Basketball Champions to play in their March Madness tournament? For our Men they would have to play in a play-in bracket. For our women a play-in bracket would have to be created. Personally I think some of these past Carleton teams would have won a game or two. It would definitely create a ton of interest in Canada to see how we stack up against the NCAA.
The USA has a good Junior A hockey league in the USHL. I would like to see the CHL invite the USHL champions to play in the Memorial Cup and make it a five team tournament creating more interest in the USA and Canada. Both of these leagues now have players from both countries playing in their respective leagues. What are your thoughts on this?
A: I can’t imagine the NCAA adding a foreign team and, frankly, I wouldn’t want one to go. Let ‘em play for the USports championship rather than try to prove some point.
The hockey one is far more interesting and would be something I’d be fine with. Not sure Canadian teams/leagues would want to share whatever revenue there might, though.
Q: Hi Doug!
Always enjoy your blog with my morning cup of coffee so keep up the great work! My question is about the cap implications of the Bruno trade and more my ignorance of the cap as a whole. I have read reports that the difference in salaries is roughly $ 900k which makes sense when you look at each players annual salary. The next statement that I have read in multiple reports from different outlets (including large media conglomerates that I expect are fact checked) is that the Raptors would have this differences in salary to use towards attracting buyout candidates. My question is, would this not he a lower amount because it being prorated for the remaining portion of the season? Can this extra amount be added on to a bi-annual exception as well?
Lastly, who do you think are some possible buyout candidates that would fit well with this current team without disrupting the success they have had so far? Is it truly possible that I have watched long enough for the HWSNBN story to come full circle? Thanks as always Doug!
A: No, they cannot add it to the pro-rated biannual exception, which is all they have. What they can use it for, and will, is to lessen the payroll on the final day of the regular season, which is when the tax is assessed. Not sure how much $ 900,000 will move the needle but it will a bit and every dollar counts.
Until we have some idea who the buyout guys are, I really can’t say. I don’t think Vince will be bought out so that’s a non-starter although he should be considered. Marco Belinelli, maybe?
But Masai said Friday there might be some surprise names so we’ll see if there are. He’d know better than I.
Q: Hey Doug,
Watching the last three games has been both fantastic and boring at the same time. I’m sure it’s great for you and you probably appreciate these games and winning teams over those dark 50+ loss seasons. But it got me wondering about the starters sitting on the bench in the 4th quarter. Now I know that we have 4 veterans who can use the rest, even if they don’t feel like it, but I what about OG? I know he’s recovering from surgery and getting back into form, but would it not be beneficial to get him some run in garbage time? He’s young enough and doesn’t need the rest, and I’m sure more NBA playing experience is better than less. Is this done because it’s and unspoken “don’t play starters against back up’s” it is it strictly to keep the units together?
Keep up the hard work.
A: I’d probably run OG out a bit more in what’s becoming extended garbage time some games. Not sure why Dwane doesn’t but I’m sure he’s got his reasons. He did it one game and it looked like OG was rusty and might have tweaked something – he didn’t – and having him cooled off and then asked to ramp it up again is likely a factor.
Q: Hi Doug
Of the players rumoured to be bought out by their respective teams, which one do you think might the best fit on this year’s Raps? I’m thinking Joe Johnson.
Thanks as always!
Q: Hey Doug
I know there’s hype for the possibility of getting a bought-out Vince Carter from the Kings to potentially finish his career here, but, how about a bought-out Joe Johnson? His numbers look a bit better and he’s a bit younger than Vince. Your thoughts?
I guess you’re heading to Charlotte to leave us folk in the midst of a snowy mess…if you are heading over, catch an early flight!
A: Totally moot point now that Johnson is Houston-bound but I cannot imagine there would have been a smidgen of interest here, nor should there have been.
He’s not a ball mover, not a defensive upgrade and is shooting a career-worst 27 per cent from three-point range.
Hopefully was a total non-factor and I’m glad he’s signed somewhere so the questions will desist.
Both Demar and JV had their fair share of critics before the season began, in particular their lack of a 3 point shot and JV’s defensive liabilities. They deserve all the credit in the world for listening to these critics and improving the weaker aspects of their game, as we have seen thoughout the course of the season so far. They don’t need to be like Steph Curry, but if they can be a threat to knock down one or two 3’s per game, it creates significant issues for opposing defences who now have to guard them at the arc. Do you think that their play this season has done enough to finally silence the people who have been critical of them for a while now? Or do you think these critics will still find some flaw or two about their game to point out, as they always have?
A: What’s that old saying?
Haters gonna hate.
There will always be critics but they are less vociferous this year; let’s wait until the playoffs, though.
Q: Hi Doug,
It seems we have a situation developing that I’m not sure I can recall ever happening before, a full fledged MULTI sport rivalry between two cities. The Leafs and Bruins seem destined for another playoff battle. The Raps and Celtics seem destined to fight it out for supremacy of the East. There continues to be some bad blood between the Jays and Red Sox despite the fact the Jays weren’t in the race last year (and certainly the whole John Farrell thing helped that particular rivalry along). We just need to get some bad blood going between Toronto FC and the New England Revolution and we’ll have all the possible sports covered. Are you familiar with any other two big cities that run up against each other in so many sports? Kind of good thing for the fans, no?
A: I can’t think of one that currently encompasses two teams legitimately and perhaps a third. It is kind of interesting and might make for a very interesting May and June.
Q: Hi Doug.
I’ve been reading your articles and blogs for some time now and enjoy your insights and writing style. However, there’s something creeping into your writing that I’d like to comment on and offer a request about. It’s your use of the term “piece” when referring to athletes/players.
