Give Bryan Colangelo and the Toronto Raptors franchise some credit – after a miserably disappointing 2008-’09 season, they appear determined to shake up and improve their roster by any means necessary, even if it means potentially taking on huge free agent contracts and/or dealing Chris Bosh.
Of all the NBA teams in the free agent market, it seems like the Raptors are the most active. A scan of this morning’s news and rumors has them reportedly preparing a 5-year, $60 million free agent offer to Hedo Turkoglu – a full $10 million more than what the Portland Trail Blazers supposedly put together for the same number of years.
It appears that whichever team loses out on Turkoglu will then be in prime position to sign Trevor Ariza for something in the mid-$30-$40 million range. Obviously, Ariza isn’t quite Hedo, but if he can consistently provide the energy, defense, and scoring pop that he did for the Lakers in the playoffs, he would be a huge asset for either team.
The Raptors were also allegedly in the mix to sign Charlie Villanueva, but now that he’s been wrapped up by Detroit, Toronto is reportedly interested in trying to steal Linas Kleiza. Linas is one of the most underrated free agents in this year’s pool and would be perfect in Toronto. He can shoot, play D, and brings scrap and toughness to the table – qualities all desperately needed in Toronto. It’s doubtful that Denver will let Kleiza go, but if Toronto makes an offer Denver can’t match, there’s not much the Nuggets can do about it.
Finally, it’s being reported this morning that the Raps are considering making an $8-$10 million offer to restricted free agent David Lee. If they’re suddenly willing to pay that kind of money for another forward, you have to think that something may be on the horizon with Chris Bosh. A trade in the works? Or just no plans to re-sign him at the end of next season?
No matter how this plays out for Toronto, if you’re a Raptors fan, you have to be pleased that your squad is in it to win it and not just floating along like a lot of other teams, content to be mediocre.
Photo. Orlando Sentinel