Nando De Colo has signed with CSKA Moscow, so we’ve seen the last of him as a Toronto Raptor. While most of us would have been happy to see him return, his departure doesn’t exactly cause the earth to tremble. By my math, GM Masai Ujuri has committed about $70M for salaries next season on 13 players, leaving him with $7M to play with (on the assumption the salary cap is announced to be $77M).
The Twitterverse is alive with word of a meeting planned between Raptors executives and Unrestricted Free Agent Andray Blatche. He’s a 27-year-old Power Forward who wore the wrong jersey in last season’s playoffs against our team, but is apparently looking for a better situation than Brooklyn. Andray was paid a pittance last season, by NBA standards, and it’s a red flag for me that the Nets aren’t showing a lot of enthusiasm about re-signing him. Andray was enriched after being amnestied by the Washington Wizards just 2 seasons ago. He’s got all the physical tools any man could ask for, but one has to question his psychological makeup after being declared persona non grata by two different teams. I’ll be very surprised if Ujiri risks our team’s chemistry by bringing this fellow on board.
If I were advising Masai at the moment, I’d tell him to take a break. There’s no hurry. Our roster is looking a lot meatier than so many others. LeBron James is only allowed to play for one team, yet there are about four (Heat, Cavaliers, Bulls, Lakers) who are frantically reconstructing their salary situations so as to be able to welcome King James. Carmelo Anthony is the consolation prize. The unrequited two or three are going to be in rough shape, and are likely to overpay for the remaining free agents so as to at least be able to field (? – how about “floor”?) a team. As a result, if I’m a player agent, I’m rubbing my hands together in expectation of a bonanza as soon as LeBron makes his decision, or DECISION. My free agents are going to be mighty popular, but only for so long. In the frantic game of Musical Chairs the multi-millionaires are set to play, there are more players than seats available. Should Masai have cap space tucked away as training camp approaches, he’s going to be a most popular guy.
Farewell, Nando – let’s hope last winter in Toronto prepared you for Moscow’s nasty weather. And Andray, we’ll see you on the court, but not in our colours.