I noticed this term gaining popularity in Toronto a couple of years ago, particularly around the time Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins started with the Blue Jays. In my opinion, team owners and managers started calling players “pieces” in order to make the team seem more important than the players and to de-humanize the players especially when it involves trading or demoting them. Calling people pieces reduces them to mere commodities and is intended to numb the fan base to the fact teams are moving players that fans can, and do, have sentimental attachments to. One of the reasons people become fans is the attachment to certain players, for whatever reason. Everyone has a favourite player, right?
It’s understandable when corporations call people pieces because it suits their business interests and protects their investments. However, it’s not appropriate for media representatives to entrench this in every day reporting because it just reinforces the message that the people involved, and their lives, don’t matter very much.
Calling players pieces is particularly rampant in television reporting, talk shows and roundtables. It is now finding its way into your writing as well Doug. So my request to you is quite simple – when next you start typing the word piece, stop and think about whether the word player is more appropriate. I think you’ll find it is.
And if this idea appeals to your contrarian side, please socialize it with your media colleagues.
A: I don’t think it’s just in Toronto, I also don’t think is a denigrating term but if there’s a better word and I think of it, I’ll try to use it.
Q: So.. I guess my last question about what player the Cavs should get is kinda moot now, so on to another question, and it’s got nothing to do with basketball.
What are the chances, since a number of the Eagles have said that they wouldn’t go to the White House, that they’d go to Colin Kaepernick’s house? Colin could invite some police chiefs and some vets, have a bunch of American Flags, and some talk about treating Black people with respect? Would you go provide press coverage if invited?
A: He could invite the Golden State Warriors and make a big party of it!
And, trust me, if anything like that were to happen, the media would be all over it.
Q: Hi Doug,
What an eventful week up to now. Raps Rolling, and trade deadline just passed half hour ago.
Want to talk about fundamental winning clock managemnt strategies, and it baffles me how even allstar calibre players dont seem to grasp it. Take last nights thrilling OT victory of the cavs over the wolves. Amazing game, but couple of mental clunkers by Jimmy Butler that cost them the victory:
– End of regulation he wasted a 2 for 1 opportunity when he let clock go down to 24 seconds instead of taking shot with 31-35 seconds left when he got the ball, thus costing wolves an extra possession they could have had after the cavs.
– At end of OT he took shot with 4-5 seconds left on clock thus allowing cavs time for an extra posession, which Lebron used to hit the game winner.
He essentially took an extra possession away from his team, and then also gave the cavs an extra possession in OT by bad clock management.
Is this much more difficult to execute than it appears to us fans, or did the coach likely talk to him after?
As for the trade deadline flurry….i cant figure out how the cavs year after year keep getting good players to help them for their playoff drives, even though they only have old or broken ‘assets” that no one should go near. But again, here they are, and just got way better by convincing other team to take their garbage and give the cavs exactly what they need to get faster and younger. And to boot, the only true asset they had, the #1 Nets pick, they got to keep. Cavs are like Rumpelstiltskin. I am now worried about the cavs way more than the celtics standing in raptors way. How do you see the revamped cavs? reminds me of the lakers when they got the grizzlies to send them allstar Gasol and others for fools gold, and the lakers went on to consecutive championship runs.
A: The Cavs have better young talent today than they did before the trade deadline and will have better chemistry, I believe, and they have LeBron, they’re fine. I wouldn’t bet against them, but I also don’t bet. There are also issues of on-court cohesion to think about and whether the last 30 games of this season or whatever it is will be enough time.
They got guys this year because they ate some long money on Clarkson, will have to deal with Hood in the summer and, eventually, Nance. Taking the money on made the deals possible.
Yeah, Minnesota misplayed the end of that game and overtime; in the intensity and pressure and all that goes on, it happens. We don’t know if the players broke off plays or what, as well.
But, yeah, it is more difficult to execute than to talk about after the fact.
Q: Hi Doug,
I have been floating around the internet looking for the reputable online chatter as it pertains to the Raptors and low and behold most of the sites south of the border seem to focus on Lebron this or Lebron that, LA, Golden State, or NY Knicks. I stumbled on ESPN’s little bit on the best possible deadline scenarios. I found the bit on Minnesota and whos touchable and who’s not etc etc. What I found interesting is they pointed to Andrew Wiggins deal and they called him a “Poison Pill”. Do you think they are referring to his contract, basketball skills or attitude? What is your take on Andrew as a pro and team player, is he a “Poison Pill”?
Keep up the great work…
Tom from Uxbridge
A: I think that has to do with contract issues and how it’s constructed to keep suitors away and since we’re a long ways away from that, I’d pay it no mind. But it’s got to do with money rather than personality.
Q:Doug a question from my six year old daughter who loves Lowry. Can a female basketball player play in the @NBA ?
A: No, there’s no “rule” agaisnt it but I think we’re years away from it being a legitimate, and even then remote, possibility.
I don’t know where you live, obviously, but if you can access WNBA games, I bet your daughter would find someone to emulate and love as much as Lowry.
Q: Hey Doug, always enjoy your comments about the great Federer and certainly have to agree about his graciousness and modesty. Interesting to me, though, as a life-long Habs fan, that in mentioning other athletes who exemplified class and dignity, you have not, as far as I know, mentioned Jean Beliveau. Just a mental block, or do you not think he belongs in the group of athletes widely loved and respected for something beyond their athletic prowess?
A: He’d absolutely be on a short list of the all-time gracious, special, classy athletes. My mention of Federer was more of a nod to athletes still walking among us.