Sunday, February 3, 2013

The BC Autopsy: (05-06 &) 06-07

I thought it’d be different. Bryan Colangelo would have been run out of town for Isiah Thomas-level incompetence leading him to quickly sign as General Manager for EA7 Emporio Armani Olimpia Milano. But, it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, our fearless leader, president and svengali has been endowed, somehow, with more lives than cat jumping a green mushroom. So, somewhat disruptively, taking this trip down memory lane may be a little premature. But, here you have it: what we’re calling the BC Autopsy: a bitter review of all major transactions overseen by our namesake, Mr. Colangelo. We’ll go season-by-season and hope to finish this retrospective within seven years, or so. You know, about the time that Colangelo is named Chairman of Maple Leafs Sports, Entertainment and Sadistic Torture (MLSEST).

A word of warning... please don’t read this series of posts. Go outside and play with your kids. Bake a cake. Pick up an oil-of-deer-antler habit. Do something productive. This has been constructed purely for the cynical, the maniacal and the pathetic. This is a virus that I genuinely hope you don’t catch. For the rest of you lowlifes, on to the Autopsy...

June 8 2006
Traded center Rafael Araujo to the Utah Jazz for forwards Kris Humphries and Robert Whaley.
June 21 2006
Traded forwards Matt Bonner and Eric Williams and a 2009 second-round draft pick to the San Antonio Spurs for center Radoslav Nesterovic and cash; waived forward Robert Whaley.

And with Robert Whaley, we're off! Trading Hoffa, the original draft sin and a small-handed, slow-footed stiff famously picked one spot ahead of Andre Iguodala, for useful rebounder and meathead Kris Humphries, endeared Colangelo to Toronto fans and media--a halo that still seems to affect impressions of his teamcraft skills. Was his first significant move at the Raptors’ helm his best? Would the answers to that question make you and I cry a little?

We hardly knew ya’, Robert Whaley. BC’s next move is more interesting, in retrospect. He ships out Vince trade stuffing Eric Williams (who cares?) and fan favourite/shooting savant, Matt Bonner for Rasho Nesterovic. Yes, Bonner has gone on to reinvent his game as a specialist stretch four on a perennial contender (and won a ring which I’m sure he’s pawned for sandwiches) yet it’s difficult to deny Nesterovic’s contributions to the last two playoff runs, mostly by allowing Bosh to play the four for 20 minutes a night. Rasho fossilized soon after while Bonner remains a top three point shooter but for what was needed at the time--an average centre--I’ll call this transaction a draw.

Draft 2006 Selected forwards Andrea Bargnani (1st overall pick), PJ Tucker (35th overall pick) and Edin Bavcic (56th overall pick).
Traded the draft rights to forward Edin Bavcic to the Philadelphia 76ers for cash.

How greatly does this little factoid fill your schadenfreude hearts to realize that the Raptors’ second round pick in 2006 has much more trade value than its first. (Thought experiment: would you rather pay for nine years of Andrea Bargnani or nine years of Brandon Roy who would play for only five of those years? I know my answer)

June 30 2006
Traded forward Charlie Villanueva to the Milwaukee Bucks for TJ Ford and cash.

This, arguably, outshone the offboarding of Hoffa. A rare example of BC selling high on Charlie V’s intriguing rookie deal for a point guard with an injury history. It’s been nice to watch Villanueva establish no real NBA skill (besides, I suppose, decent three point shooting) and get paid like an all-star, all on other team’s dime. In return, TJ Ford brought the yin to Jose Calderon’s yang to form one of the more productive (offensive) point guard rotations for the next two seasons. BC went ahead and bid against no one in extending Ford but the transaction was a definite win for Toronto.

Also, somewhere around here, BC decided not to re-sign chuck city, Mike James. It shouldn't be understated how amazing this was. Maybe this was Colangelo's best move. James would never parlay his (truly) remarkable 05-06 into basketball success but did get hilariously paid by the TWolves. Fun fact: At age 37, Mike James is playing for the Dallas Mavericks. MIKE JAMES!

July 24 2006
Signed forward Jorge Garbajosa.
July 14 2006
Signed forward Chris Bosh to a contract extension.
July 13 2006
Signed guard Anthony Parker

Garbajosa should be best remembered for looking like he smoked a pack a day but Raptors fans have, as they are wont to do, mythologized his short stint with the team with some sort of gritty intangible tough dude thing. He was a marginal NBA player. Anthony Parker, on the other hand, earned almost all of his contract as he played multiple positions (even starting point guard for a stretch) and brought steady shooting from the corners and a deft ability to move the ball. Though his defence was overrated, it was probably just age that lessened Parker’s effectiveness.

I suppose the extension for Bosh might have brought some sort of steadying influence on the direction of the team, though to give BC any credit here, shouldn’t he have negotiated for the full length of contract? I guess that’s asking too much so I’ll relent.

October 31 2006
Signed guard TJ Ford to a contract extension and exercised the contract option on forward Kris Humphries through 2007-08.

We touched on the Ford extention. Four for $33 seemed high at the time, considering the shooting problems, the injury concerns and the emerging realization that Calederon was the better player. Still, TJ Ford > Charlie V.

Division title! Playoffs! Coach/Executive of the Year! All is right with the world and this middling version of success will spur decades of dominance! I can't wait.

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