And, no, I have no idea what Kawhi will do and no one connected with the team knows with 100 per cent certainty.
But have fun with this until then.
Masai has confirmed that he is staying in Toronto. Marc Gasol has exercised his player’s option to return. Let’s say that Kawhi decides during the first week of free agency to return to the Raptors and that Danny Green then resigns as well. Given that scenario, there really should be no significant Raptor news until training camp. (I know you aren’t going to Vegas to cover Summer League!!) What would you be looking forward to most to while away the summer?
A: As I while away the summer until Aug.4 when the Canadian men start training camp and exhibition games leading to the Aug. 30-Sept. 15 World Cup in China that I may end up going to?
Maybe I’ll use those two weeks or so to reacquaint myself with the deck. Or sleep because China ends and Raptors training camp is about two weeks after. Not a lot of down time in this gig.
Q: Long time reader first time caller; just a comment if I may regarding women’s basketball recently on the tube. I admit I’m a band-wagoner with regards to the Raptors/basketball and had never really watched an NBA game in its entirety (I’d just catch highlights or watch the last 5 mins) until the Raptors made it to the second round.
My roommate, same deal. We couldn’t help but get swept up in the excitement and the energy and now we’re hooked. I’m on the 21st floor of a highrise with an adjacent highrise and after the game I went out on the balcony and folks were out on their balconies cheering,0 and screaming, horns honking, etc; never seen anything like it. And I was here for ’92-’93 Jays B2B.
My point being, we were flipping through the channels the other day and came across a women’s basketball game into which my roommate and I were drawn. Sorry I don’t remember who was playing *brain synapse activity declining*, but “DAMN, those women can play!” as my roommate so correctly proclaimed. And damn, he was right! Look forward to seeing more exposure for these great women athletes.
Love what you do and Happy Canada Day!
Dee from TO
A: I think and hope there are a lot more like you who will come to appreciate the women’s game for what it is: Often compelling athletic competition involving women who are the very best at their jobs in the world.
It’s not the NBA but who cares? It is what it is and that should be enough.
Q: Your tweet where you mentioned you had requested the World Cup game between USA/France on the big screen at your usual was very cool.
It wasn’t long ag one felt like Oliver Twist asking for a Raptors game to be on. Even on that small old TV in the corner! For a long time sports fan here; the allure of NHL, NFL, MLB has significantly diminished to non-interest other than a certain bat flip.
I think my interest in women’s soccer grew in tandem with the fabulous career of Christine Sinclair and the quality product/interest of women’s soccer worldwide. Women’s basketball germinated from the journey of the women’s Growth to the world stage.
As an Irregular; the familiarity of the players came largely through your support and background stories of the players. Many of the names have moved on. Living in S. Florida I have access to ESPN for the WNBA (good news for Canada I see). Both soccer/b-ball have been highly entertaining and competitive. I enjoy both.
Do you think the interest is in growth mode or sustainable? Or is the interest in both tied in to World Cup or Olympics. I think both are great products and some great marketing opportunities are out there given the changing Canadian demographics.
A: I do think it’s growing but it’s also sustainable, if that makes any sense. Some sports – and I’d put soccer and hockey in that group – are still tied too much to world or Olympic competitions but basketball seems to be different thanks to the growth of the game in our ever-changing and evolving diverse society and the fact more games are available more often. It’s certainly not there yet but it’s far further along that it’s ever been and I don’t see that slowing down any time soon.
It’s been fun to watch and it’ll be fun to see where we are in even five years.
Q: Hey Doug:
I assume The Star has stringent rules regarding reporters accepting gifts or anything of value from teams or individuals they are covering. I hope management will make an exception, if Masai was serious in saying that he is giving you a championship ring. It is richly deserved.
And, is the Chicken also getting an appropriately sized ring?
Appreciated as always
A: While it was nice of Masai to say, I do think he was entirely joking. Now, if he’d been talking playoff share, I’d be listening hard.
