Posted on: January 21, 2009 11:12 am

2009 Free Agent Class - Overlooked and Forgotten?

I know we are all focused on 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh become free agents and the rumours that are swirling around with that, but what about next years class? looking over the list i see a lot of pieces that many teams would love to have, so, the question is do you think this season's batch of free agents will be pretty much ignored or will there be a flurry of trades and deals to secure some of these guys before 2010 which, in my opinion, is really a three team race right now.

Here is the list

Hawks -Josh Childress, Solomon Jones, Marvin Williams
Mike Bibby, Zaza Pachulia



Celtics - Glen Davis, Leon Powe
Eddie House (P)


Bobcats - Shannon Brown, Jermareo Davidson, Raymond Felton, Ryan Hollins, Sean May



Aaron Gray,Drew Gooden



Cavaliers - Lance Allred, Tarence Kinsey
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (ETO), Damon Jones, Joe Smith, Eric Snow, Wally Szczerbiak, Billy Thomas, Anderson Varejao (P)

Mavericks - Brandon Bass, Gerald Green, Eddie Jones, Jason Kidd, Keith McLeod, James Singleton



Nuggets -Linas Kleiza
Chris Andersen, Anthony Carter, Steven Hunter (ETO), Allen Iverson, Dahntay Jones


Pistons - Will Bynum (T), Jason Maxiell, Check Samb
Kwame Brown (P), Richard Hamilton (ETO), Rasheed Wallace



Warriors - C.J. Watson
Al Harrington (P)


Rockets - Mike Harris, Luther Head
Ron Artest, Ron Francis



Pacers - Danny Granger, Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts
Maceo Baston, Marquis Daniels (T), Travis Diener (P), Jeff Foster, Stephen Graham, Rasho Nesterovic


Clippers - Ricky Davis (P), Steve Novak, Brian Skinner
Jason Hart



Lakers - Coby Karl
Trevor Ariza, Kobe Bryant (ETO), Chris Mihm, Lamar Odom


Grizzlies - Juan Carlos Navarro, Hakim Warrick
Antoine Walker (ETO)



Heat - Stephane Lasme, Joel Anthony
Mark Blount (ETO), Shawn Marion


Bucks - Ramon Sessions, Charlie Villanueva
Malik Allen (P), Tyronn Lue, Desmond Mason



Timberwolves - Rashad McCants
Calvin Booth, Jason Collins


Nets - Nenad Krstic
Trenton Hassell (ETO), Jarvis Hayes (T), Stromile Swift



Hornets - Melvin Ely, Mike James (P)



Knicks - David Lee, Nate Robinson
Jamal Crawford (ETO), Eddy Curry (ETO), Jerome James (P), Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson (ETO), Malik Rose


Thunder - Johan Petro
Adrian Griffin, Chris Wilcox, Damien Wilkins (ETO), Donyell Marshall



Maqic - Marcin Gortat
Keith Bogans, Brian Cook (P), Adonal Foyle, Anthony Johnson (P), Hedo Turkoglu (ETO)


76ers - Royal Ivey (P), Andre Miller, Kareem Rush



Suns - D.J. Strawberry
Matt Barnes, Grant Hill



Trail Blazers - Ike Diogu, Channing Frye, Martell Webster
Raef LaFrentz



Kings - Bobby Brown (P), Francisco Garcia
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (ETO), Bobby Jackson



Spurs - Ime Udoko, Jacque Vaughn



Raptors - Carlos Delfino, Joey Graham, Jamario Moon, Will Solomon
Jermaine O'Neal (P), Anthony Parker



Jazz - Paul Millsap, Kyrylo Fesenko (T)
Carlos Boozer (P), Jarron Collins, Brevin Knight, Kyle Korver (ETO), Mehmet Okur (ETO), Ronnie Price



Wizards - Etan Thomas (ETO)

Posted on: November 29, 2008 10:25 am

The TOP 20 expiring Contracts this season

As listed by Marc Stein on ESPN, here are the top 20 expiring contracts available:

1. Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks)
Expiring Salary: $21,372,000

