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So many options for the Raptors at the whim of free agents

Yeah, it’s hyperbole to suggest this is the most important free agency period in Raptors franchise history – I’d put the Alvin Williams, Jerome Williams, Antonio Davis summer right up there – but what the heck.


There. Said it.

And what should Masai and The Henchmen do?

Well, given that they don’t drive process it probably doesn’t matter and it won’t work perfectly but the perfect world might work out something like this:

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Kyle Lowry: Four years at a total of about $ 117 million with the fourth year either a mutual option with no full guarantee.

Serge Ibaka: Three years for about $ 66 million or so.

Patrick Patterson: Only if they can’t get Ibaka back (more on that in a few paragraphs): Three years maybe $ 30 million.

P.J. Tucker: Three years at maybe $ 30 million.

There you go, Bob’s your uncle, whatever that really means.

Now, that’s not going to be because it’s too simple and, as silly as that money might sound, it’s on the cheap side in this day and age.

But my theory is right: Do Lowry, one of the two power forwards (I’d say Ibaka over Patterson but, truthfully, not by as large a gap as you might think) and Tucker and go on from there.

But the trouble (and I got into it in this straight reporting thing in the paper today) is that the Raptors don’t have the final say. If those guys want to leave, they leave for whatever reason like finances or philosophy or lifestyle and the Raptors are left a shell of what they are.

It took about half an hour yesterday to hear that Miami has some interest in Ibaka, that Houston could be intrigued by a Patterson return and we’ve known all along that Tucker’s skills and relatively low starting salary are going to make him much coveted around the league.

So, yeah, the perfect world answer is possible but it’s not likely and how the Raptors emerge when all this is over is going to be fascinating to watch.

There is a chance that they get none of their guys, which would be a fine kettle of fish, indeed, and signal the dawn of a whole new, not-fun era around here. No matter how things shake out, the Raptors will never have a ton of money to spend and, likely, a dwindling number of players to spend it on.

Finally, as we begin the annual rite of Canada Day – which is waking up to see what craziness has gone on between midnight and about 6 a.m. in the NBA since staying up past 12 is not something I normally do – the usual warnings are necessary.

There will be all kinds of information floating out there about “meetings” and “talks” and “interest” and while I’m not saying anyone sits around intentionally fabricating items I do think everyone needs to take a step back and a deep breath while they digest every snippet that titillates.

Teams will talk to a lot of players, more than you or I can possibly know, but it’s always a long way from chatting to signing and that needs to be in the forefront of minds all weekend.

For instance, while everyone is focused on what Toronto wants to do with its own free agents, you can be sure Masai has something in mind for the two exceptions he has – the mid-level at about $ 8.4 million and the bi-annual at about $ 3.4 million – that no one’s been able to figure out quite yet.

We’ll try to keep as up-to-date as possible over the weekend with what’s real and what’s not; it’s not an easy gig, it will all come out in the wash and to get too stressed over initial reports of anything is not something I’m interested and you shouldn’t be, either.

This sure has a place on a Canada list, doesn’t it?

So we’ve got the wrapup of Canada 150 tomorrow (here’s the second-to-last one) so there should be something Canadian-ish here which leaves the mail for Sunday.

If you want to play along, and you should, sending some kind of missive to askdoug@thestar.ca today would be the way to do it.

And since I’m basically going to be sitting around for a couple of days waiting for texts and e-mails and calls not to be returned, there will be plenty of time to answer questions.

Get at it, will you. Thanks.

The late night e-mail from the fine Mike Masaro, media relations maven of the TFCs, was rather eye-opening.

It seems Red defender Steven Beitashour, who must be pretty good because I noticed him a lot the other night and I know very little about the intricacies of the game, was hurt in the game against Montreal to the point that he needed to have surgery on his pancreas.

Mike’s note doesn’t go into a lot of detail except to say Beitashour was in “stable” condition and more information will come when it’s available.

But, really! I don’t know when he got hurt or how but that fact that he played all 95 or so minutes shows a level of toughness that’s to be admired, no?

That dude’s a gamer in the Bobby Baun vein, I’d say, and I hope whatever’s going on isn’t too serious.

So there were 12,000 and change at the Argo opener against their most bitter rival on a glorious Sunday afternoon to kick off the season.

You got over or under tonight against the Lions?