The Chicken’s absolutely getting a ring and if the presentation ceremony doesn’t include it coming in an egg, I’ll be crushed.
I read in your friend Cathal’s column that Masai told you you’re getting a ring. Congratulations.
It was interesting comparing the trophy presentation in the hockey and basketball games. In the hockey game, the commissioner has the trophies and the players are a bit away. The MVP comes to collect the trophy and then rejoins his teammates. The captain is then called up and presented with the trophy and then returns to his teammates to start the celebration. With basketball, there’s a MC who introduces the commissioner who gives the trophy to the owners who then pass it on to the manager and eventually to the players. The podium is very congested and it’s hard to tell who’s who.
I prefer the hockey method – putting the focus on the players.
A: I imagine you’re in the majority in preferring the hockey presentation but it’s never been something I’ve thought about a lot either way.
Just another difference in the two sports and I don’t think you cay say one is right and one is wrong. Just different.
Q: Good evening Doug
I just watched Masai’s year end meeting with you folks for the second time and all I can say is being in my 70’s I have never seen any management type come even close to him when it comes to enthusiasm and straight forwardness. The hour he spent was incredible to watch. Toronto – we are one lucky city.
A: It truly was a tour de force as a friend called it the other day. I have had hundreds of conversations with Masai over the years, individually and in groups small and large, and I’d say that was the most relaxed I’ve ever seen him.
Q: Hi Doug. Just came back from visiting relatives in Sudbury and I can assure you that the afterglow of the Raps winning is still happening outside of Toronto.
I’m of the opinion that even if Kawhi leaves, he deserves a standing O first game back in Toronto. Do you agree? Do you think that will happen if he leaves?
A: Oh, I am dead certain he will be afforded a hero’s welcome if he does return as a visiting player. And it will be the right and sensible thing to do.
Q: Doug, I completely agree with your mini-rant about the ridiculousness of breakdancing in the Olympics. That said, remember they’re called the Olympic Games, not the Olympic Sports.
A: Yes, that is true. But, sigh, indeed. Not to disrespect the talent of the world’s top break dancers but it is not a sport, it is not done worldwide, it is subjectively “scored” I presume and I think it’s idiotic to put in the Olympics.
Q: Hi Doug
Have not written in a long time and let me say now how thrilled I am you are getting better. We are of the same vintage and I have had my own health scare or three and at this stage it is so important to look after the aging body, and you please make sure you are doing that.
So I have been trying to understand how trades have to work, and I understand a bit but still not enough and I know there are tons of additional considerations most of us will never understand and that’s OK, but can you please guide me a bit through a hypothetical scenario?
Say we are trying to cut down on luxury tax and luxury apron, save a bit. Here is Norman Powell, making more or less ten million dollars for next season. We want to trade him to improve our finances. But in the trade the salaries have to match, isn’t that the most basic condition? So we trade Norman’s ten million for ten million of another player or players? Is the secret the length of contract, so that if Norman had two years, and we took on a player with just one year signed, then we’d be ahead in the second year?
And another wrinkle to me is players who get traded to a new team and then get released. Does the new team not have to still pay them their contractually agreed upon salary, even though they have been released?
Something somewhere is not computing for me, and if you can shed a little light on it, I’d appreciate it.
Andrew from Tillsonburg
A: That’s exactly how to reduce long-term salary issues although there is some wiggle room in making the money match dollar for dollar. Trouble is, if you try to do that, teams often want some sweetener, like a future pick or a young player, in a deal.
And, yes, regardless of what you do with player you acquire, the guaranteed value of his salary goes against your cap and tax bill.
Q: Hi Doug
My wife and I were at the Doug Smith, er I mean the Danny Green event this past Saturday and enjoyed it very much. Nav is quite the hype man and I’d lie if I didn’t say I was a little disappointed that you weren’t also rocking a faux championship belt (I keed). I wanted to add my thanks to those you’ve received already for the massive amount of work done over the season but especially during the playoffs.