2. Allen Iverson (Detroit Pistons)
Expiring Salary: $20,840,625

3. Stephon Marbury (New York Knicks)
Expiring Salary: $20,840,625

4. Shawn Marion (Miami Heat)
Expiring Salary: $17,810,000

5. Mike Bibby (Atlanta Hawks)
Expiring Salary: $14,983,603

6. Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
Expiring Salary: $14,148,596

7. Rasheed Wallace (Detroit Pistons)
Expiring Salary: $13,930,000

8. Wally Szczerbiak (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Expiring Salary: $13,275,000

9. Raef LaFrentz (Portland Trail Blazers)
Expiring Salary: $12,722,500

10. Andre Miller (Philadelphia 76ers)
Expiring Salary: $10,333,334

11. Memphis Grizzlies Antoine Walker ($9,052,460)
12. Indiana Pacers Rasho Nesterovic ($8,400,000)
13. New York Knicks Malik Rose ($7,647,500)
14. Houston Rockets Ron Artest ($7,400,000)
15. Cleveland Cavaliers Eric Snow ($7,312,500)
16. Chicago Bulls Drew Gooden ($7,151,183)
17. Indiana Pacers Marquis Daniels ($6,864,200)
18. Oklahoma City Thunder Chris Wilcox ($6,750,000)
19. Sacramento Kings Bobby Jackson ($6,487,888)
20. Chicago Bulls Ben Gordon ($6,404,750)

The question today is, can you see your team making a move for any of these players and if so, what impact could they bring to your team. As a Raptors fan, acquiring Ben Gordon would look great with him beside Jose Calderon and allowing us to move Anthony Parker or put him on the wing and move Jason Kapono or Jamario Moon. Any thoughts and comments are always welcome.

Posted on: November 17, 2008 4:46 pm

Week 3 Raptors Review

Week 3 for the Raptors started with a tough fourth quarter collapse in Boston as the Celtics rode the hot hand of Paul Pierce to a victory. We had a 16 point leads twice in the third quarter as Jermaine O'Neal recovered from an awful game in Charlotte. He ended the game with 23 points and 11 rebounds, but better than that, he has played 3 solid games this past week, which is a very good sign for this team. Anthony Parker had 15, while Jason Kapono had 14 while Kevin Garnett made Chris Bosh work for all of the 9 points he scored. The biggest thing we learned Monday was that this Raptors team is going to struggle containing SF's all season until someone can step up and consistently provide both solid offense and tough defense. This game could have been won if anyone would have stepped up and made a couple stops instead of watching Pierce drop 22 points on them in that last quarter. We ended up -5 in turnovers and -2 in steals. Ball control is a huge issue with this team as we saw against the 76ers.

Against the 76ers, the Raptors struggled the entire game as the quicker 76ers caused bad passes and put pressure on our back court all game. The biggest news from this game was the loss of Jose Calderon to a hamstring injury. We were able to get the game to 4 points a few times, but it seemed the next offensive set would result in a turnover, a quick bad shot and transition basket by the 76ers as we stood around wondering how it missed, then we were suddenly down 10 again. Maurice Cheeks had this team ready to put pressure on our back court, especially after Jose went down and Will Solomon and Roko Ukic had to find a way to step in and control the ball. The Raptors were out rebounded, had more turnovers and gave away more steals to this team as Elton Brand scored 25 and 8 rebounds. Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller added 18 points each and a total of 25 rebounds. Samuel Dalembert, who grabbed 17 boards in the season opener, was very quiet with 2 points and 2 rebounds before fouling out as Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal pounded the ball inside all night, but just couldn't keep the ball going in to these guys consistently enough to take the lead back. CB, JO and Andrea Bargnani combined for 64 points and 28 rebounds as a trio.

