The Toronto Raptors’ $30 Million Eff You

Raptors GM/Bosh Nemesis Colangelo

Bryan Colangelo has, in the words of Samuel Jackson, “lost his m************ mind.” He’s not the only one. Let’s discuss.

I’d have no problem blaming LeBron James for all of this – the reckless spending, the childish sales pitches, the false reporting. But you only need take a look at the contract of one Matt Carroll, a guy that made $102 K PER POINT last season, to realize that A) this kind of stuff happens all the time and B) NBA GMs are idiots. Most of them, anyway.

Two days, then, after the Toronto Raptors agreed to 5-year, $34 million terms with free agent foul machine Amir Johnson, GM Colangelo more or less told Twitter-happy forward Chris Bosh to light the sixth year of his prospective deal on fire. Toronto, thank you very much, may not be pursuing a sign-and-trade, even though it could potentially return picks, players, money and a gigantic trade exception.

If you, the Collective Bargaining Agreement Novice, still have no clue as to how sign-and-trades work (read: don’t have a Ph.D), let somebody who read a Raptors blog once fill you in on all the gory details.

1) A player’s current team (Toronto) can offer both another year and more money. Current projections allow the Raptors to offer roughly $125 million over 6 years.

2) Every other team can offer 5 years, $96 million.

3) The difference in pay equates to $4 million over the first 5 years, $29 million in all.

4) Should a team – let’s say Toronto – sign a player and then trade him away, the team would receive a trade exception (TPE) worth the difference between the max deal ($125 million) and the value of the incoming contracts.

5) TPEs count as cap holds for teams under the cap. So, for instance, if Toronto had $20 million in cap room and a $10 million TPE, it would have $10 million to acquire players. However, TPEs do not count toward end-of-year payrolls or against the luxury tax, and you can use them to balance out salary disparities in future trades.

6) Teams can renounce rights to their TPEs at any point to free up max cap space. Therefore, there is ZERO downside in having a large trade exception.

If you still follow, which you do because you’re a smart dude, you’re asking yourself the obvious question: Why pass on the opportunity to trade one of the most coveted big men in the game? You know, especially if you could bring in the likes of Trevor Ariza/Shane Battier (via Houston), Luol Deng/Joakim Noah (via Chicago) or Andrew Bynum (via Los Angeles)?

In short: Why let Chris Bosh walk?

"...Huh?"

(*crickets*)

I, too, am flummoxed, Casualtists. But it seems that Bosh has so infuriated his former franchise with diva-‘tude and rogue Tweeting that Colangelo would rather cut ties altogether than play the role of doormat. We’re essentially witnessing an Ego Death Match that could cost one guy a cool $30 mill and other his job. You’ve heard of cutting off the nose to spite the face? Well this is like kicking yourself in the groin to cure prostate cancer.

On the one side you have Bosh, a Twitter fiend who waited approximately four seconds after the end of the season to change his locale from Toronto to “Everywhere.” He hasn’t given the Raps the time of day for three months, and since Thursday, has very much shown himself a man more interested in the free meal than anything. Bosh likes the wining and dining, he likes the spectacle, he likes the attention.

And worse, he likes to tell you he likes it. “I always feel like a kid at Christmas,” he said to New York reporters after his visit with the Knicks. “You’ve got to enjoy this.” Fine. But cutting in line? Hijacking LeBron-a-Palooza. Popping in on a Bulls-Wade meeting?

Filming the entire thing for a documentary?

Chris Bosh isn’t just enjoying free agency, Chris Bosh is making free agency his bitch.

Needless to say that none of the above sits well with execs around the league, let alone Colangelo, who prides himself on a no-BS approach. Leaks to the media are rare, and he’s always hesitant to admit mistakes when he can just as readily ship them out of town (See: O’Neal, Jermaine). As far as he’s concerned, “bending over backward” isn’t part of the job description. So Chris Bosh, with all due respect, can take his 144-character jabs and f*ck off.

Now, I’ve come to admire ballsy obstinance (what with being a blowhard sports blogger and all), but Colangelo’s apparently shot down no less than six deals since negotiations began on July 1. When “half the league” calls, you should be able to find a suitable trading partner. End of story. I can forgive passing on tree-smoker Michael Beasley and his $5 million contract… Balking on draft picks or Houston’s hard-nosed role players is a different story.

Of course, I’d extend Colangelo benefit of the doubt had he not so spectacularly flubbed his last two franchise-altering deals. O’Neal was a bust – as guys with bum knees and monster contracts tend to be – and Hedo Turkoglu, all 31 years and $50 million of him, wants out of Canada ASAP. He said as much on live TV.

Oh and by the way, Hedo Turkoglu is a bum (’09-10 stats: 11 pts, 4 boards, 1 faked illness turned night on the town). In between, Colangelo dropped $24 mill on departed (and possibly deceased) sharp-shooter Jason Kapono.

A familiar position.

If you’re keeping track, Toronto’s sans-Bosh front court now consists of Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani, and the aforementioned 34 Million Dollar Man Amir Johnson, who posted an impressive 12.7 pts, 9.8 rebs per 36 minutes last season…

And a not so impressive 6.3 fouls. Johnson can’t stay on the court. On the plus side, he’s only 23, which means he has plenty more years of not staying on the court ahead of him.

I also want to discuss Darko – the Darko – swindling $20 million out of T-Wolves GM David “I Can See Chris Wallace In My Rearview Mirror and I’m Starting to Pull Away” Kahn, as well as Drew Gooden and Hakim Warrick’s combined $50 million in contracts. But we’re simply running out of time here. Some kid at Bleacher Report nearly cannonballed this entire post by falsely reporting Bosh-to-Chicago via sign-‘n-trade. The rumor mill’s running faster than I can type.

So I leave you with this: LeBron is indeed partly to blame. The Alpha Domino is holding up Bosh, who in turn is holding up Colangelo. ESPN’s “news” that LeBron’s decision shouldn’t come until at least Tuesday further hamstrings a Raps camp that’s already chomping at the bit to revamp its roster. Bottom line: the longer this plays out, the more likely Colangelo will forfeit his valued trade piece. And if he does just that, the two parties essentially give each other exactly what they deserve: absolutely nothing.

– Robbie

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Toronto Raptors’ $30 Million Eff You

  1. O man Colangelo is one of the most overrated GM’s in the world. Steve Nash just made him look good. And now that the Raptors are in a position to start rebuilding he signs Amir Johnson to a ridiculous contract and Linas Kleiza to an odd offer sheet. Seriuosly where is he going to play. Unless they are planning to trade the brual play of Hedo Turkoglu (http://bit.ly/b3k0bz) which I really wouldn’t mind right now.

    GOOD ARTICLE

    • Thanks a lot, Chris. And agree with everything you said.

      I don’t see Colangelo keeping his job much longer. Turkoglu/Kleiza/Johnson/Bargnani… how’s that for a nucleus?

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