First of all, wow..I honestly feel for Portland fans, that must suck big time. The Cleveland fans must be saying "now you know how WE feel!" Turkoglu has been in Portland for a few days, the negotiations were completed, just a matter of time to make it official, and he even had dinner with head coach Nate McMillan. Then he changed his mind. Just like that.
So I've read all over the Raptors blogosphere how bad it would be for Colangelo to sign Turkoglu, and the points are very valid:
- It would be way to expensive..
- Which would leave no cap space to sign any other good players
- Turkoglu is too old
- He was only that good because he had Dwight Howard in the paint
- He's overrated
- He can't play defense
Back to Turkoglu - so like I was saying - he wasn't my first choice either, but I won't lie - I'm excited as hell. It's a tantalizing situation - we all know all the negatives. But they could be positives too. For one, yes he's 30, but guess what? Shawn Marion in 31, and Marion's game is all about his athleticism, while Hedo's never been known for jumping out of the gym. His game centres around his ability to use his height and body to get off shots against smaller opponents. Also, Marion is way past his prime, I would argue Turkoglu is right in the midst of his. Yes, you're right, he could be a defensive liability, but since when has Toronto been known for it's defensive presence, and since we're trying to play up-tempo basketball, we can maybe get away with it for even just the tiniest bit. Plus he's 6'9" - 6'10", so that has to bother his opponents somewhat...right?? Yup, we overpaid him, for sure - any team signing would, he's coming off his best year fresh from an NBA finals appearance, he's gonna get overpaid one way or another. What this does do however, is show Bosh the organization is dead serious about contending and getting back into the playoffs.
Furthermore, regarding that "He only looked so good because Dwight Howard got him open looks" argument - uhh...last time I checked, Chris Bosh draws double teams too. Now don't get me wrong, Bosh doesn't have anywhere near the beast of a presence that Howard has in the paint, but Bosh is definitely more skilled offensively than Howard, and he draws double-teams night in and night out. Remember when we signed Kapono and we were thinking, "Boy, Kapono is gonna make those defenders PAY for leaving him open to get to Bosh." Well, it's like that again, except 10 times better now.
The potential starting line up is...fascinating to me..because I have no idea if the team will discombobulate like it did with Jermaine O'Neal or gel to form a potent, cohesive unit:
PG - Calderon
SG - DeRozan
SF - Turkoglu
PF - Bosh
C - Bargnani
We would have a big, starting line up. We're talking about guys going from 6'10" to 7 feet in the front court. Offensively, there's no worries I think - it's not like Turkoglu will cancel out Bosh like J.O. did. And it'll be interesting to see how he meshes with Bargnani and rest of the squad. The bench is a huge issue again though, like last year, but already a bit better with Evans in there. The rest is hard to look at, and this is where it hurts - where is Colangelo going to get the money to sign even half decent players to fill out the roster? Sign-and-trade with Shawn Marion? Or will he work some more magic and sign a great unknown like he did with Jorge Garbajosa? I don't know, and all this together intrigues me, for better or for worse. But
We're most likely losing (in addition to Marion of course) Parker and Delfino too. I could give two shits about Parker but will dearly miss Delfino because I was really looking forward to having him back, I love his game and I'm not afraid to admit it. If there was someway, somehow, we could still resign him I'd be happy as hell.
Lastly, I have to mention this whole, actually wanting to come to Toronto situation. It brings me great joy as a Torontonian and Canadian in general to see a player actually cancel a deal he made in the last second because he wanted to be in T.O. Especially since players around the league generally will do anything NOT to play here with all the stereotypes they have of this city. We're naturally stigmatized whether we like to admit it or not, being the only team outside of the U.S. Portland has way more talent, and it's not like Turkoglu was taking a HUGE paycut to play for the Blazers instead of us (only $ 3 million more per year roughly). But the fact that Toronto's diversity and international flavour (as in a big Turkish population) actually drew a player here for once fills me with some pride, since it's usually the opposite.
On Bryan Colangelo: the guy has balls. His massive screw up with the O'Neal deal did not shake him one bit in terms of making gigantic signings that could go either way, and I respect that, for better or for worse. In his most important off season yet with the Raptors, you can't say he just sat on his ass and made soft decisions, which he's been accused of plenty and rightly so in the past. But if you look back, he's actually made tons of big-money deals with players who at the time seemed to get overpaid, highlighted by Steve Nash of course. This move by BC could backfire big time, or maybe, just maybe, it could be the key move that propels us to the next level.
I don't know, I have nooo idea, but I do think we have an intriguing situation in our hands this upcoming season. Again, not saying this deal will work or won't work, we have no idea until it actually plays out, but I do know one thing: I'm excited as hell.