With Jose Calderon in a lovely suit, Sam Mitchell started Andrea Bargnani at the SF against the Heat Sunday as they brought a good back court of Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers with Daequan Cook and Chris Quinn adding 27 points off the bench. The game provided us a look a the possibilities this Raptors team could bring to any game with our front court able to floor Chris Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal and Andrea Bargnani up front leaving Anthony Parker and Will Solomon in the back court until Jose returns. I was impressed with Will's game with 15 points and 11 assists in a game in which we were to be outplayed in the back court, he held his own as Anthony Parker added 10 points while trying to contain Dwyane. Perhaps the surprise of the game was how much life sitting seems to have put under the feet of Jamario Moon as he was attacking the hole again and was rewarded with 5 trips to the line. The other big part of this game was watching Kris Humphries add 14 points and 9 rebounds in the 16 minutes he played allowing us to keep a steady rotation of bigs on the floor. A couple notes on this game that I really enjoyed seeing. The Heat shot 40% as a team including 3 – 19 from outside the arc in the second half. Well done guys. Perimeter defense does actually pay off. Though Dwyane Wade had 29, he did so on 13 – 31 shooting with only 3 of 4 from the line. Keeping him shooting tough shots was key to containing this offense as Shawn Marion struggled to find his range and Udonis Haslem and Michael Beasley could only provide 23 points inside.

Overall, the week was tough with 2 losses, but I think what we learned about the guard situation will carry us a long way when Jose returns. When JO begins to hit the easy inside shots he seems to still struggle with, this team will be very hard to match up with in the front court night after night with 4 solid big men able to rotate through playing solid defensively and starting to understand how to rebound as a group. With games against the Magic and a return game in Miami then home to receive the Nets, this week could see us get to 8 – 4 with some good play. I would be very happy with that as the next week will bring us the Celtics, the Hawks and the Lakers.

Posted on: November 13, 2008 10:09 am

Raptors - 76ers game review

What can be said about last nights Raptors76ers game that won’t sound harsh? Well, we could start with Andrea Bargnani having a pretty good game or Jermaine O’Neal having his best game ever on the Offensive glass or we can talk about Chris Bosh and his 30/12 night to recover from his 9 points against the Celtics. As I watched last night it became very obvious to me that this team is in a lot of trouble very early in the season.

Watching Jose Calderon hobble around made my blood go cold as I thought about Will  Solomon or Roko Ukic having to start for this team for any length of time. We saw last night that neither one of the two is capable of running an NBA offense with any consistency. I hope he returns against the Heat on Sunday and I am very glad for the 3 days rest.

There were some very good things that happened last night. First, the Raptors held the 76ers to 40 rebounds which was down 16 from the first game but were still -3 on the glass. Jermaine grabbed 9 offensive boards and the Raptors were +5 on the offensive glass, but were -8 on the defensive end which was a huge problem as the 76ers seemed to take all our second shot opportunities away.

Another good thing about last night was the play of our front court with Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal and Andrea Bargnani all having solid games. Chris and Jermaine could not be denied most of the night and when Andrea was on the floor, the 76ers could not defend any of them as Samuel Dalembert fouled out and the rest of the 76ers bigs were in foul trouble all night as the Raptors kept the pressure on the front court. The Raptors were rewarded with 28 trips to the line hitting 23 of them which is +9 for the game. Chris and JO both had double doubles and worked hard for every interior shot and rebound they grabbed. Andrea had the play of the game grabbing a defensive board then running the ball into the front court, passed to Jason Kapono who missed Bargs on an open run to the hole, he then set up low and received a pass back from JK then destroyed Reggie Evans leaving him in a heap on the floor while he spun in a reverse dunk. If we can continue to get this level of inspired play from the front 3, we should be able to challenge all season long.

Now for the ugly parts from last night’s game. Jamario Moon, Jason Kapono, Anthony Parker and Joey Graham were a combined 6 of 28 shooting. I am sorry, but as I have said all season so far, that is just awful play from a group who is supposed to be our strength. By comparison, Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Willie Green and Lou Williams were a combined 22 of 42 with Thaddeus Young adding 3 – 5. Add to that Elton Brand and his 25 and we see how vastly outplayed we were from the outside all night. It was hard to watch this team be outscored at will by this very active group of 76ers who played hard and harassed our shooters all night while seemingly taking many open shots off screens and wide open baseline shots and so many transition baskets. Sam has some crucial issues to resolve and to resolve quickly as the rest of the Eastern Conference won’t wait for the Raptors to find a scoring threat from the wing. I understand Jose went down and was hurt most of the night, but that should give anyone an opportunity to step up and show the coaches they are ready and willing to make the move up the depth chart if someone gets hurt. I have mentioned this before and I feel that we need to make a move to bring in a lock down guy to help out defensively which seems to be our bigger need. With all the good things this team did last night, they gave up too many easy shots and made too many turnovers that ended up in our basket. It is very difficult to claw back into a game when you take 23 seconds to score and give up the answering basket in less than 5. We brought the game to 1 point and 4 points several times but a couple bad passes or terrible offensive choices from our ice-cold shooters resulted in the score quickly returning to a 10 point margin.

