May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets forward Andray Blatche (0) dunks against Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Action continues: De Colo out, Blatche talking – let’s keep our head

Apr 13, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Nando de Colo (3) goes to the basket on Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) in the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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.



Tags: Andray Blatche Masai Ujiri Nando De Colo Toronto Raptors

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    I don’t know if Andray Blatche is right for the Raptors. As you said, the Nets are in no real hurry in trying to retain him; however, that can be due to them being in the luxury tax of up to nearly 100$ million more than them actually being interested in keeping him. My problem with him is that Andray only started playing better because he had a strong network of veterans to keep him on his game. On a team like the Raptors, he will certainly be an elder statesman and, in my opinion, not what the Raptors need in moving forward. I say that Masai should focus on pulling off a sign and trade deal for a big name All Star with championship credentials like Pau Gasol instead of focusing on a guy who would at best be a solid role player at best. And for Blatche, if I were him, I would look to teams like the Lakers, Suns, or Bulls, in order to maximize his potential and his pay day.

    As for DeColo, it will be sad to see him go, but he would not have had a chance to crack the the rotation with the huge glut of wings that the Raptors have. As a favor to you, since I cover the Euroleague on my blog, I’ll keep tabs on him for you. Maybe he might just flourish in CSKA as his new teammate and former Raptor, Sonny Weems–who now has reached near Superstar status playing in Moscow.

  • ShadowXL

    I don’t mind having Blatche, but only if there’s no one else out there to sign. The last thing we need is some basket case messing up our chemistry.