I hope you have some time set aside in the near future to put your feet up and relax. Much like culture, the word confidence is used a lot around sports teams. This Raptors team seemed to have an unshakable confidence about them throughout this playoff run. What factors do you think contributed to the team believing in themselves so much? Do you think there were key moments in the season leading up to the playoffs i.e. Masai’s meeting with Kyle in Feb, etc… As always, thanks for all you do to keep us informed!
A: I think a lot of that confidence came from the cumulative winning each player had experienced in his career, their belief and trust in each other and the collective basketball IQ. I also think Nick contributed to it greatly because of his calm demeanour.
Turning points? I think the Lowry-Ujiri clear-the-air, let’s-get-focused meeting was big and I think the addition of Gasol at the trade deadline showed the players that management was continuing to go all in.
Q: Really a comment but I’ll put it as a question.
Why are pretty much all the commentators giving so much emphasis to Canada’s dominating the game against Sweden?
True they had the lion’s share of possession, but possession doesn’t win games, goals win games and, frankly, our girls never looked like scoring a goal. For all their possession they totally lacked penetration. Did they have a single shot on goal? A single real chance? Not even many attempts at a shot.
So please everyone stop blaming whoever for the penalty debacle, they should have won the game long before that happened.
Give credit to the Swedes for a sterling defensive effort which completely neutralized Canada when they got anywhere near the penalty area and also, at least later in the game, for looking the more dangerous on offence
A: I don’t disagree but you have to admit the missed penalty and the decision on who would take it was a rather significant moment in a 1-0 game.
Q: How come Kawhi Leonard is not up for the MVP award when he won it here at the Raptors final game. I’m confused by this? Why isn’t he up for any award?
A: As we’ve mentioned, the awards handed out this week were strictly for the regular season and voters, and I was one, didn’t deem him worthy of being in the top three in balloting.
There were 100 of us who voted on five slots on the MVP ballot, I don’t know if anyone included him or not. As I recall, I didn’t.
Q: Sir, short, quick question. Jimmy Butler/Kemba Walker. Why you like them, why you don’t
A: I think they’re both can be very good players on very good teams but neither can be “the” player on championship level teams.
I like Butler’s willingness to take big shots and make big plays late in the games, I wonder about the dynamics of a team he’s one.
I’m not sure Walker is that good a shooter, to tell you the absolute truth, but I do think he’s got the kind of calm leadership skills you need in a point guard.
Q: Hey Doug,
Well here we are on the eve of Free Agency and summer league (lol).
Of course, we are all waiting with bated breath on the Kwahi situation , so for prediction: #1 Kwahi resigns.
Prediction #2: Raps are going to sign a Free Agent ( one of Austin Rivers, Trevor Ariza, Danny Green) or make a big trade for a young Guard under contract ( see below)
Prediction #3: old friend Bismack will be stretched out or bought by Charlotte and will sign with Raps for the minimum.
Under the heading of interesting- Gasol’s contract of $ 25.6 million is the same as :
Any of those for Gasol would be enticing add to the current mix.
Love to hear your thoughts on the above as well as from a revenue standpoint do the Raps get to keep all the playoff game revenues? All the merchandise sales revenue?
Get some sleep the fun is about to begin, you going to Vegas for summer league?
Always a pleasure,
A: I can’t see them moving Marc if Kawhi comes back and even if he doesn’t, I don’t think they will, or should, mess up an extraordinary amount of cap space that could await them.
I’d listen to talk about Beal, I’d run like my hair was on fire from Wiggins and his contract and Holiday’s only got one guaranteed year left on his deal so I would wait.
Q: Hi Doug. Would the Clippers really stoop so low as to get Lou Williams to trash playing for The Raptors like that? I wouldn’t be surprised. Remember what they did to Cuban to keep Jordan?
Mike K London
A: Nah, I don’t think it was the team, was just Lou talking nonsense.