The Raptors have more talent than last nights game showed us and let’s hope they recover. We are a shooting team and we need to find ways to win games when that part is not working. Last night gave us hope that those pieces are there as well, and losing Jose I know had a huge impact on the floor. Let’s hope he recovers quickly and can lead this team against the Heat on Sunday.

Posted on: November 12, 2008 10:42 am

Raptors - 76ers Blog Preview

 Tonight the Raptors host the 76ers in a game that features two teams who both had higher aspirations as the season began. The 76ers acquired Elton Brand in the off-season to bolster the front court and help this team make a mark in the Eastern Conference and possibly not just make the playoffs, but finish as high as 5<sup>th</sup> behind the Cavaliers or the Magic and the Celtics and the Pistons. The Raptors traded T.J. Ford and Rasho Nasterovic to the Pacers to bring Jermaine O'Neal in to become the force inside to off-set our All-Star Chris Bosh and open up the inside out game that we love to play using Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon and Jason Kapono from long range to keep the defenses honest.

So far, the 76ers are 2 – 5 having lost to the Raptors opening night in Philadelphia and have not been able to take advantage of the front court presence of Elton Brand and Samuel Dalembert though together they combined for 30 rebounds and 23 points. Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, and Andre Miller join Elton Brand and Lou Williams as a group averaging over 10 points a game, though none are over 20 at this point. This team will bring balanced scoring and pressure from the wings with Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala looking to replicate Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce and their ability to exploit the porous perimeter of the Raptors. This team will be hungry to prove not only that they are a team who will challenge in the Atlantic and the Eastern Conference, but are better than their record indicates. This team has losses to the Raptors, the Magic, the Hawks, the Jazz and the Heat. All of which are playoff caliber teams.

The Raptors return home after losing 2 of 3 on the road. The problem isn't the fact that they lost 2 games, but the manner in which they lost them. The Hawks blew this team out from the back court. Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Ronald Murray, Maurice Evens and Marvin Williams all out playing us as a group attacking from every angle and watching as we could stop none of it! Then we went into Boston where the Celtics looked helpless against our front court and our ball movement and then Paul Pierce lit us up for 22 in the forth and Kevin Garnett froze Chris Bosh out of the game. Sure Jermaine O'Neal had a good game but most of his 23 points and 11 rebounds came in the first half. Though it was great to see Jason Kapono and Jamario Moon score, we needed either of them to step up and stop something from the outside!

Tonight, the Raptors need to establish themselves on the glass as they were -23 rebounding in the opener, most of that thanks to a terrible first quarter, but none the less, this Raptors team MUST become a 40 board a game night to compete with the best teams in the East. I look for the Raptors to come out strong on the glass and establish defensive pressure early on this quicker team. Chris will not score 9 again and Jose won't score 7 as they return to form against a less formidable defensive squad. This game will go a long way in setting themselves up for success defensively if we can hold them to less than 40 boards. Until we play smart basketball, on both ends of the floor, we will be nothing more than a good looking basketball team. Sam has a long way to go with this team, good thing the season is young.

A quote from the captain:

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"We don't let things discourage us. That's what I like about this team this year, no matter how things are going, we

don't hang our heads. We just figure out how we're going to play things better, and we stay in the game mentally."

-- Chris Bosh on the Raptors' improved approach to games this season.

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I believe this team can do what it takes to win, the question is do they believe they have what it takes? Ask Sam, he should know the heart of this team and if they listen, they will know it as well.

Posted on: October 30, 2008 10:59 am

Raptors beat the 76ers 94 - 85

Here is a look at last night’s 94-85 victory by the Raptors over the 76ers.

