Well one thing is settled in Toronto and that is the fact that it is now public knowledge that Bryan Colangelo will not be going anywhere at the end of the season.
Now you can shift the attention back to what happens with Bosh. With the team playing well and some of the other teams having as many question marks as Toronto about their respective futures, the state of the collective bargaining seemingly about to undergo a change, is it a time for Bosh to think about the extension that would give him an extra year with about $30 million that may be grandfathered into a new agreement?
Just ask: What will Miami look like as Dwyane Wade is a free agent this season? We know about the LeBron thing in Cleveland and Boston is aging by the game. Atlanta will be solid as they have grown together but oh wait, isn’t Joe Johnson part of the free agent bonanza this summer? That’s right he is indeed looking for a new deal. So you see, it’s not just Toronto but many other teams that will have some serious questions to answer at the top of the East.
So the Raptors hit the break with 29 wins which ties a franchise mark for wins at the break. Mind you it’s taken a few more games but still, how many imagined this, after let’s say, that night in Atlanta when the Hawks put up 146 points against them and it looked like things were headed in the wrong direction? Well things have certainly turned around and the Raptors sit six games about .500 for the first time since March 9, 2007.
Wednesday night, Toronto blew a big lead allowing the 76ers to come back from oblivion after the Raptors had them down by 23 points. In the past, this surely would have been one of those games where fans and people around the team lament losing a big lead and maybe the game. But there is a mental toughness that may be developing around the team as they scored the last 11 straight points to win it going away.
There was no Hedo Turkoglu as he was excused due to a family illness, but in the eyes of a former Raptor, in fact a guy who started Toronto’s first ever game and is now a television analyst for the Sixers, Ed Pinckney, Toronto didn’t miss him. To quote one of my favourite guys, Easy Ed, “the wing guys on this team are sick!” Needless to say he was impressed with the explosiveness, athleticism and skill of the wing players, in particular Sonny Weems. The former Razorback did a solid job of slowing down Sixers’ guard Lou Williams, who always seems to get it going against Toronto in the fourth quarter when Philly needs him the most.
Best Pinckney story about the word “commitment” comes in the Raptors first campaign. He’s slated to do an interview and has committed to a time for a TV network. His wife is out and one of the kids is ill. Does he call the reporter or the station and cancel the interview as he certainly has a valid reason? Nope, Easy Ed bundles the kid up and heads off to the studio. He apologizes for being literally five minutes late and explains about the kid. Big ‘P’ does the interview and then hustles out to take the kid home. Do you think you would ever see that in this day and age?
As we march toward the Madness next month, Pinckney and Raptor assistant Alvin Williams alma mater Villanova is hoping to get another national title to go with the one they grabbed in 1985. It’s been 25 years since that memorable night. You remember that one right? The Wildcats upset heavily-favoured Georgetown and Patrick Ewing by controlling the game and missing only one shot the entire second half. Yep, it happened on April 1, 1985, but it was no April Fool’s gag. Oh yeah, Ed Pinckney was that Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player
Part of me is chuckling as some misinformed members of the NBA brethren still see Toronto as an outpost and think that Canada is a far-off land where it snows all the time. Hmmmm, let’s see, Washington D.C. gets blasted by a snow storm that paralyzes the region and Wednesday night the Sixers are forced to stay in Toronto because everything in Philly is at a standstill thanks to a snow storm.
As one observer has wondered? Does Chris Bosh sit and chat with Kevin Garnett when they hit big D for the All-Star festivities this weekend and ask about why he left Minnesota? Just wondering? Unlike KG who never had great pieces around him, Hedo Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Jarrett Jack are all locked up. DeMar DeRozan has shown some promise and there are those aforementioned questions about the Eastern Conference.