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As I suspected, the Raptors struggled early as Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Bosh struggled to find their range. Jose Calderon hit the first shot around 5 minutes into the game – of course, from long range! The first quarter saw the 76ers destroy the Raptors on the glass grabbing 22 boards, most of them offensive boards, while the Raptors grabbed 4. Being down only 3 points at the end of the first was a huge victory in itself as they looked lost most of the quarter as the 76ers were flying everywhere led by Samuel Dalembert and Elton Brand inside. After the onslaught was done, Jose went to work and brought the calm back to the team. He began to exploit the weak interior defense of the 76ers with some ball movement and hitting open guys for quick hits and bringing the confidence level back on the offensive side of the floor. By half-time the Raptors were up to stay and the solid guard play was instrumental in controlling the flow of the game and taking the quick 76ers out of the game making them shoot from the perimeter.

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Some random thoughts about the game!

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Chris Bosh has decided that this team will be a defensive team first! I was very happy to see the guys ALL rotating to the open man and give very few open looks to this team, even inside there were often 3 Raptors on the ball! Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon both seem to enjoy protecting the paint! The Raptors missed that defensive edge last year and I hope this trend becomes a rallying cry! It is nice to hear Sam talk about how tough this team is defensively and not about how they gave up a lead late watching a team destroy them with open looks from all over the court!

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I knew Roko Ukic was a good player, but I had to look twice a few times to figure out which PG was on the floor! Neither he nor Jose committed a turnover last night which is a very good start! I think the one turnover they charged to him was a time count violation. Allowing Jose to rest as long as he did was and will be a huge determination as to how far this team can go! He had 4 points and 2 assists in his time on the court but his ability to break pressure and find open guys in traffic and on the wing is exciting to watch! I think that we again have to excellent point guards on this team and if they can keep moving the ball, they will be hard to match up against by any team.

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The second line now has Joey Graham, Andrea Bargnani, Jermaine O’Neal at times as well as Roko and Jason Kapono. This group is solid and should not lose much against any team. I would love to see Andrea become a 10/5 type player off the bench which would make them even more dangerous and hard to take lightly. 2 blocks, a steal, 5 rebounds, but no points leave me hoping for more from him.

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I found myself very intrigued at how little this team let up with Chris on the bench. Jermaine was able to attack from either high or low post and played some fantastic man up and team defense while on the floor alone. Together, these two play very well and complement each other very well! I hope he can get 75 or so games in, he looked like he was having fun last night for the first time in years!

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I think the preaching of Sam Mitchell has found a place in the hearts and minds of this group! They play unselfish ball, tough team and man defense, and run the floor when they are able and make smart passes. Of those 10 turnovers, I think JK made 2 traveling violations; they ran out the shot clock at the end of the game. Over-all, this team did not allow the 76ers floor space and turned them into a jump-shooting team which they are not!

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From this point on, I see Sam working the guys into a team that focus’ on the ball at both ends of the floor meaning that rebounding has to be the area of the game they win most nights to be consistently successful. Look for Chris to continue his rise up the NBA star power chart to become a top 5 power forward by the end of the season in ppg and rebounds pg. I believe he has a new outlook on the game now that he is not the double cover guy! Or, as he said last night, “pick your poison” - meaning cover me, or double Jermaine. Not only will that allow both the ability to use the talent they have, but frees up guys like Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker to do what they do on the wing.

The starters last night were Bosh, who had 27 points, and 11 rebounds, Jermaine O'Neal who had 17 points and 8 rebounds, Jose Calderon who had 13 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 turnover, Jamario Moon had 6 points and 1 rebound, 2 steals and 1 block, Anthony Parker had 9 points and 1 rebound. Jason Kapono had 15 points, 10 in the 4th to seal the game.

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We shall find out against the Warriors how committed this team is to playing team defense! Stopping this team who started the season with a loss to the Hornets scoring 103 points will be a good test of the heart of these men!

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Over all, a solid win, a bit of a slow start, but they stuck to what they do and earned a good season opening win against a team many are picking to end up ahead of them in the division and the conference.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com